Better to Reign in Hell Than to Serve in Heaven Essay

By | June 6, 2019


  • Introduction
  • Positive attributes of those who reign in Hell.
  • Appreciation of rulers in Hell.
  • Counter-argument: desire to rule others as misleading.
  • Desires of virtuous man Can we truly rule?
  • Islamic view of man’s purpose
  • Essential human nature and its inclinations
  • True contentment
  • Welfare of servitude
  • Concept of Hereafter
  • Ego shackling man and how to break free
  • Conquering self as only two ‘reign
  • Conclusion

Better to mention here “Paradise Lost”, by John Milton, in which this line has been uttered by the character of Satan, simply to edifice courage anyway. “Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven” is a notion which implicates that man would prefer to be the most prominent, powerful, apparently successful, or even free amongst a destitute group of people or a desolate environment, than to live in anonymity, lesser accomplishments in relative terms, or in servitude despite surrounded by a quite propitious environment with reasonable personal attainments.

To further illustrate this concept, consider the example of a third-world dictator. While he may possess the opportunity to live in a more advanced society, he may be strongly inclined to stay in his own community where he would enjoy certain degrees of influence. Accordingly, he would be prepared to live with lesser means but greater power, instead of greater attainments but with lesser power.

Correspondingly, one could also allude to the case of a businessman. It could be possible that he would be offered a job, which would pay him more than he would currently earn, yet he decides to forgo his chance for general welfare in exchange for sustaining his influence and ability to act independently. One could perceive this as a very appreciable attribute. Because, does this not resonate a sense of honour and pride?

What good, is a servant in a King’s Palace than a lone farmer, living in poverty, but only follows his own will? It is true, the servant may eat better and sleep better, but is that the purpose of man? to sacrifice his freedom for his stomach? Similarly, the dog is considered man’s best friend and as a consequence of his faithful servitude, he resides in the comforts of a man’s home. Yet, as much as one may be fond of the dog, it is only the wild lion in the fast deteriorating savannahs of the world that truly elicits awe in man. Here, for a master who possesses numerous servants, the lion, or the renegade, who reigns in the allegorical Hell could engender greater sentiments of respect and honour. Why then, when even the master would value the ruler of Hell over the dedication of his own servant, would it be preferable to serve in Heaven?[the_ad id=”17141″]

One could rightfully reinforce the association of honour, pride, power, and freedom through various additional allegories. However, one must also question the morality and virtue of the concept of reigning in Hell. As mentioned earlier, a leader in a third world country may inspire greater respect and perhaps rightfully so. Does he not abandon the luxuries and comforts of the metaphorical Heaven to live amongst the seemingly destitute? Here, while one could view the idea of ‘reigning in Heil’ as potentially philanthropic when the world ‘reign’ is used, it negates any motion of humanism. Power appears to be the principal motto and inspiration. Is power a virtue to be proud of? In fact, is power over the lives of others a virtue?

Lao Tzu, the great Chinese philosopher and author of Art of War, quoted that a man who conquers others may be powerful, but a man who conquers himself may be powerful still. Could it be that, in our superficial desires to seek power, we actually limit our own potentials and sink to mere egoist pleasures? From this perspective, the entire concept of the third-world leader as a powerful, proud, and honourable man could be shattered as he might have only been basking in the fallacious glory of controlling other men.
Could it not be possible that in his quest to ‘reign’, he gave up his greatest strength as man?

The British novelist, Aldous Hwcley, shared in Lao Tzu’s viewpoint, and stated that the only thing man can be sure of changing in any corner of the universe is his own self. Perhaps, accordingly to thinkers and philosophers, the concept of ‘power’ attacked with ‘reigning’ is falsified and misleading, and that we are not meant to reign over others. Moreover, one may succeed in being infatuated with the idea of ‘reigning in Hell instead of servitude in Heaven’. Nevertheless, one may also fail to take into account the tough challenges of reigning with power in Heil.

It would be understandable to be convinced of making sacrifices for power, but are we ready for the sacrifices? What about the countless men of power from poorer areas who immigrated to more prosperous countries? How many servants return to their masters after fleeing away? How many wealthy employees of a firm give up their employment to venture into their own business? We have discussed the attributes and virtues of ‘reigning in Hell’, along with misleading conceptions of power. But is the desire for power a universal wish? Do all men crane for power, and those who do not pursue it only refrain due to its challenges?[the_ad id=”17142″]

Would the individual exhibiting greater morality, wisdom and humility beseech power? Often, politicians are believed to be after power, and their lust for power may steer them towards reigning in Hell’. But, is even this assertion universally applicable? Eugene Victor Debs, one of America’s greatest ideological leaders quoted,

‘Years ago I understood my kinship with this earth, and I realised that I am no better than the meanest of men’.

He further claimed to be a servant of poor men. Could it be that one must attain a certain comprehension of the reality of matters of the world which infuses in him a level of humility. It makes even a politician wish to serve than to reign. Furthermore, we must question, that when we reign, do we even possess any power at all if not even limited? The famous Turkish poet, Rumi, in one of his states of spiritual introduction said that akin to pieces of chess, God moves us as He wills.[the_ad id=”17142″]

The chess-board may hold powers as well as kings, but they are powerless without the action of the true ‘controller’ at do we truly reign? Men and lands that the wise and the philosophers have said we have no authority over? Is it that we are mere slaves to our own pride and ego, while serving the wishes of the bust of power? In these regards, are we even free? What is true freedom? is the compass of lust which guides our desire to rule not in itself a manacle onto our own liberty? Despite the aforementioned futilities of reigning in itself as well as ruling in Hell, could it be that servitude in Heaven is worse?

It could be true that quite often, there would be men, who enjoy power amidst desolation, that would suggest against serving in the Heaven, the comforts and luxuries.

But is not serving a positive attribute in itself? Is it not that through serving man may accomplish, more? is not the worker who works for a certain ‘master pappies in earning greater wages than the labourer who toils away in destitution? When contentment may be in servitude, whey should one struggle for power in destitution? Does not the idea of power a follow ideal? Furthermore, we ought to question the purpose of our existence. Who created us and why were we created?

Does not Islam teach us that we were created by Aliah? Does not Allah tell man in the Quran that He created him for His worship? Is not reigning opposed to the very nature of our existence? While playing and prostrating, are our hearts not most pleased? Why must men then strive for power at all when their purpose as well as happiness is in service. Allah said that the created all men equally, so why should we exert authority over others? In fact, we, as humans, may be so inclined towards serving that some may even serve in Hell than reign in Heaven. Did not Hazrat Hamza relinquish his power, similarly to many others, to serve in the Prophet’s message? Were they not better in serving in destitute conditions than reigning in their own comforts?

Perhaps, in this respect, Rumi provided the most fitting metaphor for why man is best when in service. He said that when God created us from clay, our very essence was engulfed in absolute humility and pursuit of power opposes our nature. He added, that day always settles at the lowest point wherever it is placed, and likewise ought to be our mission for servitude – always at the bottom serving rather than ruling. In addition, Quran teaches us that our purpose in this life is to serve Allah and prepare for the Afterlife. If we attempt to impose a potentially follow aspect of rule to appease ourselves, it could be that one may be destined to be enslaved in the eternity of Hells Fire.[the_ad id=”17150″]

Whereas, those who may serve in this world may live freely in Hereafter. Does not Allah say that man would attain whatever he may long for in Heaven? Who are the true reigners and servers in this world of illusion. Here, some may joint out certain kings and rulers, suggesting that have not some of the pious one been rulers, such as, the caliphs?

Perhaps it could be said that such individuals never reigned with the perceived arrogance of the idea, ‘Better to reign in Hel! than to serve in Heaver’. But that they essentially served the Will of Allah. It could, hence, he asserted that no person is ever an absolute ruler, and is only serving one master or the other. Then there are other benefits of serving, because would not the world be writhed in misfortunes if every person worked to reign? Perhaps it is that we have to few servants and too many who wish to reign, even in the metaphorical Hell. Perhaps it is the desire to serve, whether in the analogical Heaven or even Hell which also binds us humanity together.

Perhaps instead of seeking power over others, we ought to conquer ourselves. It could be that we need to break away the shackles of our pride which makes us pursue rule. The Prophet said that the one with even an atom of pride would go to Hell. May it he that we all ought to refrain from prude. As the Prophet further said that the greatest struggle in life is against one’s own self. Perhaps our ego is the only aspect of our life we should conquer and the only characteristic of life where we may, in fact, attain real success.
Perhaps we are too ignorant of the reality of one nature, and lack proper knowledge.

Rumi appositely quoted, Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world, today I am wise so I am changing myself. Perhaps if it is indeed true that it is better to reign in Hell and serve in HEaven, then it ought to be the case that Hell is the extreme struggle against our own egos, and Heaven is the bliss of our ignorance. In conclusion, the concept that it is better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven implies an intrinsic desire for power and freedom. In general, we often praise the so-called ruler in numerous aspects of life, and to the extent that even the master himself appreciates more the apparently brave leader than the servant at his own disposal.[the_ad id=”17144″]

Often, the freedom and self dependency of a person are associated with the notion of reigning’, and thus he may be immensely coveted or envied. But when suggests a greater desire to reign and serve, it infers a wish for power and potential self-glorifying than a desire to work for the welfare of the people. In this one-eyed pursuit of power, many wise and acclaimed thinkers and philosophers have contended a misjudgement of power, whereby ruling others may be a result of egoist cravings. In fact, when one may attain greater wisdom and insight, one may determine that the pursuit of power is a fallacious cause and that true purpose is in servitude, whether in ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell’. Ruling, here, could be considered a misdeed under any circumstances.

Many have even attempted to suggest that man may never possess the power of influence against the strong tide of fate, making the craving for power trivial. In this respect, religion tells us that the true purpose in life is the worship and service of Allah, and that He holds Supreme Authority. The pursuit of power is thought to be contrary to human nature and that in service is true happiness. Why then must man engage in reigning? Here, are those who reign also not in reality servants of their own egos? Furthermore servitude is also thought to be the principal basis for our societal harmony. Perhaps seeking power would make even Heaven as Hell.

First 1/3 of this essay is not impressive but after that it is agreeably directive & allusion do not possess dexterity on the whole it is not a very good attempt. Religion tells us that this world is an illusion and a test for Afterlife. Perhaps we may be gravely misled and eternally enslaved if we became so desperate to rule. For man’s ultimate salvation, the Prophet has told man to defeat his own self. Perhaps the only aspect of life where reigning may be fruitful would be to conquer our own egos. Perhaps it is also the only means to attain real freedom.

Consequently, it may not be better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven because we may be gravely misled in our ideas and may doom ourselves and society. Perhaps it is only better to reign in Hell when the Hell is our own ego and Heaven is the shackle of our ego.

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