Jannah (Paradise) in Islam
Heaven in Islam
is described in the Qur'an as an eternal afterlife of peace and bliss, where the faithful and righteous are rewarded. They will be restful in the presence of Allah, in "gardens beneath which rivers flow." Jannah comes from an Arabic word which means "to cover or hide something." Heaven, therefore, is a place which is unseen to us.
The Quran describes that Jannah is "...a beautiful place of final return – a garden of eternity, whose doors will always be open to them" [38:49-50].
Throughout our lives, we strive to believe in and serve Allah, with one of the goal of being admitted to heaven (Jannah). We hope that our eternal lives will be spent there, so of course people are curious about what it is like. Only Allah knows, but He describes some of it for us in the Qur'an. What will heaven be like?
Pleasure of Allah:
Of course, the greatest reward in Heaven is receiving Allah's pleasure and mercy. This honor is saved for those who believe in Allah and strive to live in accordance with His guidance.
The Quran says: "Say, "Shall I inform you of [something] better than that? For those who fear Allah will be gardens in the presence of their Lord beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and purified spouses and good pleasure from Allah. And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants" [3:15]
"Allah will say, "This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness." For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment" [5:119]
The most significant description of heaven is as a beautiful garden, filled with greenery and flowing water.
"But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is gardens, beneath which rivers flow" [2:25]
"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous" [3:133]
"Allah hath promised to Believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme felicity" [9:72]
In Islam, Heaven is understood to be a place of everlasting life.
"But those who have faith and work righteousness, they are companions of the garden. Therein shall they abide forever" [2:82]
"For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath - an eternal dwelling. How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)! "[3:136]
“The example of Paradise, which the righteous have been promised, is [that] beneath it rivers flow. Its fruit is lasting, and its shade. That is the consequence for the righteous, and the consequence for the disbelievers is the Fire”. [13:35]
Natural beauty and greenery are among Paradise's wonderful blessings. Mansions built in gardens, right next to springs, are another beauty. Paradise, in which there is "neither burning sun nor bitter cold" (Surat al-Insan, 13), has such a pleasant climate that no one is made uncomfortable. It contains no exhausting sweaty heat or freezing cold. In Paradise, Allah will admit believers into "cool, refreshing shade" [4:57]
"The heedful will be amid Gardens and springs." [15:45]
"The heedful will be in shady nooks by springs" [77:41]
Doors of Jannah:
In addition to other descriptions of Jannah (heaven), Islamic tradition describes heaven as having eight "doors" or "gates." Some scholars interpret that these doors are found inside Jannah, after one enters the main gate. The exact nature of these doors is unknown, but they were mentioned in the Quran and their names were given by the Prophet Muhammad.
To those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle. Such is Our reward for those in sin.[7:40]
And those who feared their Lord 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! You have done well! Enter here, to dwell therein.' [39:73]
'Narrated Abu Huraira (RA) : Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Whoever gives two kinds (of things or property) in charity for Allah's Cause, will be called from the gates of Paradise and will be addressed, 'O slaves of Allah! Here is prosperity.' So, whoever was amongst the people who used to offer their prayers, will be called from the gate of the prayer; and whoever was amongst the people who used to participate in Jihad, will be called from the gate of Jihad; and whoever was amongst those who used to observe fasts, will be called from the gate of Ar-Raiyan; whoever was amongst those who used to give in charity, will be called from the gate of charity." [Sahih al-Bukhari 1897, Vol. 3, Book 31, Hadith 121]
It is natural to wonder: What will happen to those people who have earned the privilege to enter Jannah through more than one gate?
Abu Bakr (RA) had the same question, and he eagerly asked the Prophet Muhammad: "Will there be anyone who will be called from all these gates?" The Prophet answered him, "Yes. And I hope you will be one of them." [Sahih al-Bukhari 1897, Vol. 3, Book 31, Hadith 121]
Yahya related to me from Malik from Suhayl ibn Abi Salih from his father from Abu Hurayra (RA) :That the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "The doors of the Garden are opened on Monday and Thursday. Every muslim slave who does not associate anything with Allah is forgiven except for the man who has enmity between him and his brother. It is said, 'Leave these two until they have made reconciliation. Leave these two until they have made reconciliation.' " [Muwatta Malik - Good Character, Book 47, Hadith 17]
Levels of Jannah:
What you may be familiar with when it comes to Muslim Heaven is the idea of levels – Muslims do believe there are different levels of Heaven but there is no solid number on just how many they are, although some Islamic texts do say there are seven. The levels of Heaven represent closeness to Allah – the higher the level the closer to the understanding of Allah.
With regard to numbers, there is one Hell and one Paradise, but each of them has degrees and levels. Paradise is sometimes mentioned in the plural in the Sunnah, but this does not mean that there are several types of Paradise; rather this is indicative of its greatness and the various degrees and levels in it, or it is indicative of the greatness of the reward of the one who enters it.
According, to a hadeeth: Narrated Anas bin Malik (RA): Um Ar-Rubai'bint Al-Bara', the mother of Hartha bin Suraqa came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, "O Allah's Prophet! Will you tell me about Hartha?" Hartha has been killed (i.e. martyred) on the day of Badr with an arrow thrown by an unidentified person. She added, "If he is in Paradise, I will be patient; otherwise, I will weep bitterly for him." He said, "O mother of Hartha! There are Gardens in Paradise and your son got the Firdaus al-ala (i.e. the best place in Paradise). [Sahih al-Bukhari 2809, Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 64]
We know of no limit to the number of degrees and levels in Paradise. It was said that their number is equal to the number of verses in the Qur’aan. Based on the hadeeth, Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr: That the Prophet (ﷺ) said: "It shall be said (meaning to the one who memorized the Qur'an) 'Recite, and rise up, recite (melodiously) as you would recite in the world. For indeed your rank shall be at the last Ayah you recited.” [Grade: Hasan (Darussalam), Vol. 5, Book 42, Hadith 2914]
The one who is keen should set his sights on the highest position in Paradise and strive to earn the pleasure of Allah and enter the Paradise of al-Firdaus, which is the highest that Allah has promised.
'Ubadah bin As-Samit narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: "In Paradise, there are hundred levels, what is between every two levels is like what is between the heavens and the earth. Al-Firdaus is the highest level, and from it the four rivers of Paradise are made to flow forth. So when you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaus." [Grade: Sahih (Darussalam), Vol. 4, Book 12, Hadith 2531]
“ Verily! Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous deeds shall have the Gardens of Al-Firdaus (the Paradise) for their entertainment”. [18:107]
Who will inherit al-Firdaus. They will abide therein eternally. [23:11]
Narrated AbuUmamah: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he were in the right, a house in the middle of Paradise for a man who avoids lying even if he were joking, and a house in the upper part of Paradise for a man who made his character good. [Grade: Hasan (Al-Albani), Sunan Abi Dawud 4800, Book 42, Hadith 4782]
Who shall inherit Firdaus? [23:1-10]
1. Successful indeed are the believers.
2. Those who with their Salah are Khashi`un (with fear and with tranquillity).
3. And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (It refers to falsehood, which includes Shirk and sin, and any words or deeds that are of no benefit.).
4. And those who pay the Zakah.
5. And those who guard their private parts.
6. Except from their wives or their right hand possessions, for then, they are free from blame.
7. But whoever seeks beyond that, those are the transgressors.
8. Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat and to their covenants.
9. And those who strictly guard their Salawat.
10. These are indeed the heirs. Who shall inherit Firdaus. They shall dwell therein forever.
Abu Huraira(RA) reported Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) as saying that: Allah the Exalted and Glorious, said: I have prepared for My pious servants which no eye has ever seen, and no ear has ever heard, and no human heart has ever perceived but it is testified by the Book of Allah. He then recited:" No soul knows what comfort has been concealed from them, as a reward for what they did".[32:17] [Sahih Muslim 2824 a, Book 40, Hadith 6780]
Can you imagine?
Wearing the finest silk clothing and sitting on chairs made of gold and precious stones?
"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."[Qur'an 76:12-21]
“Is the description of Paradise, which the righteous are promised, wherein are rivers of water unaltered, rivers of milk the taste of which never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink, and rivers of purified honey, in which they will have from all [kinds of] fruits and forgiveness from their Lord” [Qur'an 47:15]
Narrated Abu Ubaida(RA): I asked `Aisha (RA) 'regarding the verse:--'Verily we have granted you the Kauthar.' She replied, "The Kauthar is a river which has been given to your Prophet on the banks of which there are (tents of) hollow pearls and its utensils are as numberless as the stars." [Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 489]
Hakim bin Mu'awiyah narrated from his father, that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: "Indeed in Paradise there is a sea of water, and a sea of honey, and a sea of milk, and a sea of wine, then the rivers shall split off afterwards." [Grade: Hasan (Darussalam), Vol. 4, Book 12, Hadith 2571]
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Saihan, Jaihan, Euphrates and Nile are all among the rivers of Paradise. [Sahih Muslim 2839, Book 40, Hadith 6807]
And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe. [Qur'an 6:99]
And within the land are neighboring plots and gardens of grapevines and crops and palm trees, [growing] several from a root or otherwise, watered with one water; but We make some of them exceed others in [quality of] fruit. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason. [13:4]
Sahl b. Sa'd (RA) reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: In Paradise, there is a tree under the shadow of which a rider can travel for a hundred years without covering (the distance) completely. This hadith has also been transmitted on the authority of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (RA) that Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) is reported to have said: In Paradise, there is a tree under the shadow of which a rider of a fine and swift-footed horse would travel for a hundred years without covering the distance completely. There would be the pleasure of Allah for the inmates of Paradise and He would never be annoyed with them. [Sahih Muslim 2827, 2828, Book 40, Hadith 6786]
Abu Ayyub (RA) narrated that a Bedouin came to the Prophet (s.a.w) and said: "O Messenger of Allah, indeed, I love horses. Are there horses in Paradise?" The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: "If you are admitted into Paradise, you shall be brought a horse of rubies with two wings, then you shall be carried on it, then it will fly with you wherever you want." [Grade: Hasan (Darussalam), Vol. 4, Book 12, Hadith 2544]
Anas b. Malik(RA) reported on the authority of Malik b. Sa sa', perhaps a person of his tribe, that the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) said: I was then brought a white beast which is called al-Buraq, bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule. Its stride was as long as the eye could reach. I was mounted on it, and then we went forth till we reached the lowest heaven. [Sahih Muslim 164 a, Book 1, Hadith 314]
"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 Hoor 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." [Qur'an 56:10-38]
Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "The people of Paradise will look at the dwellers of the 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 on the horizon; all that is because of their superiority over one another (in rewards)." On that the people said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Are these lofty mansions for the prophets which nobody else can reach? The Prophet (ﷺ) replied," No! "By Allah in whose Hands my life is, these are for the men who believed in Allah and also believed in the Apostles." [Sahih al-Bukhari 3256, Vol. 4, Book 54, Hadith 478]
'Ali narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: "Indeed in Paradise there are chambers whose outside can be seen from their inside, and their inside can be seen fom their outside." A Bedouin stood and said: "Who are they for O Prophet of Allah?" he said: "For those who speak well, feed others, fast regularly, and perform Salat for Allah during the night while the people sleep." [Grade: Hasan (Darussalam), Vol. 4, Book 12, Hadith 2527]
Abu Bakr bin 'Abdullah bin Qais narrated from his father that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: And from the chain it is reported from the Prophet (s.a.w) he said: "Indeed in Paradise there is a great tent of hollowed pearl, its breadth is sixty miles, in every corner of it is a family, they do not see the others, and the believer goes around to them." [Grade: Sahih (Darussalam), Vol. 4, Book 12, Hadith 2528]
Abu Hurairah narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) that he said: "The people of Paradise are without body hair, Murd, with Kohl (on their eyelids), their youth does not come to an end, and their clothes do not wear out." [Grade: Hasan (Darussalam), Vol. 4, Book 12, Hadith 2539]
Anas b. Malik reported that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: In Paradise there is a street to which they would come every Friday. The north wind will blow and would scatter fragrance on their faces and on their clothes and would add to their beauty and loveliness, and then they would go back to their family after having an added lustre to their beauty and loveliness, and their family would say to them: By Allah, you have been increased in beauty and loveliness after leaving us, and they would say: By Allah, you have also increased in beauty and loveliness after us. [Sahih Muslim 2833, Book 40, Hadith 6792]
Hammam b. Munabbih reported: These are some of the aheedith which Abu Huraira reported from Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and one is this that he is reported to have said: The (members of the) first group that would be admitted to Paradise would have their faces as bright as full moon during the night. They would neither spit nor suffer catarrh, nor void excrement. They would have their utensils and their combs made of gold and silver and the fuel of their braziers would be aloes and their sweat would be musk and every one of them would have two spouses (so beautiful) that the marrow of their shanks would be visible through the flesh. There would be no dissension amongst them and no enmity in their hearts. Their hearts would be like one heart, glorifying Allah morning and evening. [Sahih Muslim 2834 e, Book 40, Hadith 6797]
Opportunity to see Allah:
Suhaib narrated concerning His (Allah's) statement: For those who do good is the best (reward) and even more- the Prophet (s.a.w) said: "When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, a caller shall call out: 'Indeed you have a promise with Allah.' They will say: 'Did he not whiten our faces, save us from the Fire, and admit us into Paradise?' They will say: 'Indeed.' Then the Veil shall be lifted." He said: "So, by Allah, He did not grant them anything more beloved to them than looking at Him." [Grade: Sahih (Darussalam), Vol. 4, Book 12, Hadith 2552]
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: "Do you crowd one another in order to see the moon on the night of a full moon? Do you crowd one another in order to see the sun?" They said: "No." He said: "So verily, you shall see your Lord as you see the moon on the night of a full moon, you shall not crowd one another to see Him." [Grade: Sahih (Darussalam), Vol. 4, Book 12, Hadith 2554]
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