none of these in truth. The reason for envy and jealousy is that when several hands reach out after a single object, when several eyes are fixed on a single position, when several stomachs hunger for a single loaf of bread, first envy arises as a result of conflict, dispute and rivalry, and then jealousy. Since many people desire the same thing in the world, and because the world, narrow and transitory as it is, cannot satisfy the limitless desires of man, people become rivals of each other. However, in the hereafter a five-hundred-year paradise will be given to a single individual; seventy thousand palaces and houris will be granted to him; and every one of the people of Paradise will be perfectly satisfied with his share.1 It is thus clear that there is no cause for rivalry in the hereafter, nor can there be rivalry. In that case, neither should there be any rivalry with respect to those good deeds that entail reward in the hereafter; there is no room for jealousy here. The one jealous here is either a hypocrite, seeking worldly result through the performance of good deeds, or a sincere but ignorant devotee, not knowing the true purpose of good deeds and not comprehending that sincerity is the spirit and foundation of all good deeds. By cultivating a kind of rivalry and hostility toward God’s saints, he is in fact placing in doubt the breadth of God’s compassion.
An instance supporting this truth: One of my former companions nurtured hostility to someone. His enemy’s good deeds and sanctity were once
An important question raised by a significant person: According to tradition a five-hundred-year paradise will be given to everyone in Paradise. How can worldly intelligence comprehend this truth?
The Answer: In this world everyone has his private and temporally limited world as broad as the world, the pillar of which is his life. He makes use of his world through his inner and outer senses. He says to himself, “The sun is my lamp, the stars are my candles.” The existence of other creatures and animate beings in no way negates his ownership of these; on the contrary, they brighten and illumine his world. In the same way, although on an infinitely higher plane, in addition to the garden of each believer that contains thousands of palaces and houris, there is a private five-hundred-year paradise for everyone, apart from the general Paradise. He will benefit from this paradise and eternity through his senses and feelings, according to the degree of development they have reached. The fact that others share in the general Paradise in no way harms his ownership or benefit, but on the contrary strengthens these, and adorns that vast Paradise. Man in this world benefits from a garden lasting an hour, a spectacle lasting a day, a country lasting a month and a journey lasting a year, with his mouth, his ear, his eye, his taste and all his other senses. So too, in that realm of eternity, his sense of smell and touch, which in this transient world barely profit from a garden lasting an hour, will benefit as if from a garden lasting a year. The sense of sight and hearing which here barely profit from an excursion lasting a year, will there be able to benefit from a five-hundred-year excursion in a manner fitting that realm, adorned from end to end. Every believer will benefit there according to his spiritual rank, and gain delight and pleasure through his senses that will expand and develop in relation to the reward he has earned in this world and the good deeds he has performed.