• قل إن صلاتي ونسكي ومحياي ومماتي لله رب العالمــــــــين
    Say: "Truly, my prayer & my service of sacrifice, my life &
    my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds"
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    Tawhid
    Deen
    Dawah
    Ikhwah
  • ومن يتوكل على الله فهو حسبه
    "And whoever relies upon Allah - then He is sufficient for him."
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    لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله
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Concept of Heaven in Islam | Al-Taqwa

Concept of Heaven in Islam


 

 

Paradise: the Eternal Abode

 

Paradise is the tremendous reward which Allah (swt) has prepared for His beloved (awliyaa) and those who obey Him. It is complete joy and pleasure, where nothing is lacking and nothing can disturb its purity. What Allah (swt) and His Messenger have told us about it makes out heads spin because our minds are not able to comprehend the greatness of such blessings.


Listen to the words of Allah (swt) in this hadith qudsi:


"I have prepared for My righteous slaves that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and has never crossed the mind of any human being".


Then the Prophet (saw) said, "Recite, if you wish: "No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do". (32:17)


The joys of Paradise are far greater than the pleasures of this world, which pale into insignificance in comparison. al-Bukhaari reports from Sahl ibn Sa'd as-Sa'idee that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "A space the size of a whip in Paradise is better than this world and al that is in it". (Fath al-Baari, 6/319, an-Nawawi's commentary on Muslim 17/166)


Because admittance to Paradise and salvation from the Fire are according to Allah's will and judgement, it is a great victory and tremendous success, as Allah (swt) says:


"Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden, will have indeed attained the object of life [or: been successful]" 
(3:185)


"Allah has promised to believers - men and women - Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein [forever], and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme felicity [or success]". 
(9:72)


"...and those who obey Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing underneath, to abide therein [forever] and that will be the supreme achievement". 
(4:13)

 

 

Admittance to Paradise

 

There is no doubt that the joy of the believers will be incomparable when they are led, group by honourable group, to the blessed Gardens of Paradise. 


When they reach Paradise its gates will be opened for them, and they will be welcomed by noble angels congratulating them on their safe arrival after suffering so much hardship and witnessing so much horror:


"And those who feared their Rabb will be led to the garden in crowds, until, behold, they arrive there; its gates will be opened and its keepers will say "Peace be upon you! Well have you done! Enter here, to dwell therein". 
(39:73)


In other words, your words, thoughts and deeds were good so your hearts and souls became pure and for that you deserve Paradise.

 

 

The Believers Will Be Purified Before They Enter Paradise

 

After the Believers have passed over as-Siraat (the bridge over Hell), they will be kept on a bridge between Paradise and Hell, where they will be purified by means of their settling any wrongs that existed between any of them in this world. THen when they enter paradise they will be pure and clean, none of them bearing any ill-will towards another or demanding anything of another.al-Bukhaari reported from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:


"The believers will be saved from the Fire then they will be kept on a bridge between Paradise and Hell. They will settle their accounts with one another for any wrongs that existed between them in this world, until they are purified and cleansed, and will be permitted to enter Paradise. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, each of them will know his dwelling in Paradise better than he knew his dwelling in this world"
. (Sahih al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab al-Qisas Yawm al-Qiyamah, Fath al-Baari, 11/395)


Our Prophet (saw) will be the first to ask for the gates of paradise to be opened, after Aadam, the father of mankind, and all the other great Prophets refuse this task.

 

 

The First People to Enter Paradise

 

The first of mankind to enter Paradise will be our Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the first nation to enter Paradise will be his ummah. The first member of this ummah to enter will be Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra).


Ibn Katheer quotes a number of Hadith [an-Nihayah, 2/213] that state this such as the report of Muslim from Anas (ra) according to which the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "I will be the first one to knock at the gates of Paradise".


Muslim also reported from Anas that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "I will come to the gates of paradise and ask for it to be opened. The gatekeeper will ask, "Who are you?" I will say, "Muhammad". The gatekeeper will say, "I was ordered not to open the gate for anyone else before you"".


al-Bukhaari, Muslim and an-Nasaa'ee report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said: "We are the last, but we will be the first on the Day of Resurrection. We will be the first of mankind to enter Paradise".


Abu Dawood reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said, "Jibreel came to me, and showed me the gate of Paradise through which my ummah will enter".Abu Bakr said, "O Messenger of Allah (saw), would that I had been with you to see it!". The Messenger of Allah (saw) "But you, O Abu Bakr, will be the first of my ummah to enter Paradise".

 

 

Those Who Will Enter Paradise Without Being Called to Account

 

The first group of this ummah who will enter Paradise will be those who were pre-eminent in their imaan, taqwaa, righteous deeds and adherence to the true religion. They will enter Paradise in one rank: the first of them will not enter until the last of them enters, and they will be as beautiful as the full moon.


Al-Bukhaari reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:


"The first group to enter Paradise will be as beautiful as the full moon. They will not spit, blow their noses or excrete. Their vessels will be fo gold, their combs of gold and silver, their incense o aloe, and their sweat of musk. Each of them will have two wives, the marrow of whose leg-bones will be visible through their flesh because of their extreme beauty. There will be no differences or hatred among them (the people of Paradise); their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify Allah (swt) morning and evening".
 (Kitaab Bid' al-Khalq, Baab Ma Jaa' fi Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/318; Muslim, at-Tirmidhi)


al-Bukhaari reports from Sahl ibn Sa'd (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:"Seventy thousand - or seven hundred thousand - of my ummah will enter Paradise; the first of them will not enter until the last of them does so, and their faces will look like the full moon". (Fath al-Baari, 6/319)


It is true that with each one of these seventy, Allah (swt) will give His Prophet seventy thousand. Ahmad reports with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Bakr (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:


"I have been given seventy thousand of my ummah, who will enter Paradise without being called to account. Their faces will be like the full moon, and their hearts will be as one. I asked my Rabb, may He be glorified, for more, and He gave me, along with each of them, seventy thousand more". (Saheeh al-Jaami', 1/350, no. 1068)


Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hibbaan report with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Umaamah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "My Rabb promised me that seventy thousand of my ummah would enter Paradise without being called to account and without being punished, and with each one will be seventy thousand, and three handfuls of people picked up by my Rabb [i.e. it will be a great number]". (Saheeh al-Jaami' 6/108, no. 2988).


The Prophet (saw) described the characteristics of these seventy thousand. 


al-Bukhaari reports from Ibn 'Abbaas that the Prophet (saw) said, "I was shown the nations, and I saw a Prophet pass by with a group of his people, and another with a band of his people, another with only ten, another with five, and another on his own (with no followers). Then I looked and saw a large crowd of people. I asked, "O Jibreel, are these my ummah?" He said, "No, but look at the horizon." So I looked, and saw a huge multitude of people. Jibreel said, "These are your ummah, and those seventy thousand in front will not be called to account or punished." I asked, "Why?" He said, "They did not treat themselves with branding (cauterisation) or with ruqyaa (charms) and they did not see evil omens in things (i.e they were not superstitious): they put their trust only in their Rabb"".'Ukaasha ibn Mihsan stood up and said, "Pray to Allah (swt) to make me one of them". The Prophet (saw) said, "O Allah (swt) make him one of them". Then another man stood up and said, "Ask Allah (swt) to make me one of them". The Prophet (saw) said,'Ukaasha has preceded you". (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Yadhkul al-Jannah Sab'un Alfan bi Ghayri Hisaab, Fath al-Baari, 11/405)


These may be the ones whom Allah (swt) has called al-Muqarraboon (those nearest to Allah swt):


"And those foremost [in faith] will be foremost [in the Hereafter]. These will be those nearest to Allah [al-Muqarraboon], in the Gardens of Bliss".
 (56:10-12)


More of them will come from the early generations than from the later generations:


"A multitude of those [foremost] will be from the first generations [who embraced Islaam], and a few of those [foremost] will be from the later generations".
 (56:13-14)

 

 

The Poor Will Enter Jannah Ahead of the Rich

 

Muslim reports from 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said "The poor of the Muhajireen will enter Paradise forty years ahead of the rich". (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 2/663, no. 5235)


at-Tirmidhi reported from Abu Sa'eed, and Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah reported from Abu Hurayrah, that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "The poor of the Muhajireen will enter Paradise five hundred years ahead of the rich of the Muhajireen" (Saheeh al-Jaami' 4/90, no.4104).


Elsewhere the Prophet (saw) explained that these are the people who have nothing to be brought account for, and this is in addition to their jihaad and virtue. al-Haakim reported from 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Do you know who will be the first of my ummah to enter Paradise?" I said, "Allah and His Messenger know best". He said, "The poor of the Muhajireen. They will come to the gate of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection and ask for it to be opened. The gatekeepers will say to them, "Have you been brought to account?" They will say, "What do we need to be brought to account for? We were carrying our swords and fighting for the sake of Allah (swt) until we died." Then the gates will be opened for them and they will stay there for forty years before anyone else enters". (Silsilah al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 2/532, no. 853, al-Haakim said it is sahih according to the conditions of al-Bukhaari and Muslim).


al-Bukhaari reports from Usaamah ibn Zayd that the Prophet (saw) said, "I stood by the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of those who entered were the poor and wretched. The rich [Muslims] were detained while the people of Hell were ordered to be taken to Hell". (Sahih al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, BAab Sifaat al-Jannah, wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 2/345)


Some of the hadith quoted above stated that the poor will enter Paradise forty years ahead of other people while others state that the difference will be five hundred years. The two statements may be reconciled by pointing out that the poor a re not all alike, neither are the rich. As al-Qurtubee suggested (at-Tadhkirah, p.470) the poor vary in the strength of their imaan and their achievements, and the same applies to the rich. If we think in terms of the first of the poor and the last of the rich to enter Paradise then the time-span will be five hundred years, but if we are thinking of the last of the poor and the first of the rich, then the time span is forty years. And Allah knows best." (Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah, 2/345)

 

 

The First Three to Enter Jannah

 

at-Tirmidhi reported with a hasan isnaad from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (saw) said:


"I was shown the first three to enter Paradise: the Shaheed (the martyr); the one who is chaste and proud; and the slave who worships Allah (swt) with devotion and is faithful and sincere towards his master
" (Jaami' al-Usool, 10/535, attributed to Ahmad, al-Haakim and al-Bayhaqi)

 

 

The Sinners Among the Believers Will Enter Paradise

 

(i) They will be brought forth from Hell and will enter Paradise by means of intercession.


Muslim reports from Abu Sa'eed that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:


"The people of Hell will remain there, never dying, and never living. But there are people who will enter Hell because of their sins, and will be killed therein, so that they become like coals. Permission will be granted for intercession to be made, and they will be brought forth in groups and spread on rivers of Paradise, and it will be said, "O people of Paradise, pour water on them. Then they will grow like seeds in the silt left by a flood". 
[Muslim, Kitaab al-Imaan, Baab as-Shafa'ah wa Ikhraaj al-Muwahiddin min an-Naar, 1/172]


Muslim also reports from Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,"Some people will be brought out of the Fire, having been burnt all over except for their faces, and they will enter Paradise". [Muslim, Kitaab al-Imaam, Baab adna Ahl al-Jannah Manzilatan, 1/178]


The people of Paradise will call these people who are brought out of Hell and admitted to Paradise, al-Jahannamiyyoon. al-Bukhaari reports from 'Imraan ibn Husayn (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said, "Some people will be brought out of Hell through the intercession of Muhammad (saw). They will enter Paradise and will be known as al-Jahannamiyyoon." [Sahih al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Sifaat al-Jannah wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 11/418. They are also mentioned in a hadith narrated from Jaabir by Muslim, 1/179 and al-Bukhaari from Anas, Fath al-Baari 11/416]


According to another sahih hadith narrated by Jaabir: "The Prophet (saw) said, "They will be brought out of the Fire through intercession, as if they are tha'areer". I asked, "What are tha'areer?" He said, "Daghabis [snake cucumbers]"". [al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Sifaah al-Jannah wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 11/416]


Muslim reports a lengthy hadith from Abu Hurayrah, in which the Prophet (saw) describes the Hereafter, and in which he says: "...When Allah (swt) has finished judging mankind, and wants to bring whomever He wills out of Hell by His Mercy, He will order angels to bring forth those upon who He wishes to bestow His mercy of the people who never associated anything in worship with Allah (swt), and who said, "Laa ilaaha illaah Allah". The angels will recognise them in Hell, and will known them by the mark of sujood on their foreheads. The Fire will consume all of a man except the mark of sujood which Allah (swt) has forbidden the Fire to consume. They will be brought forth, having been burned in the Fire, the water of life will be poured on then, and they will grow like seeds left by still after a flood". [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Imaan, Baab ar-Ru'yah, 1/299, no. 182]


It was reported in more than one hadith that Allah (swt) will bring forth from hell whoever has a dinaar's weight of faith in his heart, or even half a dinaar's weight or an atom's weight. Moreover, people will be brought forth who never did any good deeds at all. Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Allah (swt) will admit the people of Paradise to Paradise and He will admit whomsoever He will by His Mercy. And He will admit the people of Hell to Hell, then He will say, "Look for anyone who has the weight of a mustard seed of faith in his heart, and bring him out"". [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Imaan, Baab Ithbat ash-Shafa'ah wa Ikhraaj al-Muwwahhadeen, 1/172]


One of the reports about Hell is the hadeeth narrated by Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah (ra) concerning entering Hellfire:


"Then intercession will be permitted and they will interceded until whoever says Laa ilaaha illa Allah and has a barley grain's worth of goodness in his heart will be brought forth. They will be made to stand in the courtyard of paradise and the people of Paradise will start to pour water over them, until they begin to grow like seeds left by silt after a flood. All traces of the Fire will disappear, then he [the person who was brought out of Hell] will keep asking until he is given the equivalent of this world and ten times more". [Sahih Muslim, Baab adna Ahl al-Jannah Manzilatan, 1/178]


Anas ibn Maalik reported that the Prophet (saw) said: "Whoever says Laa ilaaha illaa Allah and has a barely grain's weight of goodness in his heart will be brought out of the Fire. Then whoever says, "Laa ilaaha illaa Allah" and has a wheat grains weight of goodness in his heart will be brought out of the Fire. Then whoever says, Laa Ilaaha illaa Allah and has an atom's-weight of goodness in his heart will be brought out of the Fire". [Sahih Muslim, Kitaab al-Imaan, Baab adna Ahl al-Jannah Manzilatan, 1/182]


There are many hadiths that discuss this matter.


(ii) Opinions of different groups on intercession.


The Khawaarij and Mu'tazilah deny that there will be any intercession to protect those who are guilty of major sins and have been ordered to enter Hell from doing so, or to bring forth those who have already entered.


al-Qurtubee said, "This intercession was denied by the innovators, Khawaarij and Mu'tazilah. Their denial is based on their corrupt principles, which are based on what they saw as rational thinking". [1]


These reprehensible ideas which go against the muttawaatir sahih hadith, emerged while the Sahabah were still alive. Muslim reports in his sahih from Yazeed al-Faqeer, who says: "I was infatuated with one of the ideas of the Khawaarij, so a large group of us went out, intending to go for Hajj and then go out to fight the people. We came to Madinah, where we found Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah sitting by a pillar, narrated hadith to the people. When he mentioned al-Jahannamiyyoon, I said, "O Companion of the Messenger of Allah, what is this that you are narrating, when Allah (swt) says: "And who You admit to the Fire, truly You cover with shame." [3:192] and "....everytime they wish to get away therefrom, they will be put back thereto.." [32:20] So what is it that you are saying?" He said, "Have you read the Qur'an?" I said, "Yes." He asked, "Have you heard about the [exalted] position of Muhammad [i.e. the position to which Allah swt would raise him]?" I said, "Yes". He said, "That is the honoured position of Muhammad by which Allah (swt) will bring out whosoever He wishes to bring out". Then he described as-Siraat [the bridge over Hell] and the passing of the people over it, then said, "I am afraid that I may not have remembered exactly what he said. But he said that people would be brought out of Hell after entering it. He meant that they would come out looking like the wood of the ebony tree; they would enter one of the rivers of paradise and bathe in it, then they would come out looking [white] like sheets of paper". We turned back and said, "Woe to you! Do you think this sheikh would tell lies about the Messenger of Allah (saw)? We turned back [from the views of the Khawaarij] and by Allah (swt) every one of us abandoned this group except for one man". [Sahih Muslim, Kitaab al-Imaan, Baab adna Ahl al-Jannah Manzilatan, 1/179, no.191]


The Khawaarij and Mu'tazilah went ot extremes with their claim that people guilty of major sins [al-Kabaair] would never come out of Hell, and that the intercession of those who interceded would be of no avail for them. The Murji'ah went to the opposite extreme by stating that no-one who was guilty of major sins would necessarily enter Hell, and believing that all such people would enter Paradise without being punished at all. Both groups are in conflict with the well-known muttawaatir Sunnah and with the consensus of the Salaf and Imaams of this ummah. Allah (swt) has guided Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah to the truth in this matter where others have erred, by His Will. They [Ahl as-Sunnah] believe that hose who are guilty of major sins are subject to the will of Allah (swt); if He wills, He will forgive them, out of mercy, and If He wills, He will punish them for His sins then admit them to Paradise by His Mercy.


"Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him, but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases."
 (4:48)


"Say: O My Slaves who have transgressed against themselves [by committing evil deeds and sins]! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft-forgiving, All-Merciful".
 (39:53)


Shirk will not be forgiven, but any other sin is subject to the Will of Allah. The one who repents will be as if he never sinned. The aayaat that the Khawaarij use to prove that intercession will not be accepted actually refers to the kinds of intercession believed in by the mushrikeen. They think that interceding with Allah is like interceding with rulers or authorities on earth, where a person may intercede with someone (an authority figure) without that person's permission and even if the one in authority is displeased with the one on whose half intercession is made. This is not so in the case of Allah (swt) may He be glorified. Several texts reject this type of intercession, for example:


"Then guard yourselves against A Day when one soul shall not avail another, nor shall intercession be accepted from him nor will compensation be taken from him nor shall anyone be helped [from outside]"
 (2:48)


"Then will no intercession of [any] intercessors profit them"
. (74:48)


"..No intimate friend, nor intercessor will the wrongdoers have, who could be listened to". 
(40:18)


Several texts explain that no-one can intercede with Allah except with His permission and unless He is pleased both with the intercessor and the one for whom he seeks to intercede:


"Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission?"
 (2:255)


"and they cannot interceded except for him with whom He is pleased" 
(21:28)


"And there are many angels in the heavens, whose intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He wills and pleases".
 (53:26).


Allah (swt) also says about the angels: "He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased. And they stand in awe for fear of him". (21:28)


"No intercession can avail in His presence, except for those to whom He has granted permission". 
(34:23)


These aayaat reject and refute the kind of intercession believed in by the mushrikeen, i.e. intercession via angels, prophets and righteous people, ("saints"), and confirm only that intercession which takes place with the permission of Allah (swt) and when He is pleased with both the intercessor and the one on whose behalf he intercedes. Allah (swt) is not pleased with the kuffaar and mushrikeen. As for the disobedient monotheists, intercessors will interceded for them, but they will not intercede for a mushrik. al-Bukhaari narrated that Abu Hurayrah (ra) said, "I said, "O Messenger of Allah, who will be the most happy with your intercession on the Day of Resurrection?" He said, "I thought, O Abu Hurayrah, that no one would ask me this question before you, because I have seen that you are so eager to learn hadith. The one who will be the most happy with my intercession on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who says Laa ilaaha illaa Allah sincerely and from the heart"". [al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Sifaat al-Jannah wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 11/418]


[1] al-Khawaarij are a sect that emerged after the battle of Siffin; they denounced 'Alee and Mu'awiyah, and whoever followed them, as kaafirs, and claimed that whoever was disobedient to Allah (swt) would remain forever in Hell. The Mu'tazilah are the followers of Waasil ibn 'Ataa' who believe in the Mu'tazili doctrine that whoever commits major sins will remain eternally in Hell, but does not judge their position in this life.

 

 

The Last Person to Enter Paradise

 

The Prophet (saw) has told us about the last man who will be brought out of Hell and into Paradise and the conversation that will take place between him and his Rabb, and the incredibly great honour that Allah (swt) will bestow upon him. Ibn al-Ithir collected all the hadith on this topic in Jami' al-Usool from which we will quote the following:


(i) 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'oud (ra) said:"The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "I know the last of the people of Hell who will be brought forth from it, and the last of the people of Paradise to enter it. It is a man who will come out of Hell crawling on all fours." Allah will say to him, "Go and enter Paradise". So he will come to it and will suppose that it is full. He will go back and say, "My Rabb, I found it full". Allah (swt) will say, "Go and enter Paradise for there you have something like the world and ten times over [or you have something ten times better than the world]. He will says, "Are you making fun of me - or laughing at me - and You are the Sovereign of all?" I ['Abdullaah] saw the Messenger of Allah (saw) smiling so broadly that his back teeth were visible. He used to say, "That is the one who is lowest in status of the people of Paradise". [al-Bukhaari, 11/386, ar-Riqaaq, at-Tawheed Baab Kalaam ar-Rabb 'azza wa jall yawm al-qiyamah ma'a al-anbiyaa wa ghayrihim; and Muslim, with slight variation, no. 186, Baab aakhir Ahl an-Naar Khurujan; and at-Tirmidhi, no. 2598 in Safah Jahanam, Ch. 10]


(ii) 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'oud reported that the Messenger of Allah (Saw) said: "The last person to enter paradise will be a man who will alternately walk, stagger and be touched by the Fire. Once he has passed out of the Fire, he will turn to face it and say, "Blessed be He Who has saved me from you. Allah (swt) has given me something that He did not give to the earlier and later generations. Then a tree will be raised up for him, and he will say, "O my Rabb, bring me closer to this tree so that I may enjoy its shade and drink of its water". Allah (swt) will say, "O son of Aadam perhaps if I grant you this, you will ask Me for something else?" He will say, "No, O Rabb, I promise that I will not ask for anything else". Allah (swt) will excuse him because he is seeing something that he has no patience to resist so he will bring him closer and he will enjoy its shade and drink its water. Then another tree, better than the first, will be raised up for him and he will say, "O my Rabb, bring me near to this tree so that I may drink its water and enjoy its shade, then I will not ask you for anything more". Allah (swt) will say, "O son of Aadam did you not promise Me that you would not ask me for anything else? Perhaps if I bring you closer to this tree you will ask for more?" So the man will promise not to ask for any more, and Allah will excuse him because he is seeing something that he has no patience to resist, so He will bring him closer and he will enjoy its shade and drink its water. Then a third tree will be raised up at the gate of paradise, and it will be better than the first two. The man will say, "O My Rabb, bring me closer to this [tree] so that I may enjoy its shade and drink its water, and I will not ask for anything more." Allah will say, "O son of Aadam, did you not promise Me that you would not ask Me for anything more?" He will say, "Yes, O Rabb, I will not ask you for anything more." His Rabb, may He be glorified, will excuse him because he is seeing something which he has no patience to resist, so He will bring him closer. When he is brought close, he will hear the voices of the people of Paradise, and will say, "O my Rabb, admit me to it." Allah (swt) will say, "O son of Aadam what do you want so that you will never ask Me for anything else? Will it please you if I give you the world and as much again?" He will say, "O Rabb, are You making fun of me when You are the Rabb al-Aaalameen?" Ibn Mas'oud smiled and said, "Why do you not ask me why I am smiling?" They asked, "Why are you smiling?" He said, "Because the Messenger of Allah (saw) smiled". They asked, "Why are you smiling, O Messenger of Allah (saw)?" He said, "Because the Rabb of the Worlds will smile when He is asked, "Are You making fun of me when You are the Rabb of the Worlds?" He will say, "I am not making fun of you, but I am able to do whatever I will""". [Muslim, no. 187, Kitaab al-Imaan, Baab aakhir an-Naar khurujan]


And in the version of Abu Sa'eed, he adds, "Allah (swt) will tell him, "ask for such and such" and when he has stated his wishes, Allah (swt) will say, "You will have them and ten times more". Then he will enter his house [in Paradise] and his two wives from among al-hoor al-'eeyn will enter and say, "Praise be to Allah (swt) who has created you for us and created us for you". He will say, "No one has ever been given anything like that which I have been given." [reported by Muslim, no.188 Kitaab al-Imaan, Baab adna Ahl al-Jannah manzilatan]

 

 

Those Who Will Enter Paradise Before the Day of Resurrection

 

The first human being ever to enter Paradise was the father of mankind, Aadam (as),


"O Aadam! Dwell you and your wife in the Garden and enjoy [its good things] as you wish, but approach not this tree or you run into harm and transgression".
(7:19)


But Aadam disobeyed Allah by eating from the tree which Allah (swt) had forbidden him to eat from, so Allah (swt) sent him down from the Garden of Paradise to this world of distress and misery:


"We had already, beforehand, taken the covenant of Aadam, but he forgot, and We found on his part no firm will-power. When We said to the angels, "Prostrate yourselves to Aadam". They prostrated themselves but not Iblees, he refused. Then we said, "O Aadam! Verily, this is an enemy to you and your wife. So let him not get you both out of the Garden, so that you are landed in misery. There is in it [enough provision] for you not to go hungry nor to go naked, Nor to suffer from thirst nor from the sun's heat". But Shaytaan whispered evil to him, he said, "O Aadam, Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?" As a result they both ate of the tree and so their nakedness appeared to them, and they began to sew together leaves from the Garden for their covering. Thus did Aadam disobey his Rabb and allow himself to be seduced. But his Rabb chose him [for His Grace]; He turned to him with forgiveness, and gave him guidance. He [Allah] said, "Get you down, both of you - all together - from the Garden, with enmity one to another." [20:115-123]


The Messenger of Allah (saw) also saw Paradise. al-Bukhaari reports from 'Imraan ibn Husayn that the Prophet (saw) said, "I have seen Paradise and I saw that its inhabitants are the poor.." [Sahih Bukhaari, Kitaab Bad' al-Khalq, Baab ma jaa fi Sifaat al-jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/318]


Among those who will enter paradise before the Day of Resurrection are ash-Shuhadaa [the martyrs]. Muslim reports that Masruq said, "We asked Abdullaah ibn Mas'oud about this aayah:


"Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Rabb"
 (3:169)


He said, "We asked about that too, and the Prophet (saw) said, "Their souls are in the bellies of green birds, and they have lights suspended from the Throne. They wander about in Paradise wherever they wish, then they take shelter in those lights. Their Rabb will suddenly come to them and ask," Do you desire anything?" They will say, "What thing could we wish for when we can wander wherever we wish in Paradise?" Allah will come and ask this three times. When they see that they will not be allowed to giver no reply, they will say, "O Rabb, would that we could return our bodies and be killed for Your sake one more time." When Allah (swt) sees that they have no wants or needs, they will be left alone"". (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 2/351, no. 3804)


Whoever dies will be shown his position in Paradise or Hell morning and evening. Muslim reports from Ibn 'Umar (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:


"When any one of you dies, he will be shown his position morning and evening. If he is one of the people of Paradise, then he will be one of the people of Paradise, and if he is one of the people of Hell, then he will be one of the people of Hell and he will be told, "This is your position until Allah (swt) resurrects you to it on the Day of Resurrection"". 
[Muslim, see Muslim bi sharh an-Nawawi, 17/300]

 

 

Paradise: There is Nothing Like It

 

The delights of Paradise surpass the imagination and defy description. They are like nothing known to the people of this world; no matter how advanced we may become, what we achieve is as nothing in comparison with the joys of the Hereafter. As is mentioned in several reports, there is nothing like Paradise:


"It is sparkling light, aromatic plants, a lofty palace, a flowing river, ripe fruit, a beautiful wife and abundant clothing, in an eternal abode of radiant joy, in beautiful soundly-constructed high houses".
 [Ibn Maajah, as-Sunan, Kitaab az-Zuhd, Baab Sifaat al-Jannah, 2/1448, no. 4332. Ibn Hibbaan narrated it in his saheeh]

 

The Sahabah asked the Prophet (saw) about the buildings of Paradise and he replied with a wonderful description:


"Bricks of gold and silver, and mortar of fragrant musk, pebbles of pearl and sapphire, and soil of saffron. Whoever enters it is filled with joy and will never feel miserable; he will live there forever and never die; their clothes will never wear out and their youth will never fade."
 [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, ad-Daarimee, Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/29, sahih].


Allah (swt) indeed spoke the truth when He (swt) said: "And when you look there [in Paradise] you will see a delight [that cannot be imagined]. and a great dominion"[76:20]


What Allah (swt) has kept hidden from us the delights of Paradise is beyond our ability to comprehend: al-Bukhaari reported from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said that Allah (swt) said, "I have prepared for My slaves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human heart can imagine". Recite if you wish, "No person know what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do."(32:17).


In the version reported by Muslim from Abu Hurayrah, there is the addition, "Never mind what Allah has told you; what He has not told you is EVEN greater".

 

 

The Gates of Paradise

Paradise has gates through which the believers, like the angels, will enter:


"'Adn [Eden - everlasting gardens] of Paradise, whose doors will open for them"
[38:50]


"...And angels shall enter unto them from every gate [with the salutation]: "Peace be unto you for that you persevered in patience! How excellent is the final home!"
[13:23-24]


Allah (swt) has told us that these gates will be opened when the believers reach them, and they will be welcomed by the angels with greetings of peace:


"...til, when they reach it, its gates will be opened, and its keepers will say, "Salaamun 'alaykum! You have done well, so enter here to abide therein."
 [39:73]


The number of gates in Paradise is eight, one of which is called ar-Rayyaan, which is exclusively for those who fast.


al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Sahl ibn Sa'eedi that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 
"In Paradise there are eight gates, one of which is called ar-Rayyaan. No one will enter it except those who fast, and when they have entered it will be locked behind them and no one else will enter it"
. [Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah, 2/214]


In addition to ar-Rayyaan, there are also gates for those who pray much, those who give in charity and those who fight in jihaad; Abu Hurayrah (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said, "Whoever spends a pair [of anything] from his wealth for the sake of Allah (swt) will be called from the gates of Paradise, and Paradise has eight agates. Whoever used to pray [regularly and properly] will be called from the gate of prayer; whoever use to give in charity will be called from the gate of charity' whoever used to fight in jihaad will be called from the gate of jihaad, and whoever used to fast [regularly] will be called from the gate of fasting". Abu Bakr (ra) said, "By Allah, it would not matter if a person was called from any of them but will anyone be called from all of them, O Messenger of Allah (saw)?" He said, "Yes, and I hope that you will be one of them". [saheeh, Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah, 2/214]


The Prophet (saw) also said, "Whoever performs wudhu and does it properly, then lifts his gaze to the sky and says, "Ashhadu an laa ilaaha illa Allah, wahdahu laa shareeka lah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan 'abdahu wa rasuluhu, the eight gates of Paradise will be opened to him, and he will enter it through whichever one he wishes". [Muslim, Ahmad and others on the authority of 'Umar, an-Nihaayah, 2/219]


The Prophet (saw) told us that there is a gate, which is only for those who will not be called to account: this is the right-hand gate of Paradise. Everyone else will enter Paradise with the rest of the nations through the other gates. In a hadith about ash-Shafaa'ah (intercession) whose authenticity is agreed upon, Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (saw) said, "Allah (swt) will say, "O Muhammad, admit those of your ummah who do not need to be brought to account through the right-hand gate and the others will enter through the other gates like the rest of the people.""


In the same hadith, the Prophet (saw) described the width of the gates of Paradise:


"By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the distance between two panesl of the gates of Paradise or between the two gateposts, is liek the distance between Makkaah and Hajar, or between Makkah and Basra" 
[an-Nihaayah, 2/221]


The Prophet (saw) has told us that the gates of Paradise are opened during Ramadhaan. al-Bukhaari, Muslim, and Ahmad report from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "When the month of Ramadhan comes, the gates of heaven are opened".


In some reports it states that the distance between the two gate-panels when they are open is that of a forty year journey.


The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The distance between the two gate-panels of one of the gates of Paradise is the distance of forty-year's walking, but there will come a time when it is very crowded". [Ahmad in al-Musnad, Abu Na'eem in al-Hilyah, from Haakim ibn Mu'aawiyah from Mu'aawiyah, sahih; see also Muslim and Ahmad on the authority of 'Utbah ibn Ghazwaan]


And in the narration of at-Tabaraani reported in al-Mu'jam al-Kabeer from 'Abdullaah ibn Salaam, it is said "..and it [the gate] will become as crowded as a drinking-trough surrounded by thirsty camels".

 

The Levels of Paradise

(i) Evidence that Paradise has various levels and its inhabitants will be in different categories


Paradise consists of levels, some of which are above others, and its people will be of differing levels and categories according to their position in Paradise. Allah (swt) says:

 

"Whoever wishes for the quick passing [transitory enjoyment of this world] we readily grant him what We will for whom We like. Then afterwards, We have appointed for him Hell, he will burn therein disgraced and rejected, [-far away from Allah's Mercy]. And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due to it, [i.e. righteous deeds of obedience to Allah] while he is a believer [in tawheed] then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, thanked and rewarded [by Allah]. To each - these as well as those - We bestow from the bounties of your Rabb. And the bounties of your Rabb can never be forbidden" [17:18-20]


Allah (swt) explains how He gives more of His bounty in this world or the next, as He (swt) wills, and His Bounty is not withheld [forbidden] from either the righteous or the sinful. Then He (swt) says:


"See how We prefer one above another [in this world] and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preference."
 [17:21]


Allah (swt) explains that the differences between people in the Hereafter will be greater than the differences between them in this life, and the difference between the levels or ranks of the Hereafter is greater than the differences here in this life. Allah (swt) also differentiates between His Prophets as He does between the rest of His believing slaves. Allah (swt) says:


"Those Messengers! We preferred some to others; to some of them Allah spoke [directly]; others He raised to degrees of [honour]; and to 'Eesa the son of Maryam, We gave clear proofs and evidence, and supported him with Ruh al-Quddus [Jibreel]...
" [2:253]


and "...And indeed We have preferred some of the Prophets above others.." [17:55]


Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said "A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah (swt) than a weak one although both are good..."and al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Hurayrah and 'Amr ibn al-Aas that the Prophet (saw) said, "If a judge seeks to form an independent judgement [ijtihaad] and is correct, he will have two rewards; if he seeks to form an independent judgement and is wrong, he will have one reward."


Allah, subhaanahu wa ta'ala, says: "Not equal among you are those who spent and fought before the conquest [of Makkah] [with those among you who did so later]. Such are higher in degree that those who spent and fought afterwards. But to all, Allah has promised the best [reward]." [57:10]


And "Not equal are those of the believers who sit [at home] except those who are disabled [by injury or are blind or lame, etc] and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit [at home]. Unto each, Allah has promised good [Paradise] but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit [at home] by a huge reward; degrees of [higher] grades from Him, and Forgiveness and Mercy. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, All-Merciful". [4:95-96]


"Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of al-Masjid al-Haram [at Makkah] as equal to the worth of those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah? They are not equal before Allah. And Allah guides not those people who are the Dhaalimoon. Those who believed and emigrated and strove hard and fought in Allah's Cause with their wealth and their lives are far higher in degree with Allah. They are the successful. Their Rabb gives them glad tidings of a Mercy from Him, and that He is pleased and of Gardens for them wherein are everlasting delights. They will dwell therein forever. Verily, with Allah is a great reward". 
[9:19-22]


"Is one who is obedient to Allah prostrating himself or standing [in prayer]during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Rabb [like one who disbelievers]? Say: "Are those who know equal to those who know not?" It is only men of understanding who will remember [i.e. learn a lesson from Allah's Signs]"
[39:9]


The Prophet (saw) said, narrated by al-Bukhaari from Abu Hurayrah, "...Paradise has one hundred levels which Allah has reserved for the mujaahideen who fight in His Cause and the distance between each of the two grades is like the distance between the heavens and the earth. So when you ask Allah for something, ask for al-Firdaws which is the best and highest part of Paradise. Above it is the throne of the Most Merciful, and from it originate the rivers of Paradise". [al-Bukhaari in as-Saheeh, Kitaab al-Jihaad, Baab Darajat al-Mujaahideen fi Sabeelillaah, Fath al-Baari, 6/11]


al-Bukhaari also reports from Anas that Umm Harithah came to the Prophet (saw) when her son Harithah had been martyred at Badr, killed by an arrow. She said, "O Messenger of Allah, you know how dear Harithah was to my heart. If he is in Paradise, I will not weep over him, but if he is not there, you will see what I do". He said, "Is there only one Paradise? There are many Paradises and he is in al-Firdaws, the Highest." [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Sifaat al-Jannah, wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 11/418]

 

Differences between the Levels of Paradise

 

The Prophet (saw) explained that the people will be in different levels in Paradise according to their status. al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri that the Prophet (saw) said, "The people of Paradise will look at the people dwelling in the chambers above them in the same way that people look at a brilliant star shining far away on the horizon, in the East or West, because of their superiority [in reward] over them."The people asked, "O Messenger of Allah, are these the dwellings of the Prophets which no one else can attain?" He replied, "No by the One in Whose Hand is my soul, they are for the men who believed in Allah, and also in His Messengers." [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Bid' al-Khalq, Baab Sifaat al-Jannah wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 6/220; Saheeh Muslim Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab tara'i Ahl al-Jannah Ahl al-Ghuraf, 4/2177, no. 2831]


Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah and Ibn Hibbaan reported from Abu Sa'eed that the Prophet (saw) said,"The people in the higher levels will be seen by those below them as if they were looking at a star rising on the horizon. Abu Bakr and 'Umar will be among them; what good people they are!" [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 2/187, no. 2026]


al-Qurtubee said, "Know that these chambers will differ in height, and appearance according to the deeds of their occupants. Some of them will be higher than others. When the Prophet (saw) said, "No by the One is Whose Hand is my soul, they are for the men who believed in Allah (swt) and also in His Messengers; he did not mention deeds or anything other than faith and belief in the Messengers, with no doubts or questions. Otherwise, how could these chambers be reached through the faith and belief of the ordinary people? If that were the case, then all the Muslims would reach these highest levels, and that is impossible" as Allah says, "Those will be rewarded with the highest place [in Paradise] because of their patience.." [25:75]


This patience often involved self sacrifice and being steadfast for the sake of Allah, focussing on Him, being a true slave to Him. These are the attributes of al-Muqarraboon, as Allah (swt) says:


"And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us, but only he [will please Us] who believes and does righteous deeds; for such there will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will reside in the high dwellings [Paradise] in peace and security". 
[34:37]


Here Allah mentioned the highest chambers or dwellings of Paradise and states that they will not be attained by means of wealth and children, but through faith and righteous deeds then they will have a double reward. Their place will be the high dwellings, which tells you that this is faith that gives one tranquility and certainty, and fills the heart. A person with such faith is content no matter what happens to him, and in all situations and circumstances. If he does a good deed, he does not mix it with the opposite, which are evil deeds. Good deeds that are uncontaminated with evil deeds cannot be achieved except by the one whose imaan is very great and who is content and has no doubts, no matter what his circumstances. The faith and deeds of the one whose good deeds are contaminated are not like that, so his status will be lower" [al-Qurtubee, at-Tadhkirah, p. 464]


The inhabitants of the highest levels of Paradise will enjoy greater pleasures than the people below them. Allah (swt) has promised two gardens to those who fear Him:


"But for him who fears the standing before his Rabb, there will be two gardens
" [55:46]


Allah (swt) described these Gardens, then He (swt) said, "And besides these two, there are two other Gardens [i.e. in Paradise]" [55:62]


These two gardens will be lower in status. Whoever thinks of the characteristics of the two gardens which Allah mentioned second will realise that they are lower than the first two, because the first two are for the muqarraboon [those who are close to Allah], whilst the second two are for ashaab al-yameen [those of the Right Hand] as Ibn 'Abbaas and Abu Musa al-Ash'ari said [at-Tadhkirah, 440].


al-Qurtubee said:


"When He described the two pairs of gardens, He referred to the difference between them. Describing the first two, He said "in them [both] will be two springs flowing free" [55:50] whereas in the second two "..will be two springs gushing forth water" [55:66]. Gushing or bubbling water is not the same as flowing water; bubbling is of a lesser degree than flowing.


Allah says that in the first two gardens "..will be every kind of fruit in pairs" [55:52] - all kinds of fruit, well known and rare, moist and dry; this is a general statement. But in the second two gardens "..will be fruits, date palms and pomegranates" [55:68] Allah does not say that there would be every kind of fruit in pairs.


In the first two gardens the people will be "reclining upon the couches lined with silk brocade" [55:54], while in the second two gardens they will be "reclining on green cushions and rich beautiful mattresses" [55:76] which means embellished or embroidered, and there is no doubt that a couch lined with silk brocade is superior to an embroidered cushion.


The Hoor al-'Eeyn in the first two gardens are described as "like rubies and coral" [55:58] whilst those in the second two gardens are described as "fair [wives] good and beautiful"[55:70]; not everything that is beautiful is as beautiful as rubies and coral.


The first two gardens are described as "with spreading branches" [55:48] while the second two are "dark green [in colour]" [55:64] so intensely green that it is almost black. The first two clearly have many bushes and trees, whilst the second two are described simply as being green" [at-Tadkhirah, p. 440]


al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Musa al-Ash'ari that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Two gardens of silver, their vessels and everything in them and two gardens of gold, their vessels and everything in them, and there will be nothing between the people and their seeing Allah, except the garment of pride over His Face in the Paradise of 'Adn" [Jaami' al-Usool, 10/498, no. 8029]


Allah (swt) described the drink of the pious in Paradise:


"Verily the Abraar [pious, who fear Allah and avoid evil] will drink a cup [of wine] mixed with water from a spring in Paradise called Kafoor"
 [76:5]


"And they will be given to drink there a cup [of wine] mixed with Zanjabeel [ginger]"
[76:17]


It seems - and Allah Knows Best - that this is for Ahl al-Yameen. Elsewhere Allah (swt) says


"It [that wine] will be mixed with tasneem, A spring whereof drink those nearest to Allah" 
[83:27-28].


Ahl al-Yameen will drink something mixed with Tasneem, whilst al-Muqarraboon will drink a pure drink of Tasneem. Tasneem is the name of a spring in Paradise.

 

The Highest and Lowest Positions in Paradise

 

Muslim reports from al-Mugheerah ibn Shu'bah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:


"Musaa asked his Rabb, "Who will have the lowest position in Paradise?" Allah said, "A man who will come after the people of Paradise have entered Paradise. He will be told, "Enter Paradise", and he will say, "O my Rabb, how? The people have already taken their places." He will be asked, "Will you not be content if you could have the equivalent of a kingdom on earth?" He will say, "Yes, my Rabb". So he will be told, "You will have that and as much again, and as much again, and as much again, and as much again." On the fifth time, he will say, "I am content with that, my Rabb". He will be told, "You will have all that and ten times more; you will have whatever your heart desires and whatever will delight your eyes." The man will say, "I am content with that".


Musaa asked, "My Rabb, who will have the highest status in Paradise?" Allah said, "They are those whom I choose. I establish their honour with My own hand and then set a seal over it, [and they will be blessed with Bounties] which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human mind can comprehend.
"" This confirmed by the words of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, "No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do". [32:17]

 

The Highest Position in Paradise

 

The highest position in Paradise which will be attained by only one person is called al-Waseelah. It will be attained, insha'Allah, by the Chosen Prophet, the best of Allah's creation, our Prophet Muhammad (saw).


This is narrated in a hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari from Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah according to which the Prophet (saw) said, "Whoever says, when he hears the call to prayer, "Allahumma Rabba hadhihi-da'wati-tammah, was-salaatil-qaa'imah, aati muhammadan al-waseelata wal-fadeelata, wab'aththu maqaaman mahmoodan alladhi wa'adtahu [O Allah, Lord of this Perfect Call and the Prayer to be Offered, grant Muhammad al-Waseelah - the highest position in Paradise - and also the eminence and resurrect him to the praised position You have promised], intercession for him will be granted on the Day of Resurrection."


Muslim reported that 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr al-'Aas said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, "When you hear the muaddhin call, say what he says, then send blessings on me, for whoever sends blessings on me, Allah (swt) will return it to him tenfold. Then ask Allah to grant me al-Waseelah, for whoever asks Allah (swt) to grant me al-Waseelah intercession will be granted for him.""


The Sahaabah asked the Prophet (saw) "What is al-Waseelah?" He said, "It is the highest level of Paradise, which only one man will reach, and I hope that I will be the one".[Ahmad from Abu Hurayrah]


The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "al-Waseelah is a rank above which there is no other in the sight of Allah (swt). Ask Allah (swt) to grant me al-Waseelah" [Ahmad from Abu Sa'eed, See Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah, 2/2332]

 

Those Who Take their Positions in the Highest Levels

 

Among those who will occupy the highest levels in Paradise are the shuhaadaa, the best of whom are those who fight in the front ranks and never turn away until they are killed. Ahmad and at-Tabaraani report with a saheeh isnaad from Na'eem ibn Hamar (1) that the Prophet (saw) said, "The best of the Shuhaadaa are those who fight in the first rank, and do not turn their facesaway until they are killed. They will have the pleasure of occupying the highest dwellings in Paradise. Your Rabb will smile at them, and whenever your Rabb smiles upon any of His Slaves, that person will not be brought to account". [Musnad Ahmad, Kitaab az-Zuhd, Baab al-Ihsaan ila al-armila wal-masaakeen wal-yateem 2/2286, hadith no. 2982]


The one who helps widows and the destitute will have the status of a mujaahid in Paradise. Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (saw) said, "The one who helps widows and the destitute is like one who fights in jihaad for the sake of Allah (swt)." I [the narrator] think he said, "And he is like the one who stands all night in prayer and never sleeps, and like the one who fasts continually and never breaks his fast". [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab az-Zuhd, Baab al-Ihsaan, ila al-armilah wal-miskeen wal-yateem, 2/2286, no. 2982]


The one who sponsors an orphan will be close to the Prophet (saw) in Paradise. Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said, "The one who sponsors an orphan, whether from his own wealth or from the orphan's wealth, I and he will be like these two in Paradise," - and Maalik [the narrator] gestured with his forefinger and middle finger. [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab az-Zuhd, 2/2286, no. 2982; "lahu aw ghayrihi" - whether from his own wealth or from the orphan's wealth - means whether he supports him from his own wealth or is a legal guardian over the orphan and the orphan's wealth]


Allah (swt) will raise the status of parents by the blessing of their children's du'aa. Ahmad reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Allah (swt) will raise the status of His righteous slave in Paradise, and he will say, "O my Rabb, how could I deserve this?" He will say, "Because your child sought forgiveness for you.""


Ibn Katheer said, "This is a saheeh isnaad although none of the authors of the six books reported it. But there is a corroborating report in Saheeh Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (ra), according to which the Prophet (saw) said, "When a son of Aadam dies his good works come to an end, except for three: Sadaqah Jaariyah [ongoing charity], beneficial knowledge [that he discovered or propogated], and a righteous son who will pray for him." [Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah, 2/340]

 

The Soil of Paradise

 

al-Bukhaari and Muslim reported the hadith of al-Mi'raaj from Anas ibn Maalik from Abu Dharr in which Abu Dharr (ra) said, "The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "I entered Paradise where I saw lights of pearl and its soil was musk". Muslim and Ahmad report from Abu Sa'eed that Ibn Sayyaad asked the Messenger (saw) about the soil of Paradise. He said, "It is a fine white powder of pure musk".


Ahmad reports from Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, concerning the Jews: "I am going to ask them about the soil of Paradise, which is a fine white powder." So he asked them, and they said, "It is like a loaf of bread, O Abul-Qaasim," The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Bread is like pearls". [an-Nihaayah, 2/242]


Ahmad at-Tirmidhi and ad-Daarimi reported that the Prophet (saw) said, "I asked "O Messenger of Allah (saw), From what are people made?" He said, "From water." We asked, "From what is Paradise built?" He said, "Bricks of gold and silver and mortar of fragrant musk; its pebbles are pearls and rubies, and its soil is saffron. Whoever enters it is blessed with joy and will never be miserable; he will remain there forever and never die; his clothes will never wear out, and his youth will never fade away." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/89, no. 5630]


Footnotes

[1] Ibn Hajar said, in Taqreed al-Tahdhib, "Na'eem ibn Hammar or Hibaar or Khammaar. He was a Sahaabee and the majority of sources give his father's name as Himaar."

 

The Rivers of Paradise

 

Allah (swt), may He be Blessed and Exalted, has told us that rivers flow from beneath Paradise:


"And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow.."
 [2:25]


"For them will be Gardens of Eternity: beneath them rivers will flow"
 [18:31]


The Prophet (saw) told us clearly about the rivers of Paradise. He said that during his Israa' (Night Journey): "...I saw four rivers flowing out from beneath Sidrat al-Muntahaa, two visible and two hidden. He asked, "O Jibreel, What are these rivers?" He said, "The two hidden rivers are rivers of Paradise, and the two visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates". [Muslim, Kitaab al-Imaan, Baab al-Israa', 1/150, no. 164; al-Bukhaari reports the same from Anas ibn Maalik, Jaami' al-Usool, 10/507, narrated bt Abu Awanah, al-Isma'eelee and at-Tabaranee in as-Sagheer]


Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Sihran, Jihran, the Euphrates and the Nile are all from the rivers of Paradise". [Sahih Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab ma fid-dunyaa min anhaar al-jannah, 4/2183, no. 2839, al-Albaani attributed it, in Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah 1/6, to Muslim, Ahmad, al-Ajirri and al-Khateeb]


Sheikh Naasir ud-Deen al-Albaani said, "Perhaps what is meant is that these rivers originated in Paradise just as mankind did; this hadith does not contradict the well-established fact that these rivers spring forth from known sources on earth. If this is not in fact the meaning of this hadith, then it is one of the matters of al-Ghayb [the Unseen], which we must believe and accept because the Prophet (saw) has told us about it". [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 1/18]


al-Qaree' said, "These four rivers are considered to be among the rivers of paradise because they are so fresh and beneficial, and contain blessings from Allah, and were honoured by the fact that the Prophets came to them and drank from them". [reported by al-Albaani in his footnotes on Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/80]


Another of the rivers of Paradise is al-Kawthar, which Allah has given to His Messenger (saw): "Verily We have granted you [O Muhammad] al-Kawthar [a river in Paradise]"[108:1]


The Prophet (saw) saw it and told us about it. al-Bukhaari reported from Anas ibn Maalik that the Prophet (saw) said,


"Whilst I was walking in Paradise I saw a river whose banks were domes of hollow pearls, and I asked, "What is this, O Jibreel?" He said, "This is al-Kawthar which your Rabb has given to you". And its scent - or its mud - was of fragrant musk".


Hudbah [one of the narrators] was not sure if he said tib [scent] or teen [mud]. [Sahih al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab fil-Hawd, Fath al-Baari, 11/464]


Ibn 'Abbaas explained, "al-Kawthar means the abundant blessings which Allah has bestowed upon His Messenger (saw)." Then Abu Bishr said to Sa'eed ibn Jaabir, who reported this comment from Ibn 'Abbaas, "There are people who claim that it is a river in Paradise". Sa'eed said, "The river in Paradise is one of the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon him". [Sahih al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab fil-Hawd, Fath al-Baari, 11/463]


al-Haafidh ibn Katheer compiled a number of hadith [an-Nihaayah, 2/246] in which the Prophet (saw) spoke about al-Kawthar, such as the report narrated by Muslim from Anas, which states that when the aayah "Verily We have granted you al-Kawthar" [108] was revealed, the Prophet (saw) said, "Do you know what al-Kawthar is?" They said, "Allah and His Messenger know best". He said, "It is a river that Allah (swt) has promised me and in it is much goodness".


He also quoted the hadith narrated by Ahmad from Anas, according to which the Prophet (Saw) said, "I have been given al-Kawthar, which is a river flowing across the face of the earth; its banks are domes of pearl and it is not covered. I touched its mud with my hand, and found that it was fragrant musk and its pebbles were pearls".


Also narrated by Ahmad from Anas, the Prophet (saw) said, "It is a river that Allah (swt) has given to me in Paradise. Its mud is musk and its water is whiter than milk, and sweeter than honey. Birds with necks like the necks of camels drink from it."


The rivers of Paradise do not just contain water. There are rivers of water, of milk, of wine and of clear honey.


Allah (swt) says:


"The description of Paradise which the Muttaqoon have been promised is that in it are rivers of water the taste and smell of which are not changed; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine delicious to those who drink; and rivers of clarified honey [clear and pure].."
 [47:15]


at-Tirmidhi reports, with a sahih isnaad, from Haakim ibn Mu'aawiyah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "In Paradise there is a sea of honey, a sea of wine, a sea of milk and a sea of water, and the rivers flow out of these seas." [Jaami' al-Usool, 10/508]


He also told us of a river called Baariq, which flows by the gate of Paradise. During the period of al-Barzakh [the time between death and the day of Judgement] the shuhadaa are beside this river:


Ibn 'Abbaas narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The shuhadaa [martyrs] are in a green dome beside the river of Baariq, near the gate of Paradise, from which provision comes to them morning and evening." [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 3/235, no. 3636]

 

The Springs of Paradise

 

In Paradise there are many springs that provide drinks of different tastes:


"Truly al-Muttaqoon [the pious and righteous] will be amidst Gardens and Water-springs" [15:45]


"Verily al-Muttaqoon shall be amidst shades and springs."
 [77:41]


Concerning the two Gardens which Allah (swt) has prepared for those who fear their Rabb, Allah (swt) said, "In them [both] will be two springs flowing [free]." [55:50]


And concerning the two Gardens beneath them, He said, "In them [both] will be two springs gushing forth water." [55:66]


In Paradise there are two springs from which al-Muqarraboon will drink pure and undiluted, whilst the Abraar will drink their water mixed with something else. The first is the spring of Kafoor, as Allah (swt) says:


"Verily the Abraar [the pious, those who fear Allah and avoid evil], shall drink a cup [of wine] mixed with water from a spring in Paradise called Kafoor, A spring wherefrom the slaves of Allah will drink, causing it to gush forth abundantly."
 [76:5-6]


He tells us that the pious will drink from it mixed with something else, whilst those close to Allah will drink it pure and undiluted.


The second spring is of Tasneem, as Allah (swt) says:


"Verily al-Abraar will be in delight [Paradise], On thrones, looking [at all things]. You will recognise in their faces the brightness of delight. They will b given to drink pure sealed wine, the last thereof [that wine] will be the smell of musk, and for this let [all] those who strive who want to strive [i.e. hasten earnestly to the obedience of Allah]. It [that wine] will be mixed with Tasneem, a spring whereof drink those nearest to Allah."
 [83:22-27]


Another of the springs of Paradise is called al-Salsabeel as Allah (swt) says:


"And they will be given to drink there a cup [of wine] mixed with zanjabeel [ginger], a spring there, called Salsabeel".
 [76:17-18]


This is probably the same spring as that mentioned above, i.e. Kafoor.

 

The Palaces and Tents of Paradise

 

Allah (swt) will build good and beautiful dwellings for the people of Paradise:


"and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss"
 [9:72]


In some places in the Qur'an, Allah (swt) described these dwellings as ghurafaat [chambers or dwellings]:


"and they will reside in the high dwellings [Paradise] in peace and security." 
[34:37]


The reward for the slaves of the all-Merciful will be:


"Those will be rewarded with the highest place [in Paradise] because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect" 
[25:75]


Allah (swt) described these Ghurafaat:


"But for those who fear Allah and keep their duty to their Rabb [Allah], for them are built lofty rooms, one above the other, under which rivers flow. [This is] the Promise of Allah, and Allah does not fail in [His] Promise." 
[39:20]


Ibn Katheer said: "Allah has told us about His blessed slaves who will have rooms [or dwellings] in Paradise: these will be lofty palaces, "lofty rooms, one above another - story upon story, well-constructed, strong and decorated. The Prophet (saw) described these palaces to us. According to a hadith narrated by Ahmad, and Ibn Hibbaan from Abu Maalik al-Ash'ari and by at-Tirmidhi from 'Ali (ra) the Prophet (saw) said:


"In Paradise there are dwellings whose inside can be seen from the outside, and the outside can be seen from inside. Allah [swt] has prepared them for those who feed the hungry, and speak softly and gently, fast continuously and pray at night whilst the people are asleep." 
[Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 2/220, no. 2119]


Allah (swt) has told us that there are tents or pavilions in Paradise:


"Houris [beautiful, fair females] restrained in pavilions"
 [55:72]


These pavilions are wondrous tents, made of pearls, each one is made from a single, hollowed-out pearl. They are sixty miles high; according to some reports they are sixty miles wide. al-Bukhaari reports from 'Abdullaah ibn Qays that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,"The tent is a hollowed out pearl, thirty miles high; in each corner of it the believer will have a wife whom no one else can see". Abu 'Abdus-Samad and al-Haarith reported from Abu 'Imraan that the wording was "sixty miles high" [Sahih al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Bid' al-Khalq, Baab Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/318]


Muslim reported from 'Abdullaah ibn Qays that the Prophet (saw) said:


"The believer in Paradise will have a tent made out of a single, hollowed-out pearl, sixty miles long, in which he will have [a number of] wives, whom he will visit in turn, none of whom will see the others". 
[see also Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab fi Sifaat Khiyaam al-Jannah, 4/2182, no. 2838]


The Prophet (saw) told us about the characteristics of the palaces of some of his wives and companions. al-Bukhaari and Muslim report that Abu Hurayrah (ra) said, "Jibreel came to the Prophet (saw) said, "O Messenger of Allah, Khadeejah is coming, carrying a container of food. When she comes to you, convey to her greetings of peace from her Rabb and from me, and give her the glad tidings of a house in Paradise made of brocade, in which there is no noise or exhaustion."" [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/266]


al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Jaabir that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "I entered Paradise, where I saw ar-Rumaysa', the wife of Abu Talhah. And I heard footsteps and asked, "Who is that?" He [Jibreel] said, "That is Bilaal." And I saw a palace with women in its courtyard. I asked, "Whose is this?" They said, "It is for 'Umar ibn al-Khattab". I had wanted to go in and look at it, but I remembered your jealousy [where women are concerned]." 'Umar said, "May my mother and father be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah (saw), would I feel jealous from you?" [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/226]


The Prophet (saw) has told us of the way in which the believer may acquire more than one house in Paradise:


Ahmad reports with a saheeh isnaad from Ibn 'Abbaas that the Prophet (saw) said,"Whoever builds a masjid for Allah, even if it is as small as the nestling-place scratched out by the sane grouse for its eggs, Allah (swt) will build a house for him in Paradise". [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 5/265, no. 6005]


Ahmad, al-Bukhaari, Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah report from 'Uthmaan that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said "Whoever builds a mosque for Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will build something similar for him in Paradise". [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 5/265, no. 6007]


Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, an-Nasaa'ee, and Ibn Maajah report from Umm Habeebah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Whoever prays twelve extra [supererogatory] rak'ahs every day, Allah (swt) will build for him a house in Paradise." [Saheeh al-Jaami', 5/316, no. 6234]
 

 

The Light of Paradise

 

al-Qurtubee said, "The scholars said there is no night and day in Paradise, rather they will be in eternal everlasting light. They will know when night comes because curtains or screens will be put up and doors will be closed, and they will know when day comes because the curtains or screens will be taken down and the doors will be opened. This was mentioned by Abul-Faraj ibn al-Jawzee" [al-Qurtubee, at-Tadhkirah, p. 504]


Ibn Katheer in his commentary on the aayah: "And they will have therein their sustenance, morning and evening. Such is the Paradise, which We shall give as an inheritance to those of Our slave who have been al-Muttaqoon [pious and righteous]"[19:62-63] said, "This means something approximate to the times of day and night, it does not mean that there will be a day and night there. They will know the passing of time by the changes in the light" [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/471]


On the same subject, Ibn Taymiyyah said, "There is no sun and moon in Paradise, and no day or night, but they will know morning and evening from a light that shines from the direction of the Throne" [Majmu' Fataawa Shaikh al-Islaam, 4/312]

 

The Fragrance of Paradise

 

Paradise is filled with a pure and beautiful fragrance, which the believers will be able to discern from a great distance. Ahmad, an-Nasaa'ee, Ibn Maajah and al-Haakim report with a saheeh isnaad that the Messenger (saw) said, "Whoever kills a man of Ahl ad-Dhimmah [non-Muslims living under Islaamic rule] will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, even though its fragrance can be discerned from a distance of forty years' travelling."[Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 5/235, no. 6324 adn 5/337 no. 6333]

 

The Trees and Fruits of Paradise

 

(i) Its trees and fruits are of many kinds and everlasting



The trees of Paradise are abundant and good and of many kinds. Allah has told us that there are grapevines, datepalms and pomegranate trees in Paradise, as well as lotus trees and acacia trees:


"Verily, for the muttaqoon, there will be a success [Paradise], gardens and grape yards"
 [78:31-32]


"in them [both will be fruits, date palms and pomegranates" 
[55:68]


"And those on the Right Hand - who will be those on the Right Hand? [They will be] among thornless lote-trees, Among Talh trees with fruits piled one above another, In shade long-extended, By water flowing constantly, And fruit in plenty"
 [56:27-32]


The lotus tree [ad-Sidr] is a thorny plant, but in Paradise it will be thornless. at-Talh [acacia tree] is a tree of Hijaaz, a kind of 'idah [a fair sized thorny shrub], but in Paradise its fruits will be ready to eat, with no effort required.


What Allah (swt) has told us about the trees of Paradise is only a small part of what Paradise contains. Hence Allah told us


"In them [both] will be every kind of fruit in pairs" 
[55:52]


Because of its abundance, people will be able to leave what they want and take what they want:


"...and therein they will call for fruits in abundance and drinks".
 [38:51]


"With fruits, any that they may select
" [56:20]


"Verily the Muttaqoon shall be amidst shades and springs, And fruits - such as they desire" 
[77:41-42]


In short, Paradise contains all kinds of fruits and other joys that one's heart could desire:


"Trays of gold and cups will be passed round them, [there will be] therein all that one's soul could desire, all that the eyes could delight in, and you will abide therein forever"
 [43:71]


Ibn Katheer spoke very cleverly about the greatness of the fruits of Paradise, and concluded that by means of understatement, Allah (swt) conveyed the abundance and greatness of those fruits. He said, "The lotus tree [as-Sidr] does not bear any fruit other than some insignificant, inferior fruits, and it is thorny. The acacia tree [at-Talh] is only used for shade in this world [not for fruit] but in Paradise there will be many of them, growing beautifully, and bearing such abundant fruit that a single fruit will have seventy kinds of taste and colour that resemble one another. 


So how do you think the trees that are grown for their fruit on earth will be in Paradise, like apple trees, date palms, grape vines and so on? How do you think the flowers will be? In short, there will be what no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human heart can comprehend and we ask Allah (swt) to grant us some of this, by His Grace" 
[an-Nihaayah, 2/262]


The trees of Paradise bear fruit constantly, unlike the trees of this world, which bear fruit only at certain times or seasons. The trees of Paradise always bear fruit and offer shade:


"The description of the Paradise which the Muttaqoon have been promised! -Underneath it rivers flow, its provision is eternal and so is its shade"
 [13:55]


"And fruit in plenty, whose season is not limited, and their supply will not be cut off"
[56:32-33]


The supply is continuous and the people of Paradise are never denied. one of the delights that the people of Paradise will enjoy is finding that its fruits are similar in appearance, but different in taste:


"Everytime they will be provided with a fruit therefrom, they will say, "This is what we were provided with before", and they will be given things in resemblance [i.e. in the same form but different in taste]
" [2:25]


The trees of Paradise are of rich and lush foliage - "With spreading branches" [55:48], and they are intensely green - "dark and green [in colour]" [55:64]. The intensity of the colour is because of the density of the trees in Paradise.


The fruits of the trees will be low-hanging, in easy reach of the people of Paradise:


"Reclining upon the couches lined with silk brocade, and the fruits of the two Gardens will be near at hand"
 [55:54]


The shade of these trees will be as Allah (swt) says:


"..and We shall admit them to shades wide and ever deepening". 
[4:57]


"In shade long-extended" [56:30]


(ii) Some of the trees of Paradise


The Messenger of Allah (saw) told us wondrous things about some of the trees of paradise which indicates that they are so amazingly huge that trying to imagine them makes one's head spin. We shall quote some examples here:


(a) A tree whose shadow it takes one hundred years to cross.


This is a huge tree, whose true size is known only to its Creator. The Prophet (saw) conveyed an impression of its size when he said that "In Paradise there is a tree which the rider of a swift horse would need one hundred years to pass beneath" [al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 11/416; Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab inna fil-Jannah Shajarah, 2/2176, no. 2828, from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri; see also al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Bid' al-Khalq, Baab ma jaa'a fi Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/319]


And in the narration of Muslim from Abu Hurayrah and Sahl ibn Sa'd it is said that "In Paradise there is a tree under whose shade a traveller could travel for one hundred years and not reach the edge of it" [Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab in fil-Jannah Shajarah Yaseer al-Raakib fi dhiliha mi'ah 'aam, hadith no 2826, 2827]

 


(b) Sidrat al-Muntaha


There is a tree in paradise which Allah has mentioned in a clear and unambiguous revelation. Allah (swt) told us that our Prophet Muhammad (saw) saw Jibreel in the form in which Allah created him at that tree. He also told us that it was veiled with something known only to Allah (swt) when the Prophet (saw) saw it:


"And indeed he [Muhammad] saw him [Jibreel] at a second descent [i.e. a second time] near Sidrat al-Muntaha [the Lote-tree of the utmost boundary beyond which none may pass] near it is the Paradise of Abode. When that covered the lote-tree which covered it! The sight of [Muhammad] turned not aside [right or left], nor did it transgress beyond [the] limit [ordained for it]" 
[53:13-18]


The Prophet (saw) told us about what he saw of this tree:


"Then I was taken up until I reached Sidrat al-Muntaha and I saw its Nabq [fruits] which looked like the clay jugs of Hajar, its leaves were like the ears of elephants, and one of these leaves could cover the whole of this ummah. It was veiled in colours indescribable. Then I entered Paradise, and its lights were pearls and its soil was musk". [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 4/82, no. 4075, al-Bukhaari and Muslim; see also al-Bukhaari, Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi and Muslim, Saheeh al-Jaami', 3/18, no. 2861]

(c) Tooba.


This is a huge tree which produces the fabric for the clothing of the people of Paradise. Ahmad Ibn Jareer and Ibn Hibbaan report from Abu Sa'eed 


al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Tooba is a tree in Paradise, as big as a hundred year's journey; the clothes of the people of Paradise comes from its calyces [the outer parts of its flowers]" [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 4/639, no. 1985, the isnaad is hasan]


Narrated by Ahmad from 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr, who said, "A man came to the Prophet (saw) and asked, "O Messenger of Allah, tell us about the clothes of the people of Paradise; are they created or are they woven?" Some of the people laughed. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Why are you laughing? Because someone who does not know has asked someone who does know?" Then he turned and asked, "Where is the one who asked the question?" The man said, "Here I am, O Messenger of Allah". He said, "No, they are produced by the fruits of Paradise" three times" [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 4/640]



(iii) The best aromatic plants in Paradise


Allah told us that in Paradise there are aromatic plants:


"[there is for him] rest and provision [Rayhaan - literally - sweet smelling plants, here used as symbolical of complete satisfaction and delight]"
 [56:89]


In Mu'jam at-Tabaraanee al-Kabeer, a report from 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr whose isnaad is saheeh according to the conditions of al-Bukhaari and Muslim states that the Prophet (saw) said,"The best of the aromatic plants of Paradise is henna." [SilSilah as-Saheehah, 3/407, no. 1420]

(iv) The trunks of the trees of Paradise are of Gold


One of the wondrous things that the Messenger of Allah (saw) told us is that the trunks of the trees are gold:


"There is no tree in Paradise that does not have a trunk made of gold"
 [Ibn Hibbaan, at-Tirmidhi, al-Bayhaqee, from Abu Hurayrah, Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer 5/150 saheeh]


(v) How can the Believer increase his share of the trees of Paradise?


al-Khaleel ar-Rahmaan and the Father of the Prophets, Ibraaheem (as) asked our Prophet Muhammad (saw) on the night of the Israa' to convey his greetings to this ummah and to tell them the way in which they could increase their share of the trees of Paradise. at-Tirmidhi reported with a hasan isnaad from Ibn Mas'oud that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:


"I met Ibraaheem...and he said, "O Muhammad, tell your ummah that Paradise is a a land whose soil is good and its water is sweet. It is an empty plain, which will be planted with SubhaanAllah, al-Hamdulillaah, and Allahu Akbar" 
[Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 5/34, no. 5028]

 

 

The Animals and Birds of Paradise

 

  The kinds of birds and animals that exist in Paradise are known only to Allah. He ta'ala told us that among the delights enjoyed by the people of Paradise will be:


"..and the flesh of fowls any that they may desire"
 [56:21]


at-Tirmidhi reports from Anas that the Messenger of Allah (saw) was asked, "What is al-Kawthar?" He said, "That is a river that Allah has given me... and in it are birds with necks like the necks of camels". 'Umar said, These birds will be in bliss". The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Those who eat them will be more blissful"". [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 2/91]


al-Haakim and Abu Na'eem reported from Ibn Mas'oud that "a man brought a haltered she-camel and said, "O Messenger of Allah, this she-camel is for the sake of Allah". He said, "You will have seven hundred haltered she-camels in Paradise" [Silsilat as-Saheehah, 2/228 no. 634; a similar report is narrated by Muslim, Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 2/350, 3799]

 

 

The People of Paradise: The Deeds for Which People Will Deserve to Enter Paradise

 

  The people of Paradise are the believers and strict monotheists. All those who associate others with Allah or disbelieve in Him, or deny any of the principles of faith will not be allowed to enter Paradise. Their destination will be Hellfire.


The Qur'an often states that the people of Paradise are the believers who do righteous deeds, to quote one of many examples:


"But whoever comes to Him as a believer [in tawheed] and has done righteous good deeds, for such are the high ranks [in the Hereafter] - 'Adn [Eden] Paradise [everlasting gardens [under which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever: such is the reward of those who purify themselves"
. [20:75-76]


* Believers may earn Paradise through their eemaan and Islaam:


"My worshippers! No fear shall be on you this Day, nor shall you grieve - [you] who believed in Our aayaat and were Muslims, enter Paradise you and your wives in happiness" 
[43:68-70]


* Or because they were sincere in their devotion to Allah:


"Save the chosen slaves of Allah [al-Mukhliseen]. For them there will be a known provision, fruits and they shall be honoured, in the gardens of delight."
 [37:40-43]



* Or for the strength of their relationship with Allah, their longing for Him and worship of Him:


"Only those who believe in our aayaat who, when they are reminded of them fall down prostrate, and glorify the praises of their rabb, and they are not proud. Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Rabb in fear and hope, and they spend [charity in Allah's Cause] our of what We have bestowed on them".
 [32:15-16]



* Or for their patience and reliance upon Allah:


"..Excellent is the reward of the workers, those who are patient and put their trust [only] in their Rabb
" [29:58-59]



* Or for their steadfastness in faith:


"Verily those who say "Our Rabb is Allah" and remain firm [on that path], on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Such shall be the Companions of the Garden dwelling therein: a recompense for their good deeds". 
[46:13-14]



* Or for their humility:


"Verily those who believe and do righteous deeds and humble themselves [in repentance and obedience] before their Rabb - they will be dwellers of Paradise to dwell therein forever" 
[11:23]



* Or for their fear of Allah:


"But for him who fears standing before his Rabb there will be two Gardens" 
[55:46]



* Or for their hatred of the kuffaar and mushrikeen and their refusal to befriend them:


"You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred [people]. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Ruh [proof, light and guidance] from Himself. And We will admit them to Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein [forever]. Allah is pleased with them and they with Him".
 [58:22]


Some aayaat discuss in detail the righteous deeds for which a person may deserve Paradise; for example, Surah ar-Ra'd states:


"But it is only the men of understanding who pay heed, those who fulfill the Covenant of Allah and break not the mithaaq, those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined, [i.e. good to relatives and not severing the ties of kinship], fear their Rabb and dread the terrible reckoning, and those who remain patient, seeking their Rabb's Countenance, perform as-Salaat, and spend out of that which We have bestowed on them, secretly and openly, and defend evil with good, for such there is a good end 'Adn [Eden] Paradise which they shall enter and [also] those who acted righteously from among their fathers and their wives, and their offspring. And angels shall enter unto them from every gate [saying] Salaamun ''alaykum for that you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!" 
[13:19-24]


And at the beginning of Surah al-Mu'minoon, Allah explains that success is for the believers and then described the deeds that will qualify them for success:


"Successful indeed are the believers, those who offer their salaah with khushoo', and those who turn away from al-laghw [dirty, false, evil, vain talk, falsehood and all that Allah has forbidden], and those who pay the zakah, and those who guard their chastity, except from their wives or those whom their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame; but whoever seeks beyond that then those are the transgressors; those who are faithfully true to their amaanah [all duties that Allah has ordained: honesty, moral responsibility, and trusts] and to their covenants and those who strictly guard their prayers [at the fixed times]. These are indeed the inheritors who shall inherit al-Firdaws. They shall dwell therein forever"
 [23:11]


The Prophet (saw) also said, "The people of Paradise are three: a ruler who is fair and just; a man who is compassionate and gentle towards every relative and Muslim; and a man with a large family who is proud and does not beg" [Muslim, see Sharh an-Nawawi 'alaa Muslim, 17/198]

 

 

The People of Paradise: The Way to Paradise is Very Hard

 

  Paradise is very high, and ascending lofty places takes a great deal of effort. The way to Paradise is filled with things that go against human wishes and inclinations. This needs strong determination and willpower. In a hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (ra) the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,


"Hell has been veiled with desires, and Paradise has been veiled with [surrounded by] hardships."



an-Nasaa'ee, at-Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "When Allah created Paradise, He told Jibreel, "Go look at it". So he went and looked at it, then he came back and said, "By Your Glory, no-one will hear of it but he will enter it". So He surrounded it with hardships and said, "Go and look at it". So he went and looked at it, then came back and said, "By Your Glory, I fear that no-one will enter it"". [Jaami al-Usool, 10/520, 8068]


an-Nawawi commented on the first hadith:


"This is an example of the beautiful, eloquent and concise speech which the Prophet (saw) was capable, in which he gives a beautiful analogy. It means that nothing will help you to reach Paradise except going through hardships, and nothing will lead you to Hell, but whims and desires. Both are veiled as described, and whoever tears down the veil will reach what was hidden behind it. The veil of Paradise is torn down by going through hardships and the veil of Hell is torn down by giving in to whims and desires. Hardship including striving consistently and patiently in worship, restraining one's anger, forgiving, being patient, giving in charity, being kind to those who mistreat you, resisting physical desires, etc"
 [Sharh an-Nawawi 'ala Muslim, 17/165]

 

 

The People of Paradise: The People of Paradise Will Inherit The Portion of Paradise That Would Have Gone to the People of Hell

 

  Allah has given two positions to every descendent of Aadam: a position in Jannah and a position in Jahanam. Then whoever is destined to damnation of the kuffaar and mushrikeen will inherit the positions in Hell that had been allocated to the people of Paradise, and those of the people of Paradise for whom eternal bliss is decreed will inherit the portions of Paradise that had been allocated to the people of Hell. After describing the good deeds that would earn Paradise for the successful believers, Allah said, "These are indeed the inheritors, who shall inherit the Fridays"


Ibn Katheer said in his commentary on this aayah: "Ibn Abi Haatim said - and he quoted to the isnaad going back to Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:


"There is no one among you who does not have two positions, one in Paradise and one in Hell. The believer will have a house built for him in Paradise, and his house in Hell will be demolished"
. A similar report was narrated from Sa'eed ibn Jubayr.


The believers will inherit the positions of the kuffaar, because those positions were created for those who worship Allah (swt) alone and do not associate anything in worship with Him, because they did what they were commanded to do as far as worship is concerned, whilst the kuffaar neglected the duty for which they had been created. So the believers gained the share that the kuffaar would have gained if they had obeyed Allah (swt) and they will gain even more than that. Muslim reported from Abu Burdah from Abu Musaa that the Prophet (saw) said: "Some people amongst the Muslims will come on the Day of Resurrection with sins as great as a mountain. Allah will forgive them, and will pass [the burden of sin] to the Jews and Christians". According to another version of this hadith, the Prophet (saw) said, "When the Day of Judgement comes, Allah (swt) will allocate a Jew or Christian for every Muslim and will say, "This is your ransom from the Fire". This hadith reflects the words of Allah (swt):


"Such is the Paradise which We shall give as an inheritance to those of Our slaves who have been al-Muttaqoon"
 [19:63] and


"This is the Paradise which you have been made to inherit because of your deeds which you used to do [in the life of this world]" 
[43:72] [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 5/10]

 

 

The People of Paradise: The Weak and Destitute Will Form the Majority in Paradise

 

  Most of those who will enter Paradise will be the weak and destitute, whom people tend to ignore and care little about, but in the sight of Allah (swt) they are important, becuse they fear Him and worship Him faithfully and with humility. al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Hareethah ibn Wahb that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:


"Shall I not tell you about the people of Paradise? They said, "Of course". He said, "Every weak and oppressed person; if he were to implore Allah for anything, He would grant it to him." 
[Jaami' al-Usool, 10/535]


An-Nawawi said, commenting on this hadith: "It refers to those who others despise, scorn and oppress because of their weak position in this world. What is meant is that most of the people of Paradise will be of this type, but it does not meant that all of them will be". [Sharh an-Nawawi alaa Muslim, 17/187]


al-Bukhaari, Ahmad and Muslim reported from Usaamah ibn Zayd that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that most of those who entered were the poor and destitute. The people of means were held back, whilst the people of Hell had been ordered into the Fire. I stood by the gate of Hell, and saw that most of those who entered it were women". [Mishkaat al-Masaabih, 2/663 no 5233]

 

 

The People of Paradise: Will There Be More Men or Women in Paradise?

 

  Men and women engaged in this dispute when the Sahaabah were still alive. Muslim reports from Ibn Sireen:


"Men and women disputed as to which of them would form the majority in Paradise. According to another report, either they were competing, or they were discussing, whether there would be more men or women in Paradise. They consulted Abu Hurayrah, who said that women would form the majority, on the basis of the words of the Prophet (saw):


"The first group to enter Paradise will be as beautiful as the full moon, and the group that follows them will be like the brightest shining stars in the sky: each man of them will have two wives, the marrow of whose leg-bones will be visible through the flesh because of their extreme beauty. There will be no one who is unmarried in Paradise""
[Sahih Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab awwal zumrah tadhkul al-Jannah, 4/2179, hadith no. 2834]


This hadith clearly indicates that there will be more women than men in Paradise. Some others though that there would be more men, because of the hadith, "I saw that they [women] formed the majority of the people of Hell". The response to this is the fact that women will form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell does not necessarily mean that they will be a minority in Paradise, as Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalaani said [Fath al-Baari 6/325]


The two hadiths may be reconciled by stating that women will be in the majority in both Paradise and Hell, just as there are more women than men in this world. We could say that the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah indicates that the total number of women in paradise, including women of this world and al-Hoor al-'Eeyn will outnumber men. The question then is, who will be greater in number in Paradise: the men of this world or the women? al-Qurtubee reconciled between these two hadiths by suggesting that women will form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell before the Shafaa'ah [intercession], when the sinners from amongst the muwwahideen will be brought out of Hell. Thereafter women will form the majority of the people of Paradise. [at-Tadhkirah, al-Qurtubee, p. 475]


The small number of women in Paradise is indicated in a report narrated by Ahmad and Abu Ya'laa from 'Amr ibn al-'Aas who said, "Whilst we were with the Messenger of Allah (saw) on this mountain path, he said, "Look, can you see anything?" We said, "We see crows, and one of them stands out because its beak and feet are red". The Messenger of Allah (saw) said,"No women will enter Paradise except those who are as rare among them as this crow is among the others"" [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 4/466, no. 1851]

 

 

The People of Paradise: The Children of the Believers

 

  The children of the Believers who die before reaching the age of puberty will be in Paradise, insha'Allah, by the Grace and Mercy of Allah. He (swt) says:


"And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in faith - to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned"
 [52:21]


'Ali ibn Abi Taalib understood this aayah - "Every person is a pledge for what he has earned" [74:38] - to indicate that the children of the believers would be in Paradise, because they did not earn anything for which they would be considered a pledge. [at-Tadkhirah, p. 511]


al-Bukhaari included a chapter in his Saheeh entitled "The virtue of one whose child dies and he bears it with patience for the sake of Allah", in which he quoted the hadith of Anas who said that, "A Muslim whose three children die before reaching the age of puberty will be admitted to Paradise by Allah out of Mercy towards them."


According to a hadith narrated by Abu Sa'eed the women asked the Prophet (Saw) "Set aside a day for us". So he preached to them and said, "Any woman whose three children die will be shielded from the Fire by them." A woman asked, "What about two?" He said, "And if two [die]." [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Janaa'iz, Baab fadl man mata lahu walad fa ahtasaba, Fath al-Baari, 3/118]


According to a hadith narrated by al-Baraa' (saw), "When [the Prophet's son] Ibraaheem, died, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "There is a wet nurse for him in Paradise"".[Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Janaa'iz, Baab ma qila fi awlaad al-Muslimeen, Fath al-Baari, 3/244]


The conclusion that may be drawn from this hadith is that the children of the believers will be in Paradise as Ibn Hajar says, "The one who is the reason for his parents being shielded from the Fire should be protected himself, because he is the means and cause of mercy". [Fath al-Baari, 3/244]


A number of reports clearly indicate this for example, "The Muslims and the children will be in Paradise" [narrated by 'Ali, quoted by 'Abdullaah ibn Ahmad in Ziyaadat al-Musnad]


"A Muslim couple whose three children die before reaching the age of puberty will be admitted by Allah to paradise, they and their children, by His Grace and Mercy"
 [Fath al-Baari, 2/245]


From Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "Their little ones are the pageboys of Paradise. One of them will meet his father - or his parents - and take hold of his clothes - or his hand - just as I am taking hold of the hem of your garment, and he will not let go" Or he said," And he will not let go until Allah admits him to Paradise." [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 1/184, no. 342]


"The children of the believers will be in Paradise, being cared for by Ibraaheem and Sarah until they give them back to their parents on the Day of Resurrection".
 [narrated by Abu Na'eem, ad-Daylami and Ibn 'Asaakir from Abu Hurayrah - Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 3/451 no. 1467; see also 2/156 no. 603 narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan, al-Haakim]


an-Nawawi referred to the ijmaa'' of reliable Muslim scholars that any Muslim child who dies will be in Paradise. [Fath al-Baari, 3/244]. al-Qurtubee stated that Hammaad ibn Zayd, Hammad ibn Salamah and Ishaaq ibn Rahawayh refrained from giving an opinion [at-Tadhkirah, p.511]. an-Nawawi said, "Some of them refrained from giving an opinion because of the hadith of 'Aaishah which was reported by Muslim with the wording, "A boy of the Ansaar died, and I said, "It is good for him, because he did not do or know any evil". The Prophet (saw) said, "You should not say that because Allah (swt) has created its own people for Paradise.." The response to that is that he was most likely rebuking her for hastening to say something so decisive with no proof, or else he said that before he knew that the children of the Muslims would be in Paradise." [Fath al-Baari, 3/244].


I suggest that the best opinion is that this hadith indicates that it is not permitted to state definitely that any one particular person is one of the people of Paradise, even if we know that in general they will be in Paradise.


The second point is that we should not be hasty in such matters, so that people will not dare to do what happens so often nowadays, when the bereaved claim that their departed loved one is in Paradise, even though he was the worst of people. Ibn Taymiyyah said, "We should not say every single child of the believers that he is in Paradise, but we accept that this is the case in general." [Majmu' Fataawa Shaykh al-Islaam, 4/281]

 

 

The People of Paradise: The Children of the Mushrikeen

 

  The Messenger of Allah (saw) was asked about the children of the Mushrikeen and he said,"Allah who created them knows best what they would have done". [on the authority of Ibn 'Abbaas, Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Janaa'iz, Baab ma qilaa fi awlaad al-Mushrikeen, Fath al-Baari, 3/246]


Abu Hurayrah (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said, "Every child is born in a state of fitrah [the natural state of man] and his parents make him a Jew or a Christian, or a Magian, just as an animal produces a perfect baby animal: do you find it mutilated?"[Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Janaa'iz, Baab ma qilaa fi awlaad al-Mushrikeen, Fath al-Baari, 3/246]


As Ibn Hajar said, "al-Bukhaari may Allah have mercy on him, indicated that he was refraining from giving an opinion on the children of the mushrikeen. 


Later in his Saheeh, in the tafseer of Surat ar-Rum, he indicates that he favoured the suggestion that they are in Paradise. He also organised the hadith in this chapter in such a way that shows this was his favoured opinion. He starts with a hadith which indicates that we cannot say one way or the other, then quotes a hadith which indicates that they are in Paradise, and follows that with a hadith that clearly states that this is the case: 


"As for the children around him, they are the children of mankind." In another version, "As for the two children around him, every child is born in a state of fitrah." Some of the Muslims asked, "Even the children of the Mushrikeen?" He said, "Even the children of the mushrikeen"


Ibn Hajar said, "This is supported by the hadith of Anas reported by Abu Ya'la, in which the Prophet (saw) said, "I asked my Rabb for the laheen [those who play or those who are unaware] of the children of mankind, that they would not be punished, and that was granted to me." [its isnaad is hasan] Laheen was explained as meaning children, because of the hadith of ibn 'Abbaas nrarted by al-Bazzar. Ahmad reported from al-Khansaa bint Mu'aawiyah ibn Suraym from her paternal aunt who said, "I said, "O Messenger of Allah, who is in Paradise?" He said, "Prophets are in Paradise, martyrs are in Paradise and newborn babies are in Paradise". Its isnaad is hasan. [Fath al-Baari, 3/246]


They also took as evidence the hadith, "The children of the mushrikeen are servants of the people of Paradise" [Ibn Mandah in al-Ma'rifah, Abu Na'eem in al-Hilyah, Abu Ya'la in al-Musnad and al-Albaani deemed it saheeh by the sum of its isnaad, Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 3/452, no. 1468]


The idea that they are in Paradise is the opinion of some scholars, such as favoured by Abul-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzee [Majmu' Fataawa, 24/382, 4/303] an-Nawawi said of this opinion, "This is the correct position favoured by those who study the words of Allah,


"..And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger [to give warning]" 
[17:15]" [Fath al-Baari, 3/247]


al-Qurtubee also considered this the most likely t be corrected, reconciling the apparently conflicting reports by saying that the Prophet (saw) initially said they would be in Hell with their parents, then he refrained from passing any judgement and said "Allah knows best what they would have done", then it was revealed to him that no one would be punished for the sins of another [17:15] so he stated that the would be in Paradise [at-Tadhkirah, p.515]. The trouble with this way of reconciliation, as Ibn Hajar said, is that this is not a matter that can be subjected to study and examination. It is a matter of al-Ghayb, which can only be known through revelation. And Allah knows best.


Some scholars such as Hammaad ibn Zayd, Hammaad ibn Salamah, Ibn al-Mubaarak and Ishaaq, say that they are subject to the will of Allah. It was also transmitted by al-Bayhaqee in al-I'tiqaad from ash-Shaaf'iee. Ibn 'Abdul-Barr said "This might be the opinion of Maalik, although there is no written evidence for that" [Majmu' Fatawah, 4/281-404, 24/372] and Abul-Hasan al-Ash'ari attributed this opinion to Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah, [Majmu' Fatawah, 24/372].


This is also the favoured view of Ibn Taymiyyah, who suggested that they will be tested of the day of Resurrection - "The correct view is what was said concerning them, Allah knows best what they would have done". We cannot say of any particular individual that he will be in Paradise or Hell. A number of hadiths state that on the Day of Resurrection they will be tested in the arena of judgement: they will be given commands and prohibitions and those who obey will enter Paradise, whilst those who disobey will be sent to Hell." He attributed this to Imaam Ahmad and Abul-Hasan al-Ash'ari who attributed it to Ahlus-Sunnah [Majmu' Fataawa, 24/372, 4/303, 4/281].


Ibn Hajar also stated that they would be tested in the Hereafter by being shown the Fire: whoever enters it will find it cool and safe, but whoever refuses to enter it will be punished. Ahadeeth to this effect were reported by al-Bazzar from Anas and Abu Sa'eed and by at-Tabaraani from Mu'aadh ibn Jabal. It has been proven through saheeh asaanid that the insane and those who lived between the time of Jesus (as) and Muhammad (saw) will also be tested in the Hereafter. al-Bayhaqee stated in al-I'tiqaad that this is the correct opinion. [Fath al-Baari 3/246].


The soundness of this opinion is indicated by the clear unambiguous aayaat of the Qur'an which tells the story of the righteous slave whom Musa (as) travelled to meet at the junction of the two seas. Explaining the reason why he killed the boy he said,

"And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief" [18:80].


Muslim reports from Ibn 'Abbaas (ra) "The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, concerning the boy was killed by al-Khidr, "He was decreed from the beginning to be a kaafir and if he had been left, he would have oppressed his parents with his rebellion and disbelief."Commenting on this hadith, Ibn Taymiyyah said "It means that Allah decreed it in Umm al-Kitaab [the Register Book in Jannah] i.e. it was written that he would be a kaafir and if he had lived he would have been a kaafir indeed."


al-Qurtubee said, in at-Tadhkirah [p.514]: "What makes this idea [that they will be tested in the Hereafter] weak is the fact that the Hereafter is not the place of testing; it is the place of recompense - reward of punishment. al-Hulaymee said "This hadith is not proven to be sound, and it contradicts the basic beliefs of the Muslims, because the Hereafter is not the place of testing. Everyone will inevitably know about Allah, and there is no test when a thing is inevitable."


This is incorrect and was refuted by Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah who said, "Responsibility only ceases when one enters the abode of recompense, which is either Paradise or Hell. In the arena of judgement they will be tested just as they are tested in al-Barzakh. The individual will be asked, "Who is your Rabb? What is your deen? Who is your Prophet?" Allah (swt) says, "[Remember] the Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate to Allah but they [hypocrites] will not be able to do so" [68:42]..." [Majmu' Fataawa, 24/ 372]


Testing will only cease when a person enters Paradise or Hell. al-Qurtubee's suggestion that everyone will inevitably know Allah on that Day is correct, but the testing will take the form of orders and prohibitions as is reported in a number of texts. Allah (swt) will test them by ordering them to enter the Fire: whoever obeys will be blessed, whilst whoever disobeyed will be doomed.

 

 

The People of Paradise: The Number of People from This Ummah in Paradise

  Many people from this ummah will enter Paradise, but only Allah knows their exact number. al-Bukhaari reports from Sa'eed ibn Jubayr who said, "Ibn 'Abbaas told me that the Prophet (saw) said, "I was shown the nations, and I saw a Prophet passing by with his ummah, another with a band of followers, another with ten followers, another with five, and another who was alone. I looked and saw a huge crowd of people, and I asked, "O Jibreel, are these my ummah?" He said, "No look at the horizon." I looked and saw a vast multitude. He said,"These are your ummah, and the seventy thousand in front will not be brought to account or be punished." [al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Yadhkul al-Jannah Sab'oona Alfaan, Fath al-Baari, 11/406]


The first crowd which the Prophet (Saw) thought was his ummah was in fact the Children of Israel as is stated in a number of saheeh reports, "I hoped that this would be my ummah, but I was told that this was Musa and his people." [Fath al-Baari, 11/407].


Concerning the words "a vast multitude" Ibn Hajar said, "A report from Sa'eed ibn Mansoor says, "huge" [Adheem] and adds, "It was said to me, "look at the horizon" So I looked and I saw a huge multitude. Then I was told, "Look at the other horizon, it is just like the first one."" According to a report given by Ibn Faadil, "[I saw] a multitude that filled the horizon and it was said to me "Look here and here, all across the horizon". According to a version narrated by Ahmad, "I saw my ummah filling the plains and the mountains, and I was amazed at the numbers and their appearance. I was asked, "Are you pleased O Muhammad?" and I said, "Yes O Rabb."" [Fath al-Baari, 11/408]


Some hadiths state that along with every thousand of the seventy thousand will be another seventy thousand plus three handfuls added by Allah.


Our Prophet (saw) hoped that this ummah would constitute half of the population of Paradise. In a hadith whose authenticity is agreed upon, Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri said that when the Messenger of Allah (saw) was speaking about who would be sent to hell, he said, "By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, I hope that you will be half of the people of Paradise. Among the people you are no more than a black hair on the hide of a white bull.." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/8]


Some hadith state that this ummah will constitute two thirds of the population of Paradise. at-Tirmidhi reports with a hasan isnaad and ad-Daarimee and al-Bayhaqee also report, from Buraydah, that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The people of Paradise are one hundred and twenty ranks, eight from this ummah and forth from the rest of the nations." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/92, no. 5644]


Muslim reports from Anas (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "I will be the first intercessor in Paradise. No Prophet was believed in as I was believed in. Among the Prophets is one who was believed in by only one man." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/124, no. 5744].


The reason why so many people of this ummah believed is because of the great miracle of the Messenger of Allah (saw), which was a recited revelation which is addressed to hearts and minds. It is a miracle that is preserved and will remain until the Day of Judgement. al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,


"There is no Prophet who was not given a sign [or miracle] in which people believed and followed him. That which I have been given is a Revelation from Allah and I hope that I will have the greatest number of followers on the Day of Resurrection."
[Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/142, 5746]

 

 

The People of Paradise: The Leaders of the People of Paradise

 

  (i) The Leaders of the Men


A number of the Sahaabah, including 'Ali ibn Abi Taalib, Anas ibn Maalik, Abu Hudhayfah, Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah, and Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri reported that the Messenger (saw) said, "Abu Bakr and 'Umar will be the leaders of men of Paradise from the earlier and later generations." [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 12/487, no. 824]


(ii) The Leaders of the Youth


at-Tirmidhi, al-Haakim, at-Tabaraani, Ahmad and others reported that Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri said, that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Hasan and Husayn are the leaders of the youth of Paradise". This is proven by so many reports that reach the level of tawatur. [see also the narration from Hudhayfah and from 'Abdullaah ibn 'Umar in Ibn 'Asaakir - Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, no. 797]
 

(iii) The Leaders of the Women


The true female leader is the one with whom her Rabb is pleased and whose deeds He accepts. The best women are those who attain the Paradise of delights. The women of Paradise are of different levels, and the Messenger (saw) told us about their leaders:


"The Messenger of Allah (saw) drew four lines and said, "Do you know what these are?" They said, "Allah and His Messenger know best." He said, "The best women of Paradise are Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, Faatimah bint Muhammad, Maryam bint 'Imraan and Aasiyah bin Muzahim, the wife of Fir'awn" [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 4/13, no. 1508, from Ahmad at-Tahhaawi, al-Haakim from Ibn 'Abbaas, saheeh]


Maryam and Khadeejah are the best of the four - "The best of its women is Maryam and the best of its women is Khadeejah" [from 'Ali in al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Manaaqib al-Ansaar, Fath al-Baari, 7/133] - and Maryam is the "First Lady" - "The leaders of the women of Paradise, AFTER Maryam bint 'Imraan will be.." [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 3/410, no. 1424, from Jaabir in at-Tabaraani, saheeh]. The reason why Maryam is considered the best of all women is clearly stated in the Qur'an:


"Behold! the angels said, "O Maryam! Allah has chosen you and purified you, chosen you above the women of all nations."
 [3:42]


How could she not be the best of women when Allah has clearly stated that,


"..her Rabb accepted her with a goodly acceptance. He made her to grow in a good manner". 
[3:37]


These four women are beautiful examples of perfect, righteous women. Maryam, the daughter of 'Imraan, is praised by Allah in the Qur'an:


"And Maryam, daughter of Imraan, who guarded her chastity; and We breather into [the sleeve of her shirt/garment] through Our Ruh [i.e. Jibreel] and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Rabb, and [also believed in] His Scriptures and she was one of the Qaaniteen [obedient to Allah]"
 [66:12]


Khadeejah as-Siddeeqah believed in the Messenger (saw) without hesitation; she consoled him and supported him in every way. Her Rabb gave her the good news, during her lifetime, of a place in Paradise in which there would be no noise or exhaustion [al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Manaaqib, Fath al-Baari, 7/133]


Aasiyah the wife of Fir'awn, despised the power and luxuries of this world and rejected Pharaoh and his false claims of divinity, so her husband tortured her until her soul departed to her Creator:


"And Allah sets forth an example for those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, "My Rabb! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Pharaoh and his works, and save me from the Dhaalimoon [those that do wrong]"
 [66:11].


Faatimah az-Zahraa, the daughter of the Prophet (saw) was patient and forbearing, and feared Allah. She was a branch from the pure tree, brought up by the educator of humanity.

 

 

The People of Paradise: The Ten Who Were Given Glad Tidings of Paradise

 

  The Messenger (saw) clearly stated that ten of his Companions would be in Paradise:


"Abu Bakr will be in Paradise, 'Umar will be in Paradise, 'Uthmaan will be in Paradise, 'Ali will be in Paradise, Talhah will be in Paradise, az-Zubayr will be in Paradise, 'Abdur-Rahmaan ibn 'Awf will be in Paradise, Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqaas will be in Paradise, Sa'eed ibn Zayd will be in Paradise and Abu 'Ubaydah ibn al-Jarraah will be in Paradise." [sahih, Ahmad from Sa'eed ibn Zayd, at-Tirmidhi from 'Abdur-Rahmaan ibn 'Awf, Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 1/70, no. 50]


"Ten will be in Paradise: the Prophet will be in Paradise. Abu Bakr will be in Paradise, 'Umar will be in Paradise, 'Uthmaan will be in Paradise, 'Ali will be in Paradise, Talhah will be in Paradise, az-Zubayr ibn al-Awwaam will be in Paradise, 'Sa'd ibn Maalik will be in Paradise, Abdur-Rahmaan ibn 'Awf will be in Paradise, and Sa'eed ibn Zayd will be in Paradise." [sahih, Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah, ad-Diyaa, from Sa'eed ibn Zayd Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 4/34, no. 3905]


The Books of the Sunnah tell us that one day the Prophet (saw) was sitting at the well of 'Arees, with Abu Musa al-Ash'ari acting as his gatekeeper. Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq came and asked permission to see him, and the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Let him in, and give him the glad tidings of Paradise". Then 'Umar came and he said, "Let him in and give him the glad tidings of Paradise". Then 'Uthmaan came and he said, "Let him in, and give him the glad tidings of Paradise because of an affliction that will befall him" [al-Bukhaari, Muslim and at-Tirmidhi. Jaami' al-Usool, 8/562, no. 6372]


Ibn 'Asaakir reported with a saheeh isnaad from Ibn Mas'oud that the Prophet (saw) said,"My successor will be in Paradise, his successor will be in Paradise, and the third and fourth will be in Paradise." [namely, the Khulafaa Rashida] [Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 4/149, no. 4311]


at-Tirmidhi and al-Haakim reported with a saheeh isnaad from 'Aa'ishah that the Prophet (saw) said to Abu Bakr, "You are free from the Fire." [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 2/24, no. 1494]
 

 

 

The People of Paradise: Others Who It Was Reported Will Be In Paradise

 

  * Ja'far ibn Abi Taalib and Hamzah ibn 'Abdul-Muttaalib


Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said "I saw Ja'far ibn Abi Taalib flying like an angel with his two wings in Paradise" [at-Tirmidhi, Abu Ya'laa, al-Haakim and others, saheeh]


Ibn 'Abbaas narrated that the Prophet (saw) said "I entered Paradise yesterday and looked at it, and saw Ja'far flying with the angels, and I saw Hamzah reclining on a couch" [at-Tabaraani, Ibn 'Adiyy, al-Haakim, Saheeh al-Jaami', 3/140, no. 3358]


In a saheeh hadith the Prophet (saw) said, "The leader of the martyrs is Hamzah ibn 'Abdul-Muttaalib" [Saheeh al-Jaami', 3/219, no. 3569]



* 'Abdullaah ibn Salaam


From Mu'aadh that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "'Abdullaah ibn Salaam is the tenth of the first ten to enter Paradise" [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 4/25, no. 3870, Ahmad, at-Tabaraani, al-Haakim]



* Zayd ibn Harithah


ar-Rawayanee and ad-Diyaa reported from Buraydah that the Prophet (saw) said, "I entered Paradise and I was welcomed by a young girl. I asked, "Who do you belong to?" She said, "To Zayd ibn Harithah" [Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 3/141, no. 3361]



* Zayd ibn 'Amr ibn Nufayl


From 'Aa'ishah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "I entered Paradise and I saw that Zayd ibn 'Amr ibn Nufayl had two levels." [Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 3/141, no. 3362. Ibn 'Asaakir]


This Zayd used to preach tawheed at the time of Jaahileeyyah; he was a Haneef, a follower of the way of Ibraaheem.



* Harithah ibn al-Nu'maan


at-Tirmidhi and al-Haakim narrated from 'Aa'ishah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "I entered Paradise and I heard someone reciting. I asked, "Who is that?" They said, "Harithah ibn al-Nu'maan; this is the righteous man" [Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 3/142, no. 3366]



* Bilaal ibn Abi Rabah


at-Tabaraani and Ibn 'Adiyya report with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Umamah that the Prophet (saw) said, "I entered Paradise, and heard footsteps ahead of me. I asked, "What is this sound?" I was told, "This is Bilaal, walking in front of you"" [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 3/142, no. 3364]


Ahmad reported with a saheeh isnaad from Ibn 'Abbaas that the Prophet (saw) said, "I entered Paradise on the night of Israa' and I heard an indistinct sound from the side. I asked "What is this, O Jibreel?" He said, "Bilaal, the muadhin" [Saheeh al-jaami' as-Sagheer, 3/142, no. 3367]



* Abud-Dahdah


Muslim, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhi and Ahmad reported from Jaabir ibn Samurah that the Messenger (saw) said, "How many bunches of dates are hanging for Abud-Dahdah is Paradise!"


This is the one who gave his garden called Bayrahaa, the best garden in Madinah, in charity when he heard that Allah (swt) had revealed,


"Who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan so that He may multiply it to him many times?"
 [2:245]



* Waraqah ibn Nawfal


al-Haakim reported with a saheeh isnaad from 'Aa'ishah that the Messenger (saw) said, "Do not slander Waraqah ibn Nawfal for I have seen that he will have one or two gardens in Paradise" [Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 6/1534, no. 7197]


Waraqah believed in the Prophet (saw) when Khadeejah brought him to him at the beginning of his Call; he had asked Allah to let him live until he saw His Messenger so that he could support him.

 

 

Paradise is Not the Equivalent of Deeds

 

  Paradise is something of immense value; a person cannot earn it by virtue of his deeds alone - Muslim reported from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said,


"No one of you will enter Paradise by his deeds alone." They asked, "Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "Not even me, unless Allah covers me with His Grace and Mercy"
 [Saheeh Muslim, 4/2170, no. 2816]


The fact that some texts indicate that Paradise is the equivalent reward for deeds could be problematic, for example:


"No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as reward for they used to do."[32:17].


However there is no conflict between these aayaat and the meaning of the hadith. The 
aayaat indicate that good deeds will be a reason, not the price, for admission to Paradise. The hadith say that good deeds are not the price.


Two groups were misled in this matter: The Jabaariyyah, who took the hadith to mean that the reward is not connected to deeds, because man has nothing to do with deeds [i.e. everything is foreordained]; and the Qaadariyyah who took the hadith to mean that Paradise was the equivalent of good deeds, and man has the right to enter by virtue of his good deeds.


The commentator on at-Tahhaawiyyah said, "As for the idea that recompense results directly from one's deeds, the Jabaariyyah and the Qaadariyyah are misled, and Allah has guided Ahl as-Sunnah. The ba' of negation [nafyi] is not like the ba' used for affirmation. The negation in the hadith "No one will enter Paradise by virtue of his deeds" [bi' amaalihi] is the ba' of substitution or exchange, as if good deeds were not the price of a man's admission to Paradise. This is like the [false] Mu'tazili claim that good deeds will give a person the right to enter Paradise, whereas the truth is that admission to Paradise is by the Grace and Mercy of Allah. The bi' in the aayah "a reward for what they used to do [jazaa'an bi maa kanoo ya'maloon]" [32:17] is known in Arabic grammar as the bi' of causation, i.e. because of their deeds. But Allah is the Creator of Cause and Effect, so everything is referred back to His Grace and Mercy" [Sharh at-Tahhaawiyyah, 495]

 

 

Description of the People of Paradise and the Delights They Enjoy Therein

 

  The people of Paradise will enter in the most perfect and beautiful form, in the image of their father, Aadam (as), for there is no human form more perfect and beautiful than that of Aadam, whom Allah (swt) created very tall. He was as tall as a great palm tree, sixty cubits tall. Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,


"Allah, Subhaanahu wa ta'aala, created Aadam in his own image, sixty cubits tall... everyone who enters Paradise will be in the image of Aadam, sixty cubits tall. People kept getting shorter and shorter after the time of Aadam." [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab Yadkhul al-Jannah Aqwam Af'idatuhum mithl af'idatah at-Tayr 4:2183, no. 2841]


Their external appearance will be in harmony, and their hearts will be as one. Their hearts and souls will be clean and pure. Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) a hadith in which the Prophet describes people entering Paradise including a group whose light will be like the full moon. He (saw) said, "Their form will be that of a single person, after the image of their father Aadam, sixty cubits tall." [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab Awwal zumrah yadkhuluna al-Jannah, 4/2179, no. 2834]


Another aspect of their beauty is that they will have no body hair, and will look as if their eyes are anointed with kohl. Each of them will enter Paradise aged thirty-three, the age of strength, vitality and youth. Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi report from Mu'aadh ibn Jabal that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The people of Paradise will enter Paradise hairless, looking as if their eyes are ringed with kohl, aged thirty three." [Saheeh al-Jaami' 6/337, no. 7928]


As reported in the hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim, from Abu Hurayrah (ra), the people of Paradise "will not spit, blow their noses or excrete".


The people of Paradise will not sleep. Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah and 'Abdullaah ibn Abi Awfaa reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Sleep is the brother of death; the people of Paradise will not sleep" [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 3/74, no. 1087, al-Kaamil of Ibn 'Adiyy, al-Hilyah of Abu Na'eem, Taareekh Isbahaan, by Abul-Sheikh]

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Superiority of Paradise Over the Pleasures of This World

 

  The pleasures of this world are tangible and present, whilst the delights of Paradise are as-yet unseen promises. People are readily influenced by what they can see and know instantly; it is hard enough for them to forgo something that is in front of them for the sake of something else that is in the future, so how much harder it is if the promise will not be attained until after death! So Allah (swt) drew a comparison between the pleasures of this world and the joys of Paradise, and explained that the delights of Paradise are far superior to this world's pleasures. The Qur'an speaks at length denouncing this world of instant, fleeting pleasures and stating that the rewards with Allah as far better, to encourage man to strive hard for success in the next world:


"And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given them for enjoyment to various groups of them [mushrikeen and kuffaar] the splendour of this life that We may test them thereby. But the provision [good reward in the Hereafter] of your Rabb is better and more lasting
" [20:131]


And "Beautified for men is the love of things they covet: women, children, much of gold and silver [wealth], branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world's life but Allah has the excellent return with Him. Say: "Shall I inform you of things far better than those? For al-Muttaqoon there are Gardens with their Rabb, under which rivers flow. Therein [is their] eternal [home] and Azwaajun mutahharatun [purified mates or wives], and Allah will be pleased with them. And Allah is All-Seer of [His] Slaves" [3:14-15]


There are many reasons why the delights of Paradise are superior to the pleasures of this dunyaa; Amongst them:


(i) The Pleasures of this Dunyaa are Fleeting:


"Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is [far] better for him who fears Allah.."
 [4:77]


The Prophet (saw) illustrated the inferiority of this dunyaa by comparing it to what Allah has prepared in Paradise, "By Allah, this world in comparison with the Hereafter is nothing more than as if one of you put his finger" - and he gestured with his forefinger - "in the sea; let him see how much water he would retrieve" [Saheeh Muslim, 4/2193, no. 2858]. A finger dipped in the ocean would not even pick up one drop; this is how little this world is worth when compared with the Aakhirah.


Because these pleasures are so insignificant, Allah (swt) has rebuked those who prefer the pleasures of this world to the joys of the Aakhirah:


"O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to go forth in the Cause of Allah [Jihaad] you cling heavily to this earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter"
 [9:38]


We have already quoted numerous texts that indicate the inexhaustible abundance of the blessings and joys of the Aakhirah.

(ii) The Hereafter is also better from the perspective of quality.


The clothing, food, drink, jewellery and palaces of the people of Paradise will be far superior to their counterparts in this world. There is in fact no room for comparison, as even the smallest space in Paradise is better than this world and all that is in it. al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The space of a whip in Paradise is better than this world and everything in it" [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/85, no. 5613]


Also narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (saw) said,"The space of the bow of any one of you in Paradise is better than all that the sun rises upon" [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/85, no. 5615]


The comparison between the women of Paradise and the women of this earth serves to demonstrate the superiority of that which is in Paradise. al-Bukhaari reports from Anas that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,


"If a woman from the people of Paradise were to look at this earth, she would light up everything between it and fill it with her fragrance; the veil on her head is better than this world and all that is in it"
 [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/85, no. 5614]


(iii) Paradise is free from all the impurities and disappointments of this world.


Eating and drinking in this life results in the need for excretion and its associated unpleasant odours. If a person drinks wine in this world, he loses his mind. Women in this world menstruate and give birth, which are sources of pain and hurt. Paradise is fre from all of these discomforts: its people will not urinate, defecate, spit or suffer from catarrh. The wine of Paradise, as described by its Creator, is:


"Crystal-white, delicious to those who drink [thereof], free from intoxication, nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom" 
[37:46-47]


The water of Paradise does not become brackish, and its milk never changes in flavour:


"..rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes.."
[47:15]


The women of Paradise are pure and free from menstruation, nifaas [postnatal bleeding] and all the other impurities suffered by women in this world, as Allah (swt) says:


"...and they shall have therein Azwaajun Muttaharatun [Purified mates having no menses, urine, stools, etc]"
 [2:25]


The hearts of the people of Paradise will be pure, their speech will be good, their deeds righteous. There will be no hurtful, upsetting, offensive or provocative talk there, for Paradise is free of all worthless words and deeds:


"...free from any laghw [dirty, false, evil, vague talk], and free from sin"
 [52:23]


The only speech that is heard there is good, sincere and pure, free from all the shameful shortcomings of earthly speech:


"No Laghw [dirty, false, evil talk] will they hear therein, nor lying"
 [78:35]


"They shall not hear therein any Laghw, but only salaam [salutations of peace]"
[19:62]


"Where they shall hear neither harmful speech nor falsehood"
 [88:11]


Paradise is the abode of purity and peace, "No laghw will they hear therein, nor any sinful speech [like backbiting, etc], But only the saying of Salaam! Salaam! [greetings with peace]" [56:25]


For this reason, when the people of Paradise have been saved from the Fire, they will be detained of a bridge between Paradise and Hell, where they will be purified by settling any wrongs that may be outstanding, so that they may enter Paradise, pure of heart and soul, free from any resentment, envy or other negative emotions of this world. al-Bukhaari and Muslim report that when the people of Paradise enter Paradise, "There will be no hatred of resentment among them, their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify Allah, morning and evening" [al-Bukhaari from Abu Hurayrah, in Kitaab bid' al-Khalq, Baab maa jaa'a fi Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/318]


Allah indeed spoke the truth when He (swt) said,


"And We shall remove from their breasts any lurking sense of injury: [they will be] brothers [joyfully] facing each other on thrones [of dignity]"
 [15:47]


A "sense of injury" is hatred. It was reported from Ibn 'Abbaas and 'Ali ibn Abi Taalib that when the people of paradise enter Paradise they will drink from one spring, and Allah (swt) will remove all sense of injury or hatred from their hearts, then they will drink from another spring, and their faces will become pure and bright [al-Qurtubee, at-Tadhkirah, p. 499]. This is probably what is meant by the aayah, "And their Rabb will give them a pure drink"[76:21]


(iv) The Pleasures of This World are Transient Whilst the Joys of the Hereafter are Lasting and Eternal


This is why Allah (swt) calls the pleasures of this world "temporary conveniences" because they are enjoyed for a short while, then come to an end, but the joys of al-Aakhirah have no end:


"What is with you, must vanish, and what is with Allah will endure..
" [16:96]


"[It will be said to them]: This is Our Provision, which will never finish" 
[38:54]


"...its provision is eternal and so is its shade.."
 [13:35]


Allah (swt) gave an example of how quickly this world will pass away:


"And put forward for them the example of the life of this world, it is like the water [rain] which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But [later] it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything. Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds that last are better with your Rabb for rewards and better in respect of hope"
 [18:45-46]


Allah (swt) likened this life to the rain that falls from the sky and causes plants to grow and flower and bear fruit. This lasts for only a short time, before they shrivel and are blown away by the wind. Such are the luxuries of this life, such as youth, wealth, sons, lands and fields. All of this passes away; youth fades, health and vitality are replaced by sickness and old age, wealth and children may disappear, a man may be taken from his family and wealth, but the Hereafter will never vanish or go away:


"...And excellent indeed will be the home of the Muttaqoon, 'Adn Paradise which they will enter, under which rivers flow.."
 [16:30-31]


(v) Seeking to Enjoy the Pleasures of this World and Neglecting the Hereafter Will be Followed By Regret and Sorrow When One Enters the Fire of Hell


"Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection will you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception [a deceiving thing]"
 [3:185]

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Food and Drink of the People of Paradise

 

  We have already discussed the trees and fruits of Paradise, including the ripe fruits, which hang within easy reach, so that the people of Paradise may pick whichever fruits they desire. The people will also have whatever food and drink they desire:


"Any fruit [any] that they may choose, And the flesh of fowls that they desire"
 [56:20-21]


"...there will be there all that the souls could desire, all that the eyes could delight in.."
 [43:71]


Allah (swt) will permit them to take whatever they want of the good food and drink of Paradise:


"Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent on before you in days past!"
[69:24]


We have also mentioned above that in Paradise there will be a sea of water, a sea of wine, a sea of milk and a sea of honey, and the rivers of Paradise will flow out of these seas. There will be also many springs in Paradise, and its people will drink from these seas, rivers and springs.


(i) The Wine of the People of Paradise


One of the drinks that Allah will bestow on the people of Paradise will be wine. The wine of Paradise is free of all the troubles and problems that characterise the wine of this world, which makes people lose their minds, and causes headaches, stomach aches and other physical disorders, or which may have something wrong in the way it is made, or its colour, etc. But the wine of Paradise is free from all such faults; it is pure and beautiful:


"Round them will be passed a cup of pure wine; white, delicious to the drinkers. Neither will they have ghoul [any kind of hurt, abdominal pain, headache, etc] from that, nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom"
 [37:45-47]


Allah described the beauty of its white colour, then explained that its drinker enjoy it very much, without is affecting their minds:


"..rivers of wine delicious to those who drink.." 
[47:15]


And they will never be adversely affected by drinking it: 


"..nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom
" [37:47]


Elsewhere in the Qur'an, Allah describes the wine of Paradise,


"They will be served by immortal boys, With cups and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine, Wherefrom they will get neither any aching of the head, nor any intoxication" 
[56:17-19]


Commenting on this passage, Ibn Katheer said, "it does not cause their heads to ache or their minds to be fogged; it is pure, although it still contains the ingredients that make it a delight to the drinker. ad-Dahhaak narrated that Ibn 'Abbaas said, "Wine produces four things: drunkenness, headache, vomit and urine. Allah (saw) has mentioned the wine of Paradise, and He has purified it of all these things." [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 6/514]


In another part of the Qur'an, Allah (swt) says:


"They will be given to drink pure sealed wine, the last thereof will be the smell of musk..
" [83:25-26]


This wine is sealed or covered, and at the end of it, the drinker will find the scent of musk.



(ii) The first food of the people of Paradise


The first food which Allah (swt) will present to the people of Paradise will be the caudate [extra] lobe of fish-liver. al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,


"On the Day of Resurrection, the earth will be like one loaf of bread, which Allah will turn around in His hands, just as any of you prepares bread whilst he is travelling, to offer it as food to the people of Paradise."
 A Jewish man came and said, "May the Most Merciful bless you, O Abul-Qaasim. Shall I not tell you what food [nuzul] will be offered to the people of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection?" The Prophet (saw) said, "Of course." The Jew said that the earth would be a single loaf of bread, just as the Prophet (saw) has said. The Prophet (saw) looked at us and smiled so broadly that his back teeth were visible, then he said, "Shall I not tell you of their food? Balam and noon [a large fish]". They asked, "What is that?" He said, "A bull and noon seventy thousand people will eat from the caudate [extra] lobes of their livers" [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/56]


an-Nawawi's comments on this hadith may be summarised as follows: "Nuzul is the food prepared for a guest upon his arrival. Turning the bread around in one's hands means kneading it and tossing it from hand to hand, until it is flat and round like a disk. The meaning of the hadith is that Allah (swt) will make the earth like a huge loaf of bread to feed the people of Paradise. Noon is a whale or large fish; balam is a Hebrew word that means "bull"; the caudate [extra] lobe of a fish liver is the best part of it." [Sharh an-Nawawi 'alaa Muslim, 17/136]


al-Bukhaari reports that 'Abdullaah ibn Salaam asked the Prophet (saw) a number of questions when he first came to Madinah, one of which was, "What is the first thing that the people of Paradise will eat?" He said, "The caudate [extra] lobe of fish liver" [Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah, 2/270]


Muslim reports from Thawban that a Jew asked that the Prophet (saw), "What will they be presented with when they enter Paradise?" He said, "The caudate [extra] lobe of fish liver." The Jew asked, "What will they eat after that?" The Prophet (saw) said, "The bull, which is grazing now in Paradise, will be slaughtered for them." The Jew asked, "What will they drink after that?" He said, "From a spring called Salsaabeel." The Jew said, "You have spoken the truth." [Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah, 2/270]


(iii) The food and drink of the people of Paradise does not produce any impure excrement.


It might cross one's mind that the food and drink of Paradise might produce the same as the food and drink of this world, namely excrement, urine, mucus, saliva, and so on. But this is not the case. Paradise is a place that is free from all impurities, and its people are free of all the blemishes of people of this world. A hadith reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah clearly rejects such a nation: the Prophet (saw) said, "The first group to enter Paradise will be as beautiful as the full moon; they will not spit or blow their noses."[al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Bad' al-Khalq, Baab Maa jaa'a fi Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/317, also Muslim in Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab Awwal Zumrah Tadhkul al-Jannah, 4/2178, no. 2834]


This does not only apply to the first group to enter Paradise, all those who enter will be similarly pure. Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The first group of my ummah to enter Paradise will be as beautiful as the full moon and those that come after them will be like the brightest shining star, and those that follow them will be ranked according to their status. They will not defecate, urinate or blow their noses or spit." [Muslim in Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab awwal zumrah tadkhul al-Jannah, 4/2188, no. 2834]


It might be asked where will the waste produces go? This question was posed to the Prophet (saw) by his Sahabah and he replied, "[It will come out as] burps which are like musk."[Muslim in 4/2180, no. 2835]. Other parts the excretions will be turned into sweat like musk that will come out of their bodies.


(iv) Why Will the People of Paradise Eat and Drink and Comb their Hair?


If the people of Paradise are to abide there forever, and it is free form all discomfort, pain and sickness, if there is no hunger or thirst there, and no impurities or dirt, then why will the people of Paradise eat and drink, and wear perfume and comb their hair?


al-Qurtubee answered this question in at-Tadhkirah [p. 475, see also al-Fath, 6/325]: "The luxuries and clothing of the people of Paradise will not be for the purpose of warding off potential pains; they will not eat because of hunger or drink because of thirst, or wear perfume because of some offensive odour, because Paradise is a never-ending succession of delight and joy. Do you not remember the words of Allah (swt) to Aadam?


"Verily you have [a promise from Us] that you will never be hungry therein nor naked. And you [will] suffer not from thirst therein nor from the sun's heat
." [20:118-119]


The wisdom behind it [food and drink, etc] is so that Allah will introduce Paradise to them in ways similar to the good things that they enjoyed on earth, but He will increase it in ways known only to Him."

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Vessels and Cups of the People of Paradise

 

  The vessels from which the people of Paradise will eat and drink will be of gold and silver. Allah (swt) says:


"Trays of gold and cups will be passed round them.."
 [43:71] i.e. cups of gold.


And Allah (swt) says, "And amongst them, will be passed round vessels of silver and cups of crystal, crystal-clear, made of silver. They will determine the measure thereof according to their wishes." [76:15] i.e it will combine the purity of crystal with the whiteness of silver.


al-Bukhaari and Muslim reported from Abu Musaa al-Ash'ari that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The believer in paradise will have a tent made of a hollowed out pearl.. and two gardens of silver, their vessels and everything in them, and two gardens of gold, their vessels and everything in them." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/86]


Among the vessels from which they will drink will be cups and jugs and glasses:


"They will be served by immortal boys, with cups, and jugs and a glass from the flowing wine."
 [56:17-18]


The "cup" [koob] is something that has no handle or spout, the "jug" [ibreeq] has a handle and a spout and the "glass" [kaa's] is a cup that is filled with drink.

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Clothing, Jewellery and Incense-Burners Of the People of Paradise

 

  The people of Paradise will wear the most luxurious clothes, amongst other things, garments of silk and bracelets of gold, silver and pearls. Allah (swt) says:


"And their recompense will be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient."
 [76:12]


"...wherein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their garments will be of silk."
 [22:23]


"'Adn Paradise they will enter, therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their garments there will be of silk." 
[35:33]


"...They will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Rabb will give them a pure drink."
 [76:21]


Their clothes will be colourful, including garments of green silk and brocade:


"..They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade. They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good the recompense! How beautiful a couch to recline on."
 [18:31]


"Their garments will be of fine green silk, and gold embroidery. They will be adorned with bracelets of silver.."
 [76:21]


Their clothing will be far superior to any man-made garment. al-Barraa ibn 'Aadhib said, "A silken garment was brought to the Messenger (saw) and we began to admire its beauty and softness." The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The handkerchiefs of Sa'd ibn Mu'aadh are better than this." [al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Bid' al-Khalq, Baab Maa Jaa'a fi Sifat al-Jannah wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 6/319]


The Prophet (saw) also told us that the people of Paradise will have combs of gold and silver, and that they will perfume themselves with 'Ud at-Teeb, even though the scent of musk will be emanating from their pure bodies. al-Bukhaari narrates from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (saw) said of those who will enter Paradise:


"Their vessels will be of gold and silver, their combs will be of gold and the coals of their incense-burners will be of aloe-wood [Abul-Yaman said, "of 'Ud at-Teeb] and their sweat will be musk." 
[al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Bid' al-Khalq, Baab Maa Jaa'a fi Sifat al-Jannah wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 6/319]


Their jewellery will include crowns. at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah report from al-Miqdaam ibn Ma'd Yakrib that among the honours bestowed upon the martyr will be: "..there will be placed upon his head a crown of dignity, one ruby of which is better than this world and all that is in it." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/358, no. 3834, Saheeh Muslim, saheeh]


The clothing and jewellery of the people of Paradise will never wear out or fade. Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said, "Whoever enters Paradise is blessed, and will never be miserable, his clothes will never wear out and his youth will never fade away." [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab fi Dawam Na'eem al-Jannah, 4/2181, no. 2836]

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Couches of the People of Paradise

 

  The palaces of Paradise have been prepared, and in their gardens are places to sit and recline, beautiful couches of delightful colours and high beds whose interiors are lined with silk brocade, let alone how magnificent their outward appearance must be. There are cushions and splendid carpets laid out in the most delightful fashion. Allah (swt) says:


"Therein will be thrones raised high, And cups set at hand, and cushions set in rows, and rich carpets [all spread out]"
 [88:13-16]


"They will recline [with ease] on thrones arranged in ranks. And We shall marry them to Houris [female fair ones] with wide lovely eyes."
 [52:20]


"A multitude of those [foremost] will be from the first generations [who embraced Islaam] and a few of those [foremost] will be from the later time [generations]. [They will be] on thrones woven with gold and precious stones,reclining thereon, face to face."
 [56:13-16]


This reclining on those thrones and couches will be one of the luxuries that the people of Paradise will enjoy when they gather together, as Allah (swt) says,


"And we shall remove from their breasts any lurking sense of injury; [they will be like] brothers [joyfully] facing each other on thrones [of dignity]."
 [15:47]


"Reclining on green cushions and rich beautiful mattresses"
 [55:76}


"Reclining upon the couches lined with silk brocade"
 [55:54]

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Servants of the People of Paradise

 

  The People of Paradise will be served by boys whom Allah (swt) will create to serve them and who will be most beautiful and perfect in form:


"They will be served by immortal boys, With cups, and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine."
 [56:17-18]


"And round about them will [serve] boys of everlasting youth. If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls." 
[76:19]


Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy on him, said, "Boys of eternal youth will go around to serve people of Paradise, boys who remain in that youthful form forever, never changing or advancing in age. It was said that they will be wearing earrings, to emphasise their youth, because such a thing is appropriate for young people, but it does not befit those who are older. And Allah (swt) said [76:19] i.e. if you saw them going around to attend to the needs of their masters, with their beautiful faces and splendid colourful clothes and jewellery, you would think that they were scattered pearls. There is no more beautiful description than the picture of pearls scattered in a place of beauty." [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 7/184]


Some scholars suggested that these boys are the children of the Muslims and Mushrikeen who die in childhood, but this was refuted by al-'Allaamah Ibn Taymiyyah (ra), who explained that these boys of eternal youth are part of the creation of Paradise: "..they are not the children of this world. When the children of this world enter Paradise, they will do so in a perfect form, like all the other people of Paradise, in the form of their father, Aadam."[Majmu' al-Fatawa, 4/279, 4/311]
 

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Market of the People of Paradise

 

  Muslim reported from Anas ibn Maalik that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said;


"In Paradise there is a market to which the people will come every Friday, then a wind will come from the north and blow on their faces, and clothes, and they will increase in beauty. Then they will return to their wives, who will also have increased in beauty. Their wives will say to them, "By Allah, you increased in beauty after you left us." And they will say, "And you too, by Allah, you have increased in beauty since you left us."
[Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab fi Sooq al-Jannah, 4/2178, no. 2833]


an-Nawawi commented on this hadith, "What is meant by a market is a gathering place where the people will come together, just as they gather in marketplaces in this world. Gathering together every Friday means that they will meet once a week, or what approximates to once a week; there will be no real weeks there, as there will be no sun or moon or days. The wind of Paradise was described specifically as being the north winds, because for the Arabs this is the wind that brings rain, coming from the direction of Syria, so they always hoped for a wind coming from the north. In the hadith this wind is called al-Mutheerah, i.e. something that carries things, because it will blow the sand or dust of Paradise into their faces, which is musk." [Sharh an-Nawawi ala Muslim, 17/170]

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Gatherings and Conversations of the People of Paradise

 

  The people of Paradise will visit one another, in delightful gatherings where they will remember their lives in this world and how Allah (swt) has blessed them by admitting them to Paradise. Allah (swt) described the gatherings of the people of Paradise:


"And We shall remove from their breasts any lurking sense of injury, [they will be like] brothers, [joyfully] facing each other on thrones [of dignity]."
 [15:47]


Allah (swt) has also described some of the kinds of conversation that will take place in their gatherings:


"And some of them draw near to others, questioning, saying, "Aforetime we were afraid with our families [of the punishment of Allah], but Allah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire. Verily, we used to invoke Him [Alone and none else] before. Verily He is Al-Barr, the All-Merciful."
 [52:25-28]

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Wishes of the People of Paradise

 

  Some of the People of Paradise will wish for things that will be fulfilled in the strangest ways, unlike anything that happens in this world. The Messenger (saw) told of some of these and how they will be fulfilled.


Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet (saw) was speaking and a bedouin man was present. The Prophet (saw) said: "A man from the people of Paradise will ask his Rabb for permission to grow things. Allah will ask him, "Do you not have what you want?" He will say, "Of course, but I love to grow things." So he will sow the seeds and in the blinking of an eye the plant will grow and its fruit will ripen and become like mountains. Allah (swt) will say, "Here it is. O son of Aadam nothing satisfies you!" The Bedouin said, "By Allah! you wont find him except he is from Quraysh or the Ansaar for these are the people that love to grow things. As for us, we don't grow anything!" The Messenger of Allah (saw) laughed." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/95, no. 5653]

 

 

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Wives of the People of Paradise

 

  (i) The Wife Of The Believer In This World Will Be His Wife In The Hereafter If She Is Righteous


"Gardens of 'Adn, which they shall enter, and [also] those who act righteously from among their fathers, and their wives and their offspring..."
 [13:23]


"They and their wives will be in pleasant shade, reclining on thrones."
 [36:56]


"Enter Paradise, you and your wives, in happiness"
 [43:70]

(ii) A Woman [Who Was Married More Than Once] Will Be With The Last of Her Husbands


In Taareekh ar-Raqqah, Abu 'Ali al-Hurani reported from Maymun ibn Mahran that "Mu'aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (ra) proposed to Umm ad-Darda' but she refused to marry him, saying, "I heard Abud-Dardaa' say that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "A woman will be with the last of her husbands."" The men in its isnaad are trustworthy apart from al-'Abbaas ibn Saalih, whose biography is unknown. Abul-Shaykh reported it in at-Taareek with a saheeh isnaad only quoting the marfoo' version of it. at-Tabaraani reported it with a da'eef isnaad in al-Mu'jam al-Awsat but taking both isnaads into account strengthens it. The marfoo' version is saheeh, and it also has two corroborating reports that are mawqoof.


The first of these was reported by Ibn 'Asaakir from 'Ikrimah:


"Asmaa bint Abi Bakr was married to az-Zubayr ibn al-'Awwaam who was harsh towards her. She came to her father and complained to him, and he said, "O my daughter, have patience, for if a woman has a righteous husband, and he dies and she does not remarry after his death, they will be reunited in Paradise." 
[The men of its isnaad are thiqaat [trustworthy] but is it mursaal because 'Ikrimah never met Abu Bakr; he only heard it from Asmaa]


The second report was narrated by al-Bayhaqee in as-Sunan, where he says that Hudhayfah said to his wife, "If you want to be my wife in Paradise, do not remarry after I die, for the woman in Paradise will be with the last of her husbands on earth."


For this reason, Allah forbade the wives of the Prophet (saw) to remarry after his death, because they will be his wives in the Hereafter.

(iii) al-Hoor al-'Eeyn


Allah (swt) will marry the believers in Paradise to beautiful women who were not their wives in this world, as Allah (swt) says:


"So [it will be] and We shall marry them to Houris with wide lovely eyes."
 [44:54]


al-Hoor is the plural of Hooraa', which is a woman, the white parts of her eyes intensely white, and the black is intensely black. al-'Eeyn is the plural fo 'Aynaa, which is the woman whose eyes are wide.


The Qur'an describes al-Hoor al-'Eeyn as being firm and full-breasted:


"Verily, for al-Muttaqoon, there will be a success; gardens and grapeyards and young full-breasted [mature] maidens of equal age."
 [78:31-33]


Al-Hoor al-'Eeyn are creatures that Allah (swt) has made especially for Paradise, and has made them virgins:


"Verily, We have created [their companions] of special creation, and made them virgin-pure [and undefiled], beloved [by nature], equal in age."
 [56:35-37]


The fact that they are virgins means that no-one has ever married them before:


"...whom no man or jinn has touched before them.
" [55:56]


This refutes the idea that the wives that Allah (swt) will create for them in Paradise will be their wives from this life, made young again after old age had overtaken them. That idea if correct in that Allah (swt) will admit the believing women to Paradise with their youth restored but they are not al-Hoor al-'Eeyn whom Allah created in Paradise.


The Qur'an also speaks of the beauty of the women of al-Jannah:


"And [there will be] Houris with wide lovely eyes [as wives for the pious], Like unto preserved pearls."
 [56:22-23]


Maknoon ["preserved"] means hidden or protected, something whose colour is not changed by exposure to sunlight or by being tampered with. Elsewhere, Allah likens them to rubies and coral, two beautiful precious stones:


"In them will be [maidens] restraining their glances, whom no man or jinn has touched before them, Then which of the favours of your Rabb will you deny? Like unto rubies and coral."
 [55:56-58]


al-Hoor are also described as restraining their gaze upon their husbands i.e. they restrict their gaze and don't let their eyes wander to others. Allah (swt) has stated that they are very beautiful, and it is sufficient to know that Allah (swt) said:


"In them will be fair [companions] good and beautiful; then which of the favours of your Rabb will you deny? Companions restrained [as to their glances] in [goodly] pavilions" 
[55:70-72]


The women are not like the women of this world. They are free of al-Hayd [menstruation], an-Nifaas [post-natal bleeding], spittle, mucus, urine and stools. This is what is referred to in the aayah:


"..And they shall have therein Azwaajun Mutahharatun [purified mates]" 
[2:25]


The Prophet (saw) told us about the beauty of the wives of the People of Paradise. al-Bukhaari and Muslim reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger (saw) said, "...the marrow of whose leg-bones will be visible through the flesh because of their extreme beauty." [as-Saheeh, Kitaab al-Khalq, Baab Maa Jaa'a fi Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/318 and Muslim in Kitaab al-Jannah wa Sifaat Na'eem ahlilhaa, Baab awwal zumrah tadkhul al-Jannah, 4/2178, no. 2834]


Look at this beauty that the Prophet (saw) described! Can you find any comparison to it in the world that you know?! :


"If one of the women of Paradise were to look at the people of this world, everything in between them would be lit up and filled with her fragrance. The veil on her head is better than this world and everything in it."
 [al-Bukhaari, in as-Saheeh, Kitaab al-Jihaad, Baab wa Zawwajnahum bi Hoor-'Eeyn. Fath al-Baari, 6/15]


The smallest number of wives that any one man will have in Paradise is seventy-two. It was reported that the Shaheed will have seventy two wives from amongst al-Hoor a--'Eeyn[Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/357, no. 3834, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah from al-Miqdaam ibn Ma'd Yakrib]


The Song of al-Hoor al-'Eeyn


The Messenger (saw) told us that al-Hoor in Jannah sing with sweet, beautiful voices. In al-Mu'jam al-Awsat, at-Tabaraani reports with a saheeh isnaad from Ibn 'Umar that the Prophet (saw) said,


"The wives of the people of Paradise will sing to their husband in the most beautiful voices that anyone has ever heard. What they will sing is: "We are good and beautiful, the wives of a noble people, who look at their husbands content and happy." And they will sing, "We are eternal, and will never die, we are safe and will never fear, we are remaining here and will never go away."" 
[Saheeh al-Jaami as-Sagheer, 2/48, no. 1557; also Abu Na'eem, ad-Diyaa in Sifaat al-Jannah]


Samawayh reported in al-Fawaa'id from Anas that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "al-Hoor al-'Eeyn are singing in Paradise saying, "We are the beautiful houris, we are being kept for noble husbands."" [Saheeh al-Jaami', 2/58, no. 1598]

The Jealousy of al-Hoor al-Eeyn over their Husbands in this World


The Prophet (saw) told us that al-Hoor feel jealous over their husbands in this world, if the wife of one of them upsets him. Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi report with a saheeh isnaad from Mu'aadh that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,


"No woman in this world upsets her husband but his wife from among al-Hoor al-'Eeyn will say, "Do not upset him, may Allah kill you! For he is with you only temporarily, and soon he will leave you and come to us.""
 [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 6/125, no. 7069]


(iv) The believer in Paradise will be given the Strength of One Hundred Men


Anas reported that the Prophet (saw) said, "The believer in Paradise will be given such and such strength." He was asked, "O Messenger of Allah, will he really be able to do that?" He said, "He will be given the strength of one hundred men." [it was reported by at-Tirmidhi, Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/90, no. 5636, at-Tirmidhi said: "ghareeb saheeh."]

 

 

The People of Paradise Will Laugh at the Fire

 

  After Allah (swt) admits the people of Paradise to Paradise, they will call out to their opponents among the kuffaar in Hell, rebuking and scolding them:


"And the dwellers of Paradise will call out to the dwellers of the Fire [saying]: "We have indeed found true what our Rabb promised us; have you also found true, what your Rabb promised [warnings, etc]? They will say "Yes". Then a crier will proclaim between them: "The Curse of Allah is on the Dhaalimoon [wrongdoers]"
 [7:44]


The kuffaar used to dispute with the believers in this world, making fun of them and insulting them, but on that Day the believers will be victorious: they will be in a state of everlasting joy, looking at the wrongdoers and making fun of them:


"Verily, al-Abraar will be in delight, on thrones, looking [at all things]. You will recognise in their faces the brightness of delight. They will be given to drink pure sealed wine, the last thereof will be the smell of musk, and for this let [all] those strive who want to strive. It [that wine] will be mixed with Tasneem, a spring whereof drink those nearest to Allah. Verily [during the earthly life] those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed, and whenever they passed by them, used to wink to one another [in mockery]; and when they returned to their own people, they would return jesting; and when they saw them, they say, "Verily! These have indeed gone astray!" But the [disbelievers] had not been sent as watchers over them [the believers]. But this Day those who believe will laugh at the disbelievers on [high] thrones, looking [at all things]. Are not the disbelievers paid [fully] for what they used to do?" 
[83:22-36]


By Allah, the kuffaar will finally get the punishment that they deserve, a punishment that fits their crimes. The believer who is now in the luxury of Paradise will remember that colleague or friend who used to encourage him to follow kufr in this world and called him to embrace those misguided principles that would have placed him in the ranks of the kuffaar and enemies of Allah (swt). He will tell his companions about that former colleague, and tell them to look at him and his punishment. When he sees how he is being punished, he will realise the extent of the blessing that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon him, and how Allah (swt) has saved him from a similar fate. Then he will address his former companion and rebuke him:


"Then they will turn to one another, mutually questioning. A speaker of them will say, "Verily I had a companion [in the world] who used to say, "Are you among those who believe [in resurrection after death], [that] when we die and become dust and bones, shall we indeed [be raised up] to receive reward or punishment [according to our deeds]?" The Man said, "Will you look down?" So he looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire. He said, "By Allah! You have nearly ruined me. Had it not been for the Grace of my Rabb, I would certainly have been among those brought forth [to Hell]." [Allah (swt) informs about the true believer that he said], "Are we not then to die [any more]? Except our first death and we shall not be punished? [after we have entered Paradise] Truly this is the supreme success! For the like of this let the workers work." 
[37:50-61]

 

 

Tasbeeh And Takbeer Are Among The Delights Of The People Of Paradise

 

  Paradise is the abode of reward and delight, not of trials and testing. A problem might arise concerning the hadith reported by al-Bukhaari and others from Abu Hurayrah, according to which the Prophet (saw) described the first group to enter Paradise and said,


"They will glorify Allah (swt) morning and evening."
 [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Bid' al-Khalq, Baab maa jaa'a fi Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/318] 


But there is nothing problematic in this report, insha'Allah, because, as al-Qurtubee said "This tasbeeh is not the matter of obligation or imposition." As was reported by Muslim, Jaabir explained it as follows, "They will be inspired with tasbeeh and takbeer as they are inspired with breathing." The analogy of breathing was used because it is something man does with no conscious effort. Their breathing will become tasbeeh, and the reason for this is that their hearts will be illuminated with the knowledge of their rabb, may He be glorified, and filled with love for Him, and whoever loves a thing remembers it frequently."" [Fath al-Baari, 6/326]


Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah stated that this tasbeeh and takbeer will be one of the pleasures enjoyed by the people of Paradise. He said, "This is not the kind of obligatory work that is done for the sake of a specific reward. It is the same as the kind of deeds that people do for pleasure and enjoyment." [Majmu' Fataawa, 4/330]

 

 

The Greatest Delight: Ridwaan Allah and Looking At His Face

 

  "Some faces that Day will be Nadhirah [shining, radiant], Looking at their Rabb." [75:22-23]


Ibn al-Itheer said, "Seeing Allah is the ultimate joy in the Hereafter, the most precious gift of Allah. May Allah (swt) help us reach that goal." [Jaami' al-Usool, 10/557]


Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri reported that the Prophet (saw) said that "Allah will say to the people of Paradise, "O People of Paradise! They will say, "We are at Your Worship, our Rabb, and all goodness is in Your hand." He will say, "Are you content?" They will say, "Why should we not be content, O Rabb, when you have given us what you have not given to anyone else of Your Creation?" He will say, "Shall I not give you better than that?" They will say, "O Rabb, what could be better than that?" He will say, "I grant you My pleasure and I will never be displeased with you after that." [al-Bukhaari and Muslim, Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh]


Muslim and at-Tirmidhi reported from Suhayb ar-Rumi that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:"When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, Allah will say: "Do you want anything more?" They will say, "Have You not made our faces white [i.e. honoured us]? Have You not admitted us to Paradise and saved us from the Fire?" Then the veil will be lifted, and they will never have been given anything more dear to them than looking at their Rabb, may He be Blessed and Exalted."


One report adds, "Then the Prophet (saw) recited the aayah, "For those who have done good is the best [reward i.e. Paradise] and even more [i.e. the honour of glancing at the Countenance of Allah]..." [10:26]


Thus seeing the Face of Allah (swt) was interpreted as part of the "more" [mazeed] which Allah has promised to al-Muhsinoon [those who have done good]:


"There they will have all that they desire - and We have more [for them, i.e. a glance at the All-Mighty, All-Majestic."
 [50:35]


This is a joy and honour that will be denied to the Kuffaar and Mushrikeen:


"Nay, surely they [evildoers] will be veiled from seeing their Rabb that day."
 [83:15]


Imaam Maalik ibn Anas, the Imaam of al-Madinah, used this aayah as proof that "Looking at their Rabb" [75:23] literally meant they would see the face of Allah, as some had interpreted it as meaning the people would be waiting for their reward. Maalik said, "They have lied.... The people will look at Allah on the Day of Resurrection with their own eyes. If the believers are not going to see their Rabb on the Day of Resurrection, why did Allah (swt) say that the kuffaar would be veiled from Seeing Him?" [See Sharh as-Sunnah, Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/100 no. 5662]


at-Tahhaawi, the great Hanafi Imaam, said in his "al-'Aqeedah at-Tahhaawiyyah", "This seeing [Allah] is true, something that will happen to the people of Paradise; it is not necessary to attempt to define it or describe how it will happen. It is mentioned in the Book of Our Rabb [75:23]. The way it will happen is according to the will and knowledge of Allah and we have to believe in it as it was narrated from the Messenger of Allah in the saheeh hadith. We should not interpret it according to our own inclinations and opinions, for no one is sound in his deen except the one who submits fully to Allah and His Messenger. What is ambiguous should be referred to one who has knowledge (i.e. a scholar)" [Sharh at-Tahhaawiyyah, 203]
 

 

 

The Refutation of Those Who Differ

 

  The commentator of at-Tahhaawiyyah explained the different misguided opinions on this matter: "Those who differed with regard to the believers seeing Allah (swt) on the Day of Resurrection are the Jahmiyyah and al-Mu'tazilah, and those who followed them of the Khawaarij and Imaamiyyah. Their false opinion is refuted by the Qur'an and Sunnah. The fact that the believers will see Allah (swt) is confirmed by the words of the Sahaabah, Taabi'een, well known scholars of Islaam, Ahl al-Hadith and by all the groups of philosophers (Ahl al-Kalaam) who belong to Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah."


"This issue is one of the most important matters of Usool ad-Deen [the fundamentals of religion] for it is the ultimate goal for which people are striving and competing, and it will be denied to those who are "veiled from seeing their Rabb" and who will be turned away from His Mercy."


He then explained the dangers of misinterpretation:


"This is what corrupted both the world and religion. This is what the Jews and Christians did to the texts of the Tawraat and Injeel, and Allah (swt) warned us against doing likewise, but the confused people insisted on following their path. How much harm has been caused to the religion and its followers by wrong interpretations! Was 'Uthmaan killed except as a result of misinterpretation? Would the Battle of Siffeen, the Battle of the Camel, the killing of Husayn and the Battle of al-Harrah have happened without there being misinterpretation? Would the Khawaarij, Mu'tazilah and Rawaafid have emerged, and would the ummah have split into seventy-three sects, if there had been no misinterpretation?"


He explained that there were two reasons that the aayah should be taken to mean the believers will see Allah


(1) the Understanding of the Text itself


"an-Nadhar (looking) is connected by Idaafah (genitive grammatical possessive structure) to al-Wajh (face) which is the location of looking (because the face is the site of the eyes). The use of the word "ilaa" (here translated as "at") clearly means that they will be looking and seeing with their eyes; the wording has no indication that it could mean anything other than that. It is crystal clear that what Allah meant is that they will see their Rabb, subhaanahu, with their own eyes, which are located in the face.


"The Arabic word Nadhar is used in a number of ways and may mean different things, depending on the context:


"If it stands alone with nothing following it, it means "stopping" and "waiting" - "...Wait for us! (undhuroonaa) Let us get something from your light!.." [57:13]


"If it is followed by "fi" (lit. "in") it means "thinking" or "pondering": "Have they not considered (yandhuru fi) the dominion of the heavens and the earth?" [7:185]


"If it is followed by ilaa (at) it refers to looking or seeing with the eyes: "Look at (undhuru ilaa) their fruits when they begin to bear" [6:99]


So how can it be interpreted otherwise when it refers to the face, which is the site of the eyes?"



(2) the way in which the Salaf understood the text.


He quotes a number of reports to illustrate this:


al-Hasan said, "[Their faces] will look at their Rabb and will become radiant with His light."


Abu Saalih reported from Ibn 'Abbaas (ra) that "Looking at their Rabb" [75:23] meant,"They will be looking at the face of Allah, azza wa jall."


'Ikrimah said that "Some faces will be Nadhirah" indicated "because of joy, and looking at their Rabb" meant "truly looking at their Rabb" and he reported a similar opinion from Ibn 'Abbaas. This is the opinion of the Mufassireen of Ahlus-Sunnah.


Concerning the aayah, "There they will have all that they desire - and We shall have more [for them]" at-Tabari reported that 'Ali ibn Abi Taalib (ra) and Anas ibn Maalik said,"This means that they will see Allah, azza wa jall."


He explains the meaning of "even more" [az-Ziyaadah] as looking at the face of Allah, as the report narrated by Muslim in his saheeh from Suhayb "..then the veil will be lifted and they will see Him, and they will never be given anything more precious to them than seeing Allah (swt). This is az-Ziyaadah [the "even more" referred to in the aayah]". The same hadith was narrate with a number of isnaads and slightly different wording from others, and this is how it was interpreted by the Sahaabah as Ibn Jareer reported from Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq, Hudhayfah, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari and Ibn 'Abbaas (ra).


at-Tabari and others quoted from ash-Shaafi'ee via al-Mazani, and al-Haakim said, "al-Asaam told us that ar-Rabee' ibn Sulayma said, "I was with Muhammad ibn Idrees ash-Shaafi'ee when a letter reached him from Upper Egypt in which he was asked his opinion about the aayah [83:15], and he said, "As those [evildoers] will be veiled from Seeing Allah because of His wrath towards them indicates that these people (the believers) will see Him because He will be pleased with them."""


The Mu'tazilah however concluded from the aayaat "You cannot see Me..." [7:143] and "No vision can grasp Him.." [6:103] that therefore no one would see Allah, but these can in fact be used as proof against their position, for the first aayah proves that the believers will see Allah for a number of reasons:


(i) Nobody could think that Musaa (as), the Messenger of Allah and the most knowledgeable about Allah at that time, the one who spoke with Allah, would ask to see Allah [as is stated in the earlier part of this aayah] if it were improper to do so.


(ii) Allah did not rebuke Musaa for this request although when Nuh asked Allah to save his son, He rebuked him for doing so [see 11:46]


(iii) Allah said, "..You cannot see Me..", but He did not say, "I can never be seen" or "It is not possible to see Me" or "I am invisible". There is a difference. This indicates that Allah could be seen but that Musaa did not have the strength to see him in this life because human beings in this world are too weak to be able to endure seeing Allah.


(iv) The ideas mentioned in (iii) can be explained by referring to the next part of the aayah


"...but look upon the mountain. If it stands still in its place then you shall see Me."[7:143]


Allah showed Musaa that despite its strength and solid nature, a mountain in this world could not withstand exposure to the sight of Allah, so how could a human being who was created weak, endure it?

(v) Allah could have made the mountain stable, which is possible, but he had placed a condition for seeing Him. If the mountain stood form when he appeared to it, then Musa would be able to see Him

(vi) Allah said,


"..When his Rabb appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust.."
 [7:143].


If it is possible for Him to reveal Himself to a mountain, which is an inanimate object how could it be impossible for Him to reveal Himself to His Messengers and those whom He loves (awliyaa) in the abode of honour which is Paradise? 


(vii) Allah spoke to Musa and if a person is permitted to speak and converse with no mediator, then it is more befitting for him to be able to see the One to whom he speaks. No one could deny that people may see Allah unless they also deny that Allah may speak to them and those who denied that Allah could be seen did in fact also deny that Allah could speak to his slaves. Their claim that "Lan" (never) implies absolute and eternal negation can be answered by the fact that the people will see Allah in the Hereafter and such a negation will not necessarily be carried over into the Hereafter, especially as in this case a condition was attached. There are other similar instances in the Qur'an - "But they will never long for it.." [2:95] although elsewhere He says, "And they will cry, O Maalik! Let your Rabb make an end of us." He will say, "Verily you shall abide forever" [43:77]. If "lan" meant absolute and eternal negation (i.e. that such and such a thing would never happen), it would not be possible to impose conditions, but Allah (swt) says, "Therefore I will not leave this land until my father permits me.." [12:80] which proves that "lan" does not imply absolute negation.


The evidence that people may see Allah is presented in the most eloquent fashion, and in the context of praise, and it is well-known that praise is something positive; a thing that does not exist cannot be praised. When Allah (swt) praises by negation it implies something positive; a thing that does not exist cannot be praised. When Allah (swt) praises by negation it implies something positive, like when He is praised by saying that He neither slumbers nor sleeps, which implies that He is the Eternal One; or by saying that He never dies, which implies that He is the eternally living; or by saying that He never feels tired or exhausted, which implies He is the All-Powerful; or by saying that He never forgets or lacks awareness, which implies that He is All-Knowing. So there is no praise in negation unless it implies something positive. The One Who is Perfect cannot share in the quality that is denied. The meaning is that Allah (swt) may be seen but He cannot be seen in His entirety. The aayah "No vision can grasp Him" indicates that He is Almighty and because of His greatness he cannot be fully comprehend, for idraak [comprehension] is something that surpasses seeing, as Allah (swt) says,


"And when the two hosts saw each other the companions of Musa said, "We are sure to be overtaken."
 [26:61]


Musaa did not deny that they saw them but he denied that they would overwhelm them because seeing [ru'yah] and overwhelming or surrounding [idraak] could take place independently of one another. Allah may be seen [ru'yah] but He may never be fully comprehended just as He may be known, but never completely. This is how the Sahaabah and Imaam understood this aayah, as their opinions are recorded in its tafseer. Even the Sun, which is a mere created entity, cannot be fully comprehended by the one who sees it.


The hadith narrated by the Prophet (saw) and his companions concerning the believers seeing Allah has also reached the level of tawaatur and were recorded by the compilers of the six books, for example, the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, "Some people asked, "O Messenger of Allah, will we see our Rabb on the Day of Resurrection?" The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Do you doubt that the moon is seen when it is full?" They said, "No, O Messenger of Allah." He said, "Do you doubt that the sun is seen when there are no clouds to hide it?" They said, "No." He said, then you will see Him just as clearly."[narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim, who narrated a similar hadith from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri, and narrated by Jareer ibn 'Abdullaah al-Bajlee narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim; Abu Musa narrated in al-Bukhaari, Sharh at-Tahhawwiyah, p.204-210]

 

 

Earning The Blessings Of Paradise Does Not Mean One Has To Forego The Pleasures Of This World

 

  Monks and ascetics, and many of the believers of this ummah think that the blessings of the hereafter cannot be attained without giving up the good things and pleasures of this world. So you see them punishing themselves and making life hard for themselves with non-stop fasting and [qiyaam] praying at night. Some of them even deny themselves good food, drink and clothing and reject work and marriage. All of this is wrong, for Allah has created the good things of this world for the believers, and He denounces those who forbid the beautiful things that Allah (swt) has created for His slaves:


"Say: "Who has forbidden the adornment with clothes given by Allah, which He has produced for His slaves, and at-Tayyibaat [all kinds of lawful things] of food?" Say: "They are in the life of this world, for those who believe, [and] exclusively for them [believers] on the Day of Resurrection [the disbelievers will not share them].
" [7:32]


This world is only condemned when it distracts the believer from the Hereafter, but if he treats it as a means of achieving success in the aakhirah then its pleasures need not be spurned, as some people think.

 

 

The Conclusion Of Their Prayer Will Be Al-Hamdulillaahi Rabbil-Aalameen

 

  The believers will pass through the turmoil of the Day of Judgement, then they will cross as-Siraat [the bridge over Hell] and will witness its horrors. Then Allah (swt) will admit them to gardens of delight in Paradise, after removing all grief and sorrow from their hearts. They will see the wonders that Allah has prepared for them in Paradise and they will raise their voices in praise and glorification of Allah because He will have lifted their sorrow, fulfilled His promise to them, and caused them to inherit Paradise:


"And they will say, "All praise and thanks be to Allah, Who has removed from us [all] grief. For Our Rabb is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate [good deeds and recompense] Who out of His Grace, has lodged us in a home that will last forever, there, toil will not touch us, nor will weariness touch us"
 [35:34-35]


"And they will say, "All the praises and thanks be to Allah Who Has fulfilled His promise to us and has made us inherit [this] land. We can dwell in Paradise where we will; how excellent a reward for the [pious good] workers!" And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne [of Allah] from all around, glorifying the praises of their Rabb. And they [all the creatures] will be judged with truth, and it will be said, "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Rabb of the Aalameen" [39:74-75]


And the conclusion of their prayer will be al-Hamdulillaahi Rabbil Aalameen:


"Their prayer will be Glory to You, O Allah! and their greeting therein will be Peace, and the conclusion of their prayer will be, "Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds
"




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