You would be told: The benefits of food and marriage are not restricted to perpetuating life and reproduction; they are a source of great pleasure in this painful world, so why shouldn’t there be pleasure of a pure, elevated kind in the realm of bliss?
• If you were to ask: Pleasure here [in this world is obtained] through dispelling pain and suffering, [but in the hereafter, there will be none]?
You would be told: Dispelling pain is only one cause of pleasure. Also, it is not possible to compare the eternal realm and this world. Indeed, the garden of Horhor1 here is to the lofty gardens of Paradise, what the [pain-tainted] pleasures of this world are to the pleasures of the hereafter. However superior Paradise is to the garden here, its pleasures are superior to the same extent. Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) alluded to this vast difference when he said: “The only thing in Paradise will be their names.”2 That is, the fruits of this world.
Regarding eternal life and perpetual pleasure, consider this: pleasure is only true pleasure if it is untouched by evanescence, for just as the dispelling of pain is pleasure or a cause of it, so the passing of pleasure is pain; indeed, even to imagine its passing is painful. In fact, the poetry of ‘metaphorical’ lovers all consists of lamentations at such pain. The dīwāns of these purveyors of a love that is not ‘true’ are nothing but their weeping and wailing at this pain, which arises from the imagined passing of the beloved.
Indeed, most temporary pleasures produce lasting pains when they disappear, and every time a person recalls them, regret surges up in him and he exclaims: “Alas! Alack!”, cursing this pain of the spirit. Then most suffering yields lasting pleasure when it subsides, and every time the person thinks of his being saved from it, he exclaims: “Praise and thanks be to Allah!”, alluding to this immaterial bounty.
Yes, man was created for eternity and he can obtain true pleasure only from eternal things such as knowledge of Allah, love, perfection, knowledge, and so on.
In Short: Pleasure and bounty are only pleasure and bounty if they are eternal.
Now that you have seen the string, thread the phrases of the verses on it.
Nursi’s medrese in Van, at the foot of the citadel. The onomatopoeic name recalls the bubbling stream that ran through its garden.
“The only thing in this world from Paradise is the Names.” (Or something similar.) See, Ibn Kathīr, i, 63; Ibn Taymiyya, Fatāwā, iii, 28; Ibn Ḥajar, al-Maṭālib al-‘Āliyya, no: 4692. See, Nursi, Ishārāt al-I‘jāz [Iḥsān Qāsim], 196.