In a divine hadith, God states “اَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِى بى” [I am as my slave thinks of Me]. The truth of this statement becomes apparent when looking at the mindset of believers vs disbelievers.
Nonbelievers have a superficial worldview and fail to think deeply about the reality of this world. They see everything as ordinary and fail to appreciate the wisdom, power, mercy, ….etc of God. For instance, they see water as just water: a necessity of life; they take everything for granted. Even when they do appreciate the beauty, they see it as independent from God. So if they realize the beauty of water and its intricate design, they see it as beauty which belongs to the water with no connection to the Creator. They take it for granted that the sun rises and sets everyday in our lives, that we are given eyes so we can observe our surroundings, that we have four seasons each year, and so on.
Furthermore, they have a pessimistic view of life. Not only do they fail to think and appreciate the beauty of God’s creations, but they direct most of their attention towards seemingly negative aspects of life, such as natural disasters, death, illness, and so on. (see “Pessimism and Calamities” to see why these “seemingly negative aspects of life” are not truly negative). As a result, they begin to think negatively about God and sometimes go even further and deny His existence all together.
Believers observe everything in this world through the lens of God. When they see the beauty of this universe and its intricate design, it makes them realize and comprehend the various attributes and names of Allah سبحانه و تعالى such as The all-Powerful, The all-Knowing, etc. For instance, to them water is not just water; it is a creation of God that displays the mercy of God towards living beings, displays the beauty of an all-Beautiful Creator, the power of an all-Powerful One, and so on.
Furthermore, they view everything in God’s creation as beautiful. Indeed everything in life is beautiful, either visibly beautiful or beautiful in its meaning (see “worldy life and calamities …” for further details).
As mentioned in the divine hadith above, God treats His creatures in the way they think about Him. For those who think God is cruel, they are left in mental torment and loneliness in this world and will suffer in the hereafter. Those who think of God as The Merciful, Wise, Forgiving, etc will be treated with mercy and forgiveness.
RELEVANT PASSAGE FROM THE EIGHTH WORD
The Almighty Truth (Janab al-Haqq) has stated in a hadith qudsi “اَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِى بى” [I am to my slave as he thinks of Me.] meaning “I will treat My slave the way he knows Me.
So out of pessimism and foolishness, this unfortunate man considered what he saw as ordinary and actual truth, and [as a result] he was treated, is treated and will be treated in that manner. He does not die so that he may be saved, not does he live; he is tortured in this way.