The pleasures of this world are tangible and present, whilst the delights of Paradise are as-yet unseen promises. People are readily influenced by what they can see and know instantly; it is hard enough for them to forgo something that is in front of them for the sake of something else that is in the future, so how much harder it is if the promise will not be attained until after death! So Allah (swt) drew a comparison between the pleasures of this world and the joys of Paradise, and explained that the delights of Paradise are far superior to this world’s pleasures. The Qur’an speaks at length denouncing this world of instant, fleeting pleasures and stating that the rewards with Allah as far better, to encourage man to strive hard for success in the next world:
“And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given them for enjoyment to various groups of them [mushrikeen and kuffaar] the splendour of this life that We may test them thereby. But the provision [good reward in the Hereafter] of your Rabb is better and more lasting” [20:131]
And “Beautified for men is the love of things they covet: women, children, much of gold and silver [wealth], branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life but Allah has the excellent return with Him. Say: “Shall I inform you of things far better than those? For al-Muttaqoon there are Gardens with their Rabb, under which rivers flow. Therein [is their] eternal [home] and Azwaajun mutahharatun [purified mates or wives], and Allah will be pleased with them. And Allah is All-Seer of [His] Slaves” [3:14-15]
There are many reasons why the delights of Paradise are superior to the pleasures of this dunyaa; Amongst them:
(i) The Pleasures of this Dunyaa are Fleeting.
“Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is [far] better for him who fears Allah..” [4:77]
The Prophet (saw) illustrated the inferiority of this dunyaa by comparing it to what Allah has prepared in Paradise, “By Allah, this world in comparison with the Hereafter is nothing more than as if one of you put his finger” – and he gestured with his forefinger – “in the sea; let him see how much water he would retrieve” [Saheeh Muslim, 4/2193, no. 2858]. A finger dipped in the ocean would not even pick up one drop; this is how little this world is worth when compared with the Aakhirah.
Because these pleasures are so insignificant, Allah (swt) has rebuked those who prefer the pleasures of this world to the joys of the Aakhirah:
“O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to go forth in the Cause of Allah [Jihaad] you cling heavily to this earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter” [9:38]