Surrender is the key. If you do not learn to surrender, then you will not experience paradise on Earth. You will continue to operate from the assumption that while there may be a power outside of you, most of the power belongs to you and you are in control. Many, many people are trying to be in control of themselves all of the time and they are trying to control the Earth. We are even trying to control the weather but with all of the scientific achievements in the weather sciences, we cannot. Yet we are unwilling to admit that there are limits to what we can control.

Instead of learning to control, we need to learn to obey Allah. For example, you can control a river to a certain extent but not entirely. If you build your house right in the middle of the riverbed and expect that you are not going to get flooded, you will have problems. When you are flooded, will you complain to the government about this? Or you build your house right on an earthquake fault and think that nothing is going to happen to you. Sooner or later, something is going to happen, because there is a logical consequence to our actions. We cannot control or avoid these logical consequences. We can control only as much as Allah wants us to. When we surrender to Allah, Allah does things through us. In that way, He might control the earthquake or control the flood. He can do anything He wants to do through us if we have surrendered. But in order for us to be able to surrender, we have to fight against our nafs [ego] and come to the position where Allah is happy with us. This is called Nafs-i Mardziyya [Satisfying Nafs]. This is the state in which becoming a real human being starts.

Before we reach Nafs-i Mardziyya, we still have to fight to dominate our nafs or our nafs will dominate us. We have to build up tolerance, patience, understanding, and love so that we can love one another and not hate one another.

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