Gaining Allah’s pleasure
Pleasure flows two ways.
You earn Allah’s pleasure, rida Allahi ta’ala – when YOU yourself are pleased with Him.
As we see from the Hadith Qudsi, the People of Jannah experience layers upon layers of pleasure- and Allah Almighty reveals the pinnacle of their pleasure…
عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ’ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَقُولُ لأَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ يَا أَهْلَ الْجَنَّةِ. يَقُولُونَ لَبَّيْكَ رَبَّنَا وَسَعْدَيْكَ. فَيَقُولُ هَلْ رَضِيتُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ وَمَا لَنَا لاَ نَرْضَى وَقَدْ أَعْطَيْتَنَا مَا لَمْ تُعْطِ أَحَدًا مِنْ خَلْقِكَ. فَيَقُولُ أَنَا أُعْطِيكُمْ أَفْضَلَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ. قَالُوا يَا رَبِّ وَأَىُّ شَىْءٍ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَيَقُولُ أُحِلُّ عَلَيْكُمْ رِضْوَانِي فَلاَ أَسْخَطُ عَلَيْكُمْ بَعْدَهُ أَبَدًا ’. متفق عليه.
Narrated Abu Sa`id al Khudri that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
Allah will say to the people of Paradise, ‘O the people of Paradise!’ They will say, ‘Labbaik (at your service), O our Lord, and Sa`daik!’ (pleasure after pleasure to respond to you).
Allah will say, ‘Are you pleased?’
They will say, ‘Why should we not be pleased since You have given us what You have not given to anyone of Your creation?’
Allah will say, ‘I will give you something better than that.’
They will reply, ‘O our Lord! And what is better than that?’
Allah will say, ‘I will bestow My pleasure and contentment upon you so that I will never be angry with you after forever.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri is one of the young companions who was born in the tenth year before Hijra, so he is the same age as Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with them both).
Al Khudri collated many narrations from the Prophet (peace be on him) and his companions, and narrated more than around 1200 hadith and later became a mufti and a mujtahid, (the one who uses his reason to come up with legal rulings). He had his own understanding and was a pious and knowledgeable companion. His biography is very inspiring.
How the People of Jannah will hear Allah
Allah Almighty in this hadith mentions that He will speak to the people of Jannah. We already know that He spoke to Musa (peace be on him) and enabled him to hear and understand Him. And the Prophet (peace be on him) also had a discussion with Allah Almighty when he ascended to the skies in the journey of Mi’raaj, and received the command to perform the salah five times a day after requesting the number to be reduced from 50.
The People of Jannah will hear Allah Almighty call them Ya ahlal Jannah ‘O People of Jannah.’ The sweetness of listening to Allah is better than anything. It is a bonus reward, after entering Jannah to be able to hear Him.
People will be excited to respond to Him, and will use the word used by Arabs when they express their excitement and eagerness labbaik, ‘at your service’ and sa’daik ‘it is a pleasure after pleasure to respond to you’.
The surprise of the People of Jannah
When Allah will ask, ‘Are you pleased?’ The People of Jannah will reply how could they not be pleased when Allah bestowed something on them which He never bestowed on any other of His creation.
Then Allah will say that He will give them something even better than that. They will be shocked, wondering what could be better than Jannah.
Allah Almighty will surprise them. He will bestow His pleasure on them and He assures them He will never be angry with them anymore.
Wisdom of the hadith
This is a very deep hadith. We can highlight some of the lessons in it.
First Allah draws our attention away from physical pleasure to spiritual pleasure. There is no question of halal and haram because all pleasures in Jannah are halal. All the entertainment we have in Jannah – eating drinking or visiting each other is physical, but there is something above and beyond this, and that is Allah’s pleasure.
Why Allah’s pleasure matters
If you do something without your parent’s approval because you want to and no one can stop you, the enjoyment of it is marred. Even though you followed your dreams, deep down you don’t enjoy it, because you feel there is something missing, which is the pleasure of those you love.
Beyond the physical
When you have the approval of those you love on your side, you feel you have the whole world and you don’t need anything more. This is the power of their pleasure.
Even though it is a simple example without comparison to the love and approval of Allah, it shows us that we wouldn’t enjoy Jannah fully until we are assured of Allah’s pleasure.
There is a whole world beyond the physical.
The pleasure of Allah in the Quran
Out of interest I searched the word rida (pleasure) in the Quran and it is repeated in 6-7 verses. I wanted to see the contexts in which Allah states that He is pleased. It appears in Surah al-Maidah, Al-Tawbah, al-Fath, Al-Mujadilah, al-Fajr and al-Bayyinah.
Then I put these verses together to see the link between Allah’s pleasure and these verses. This is what I found.
How do we get Allah’s pleasure?
Of course it goes without saying, we get Allah’s pleasure through obedience. But what is Allah highlighting in these verses?
In Surah Al-Maidah Allah Almighty says:
قالَ اللَّهُ هٰذا يَومُ يَنفَعُ الصّٰدِقينَ صِدقُهُم ۚ لَهُم جَنّٰتٌ تَجرى مِن تَحتِهَا الأَنهٰرُ خٰلِدينَ فيها أَبَدًا ۚ رَضِىَ اللَّهُ عَنهُم وَرَضوا عَنهُ ۚ ذٰلِكَ الفَوزُ العَظيمُ
Allah will say, ‘This is a Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness.’ They will have Gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will remain forever. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. That is the great attainment. (5:119)
In Surah Al-Tawbah, Allah Almighty says:
وَالسّٰبِقونَ الأَوَّلونَ مِنَ المُهٰجِرينَ وَالأَنصارِ وَالَّذينَ اتَّبَعوهُم بِإِحسٰنٍ رَضِىَ اللَّهُ عَنهُم وَرَضوا عَنهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُم جَنّٰتٍ تَجرى تَحتَهَا الأَنهٰرُ خٰلِدينَ فيها أَبَدًا ۚ ذٰلِكَ الفَوزُ العَظيمُ
The Pioneers—The first of the Migrants and the Supporters, and those who followed them in righteousness. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens beneath which rivers flow, where they will abide forever. That is the sublime triumph. 9:100
In Surah Al-Fath, He says:
لَقَد رَضِىَ اللَّهُ عَنِ المُؤمِنينَ إِذ يُبايِعونَكَ تَحتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ ما فى قُلوبِهِم فَأَنزَلَ السَّكينَةَ عَلَيهِم وَأَثٰبَهُم فَتحًا قَريبًا
Allah was pleased with the believers, when they pledged allegiance to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts, and sent down serenity upon them, and rewarded them with an imminent conquest. (48:18)
In Surah Al-Mujadilah, He says:
لا تَجِدُ قَومًا يُؤمِنونَ بِاللَّهِ وَاليَومِ الآخر يُوادّونَ مَن حادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسولَهُ وَلَو كانوا ءاباءَهُم أَو أَبناءَهُم أَو إِخوٰنَهُم أَو عَشيرَتَهُم ۚ أُولٰئِكَ كَتَبَ فى قُلوبِهِمُ الإيمٰنَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِروحٍ مِنهُ ۖ وَيُدخِلُهُم جَنّٰتٍ تَجرى مِن تَحتِهَا الأَنهٰرُ خٰلِدينَ فيها ۚ رَضِىَ اللَّهُ عَنهُم وَرَضوا عَنهُ ۚ أُولٰئِكَ حِزبُ اللَّهِ ۚ أَلا إِنَّ حِزبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ المُفلِحونَ
You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their parents, or their children, or their siblings, or their close relatives. These—He has inscribed faith in their hearts, and has supported them with a spirit from Him. And He will admit them into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will dwell forever. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. These are the partisans of Allah. Indeed, it is Allah’s partisans who are the successful. (58:22)
In Surah Al-Fajr, He say:
يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ
But as for you, O tranquil soul. (89:27)
ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً
Return to your Lord, pleased and accepted. (89:28)
فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي
Enter among My servants. (89:29)
Enter My Paradise. (8:30)
In Surah al-Bayyinah, He says:
جَزاؤُهُم عِندَ رَبِّهِم جَنّٰتُ عَدنٍ تَجرى مِن تَحتِهَا الأَنهٰرُ خٰلِدينَ فيها أَبَدًا ۖ رَضِىَ اللَّهُ عَنهُم وَرَضوا عَنهُ ۚ ذٰلِكَ لِمَن خَشِىَ رَبَّهُ
Their reward is with their Lord: Gardens of Eternity beneath which rivers flow, where they will abide forever. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. That is for whoever fears His Lord. (98:8)
In Surah Maidah, how did those people attain that level of Allah’s pleasure? They were the sadiqeen, the truthful. The simplest way to earn Allah’s pleasure is to be truthful, cling to the truth, and defend it.
Truthfulness is the sign of imaan, contrary to kufr (disbelief) and nifaq (hypocrisy), because the munafiq (hyprocrite) is always lying. Truthfulness is therefore key.
In Surah Tawbah, Allah Almighty is referring to those who were first to migrate, and support the Prophet (peace be on him) – they were the pioneers. The ones who put themselves forward first.
The main feature of the Muhajireen and the Ansar is that they sacrificed their wealth, their rest, their link with their families, their businesses and properties, and the cities they loved. Sacrifice won them Allah’s rida. If we want Allah’s pleasure, we need to sacrifice our pleasures and likings for Allah’s – such as waking up at Fajr time, even though our mattress is warm and cosy. It is an example of a small sacrifice.
Commitment and conviction
In Surah Fath, those who made bay’aa to the Prophet (peace be on him) under the tree, when he was going to perform umrah, but was prevented, and resulted in the Treaty of Hudaibiya. They had taken the pledge of allegiance under the tree to fight till the death, because Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) had not returned from negotiations, so they thought he had been killed.
It was not easy for them to make this pledge, but they made a commitment to Allah Almighty and this is what led to the fath (conquest) of Makkah. Because of this Allah facilitated their victory. Deep conviction opens the way to be closer to Allah and have more tranqulity (khushoo’).
In Surah Mujadilah, those who get Allah’s rida, are not those who betray, or spy on, or deceive their people. Allah Almighty wants to protect the community from the inside.
People who believe in Allah and the Last Day do not oppose His Messenger; they do not give away secrets or prefer their enemy above their people. This is not the characteristic of those whom Allah is pleased with.
When you enter Allah’s servitude, and do not rebel, you will be admitted to Jannah. Whoever has arrogance will not be admitted to Jannah. As long as you are in this category of ibaadi, (My servants) who submit to Allah and obey Him and repent and act with humility, you will be admitted to Jannah.
Jannah is the final destination, if you fulfil all the requirements on the list you may enter Jannah. Otherwise not.
In Surah Bayyinah, Allah is pleased with those who fear (khashiya rabbah) their Lord. They fear Him even though they cannot see Him, and this fear prevents them from doing wrong. Having this feature gives you Allah’s rida. It brings you closer to Allah.
It is a beautiful hadith. We can link it to the hadith of those whom Allah will give the shade of the throne on the Day of Judgement.
In the 5th category of the 7 types who receive the shade of Allah’s throne are those who are close to Allah, fear Allah when they are alone as well as when they are with people. Not just when they are with people.
There are seven whom Allah will shade with His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His: 1-the just ruler; 2- a young man who grows up worshipping his Lord; 3- a man whose heart is attached to the mosque; 4- two men who love one another for the sake of Allah and meet and part on that basis; 5-a man who is called by a woman of rank and beauty and says ‘I fear Allah’; 6-a man who gives in charity and conceals it to such an extent that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives; 7-and a man who remembers Allah when he is alone, and his eyes fill up. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Ibn Haban in his book, Sahih, reported on the authority of Jabir ibn Abdillah that the pleasure of Allah is more important than jannah itself. Scholars commented on the rida of Allah, by saying that his rida is better than Jannah because it is the reason for us to enter Jannah and have the pleasure of Jannah.
Those who are content with what Allah has destined for them, will get His pleasure. This is why the Prophet (peace be on him) taught us how to deal with adversity. When they are afflicted by atrocities and calamities they say ‘to Him we shall return’, or ‘Allah is sufficient for us’. They know He is the one looking after us.
الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
Those who, when a calamity afflicts them, say, ‘To God we belong, and to Him we will return.’ (2:256)
الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ
Those to whom the people have said, “The people have mobilized against you, so fear them.” But this only increased them in faith, and they said, “God is enough for us; He is the Excellent Protector.” (3:173)
These are the mechanisms with which we fight shaytanic whispers. Shaytan will fill your ears with ‘Why me? Why now? Why this? Why that.’ Tell yourself you are pleased with what Allah has destined for you, but ask Him to relieve you of it, and ease your way, give you good health, and halal rizq, and protect you from evil and oppression.
We need to always ask Allah for His pleasure:
Allahumma inni asaluka ridak
Allah is calling upon the tranquil soul, the nafs mutmaina to return to Him. This is in the context is death, but also metaphorically in terms of coming back to Him with all your mistakes, with repentance.
It is an honour to be called by Allah Almighty, and it’s a call from Allah to all of us to keep coming back no matter what challenges and issues we have.
Destiny and dhikr
We need to have rida (contentment). Be satisfied with what Allah has destined for you, it is your qadar, and part of the 6 pillars of imaan to accept qadar. You will not accept imaan, until you are pleased with the qadar of Allah.
From the sunnah we have the training of doing our morning adhkar. One of the duas from this is:
I am pleased with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion and with Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as my Prophet. (Abu Dawood)
The Prophet mentioned in the hadith whoever said this in the morning would be granted Jannah.
Allah’s pleasure comes from softening the heart through dhikr. This establishes rida.
Two way street
When we are pleased with Allah, we have a nafs ul mutmaina (tranquil soul) and in return He is pleased with us (radiyatan mardiyya). The two are interlinked.
Bright faces reflect the pinnacle of pleasure
Once we have achieved this, we attain the pinnacle of pleasure.
Suhaib al-Rumi (may Allah be pleased with him) reported the Apostle (ﷺ) saying:
When those deserving of Paradise would enter Paradise, the Blessed and the Exalted would ask: Do you desire anything more? They would say: Hast Thou not brightened our faces? Hast Thou not made us enter Paradise and saved us from Fire? He (the narrator) said: He (God) would lift the veil, and of things given to them nothing would be dearer to them than the sight of their Lord, the Mighty and the Glorious. (Muslim)
Thus in Sahih Muslim, we are told that when people enter Jannah, they will have bright faces. They have never been given anything more beloved to them looking at their Lord:
وُجوهٌ يَومَئِذٍ ناضِرَةٌ
Faces on that Day will be radiant. (75:22)
إِلىٰ رَبِّها ناظِرَةٌ
Looking towards their Lord. (75:23)
We ask Allah to make all of us from this category. Those who have radiant faces. Those who will look at His face.
The fruits of all your efforts
That day when faces will be brightened, you will reap the fruits of your hard-work. Of your sabr. Of your struggles. You will receive full justice from all the oppression which you suffered. And above all Allah will be pleased with you, which is better than the dunya and everything in it.
Al Imam at Tibi, the muhadith said:
The best form of generosity from Allah Almighty is for us to be able to see Him.
This is the top level.
Ya Allah be pleased with us and make us among those whom are pleased with Him and whom He is pleased with. Ameen
Delivered by Shaykh Haytham Tamim at his Online Hadith Qudsi course. Sign up and get four videos free.
Transcribed by Ayesha Khan
January 22, 2021