In the first part of this answer, we examined the meaning and implications of guidance and love. Now, let’s talk about why there are instructions in Islam in the first place.
Why are there instructions?
Every single instruction in Islam is there essentially to benefit us and allow us to enjoy the love of Allah and see His Wisdom.
If you call your friend asking for directions on how to get to her place, for example, imagine she tells you, “There are no directions to get to my place. As long as you love me and I love you, consider yourself here.”
Does this make sense?
Of course not! You still need directions to know how to get there, you need her to tell you which roads to take, which to avoid and how exactly to get there.
Consider this: if you want to lose weight for exampleand you go to the nutritionist, most probably he will give you instructions on what to eat, what not to eat, how to cut certain bad habits, and how to start doing certain activities.
Is he the one who needs that? No, you’re the one who will benefit. He gives you instructions to help you reach your goal and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Does it make sense for him not to give you instructions at all and instead say, “As long as you love losing weight in your heart, and you love being healthy, consider yourself fit, don’t do anything”?
Of course not; every great goal needs a proper sustainable plan.
And what greater goal than establishing a deep relationship with the Creator and earning the highest place in Paradise near Him?
So, to Allah belongs the Highest Example, when He instructs us, it is out of love because He wants us to live the best life and reach our full potential and enjoy the outcome of that when we enter Paradise.
Hard Work Makes Us Appreciate Reward
If there are no instructions and no work here, and then we enter Paradise in the hereafter without any struggle, then what’s the point?
If you simply get handed a Ph.D. degree, does it feel the same as working hard and going through a rigorous journey until you earn the degree?
No, we appreciate and enjoy the reward more when we work hard for it.
Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that Allah gives us much more than we work for and He grants us too many opportunities for forgiveness and getting everything right no matter how many times we fail.
The human being lives on average around 70- 80 years. If we worship God for 70-80 years, then fairly, we should get around 80 years’ worth of Paradise. But this isn’t the case.
Allah is actually offering eternal Paradise in which one will get absolutely anything he/she wants and will never be asked to do anything anymore.
This is a much more generous exchange for the few requirements we had in our short life on earth.
And actually, we do not even spend 70- 80 years in worship. We take the time to sleep, eat, commute, engage with our friends and families, have fun and practice our hobbies….etc.
If you actually count how much of the 24 hours we use to engage with Allah, it will be a rather insignificant time.
So, the reality is, Allah is requiring fairly little and giving much more in exchange.
Evidence from Quran and Sunnah
Here are a few examples of how much rewards one could get for small acts and how many opportunities Allah opens for us.
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
Allah says, ‘If My slave intends to do a bad deed then (O Angels) do not write it unless he does it; if he does it, then write it as it is, but if he refrains from doing it for My Sake, then write it as a good deed (in his account). (On the other hand) if he intends to do a good deed, but does not do it, then write a good deed (in his account), and if he does it, then write it for him (in his account) as ten good deeds up to seven-hundred times.’ ” [Sahih Al Bukhari]
So One good deed= 10 to 700 times the reward.
Also, Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) said:
The five (daily) Salat (prayers), and from one Jumu’ah prayer to the (next) Jumu’ah prayer, and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals); provided the major sins are not committed.” [Muslim]
And He (peace and blessings upon him) was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah (the 9th of the month of Dhul Hijjah). He replied:
Fasting on the day of Arafah is expiation for the preceding year and the following year.” He was also asked about fasting on the day of Ashura (the 10th of the month of Muharram). He replied, “Fasting on the day of Ashura is expiation for the preceding year.”
Add to that the rewards of The Night of Decree/Power (Laylatul Qadr), Allah Almighty says:
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.” (Qur’an 97: 3)
So, we get in one night the equivalent reward and blessings of worshiping for more than 83 years.
This generosity could also be beautifully observed in this Hadith Qudsi where Allah Almighty says:
O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it. [AtTirmidh]
This is Allah and this is Islam; it is a way of life where Allah calls us to action to benefit us, purify us and reward us far greater than we deserve.
The point is to sincerely know, worship and commit to Him, not to live a life devoid of Him/in negligence of Him and then claim that this is love.
Hope this answers your question.
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