10 Nov Can Our Intention Save Us?.Part2
Thus a believer may attain Paradise after a short life, while an unbeliever who has lived just as long will attain eternal punishment and misery. Otherwise, according to external justice, people must be rewarded according to the amount of their good and bad deeds, as well as their virtues or vices. This would mean that they would stay in Paradise as long as they had lived righteously, and in Hell as long as they lived evilly. But as eternity is the ultimate end for both good and bad people, eternal happiness or punishment lies in one’s intention. An intention to live faithfully and righteously forever will result in eternal happiness, just as an intention to live in denial, rejection, and corruption forever will result in eternal misfortune.
If, in their last minutes of life, conscious and devoted servants of God were given the chance to live another 1,000 years, they would lead lives of the same caliber. Based on this sincere intention, it would be accepted and rewarded accordingly, for believers’ intentions are more benevolent than their deeds. The same would be true of unbelievers, who would continue to live their evil lives if given the same choice. So, people are rewarded or punished according to their intention. The intention to acquire true faith and to preserve it results in eternal bliss; the opposite results in eternal torment.
Satan will pay most dearly for the everlasting unbelief he encourages or nurtures.
- Satan has undeniable effects on people, some of which are good. As a result of his activities, some people improve their innate capacities, discover and refine their hidden values and virtues, and become more alert and conscious.
Satan attacks individuals and peoples.
- By sowing poisonous seeds in our hearts, he seeks to trap us in vice and evil. Our spiritual faculties warn us against his temptations and corruption, and call us to battle, just as particular bodily cells raise the alarm and resist infection.
Just as resistance to disease improves the body’s immunity, our spiritual state is strengthened by seeking refuge in the All-Mighty.
- Given this, we stand to gain much more benefit than harm from Satan’s attacks. Any testing of the spirit increases its alertness, consciousness, and power to resist. All of these make the spirit even more determined to do what is right, and more prudent when it encounters danger. Such testing transforms warriors into veterans in the way of God, martyrs and saints, and distinguishes believers from unbelievers.
Yet Satan has no share in the reward of those who attain high virtue by struggling against him, for he intends to lead people astray and corrupt them out of spite and rancor. He is punished eternally for his evil intention and bad deeds:
God asked: “What prevented you from bowing down when I commanded you?” Satan replied: “I am better than he. You created me from fire, and him from clay.” God said: Get out. It is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of the meanest.” He said: “Give me respite till the day they are raised up.” God replied: “Be among those who have respite.” Satan said: “Because you have thrown me out of the Path, I will lie in wait for them on Your Straight Path.” (7:12–16)
After his jealous and arrogant disobedience, Satan willfully chose the way of rebellion and unbelief. His oath to lead people astray is the beginning of our never-ending tragedy.
In sum, intention is almost everything for believers, for it can elevate our most routine acts and produce much fruit. Its quality and content opens the door to the eternal and blissful life, as well as the door to eternal punishment and misery.
As we say:
“Actions are judged only by intentions, and a person will have only what was intended.” (Bukhari, Bad’ al-Wahy, 1; Muslim, Imara, 155; Abu Dawud, Talaq, 11.)
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