Now Registering for March 2009 - Learn Arabic Online!
Paradise in Islam
"And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it as he ought to strive
and he is a believer; (as for) these, their striving shall surely be
Recently I took a trip to see my Dad, who happens to be a non-Muslim, in order for him to meet the latest addition to our family, and in order for me to yet again try to convince him that he should accept Islam. While I was there, however, I found out something about him that I never knew before. My father is a workaholic. This man works seven days a week, sometimes 10-to-12 hours a day. The saddest part being, that his labor is all for nothing, for Allah says,
"(These are) they whose labor is lost in this world's life and they think
that they are well-versed in skill of the work of hands."
Now, even though the situation with my Dad threw me for a loop, it really got me thinking. How many of us, Muslims, are in the very same predicament as my father? How many of us are working hard for the life of this world, at the cost of the Hereafter? How many of us are putting in 40-plus hours a week at our jobs, and other recreational activities, while putting in only the smallest amounts of time when it comes to our Deen? Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, says that truly Man shall earn what he strives for. The question now is what are we truly striving and working for?
Maybe it's because at the end of the week, we are rewarded with something
tangible for our efforts, a check we can see and touch. The Hereafter,
although being equally as real, is at the same time, mystifying and ethereal
in its nature. It's a delayed gratification, which makes it harder to earn.
Our wages for our efforts in the deen will not be paid in full until we exit
the life of this world. For Allah says, "Every soul shall have a taste of
death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full
recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden
will have attained the object (of Life). For the life of this world is but
goods and chattels of deception."
Our final destination is the life of the Hereafter. Where we end up, Jannah (Paradise) or Jahannam (Hell-fire) depends on what we worked towards in this life. Paradise is the aim and the hope of every Muslim. But like trying to attain any goal, in order to achieve success, one must have a well-defined plan, and it must be implemented to be successful. Allah says,
"O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and seek means of
nearness to Him and strive hard in His way that you may be successful."
To prepare for our journey, we need to find out what our destination is like; who are its people, and most importantly, how to get there.
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) told us that within Paradise are things that no eyes have ever seen, nor ears have ever heard, and that things in it are beyond our imagination and comprehension, but we all have our own personal ideas of what eternal bliss would probably be like.
I remember a few years ago, I overheard my niece and my nephew discussing the landscape, and the privileges of living in Jannah. My nephew was telling my niece that in Jannah, they would be able to eat all the candy that they wanted and that there would be streams of chocolate and trees of ice cream. I always tell people, that Paradise for me, would be being able to eat all the cheesecake and chocolate that I wanted, without gaining a pound. But what Allah has in store for the believers is so much more than this. He, in His Book, and through His Messenger, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, has given us a clear picture of our goal, so that we can keep it in front of us at all times. By keeping our eyes on the prize, no matter our hardships in this worldly life, we can strive that much harder to attain it.
Allah says, "And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it as he ought
to strive and he is a believer; (as for) these, their striving shall surely
Allah has also described Paradise in many places in the Qur'an, so let us now take a look at what He has in store for the believers.
Description in the Qur'an of Paradise
"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 never changed.
Rivers of milk the taste of which will remain unchanged. Rivers of wine that
will be delicious to those who drink from it and rivers of clear, pure honey.
For them will be every kind of fruit and forgiveness form their Lord."
"And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they
were patient. Reclining on raised thrones, they will see there neither the
excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive bitter cold, (as in Paradise
there is no sun and no moon). The shade will be close upon them, and bunches
of fruit will hang low within their reach. Vessels of silver and cups of
crystal will be passed around amongst them, crystal-clear, made of silver.
They will determine the measure of them according to their wishes. They will
be given a cup (of wine) mixed with Zanjabeel, and a fountain called
Salsabeel. Around them will (serve) boys of perpetual youth. If you see them,
you would think they are scattered pearls. When you look there (in Paradise)
you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a Great Dominion. Their
garments will be of fine green silk and gold embroidery. They will be adorned
with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a pure drink."
"And those foremost (In Tawheed and obedience to Allah and His Messenger in
this life) will be foremost (in Paradise). They will be those nearest to
Allah in the Gardens of Delight. A multitude of those (the foremost) will be
from the first generation (who embraced Islam) and a few of those (the
foremost) will be from the later (generations). They will be reclining, face
to face, on thrones woven with gold and precious stones. They will be served
by immortal boys, with cups and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine, from
which they will have neither any headache, nor any intoxication. They will
have fruit from which they may choose, and the flesh of fowls that they
desire. There will be Houris with wide, lovely eyes (as wives for the pious),
like preserved pearls, a reward for deeds that they used to do. They will
hear no vain or sinful speech (like backbiting, etc.) but only the saying of:
Salam, Salam, (greetings of peace). And those on the Right Hand, who will be
those on the Right Hand? They will be among thorn-less lote-trees among Talh
(banana trees) with fruits piled one above another, in long-extended shade,
by constantly flowing water, and fruit in plenty, whose season is not
limited, and their supply will not be cut off. They will be on couches or
thrones raised high. Verily, We have created for them (maidens) of equal age,
loving (their husbands only). For those on the Right Hand."
"Verily, the dwellers of Paradise that Day, will be busy in joyful things.
They and their wives will be in pleasant shade, reclining on thrones. They
will have therein fruits (of all kinds), and all that they will ask for. (It
will be said to them): "Salamun" (Peace be on you), a Word from the Lord,
Can you imagine?
Wearing the finest silk clothing and sitting on chairs made of gold and
precious stones? Those who disbelieve in the words of Allah, say that this is
all a fairy-tale, made up by a would-be prophet. But we know, that Allah is
the Truthful and that His Messenger, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, spoke only
what was revealed to from the Most Truthful. And even though Allah describes
Paradise for us in the Qur'an, He still says, "So no soul knows the delights
of the eyes which is hidden for them; a reward for what they did."
Apart from the Qur'anic descriptions of Paradise, the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wassalam) would often describe Paradise to his companions.
His descriptions were often so vivid and moving, that many-a-companion would
hurriedly rush towards it. This was the case, as Anas narrated that the
Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) and his companions proceeded
towards Badr and arrived there before the disbelievers (of Makkah). When the
disbelievers arrived, the Messenger of Allah said, "None of you should step
forward ahead of me to do anything." Then the disbelievers advanced (towards
us), and the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "Rise to
enter Paradise whose width is equal to the Heavens and the Earth." Umayr
Ibnul Humam al-Ansari asked, "O Messenger of Allah, is Paradise equal in
width to the heavens and the earth?" He, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
"Yes." Umayr said, "Bak'hin! Bak'hin!" (An Arabic word denoting excitement
and astonishment) The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, asked
him, "What made you say these words: Bak'hin, Bak'hin?" He said, "Messenger
of Allah, nothing but the desire to be amongst its residents." He, sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam, said, "You are surely among its residents." He then took
some dates form his bag and began to eat them. Then he said, "If I were to
live until I had eaten all of the dates, indeed this life would be too long."
Anas then said, "He threw away the remaining dates he had with him. He then
fought (the disbelievers) until he was killed."
What words could have inspired Umair and others like him to long for, and to pay the ultimate price for a place in Paradise? Let's now take a look at what the Messenger of Allah, had to say about Paradise.
Description of Paradise in the Hadith
Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri narrated that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, "The people of Paradise will look at the dwellers of lofty mansions (i.e. a superior place in Paradise) in the same way as one looks at a brilliant star, far away in the East or in the West of the horizon. This is because of their superiority over one another (in reward)." One of the people asked, "O Allah's Messenger, are these lofty mansions for the Prophets which no one else can reach?"
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) replied, "No! By Allah, in whose
Hands is my life, these are for men who believe in Allah and also believe in
Abu Musa al-Ash'ari narrated that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam)
said, "Verily, for the believers in Paradise, are tents made of a single
hollow pear. The length of which would be sixty miles long from all sides,
their wives being therein. The believer will go around them (i.e., visit
them) and they will not be able to see each other."
Abu Hurairah said that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam)
said, "There is not a tree in Paradise, except that its trunk is made of
Anas ibn Malik narrated that the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"Verily in Paradise there is a market in which (the inhabitants of Paradise)
will come to every Friday. The North wind will blow and scatter fragrances on
their faces and on their clothes. This will add to their beauty and their
attractiveness. They will then go back to their families after having an
added luster to their beauty and their attractiveness. Their families will
say to them, 'By Allah you have been increased in beauty and loveliness after
leaving us,' and they will say, 'By Allah you too have increased in beauty
and attractiveness after us.'"
Jabir ibn Abdullah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, "(I saw in a dream that) I entered Paradise, and behold, there
was a palace built of gold. I asked, 'Whose is this palace?' They (the
angels) replied, 'For a man from the Quraysh.' So I thought it might be I, so
I asked, 'And who is he?' They said, 'Umar Ibnul Khattab.' Nothing stopped me
form entering it except your Ghirah (sense of honor)." Umar said, "My Ghirah
would never be offended by you, O Messenger of Allah."
Anas ibn Malik said that Allah's Apostle (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said,
"I entered Paradise and found myself by a river, by its edges were tents of
pearls. Then I tapped with my hands where the water was running, and there
was then a beautiful smell of Musk. I asked, 'What is this O Gabriel?' He
said, 'This is Kawthar (river in Paradise) which Allah has given to you.'"
Who Are the People of Paradise?
We could go on and on, for the ahadith are vast in numbers, about the
Prophet's descriptions of Paradise. But a place that has houses built with
gold and silver bricks: where its dirt is made of rubies and sapphires and
its inhabitants wear only the finest silk garments, sounds like a pretty
exclusive neighborhood to me. Who are these people who will be allowed to
live in this enchanting place? The Jews say the Jews. The Christians say the
Christians. But Allah says, "And they say: 'None shall enter Paradise unless
he be a Jew or a Christian.' Those are their (vain) desires. Say, 'Produce
your proof if you are truthful.'
He also says, "(Namely) those whose lives the angels take in a state of
purity, saying (to them), 'Peace be on you, enter you the Garden, because of
(the good) which you did (in the world)."
Always in the Qur'an when Allah mentions those who will attain Paradise, He
mentions the believers, not the Muslims. He (subhanahu wa ta'ala) says,
"Indeed the Muttaqoon will be amongst the Gardens and water-springs."
He also says,
"Verily, the Muttaqoon will be in a place of security, among Gardens and
Springs, dressed in fine silk and (also) in thick silk, facing each other.
This is how it shall be, and We shall marry them to Houris with wide, lovely
eyes. They will request therein for every kind of fruit in peace and
So who are the believers and how do we become one of them? Allah says, "They
believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid
the wrong and they strive with one another in hastening to good deeds, and
those are among the good."
He (subhanahu wa ta'ala) also says of the believers, "But the Apostle and
those who believe with him strive hard with their property and their persons;
and these it is who shall have the good things and these it is who shall be
He goes on to say, "Allah has purchased of the believers their persons and
their goods; for theirs (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise): they fight
in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth,
through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his
covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain, which you have concluded:
that is the achievement supreme."
Of the believers, He also says, "But those who have faith and work
righteousness, they are companions of the Garden: Therein shall they abide
O slaves of Allah know that being among this illustrious group of people who will live in this place of tranquillity and bliss is not something easily attained. Allah says,
"Or do you think that you shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such
(trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered
suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle
and those of faith who were with him cried, 'When (will come) the help of
Allah?' Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near!"
What Allah and His Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) convey to us is that the people of Paradise are the God-conscious, and the God-fearing. Not everyone, who says, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, just as not everyone who professes the Shahadah, will enter Paradise.
Only those who fear Allah as He ought to be feared, and are motivated by that
fear to do acts of righteousness will attain success. The one who is
conscious of His Lord, in every aspect of his life, and turns to Him in true
submission, will have purchased for himself safety and security on a day,
when there will be none, except with Allah. He does not cause a soul to
suffer fear twice, the fear of Him in this world, and the fear on The Day of
Judgment. About this, the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam,
said, "Allah says, 'I do not combine for my servants two states of fear, or
two states of safety. So if he feels safe from Me in this world I will cause
him to fear on The Day of Judgment, and if he fears Me in the world, I will
cause him to be safe on The Day of Judgment.'"
It is important, therefore, that Muslims know the characters of those who
will be the inheritors of Paradise. But it is unfortunate that many of
today's Muslims understand that it is enough for one to pronounce the
Shahadah by his tongue for him to be entitled to enter Paradise regardless of
whether he lived according to Islam or not! But the Shahadah means and
requires more than the mere utterance of it. Actually this fact is one of the
most mentioned aspects of Islam in the Qur'an and Sunnah. The essence of Eman
is deed. Deeds of the heart and deeds of the tongue and other body parts.
Deeds that are to be continued till one leaves this world. That was the
reason why the Arabs of Makkah refused to pronounce it. They fully
appreciated its implication. They knew it concerned authority and understood
that they had to govern their deeds and lives with it. Yet many of those who
repeat it today lead life styles that do not resemble those described in the
Qur'an and practiced by the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, and his
companions. The Qur'an warns us that deeds are the basis on which we are to
be judged, not only the utterance of the Shahadah, "It is not by your wishes
nor the wishes of the People of the Book: whoever does wrong shall be
punished for it, and he will find none other than Allah as a protector or
So entering Paradise requires that we live as believers and die as Muslims. That takes knowledge, dedication and determination to see it through to its completion. The fist step is belief in Allah and His Messenger, and the flip side to that is leaving all acts of shirk; this means directing all acts of ibadah to none but Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, whether it be wearing talismans, supplicating to others than Allah or simply showing off. The next step is obeying Allah and His Messenger, avoiding bid'ah and innovations, and carrying out all compulsory acts of worship that He has prescribed. Once we are steadfast and regular in what we must do, we can then proceed to the next level of eman and worship, by doing the things that we have been encouraged to do. By increasing out acts of worship, and remembrance of Allah we will leave off sin and help safeguard ourselves from a Fire, the fuel of which is men and stones.
We Should Also Strive to:
Protect our minds from thoughts, which are evil, because evil actions begin with evil thoughts.
Protect our eyes by lowering our gazes and not looking at forbidden things.
Protect our ears from lewd or evil speech where there is sin. We should also avoid listening to lies, gossip, music, slander, or blasphemy.
Protect our tongues by saying always what is correct and true, and keeping it moist with the remembrance of Allah, and keeping away from backbiting and other evil speech.
Protect our stomachs by eating the halal and keeping away from the haram. We should beware of eating usury, carrion, and swine or drinking intoxicants or taking drugs.
Protect our hands from taking what does not belong to us, or from doing harm to another Muslim.
Protect our legs from taking us to evil and corruption and an ultimate doom.
Protect our private parts from unlawful sexual intercourse.
Protect our wealth by not squandering it or holding on to it too tightly.
Protect our oaths, witnesses and trusts by not breaching or breaking a contract or pledge knowingly. We should not exceed our agreements, testify to falsehood or break our trusts.
Protect our families and children by keeping them away from the things that may be harmful and that may corrupt their minds and their souls.
Now, it is true that only Allah knows who the believers are, but that should
not stop us from striving to be among their numbers. For the believers will
have eternal bliss and complete success, because of the things that they did
in this life. Allah says,
"So no soul knows the delight of the eyes which is hidden for them; a reward
for what they did."
We now stand at the start of the race, so let us run forward quickly to the
finish line, where the gates of Paradise will be open for those who strive as
they should. The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, who said,
"Paradise is surrounded by hardship and the Hellfire is surround by wishes
and desires," has described the road to eternal bliss.
Despite this, Allah and His Messenger have left breadcrumbs along the path, for us to follow to make our journey easier. All roads may lead to Rome, but not all paths lead to Allah and His Paradise. We must plan our journey by using only the road map given to us by Allah and His Messenger, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam.
Ways That Lead To Paradise:
Belief and Righteous Deeds are two of the best routes to Jannah (Paradise).
The door of righteous deeds is wide and the ways of obtaining rewards are
vast, as Allah says, "And those who believe and do good deeds they are the
inhabitants of Paradise, in it they shall abide."
Taqwa is the fear of the Most Merciful, and acting in accordance with the
Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam.
That is, hoping for the reward of Allah and avoiding disobedience of His
Guidance and fearing His Punishment. For Allah says, "Surely those of taqwa
shall be in the midst of Gardens and fountains."
The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, also said, "The most common thing
which leads people to Paradise is taqwa of Allah and good conduct, and the
most common thing which leads people to the Hell Fire is the mouth and the
Obedience of Allah and His Messenger is a sure way to Paradise. Allah,
subhanahu wa ta'ala, says, "And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He
will cause him to enter Gardens beneath which rivers flow, and whoever turns
back, He will chastise him with a painful chastisement."
Allah's Messenger, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, also said, "All of my
followers will enter Paradise except those who refuse." It was asked, "O
Messenger of Allah, who would refuse?" He said, "He who obeys me enters
Paradise and he who disobeys me has refused."
Fighting in the Path of Allah with one's goods and soul. For Allah says, "O
you who believe, shall I lead you to a merchandise which may deliver you from
a painful chastisement? You shall believe in Allah and His Messenger, and
struggle hard in Allah's Cause with your property and your lives; that is
better for you, if you but knew! He will forgive you your sins and cause you
to enter Gardens beneath which rivers flow, and goodly dwellings in Gardens
of perpetuity; that is the mighty achievement."
Repentance erases what came before it as the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa
sallam, said, "The one who repents form sin is like the one who never
And Allah says, "Except such as repent and believe
and do good, these shall enter the Garden, and they shall not be dealt with
unjustly in any way."
There are countless other means, from building a mosque to seeking Islamic knowledge to obeying our husbands and raising righteous children. All it takes is our time and sincere efforts. With all that Allah has described, it may seem daunting to us at times, that we will ever make it. Eman rises and falls, and with it our good deeds. But we should never lose hope in Allah, for the only one who loses hope in Allah is the one who disbelieves.
though we may feel that we are at the bottom of the pile, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) gives us hope. He said, "Mousa, alayhes salam,
asked his Lord, 'Who amongst the inhabitants of Paradise will be the lowest
in rank?' He (subhanahu wa ta'ala) said, 'He is a man who will come after the
people have entered Paradise and it will be said to him: Enter Paradise.' He
will say, 'How my Lord? Indeed, the people have settled in their apartments
and taken their shares.' It will be asked of him, 'Would you be pleased if
there was a kingdom for you like the kingdoms of the earth?' He will say, 'I
would be pleased, my Lord.' He will say, 'And for you is the like of that,
and the like of it, and the like of it.' He will say at the fifth time, 'I am
pleased, my Lord.' He will say, 'This is for you and ten times like it, and
for you is what you desire for yourself and what is pleasurable to your eye.'
He will say, "I am pleased my Lord."
This is what Allah has for the least among us. But despite all the glorious
castles, the beautiful clothes and mates we will posses, inshaAllah, He still
has in store for the believers the greatest honor awaiting them in Paradise.
Suhaib ibn Sinan narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam,
said, "When the inmates of Paradise enter Paradise and the inmates of
Hellfire will enter Hell, the announcer will say, 'O people of Paradise,
verily you have a promise with Allah and He wishes to fulfill His promise to
you.' They will ask, 'What is His promise? Has He not made our balances heavy
(with good deed), whitened our faces, admitted us into Paradise, and
delivered us from the Hellfire?' Then the screen will be removed and they
will look towards Him. By Allah He will not give them a thing more beloved to
them and more comforting to their eyes, than the gaze of Himself."
We were created in Paradise, we came out of it and we will inshaAllah go back to it. It is our destination and we shall reach it. But we have to do what Allah has asked us to do, for Paradise is not cheap. The price is true eman that is shown in obedience to Allah according to the sunnah of his Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam. The companions understood that. Their efforts were all for the life of the Hereafter and they gave only what was necessary to this worldly life. As Muslims, everything we do, can be, and should be worship of Allah. Whether we're working at the office to provide for our families; cooking a meal; raising our children, or simply resting, through remembrance of Allah and supplication, we can transform these earthly necessities into fruits that will bear for us in the life of the Hereafter.
So let us keep our eyes on the prize, and strive hard for it, for Allah says,
"And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them
in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good."
Women in Islam | Sufism - Islamic Mysticism | Islamic Jihad | Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) | Islamic History | Prayer in Islam | Islamic Marriage | Fasting in Ramadan | Eat Halal Foods | Worshipping Allah | Quran - Muslim Holy-book | Hajj - Pilgrimage in Islam | Islam - Fastest Growing Religion | Children in Islam | Islamic Finance | Conversion to Islam | Islam - Unseen | Biographies of Islamic Personalities | Myths about Islam