Azizi Khalid

June 23, 2021

Winter and Human Adaptation


Alhamdulillah, this week, Perth has had frigid weather. Some mornings we start our day at freezing point. I've gone through ten winters so far, and I am currently enjoying my eleventh. Looking back into the past decade, I noticed one change — my wardrobe. I use to have thicker winter clothing. But through the years, I have acclimatised to the cold. I gave away many of my very thick winter clothes.

That is the life of this world; we adapt to our surroundings. Whether it is something good or bad, given enough time, we will get over it. No matter how great the food is, we grow tired of it if we eat the same dish, every-single-day. And no matter how bad things are, given enough time, our body will come up with a coping mechanism. The first time we had chilly, it was horrible. As if it was a biological weapon designed to burn you from the inside. But after a while, we learn to like the heat in our food.

But do not mistake our ability to cope with difficulties in this world with hardship in the Hereafter. In many places in the Quran, Allah uses the term عذاب أليم which is commonly described as a 'painful punishment'. Pain is Arabic is ألم (alama) and the word أليم (aleem) is a form of hyperbole — it means continuous pain; the kind of pain that we never cope with. As soon as we think we have a grip of this pain, the pain increases. We will never adapt to the pain of hellfire.

If the punishment of hellfire never ends, so is the bliss of paradise. One description of the pleasures of heaven is نعيم (na'eem) which shares the same morphological structure as أليم. It is the hyperbolised form of نعم, which is bliss or pleasure or blessings. We will never get bored of the pleasures of paradise. Before we even get tired of a blessing, Allah will increase its joy — and we get to experience never-ending happiness.

May Allah make us from the people of paradise and protect us from hellfire.

P.S: One of the best things in cold weather is hot coffee and a good book. Alhamdulillah...

Azizi Khalid
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Towards the Middle Path