This should be our goal in life, "I want to go to Jannah ( Paradise )." It should be written in bold letters on our foreheads so that it serves a constant reminder for us. The Prophet (saw) has left with us a very small key to Jannah, which we muslims today have become oblivious of. Just like you need a key to open your car's door, or house door, or office door; similarly you need a key to open Jannah to you. What is this key?
The Prophet (saw) said,"Whoever goes down a path/road searching for knowledge, Allah will make it easy for him the road to Paradise." [Saheeh Muslim, Vol.3 Hadith No. 99]
Travelling on the path to knowledge refers both to walking or driving along an actual road/pathway, such as going to Conferences, etc..or going to your local Masaajids whenever there is either an international scholar/speaker or a local scholar/speaker speaking. Searching also entails, a metaphysical road, such as studying and memorising Quran and Hadeeth. Not merely memorising like a parrot, but understanding it first and then memorising it.
The above hadeeth of the Prophet (saw) means that Allah makes learning the useful knowledge that is sought after easier for the seeker, clearing the way for him, and smoothing his journey to Paradise. This is why some of our pious predecessors used to say,
"Is there anyone seeking knowledge, so that we can assist him in finding it?"
So brothers and sisters, be LOVERS of Knowledge, be seekers of Knowledge. "Yes, where is my Quran, where is the Hadeeth..." Getting up every morning with a purpose: to seek Jannah by seeking Knowledge! Knowledge is also the shortest path to Allah. Whoever travels the road of knowledge reaches Allah and Paradise by the shortest route. Knowledge also clears the way out of darkness, ignorance, doubt and scepticism. It is why Allah called His Book, Quran, "Light."
Knowledge is the ROAD to Paradise, and Islam is the vehicle that takes you to this destination of Paradise. Just like you get in a car to go from one destination to another, but how? By finding out the directions to get there, either by seeing a map or asking someone. Similarly, our Quran and Hadeeth are our maps, and our scholars are the people who give the directions from this map to get to our ultimate destination, Paradise.
Ask yourself, "Is Paradise easy?" Have you ever seen, how easy it is for our Hafidhul-Quran brothers and sisters, who memorize the whole Quran by heart? Have you ever seen how easy it is for some of us to study Quran and hadeeth for hours and hours, whilst others cannot even open the Quran or Hadeeth at least once a year or month? Why?
Narrated Ali ibn Taalib(raa), While the Prophet (saw) was in a funeral procession he picked up something and started scraping the ground with it, and said, "There is none among you but has his place written for him either in Hell-Fire or Paradise." They said,"O Messenger of Allah! Shall we not depend upon what has been written for us and give up deeds?" He (saw) said, "Carry on doing (good) deeds, for everybody will find easy to do such deeds as will lead him to his destined place for which he has been created. So he, who is destined to be among the happy (in the Hereafter) will find it easy to do the deeds characteristic of such people, whle he who is destined to be among the miserable ones, will find it easy to do the deeds characteristic of such people." Then the Prophet (saw) recited the following verses:
And believes in Husna (the best).
We will make smooth for him the path of Ease (goodness, ie. Paradise )
But he who is greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient,
And gives the lie to Husna.
We will make smooth for him the path for Evil (ie. Hell-fire).}
[Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Vol.6, Hadith No.474]
Numerous examples of this above hadeeth and verses of Allah are prevalent in our societies today, yet we don't learn any lessons from them. For example, how easy it is for some to fast the fast of Dawud, meaning fasting every other day, or doing voluntary fasts of Shawwal, Muharram, Rajab, etc. Whereas for some it is even hard to fast in Ramadhan, Why? ever notice how easy it is for some to get up in the middle of the night and talk to their Lord in private in Salat-ul-Tahajjud, while for others it is hard to even make the Obligatory (Fardh) prayers? Why?
How easy it is for some to remain single and yet guard their chastity and protect themselves from fornication, while others are married and yet still indulge in adultery. Why? How easily some memorise ayaats (verses) of Quran and Hadeeth, while others memorise the latest songs in the market and memorise the latest cuss words used on streets. Why?
You see brothers and sisters, for some of us it is very EASY to practice Islam, as Allah wants to practice, while for others it is very HARD to practice. The answer for this are the verses of Surah Al-Layl, because for those whom it is easy to practice Islam, Allah is making it EASY the road to Paradise, whilst for those whom it is hard to practice, Allah is making it EASY for them the road to Hell-Fire. So why is it easy for some to practice Islam? It is because they are lovers and seekers of Knowledge and not only that, but also act upon that knowledge, and thus Allah is making it easy for them their destination of Paradise.
Knowledge is the key and that is why our Prophet (saw) used to supplicate in every prayer,"Allahumma Innee Auzubikaa Min Illmin Laa Yanf'aau [O Allah! I seek refuge in you from Knowledge that does not benefit]."
It doesn't benefit you brothers and sisters... For hours and hours you are sitting in front of that T.V. and its not benefitting you as its not leading you to Paradise. For hours and hours you waste time on bed-time novels or on magazines and newspapers in a month and yet it doesn't lead you to Paradise. All that time you could have been studying Qur'aan and Hadeeth or reading Islamic books instead of bed-time story novels and yet making easier for yourself the road to Paradise, and achieving it Inshaa' Allah.
Not only does it not benefit you, but moreso it harms you. Hours and hours of those T.V. programs are not teaching you Quran and Sunnah, rather teaching you how to date, or how to hook someone from the opposite sex, or teaching you violence or foul language. Thus instilling evil and wicked ideas and things into your mind and heart, just for the pleasure of this temporary world, and making you further away from your destination of Paradise.
In conclusion, I say this brothers and sisters. We need to get our "cars" (Islam) fixed and focused on the right direction to our destination of Paradise. We need to pick up the "maps" (Quran & Hadeeth) and ask knowledgeable people (scholars/imams) for directions (road/path) towards Paradise.