By I. A. Ibrahim
Source: A Brief Illustrated Guide To Understanding Islam
Islam provides many benefits for the individual and the society. This chapter mentions some of the benefits gained through Islam for the individual.
(1) The Door to Eternal Paradise
God has said in the Qur’an:
“And give good news (O Muhammad) to those who believe and do good deeds, that they will have gardens (Paradise) in which rivers flow….” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:25)
God has also said:
“Race one with another for forgiveness from your Lord and for Paradise, whose width is as the width of the heavens and the earth, which has been prepared for those who believe in God and His messengers….” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Hadid, 57:21)
The Prophet Muhammad told us that the lowest in rank among the dwellers of Paradise will have ten times the like of this world, and he or she will have whatever he or she desires and ten times like it. Also, the Prophet Muhammad said: “A space in Paradise equivalent to the size of a foot would be better than the world and what is in it.” He also said: “In Paradise there are things which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has thought of.”  He also said: “The most miserable man in the world of those meant for Paradise will be dipped once in Paradise. Then he will be asked, “Son of Adam, did you ever face any misery? Did you ever experience any hardship?” So he will say, “No, by God, O Lord! I never faced any misery, and I never experienced any hardship.””
If you enter Paradise, you will live a very happy life without sickness, pain, sadness, or death; God will be pleased with you; and you will live there forever. God has said in the Qur’an:
“But those who believe and do good deeds, We will admit them to gardens (Paradise) in which rivers flow, lasting in them forever….” (Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa’, 4:57)
(2) Salvation from Hellfire
God has said in the Qur’an:
“Those who have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if one offered it as a ransom. They will have a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers.” (Qur’an, Surah Al-‘Imran, 3:91)
So, this life is our only chance to win Paradise and to escape from Hellfire, because if someone dies in disbelief, he will not have another chance to come back to this world to believe. As God has said in the Qur’an about what is going to happen for the unbelievers on the Day of Judgment:
“If you could but see when they are set before the Fire (Hell) and say, “Would that we might return (to the world)! Then we would not reject the verses of our Lord, but we would be of the believers!” (Qur’an, Surah Al-An’am, 6:27)
But no one will have this second opportunity.
The Prophet Muhammad said: “The happiest man in the world of those doomed to the Fire (Hell) on the Day of Judgment will be dipped in the Fire once. Then he will be asked, “Son of Adam, did you ever see any good? Did you ever experience any blessing?” So he will say, “No, by God, O Lord!””
(3) Real Happiness and Inner Peace
Real happiness and peace can be found in submitting to the commands of the Creator and the Sustainer of this world. God has said in the Qur’an:
“Truly, in remembering God do hearts find rest.” (Qur’an, Surah Ar-Ra’d, 13:28)
On the other hand, the one who turns away from the Qur’an will have a life of hardship in this world. God has said:
“But whoever turns away from the Qur’an, he will have a hard life, and We will raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.” (Qur’an, Surah Ta-Ha, 20:124)
This may explain why some people commit suicide while they enjoy the material comfort money can buy. For example, look at Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), formerly a famous pop singer who used to earn sometimes more than $150,000 a night. After he converted to Islam, he found true happiness and peace, which he had not found in material success.
(4) Forgiveness for All Previous Sins
When someone converts to Islam, God forgives all of his previous sins and evil deeds. A man called Amr came to the Prophet Muhammad and said, “Give me your right hand so that I may give you my pledge of loyalty.” The Prophet stretched out his right hand. Amr withdrew his hand. The Prophet said: “What has happened to you, O Amr?” He replied, “I intend to lay down a condition.” The Prophet asked: “What condition do you intend to put forward?” Amr said, “That God forgive my sins.” The Prophet said: “Didn’t you know that converting to Islam erases all previous sins?”
After converting to Islam, the person will be rewarded for his or her good and bad deeds according to the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad: “Your Lord, Who is blessed and exalted, is most merciful. If someone intends to do a good deed but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him. And if he does do it, (a reward of) ten to seven hundred or many more times (the reward of the good deed), will be recorded for him. And if someone intends to do a bad deed but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him. And if he does do it, a bad deed will be recorded against him or God will wipe it out.”
 Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #186, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #6571.