By Jawwad Ahmed
A couple of years ago, when I was applying for admission in a few US universities, one of the tips I intermittently got, was that my profile should stand out. Your grades should be good and solid, yes, but what will really get you in…is something to which the admission committee says ‘wow’. It turns out that getting them to say these three letters isn’t easy.
Again, when applying for a job, one of the tips I got was that, the CV should stand out. This time, the interviewer should say something on the same lines. Again, not always easy.
Imaging applying to a university, 100 million times better than Harvard. A job exponentially more rewarding than that of the CEO of Microsoft (additionally where you don’t have to do anything).
Do you think that getting into Jannah is going to be a walk in the park? Allah (SWT) asks:
أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ
“Or do you think that you will enter Jannah without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those of faith with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Verily, the help of Allah is near!” 
Remember, the admissions committee for Jannah…is Allah (SWT).
Consider what people like Khabbab bin Arat (RA), the monk in the story of As’haab-ul-Ukhdood and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal went through. What can you EVER do, for Allah (SWT) to say ‘wow’?
The admission rate for the most competitive universities these days is around 5%.
The admission rate for Jannah, in comparison, is just 0.1% .
But even this may be after you have been tossed and tumbled in Hellfire for a few thousand years.
Imagine wearing two sandals of fire itself, such that their heat literally boils your brain. And this is only the lightest of the torments of Hell . And this goes on for thousands of years. Compare this to your two digit life. And you still dare to think what the Ahl-e-Kitaab used to think, that the fire wouldn’t touch you except for a few counted days?
So essentially, going to Jannah without a ‘pit-stop’ in Hell is a bit more competitive. Moreover, Hellfire isn’t just it. The horrors of the Resurrection, the Assembly and the passing over Hellfire through the Bridge, are all there too.
Now, there are Ahadith that specify the exact number of people who would enter Jannah without accounts. There is hope, but the competition is VERY VERY stiff. I recently came across a whacky estimate of the total number of people who have ever lived . We can do an even whackier calculation of this admission rate to Jannah. The real point, however, is that salvation may be much harder than you and I, can ever imagine.
These are times of great trials and tribulations. This bias of these Fitan, though, is more towards the collective than individual, in my opinion. We have just seen what happened in Gaza; what happens in Syria, Burma and Kashmir, just to name a few examples.
There was a time when the whole Ummah was like different parts of a single body, like the Messenger of Allah (SAW) told us about. We may not be able to succeed in the hereafter – on an individual level – unless we start doing something for the Ummah on a collective level here. This is part of our test. And this may well be our admission criteria. The Ummah calls. Do something!
- Al-Baqarah 2:214
- Bukhari: 4741 http://www.sunnah.com/urn/44200
- Muslim: 514/211 http://www.sunnah.com/muslim/1/422