What we mean by eternal bliss is: Everlasting without demise, pleasure without effort, felicity without tragedy, prosperity without poverty, perfection without defect, and esteem without humiliation.

As a whole: Everything imagined be it a request of a petitioner or an aspiration of a yearner that is eternally forever in a manner that will not be diminished by the passage of time and extinction of generations.

Indeed, if the whole world is full of grains and a bird was to pilfer a single grain every one thousand years then the grains will be exhausted, not diminishing anything from everlasting eternity.

This then will not need any encouragement to request it nor incriminating slackness in seeking it after confirming its existence? Since every intelligent being will scurry for lesser gains than this and it will not hold him back even if the way to accomplish it is arduous, and requires leaving the worldly pleasures, and endure a multitude of hardships.

The time spent in adversity is finite and what is missed is minimal for the worldly pleasures are transitory and easily exhausted.

As for the intelligent person it is easy for him to part with petty amount in order to gain its multiple ten fold. That is why you see everyone in commerce and industry and even in the pursuit of knowledge will withstand all kinds of humiliations, poverty, hardships, and intolerable pain, eagerly desiring a gain of a pleasure in the future that is greater than what they miss at the present moment, a limited increase. How is it then that they will not leave present conditions in order to reach priceless and unlimited gains?

There is not an intelligent being in creation that is eager to gain wealth when asked to spend a dinar to wait a month in order to gain pure gold surely his ego will quickly allow him to spend it. Even though it may will be requested at that very instance, indeed that a person who will not even withstand the pains of hunger, for example, in that time period in order that he may achieve an abundant reward in the future will not be considered sane.

It may that it will not be imagined to exist in creation, even though that death is always looming and threatening over everyone and gold will not benefit anyone in the hereafter.

It may be that he will die in that month or a day after that month and will not benefit from that gold. All this will not deter his opinion in spending it for his eagerness in reaping that reward. How is it then that the opinion of the intelligent being is deceived in bearing the burden of desires in his life which is at maximum one hundred years and the reward for it is everlasting bliss?

However the reluctance of creation in following the path of felicity is due to their lack of conviction in the final day. For even the deficient intellect will quickly judge to go on the path of felicity over one with complete intelligence.

[1] Being a translation of a chapter from Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s Criterion of Action (Mizan al-‘Ammal) Ed. By S. Dunyah (dar al-Marraif Press, Cairo, First Edition, 1964) pp. 180-181. Translation by Muhammad Hozien.

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