One of the characteristic features of ‘people of jannah’ that Quran describes is that "they will be seated comfortably facing each other, whilst having no hatred/animosity or any kind of ill feelings for each other". In this is a great wisdom. Since ‘afterlife’ is only an altered/explicit expression of what human beings earn in this “duniya”, therefore our current state of being decides the kind of state we will end up in ‘after life’. It is here in this world that people earn either hell or heaven for themselves. We leave the exact eschatological texture of ‘after life’ journey to God’s knowledge. But this we know that it is our own hands that earn whatever we get there. If one wants to enter into jannah in afterlife, he should try to live his current life as if he is in jannah right now. What that means is dropping off all hate, spite, jealousy, arrogance right now, right here. There and then one enters “daar-us-salaam”, i.e. the abode of peace. As the Quran describes that the people of “jannah” will be free from all kinds of ill feelings and useless talk.
Readers might be familiar with the famous Hadith tradition in which the Prophet (SAW) describes a companion, who was yet to enter the assembly, as ‘a man from jannah’. One of the companions out of curiosity visited him as a guest to enquire as to what special deed did he do to earn such a status. To cut the story short, it came to light that the companion before going to bed every night would sleep in such a state that he would find no animosity, jealousy, ill feelings against anyone in his heart. This peace, calmness, contentment, maqaam-e-raza and purity ensures that a person lives in peace here in this world and also by the grace of God continues this state of being in jannah in ‘afterlife’.
What happens if people tend to neglect this important fact in their lives? Let us take an example; two friends who have stopped talking to each other out of hate, ego, jealousy, etc; they fight each other for some petty thing (even serious things compared to jannah is petty as Quran says) & end up “burning” from inside due to the bitter feelings they get after the fight. As Quran says "allatee tattali'u alal af'idah" i.e; the “fire” that rages from within their hearts. This condition is multiplied to God knows what magnitudes & in what forms in the ‘afterlife’. But it is here, in this ‘duniya’, that one attains such a volatile consciousness which is spiteful, greedy, arrogant, unstable, peace less & thus in hell. After death, hell is only continuation of “current hell” that people choose to live in. These two friends (above) will continue to remain in egotistical fight. They will burn from inside & yet none of them will come forward to apologize and make peace. Their whole peace of life is disturbed (because of their bitter feelings) yet they won’t do anything about it.
What forces them to stay in hell? What forces people to keep animosities, petty grudges which literally roast their souls from inside? Why don’t they come out of this hell? Why don’t they come forward, make peace, and taste bliss? The answer is given by the Messenger of God (SAW) in following terms; "one who has even an atom’s worth of arrogance/pride in his heart, shall not enter paradise". It is "pride" that stops people from exiting hell & entering paradise because selfish arrogant ego stops people from dropping petty grudges. Ego is what resists peace. The cost of ‘arrogant ego’ is peace/jannah. It is ego that burns. It is one’s ego that forces man to assert his will against God/peace/love. Ego forms an isolated island of its own (arrogantly assuming that it is complete in itself which suits only God) and thus starves itself to (spiritual) death.
Entering paradise, as Quran says, amounts to dropping off all petty hatred & mental abstractions/constructions against people; facing each other with clean hearts; completely free of any "laggw" as Quran says. We need to constantly educate ourselves in this “soul making” process in our lives. If we ourselves choose to stay in hell & make our souls habitual of it in this “duniya” then that is what it encounters on the other side of the death too.
(Author is Pursuing Post Graduation in Philosophy from JNU, Delhi. Email: email@example.com)