One of my favourite passages from the book. Answers about God, heaven, hell, religion feel complicated? Read on:
Instead of searching for the essence of the Qur’an and embracing it as a whole, however, the bigots single out a specific verse or two, giving priority to the diving commands that they deem to be in tune with their fearful minds. They keep reminding everyone that on the Day of Judgement all human beings will be forced to walk the Bridge of Sirat, thinner than hair, sharper than razor. Unable to cross the bridge, the sinful will tumble into the pits of hell underneath, where they will suffer forever. Those who have led a virtuous life will make it to the other end of the bridge, where they will be rewarded with exotic fruits, sweet waters, and virgins. This, in a nutshell, is their notion of afterlife. So great is their obsession with horrors and rewards, flames and fruits, angels and demons, that in their itch to reach a future that will justify who they are today they forget about God.
“Hell is in here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell.”
Why worry so much about the aftermath, an imaginary future, when this very moment is the only time we can truly and fully experience both the presence and the absence of God in our lives? Motivated by neither the fear of punishment in hell nor the desire to be rewarded in heaven, Sufis love God simply because they love Him, pure and easy, untainted and non-negotiable.
Love is the reason. Love is the goal.