What are the Stages of Life in the Hereafter?
There fourteen stages in the life in the hereafter:
1-Life in the grave
2-Blowing of the trumpet
6-Delivering the book of deeds
1- Grave / Barzakh Life
“Then, He causeth him to die, and putteth him in his Grave; Then, when it is His will, He will raise him up (again).” (Abasa, 21-22).
The stage from the death of men in the world till they are resurrected after the apocalypse is called the life of grave. This life is also called “barzakh life or barzakh world” because it expresses the transitional period between the world and the hereafter. Barzakh means a drawback, barrier, or curtain between two things.
It is not necessary to put the body of a man in the grave for him to live the life in the grave. Whether the dead person is put into the grave or his body is eaten by wild animals or it is eaten by the fish in the sea or it is burnt to ashes, his life in the grave starts. It would be better to use the term barzakh life in order to prevent misunderstanding because grave means a place dug in the ground.
Our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) describes life in the grave as “the first stop of the hereafter” in a hadith . (Tirmizi, Zuhd, 5). In another hadith, our prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) says: “Grave is either a garden from the gardens of Paradise or a hole from the holes of Hell” , (Tirmizi, Qiyama, 26). stating that there will be torture or reward in the life in the grave.
In yet another hadith he says;
“After man dies and is put into the grave two angels called Munkar and Nakir will come and ask him questions like “Who is your Lord? Who is your Prophet? What is your religion?.... The believer answers these questions easily. As for the unbeliever, he cannot answer them and suffers grave torture”, (Tirmizi, Janaiz, 70). informing us about the life that will last till the day of resurrection.
2- Soor (Trumpet) and Blowing of the Trumpet
The trumpet is an instrument blown by the angel Hazrat Israfel to start the apocalypse and after the apocalypse to resurrect people and to gather them in the gathering place. According to what the Quranic verses tell us Hazrat Israfel will blow the trumpet twice. During the first blowing everything on the earth and in the heavens, except what Allah wishes, will be shaken fearing it and die and the apocalypse will take place. With the second blowing, everything will be resurrected and will run towards their Lord in order to gather in the gathering place. Let’s give one of these verses as an example:
“The trumpet shall be sounded, when behold! from the sepulchers (men) will rush forth to their Lord!” . (Ya Seen, 51.)
“The Trumpet will (just) be sounded, when all that are in the heavens and on earth will swoon, except such as it will please Allah (to exempt). Then will a second one be sounded, when, behold they will be standing and looking on!” (Zumar, 68).
3- Qiyama (Apocalypse)
“He (man) questions: "When is the Day of Resurrection?" At length, when the Sight is dazed, And the moon is buried in darkness. And the sun and moon are joined together―That Day will Man say "Where is the refuge?" By no means! no place of safety! Before thy Lord (alone), that Day will be the place of rest” (al-Qiyama, 6-12).
Qiyama has two meanings: the first one is the break down of the order in the universe, everything turning upside down, destruction of everything and the end of the world.
The second is the resurrection of dead people and their walk towards the gathering place. Qiyama in the first sense will start with the first blowing of the trumpet by Hazrat Israfel, in the second sense with the second blowing. So qiyama is a very important event that involves the death of all men and their resurrection.
The Quranic verses inform us about it. Allah states the following in one of the verses about qiyama:
“O mankind! fear your Lord! For the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgment) will be a thing terrible! The Day ye shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling-babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed): thou shalt see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah.”. (Al-Hajj, 1-2.)
Although the Quran mentions qiyama often, it does not answer the questions about the time of it and emphasizes that no one except Allah has any knowledge about it. Our Prophet (PBUH) gives some information in his hadiths that there will be some signs of the qiyama when it approaches.
4- Resurrection after death
During the history of mankind, the question of “death” occupied people’s minds in the past, it is occupying today and it seems that it will occupy in the future too. Man has the desire to live forever and does not want to die. However, no one can resist death and everybody becomes helpless against death.
The Quran informs us that resurrection is possible by reason and that it will definitely take place in various ways:
a. A being that creates something out of nothing can create it again a second time. The Quran proves this creation by the following verses:
“And he(man) makes comparisons for us, and forgets his own (Origin and) Creation: He says "Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?" Say "He will give them life Who created them for the first time! For He is well-versed in every kind of creation!” . (Ya Seen, 78-79.)
In another verse Allah states the following:
“O mankind! if ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm then out of a leech-like clot, then out a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (Our Power) to you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much)” . (Al-Hajj, 5.)
In this verse, Allah first mentions the course of man’s first creation concisely for the people who deny resurrection after death. Then He explains the stages of his first creation beginning from the stage of sperm to his coming to the world. Then with these statements He reminds man his miraculous creation out of nothing and makes man think logically about his second creation in the hereafter following his death. In addition He emphasizes that it should not be seen as far from being rational.
b. A being that creates something difficult can definitely create something easy. The creation of the earth and heavens is more difficult than the creation of man. Allah, who created the earth and heavens and holds them in the spaces without any support, is definitely capable of creating man again after his death. Furthermore, the first creation of man is more difficult than his second creation. Allah, who is capable of creating man for the first time, is more capable of creating him for the second time. This meaning is stated in the Quran through the following verses:
“See they not that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and never wearied with their creation is able to give life to the dead?” (Al-Ahqaf, 33.)
“It is He Who begins (the process of) creation; then repeats it; and for Him it is most easy.” (Ar,Room, 27.)
“Were We then weary with the first Creation, that they should be in confused doubt about a new Creation?” . (Qaf, 15.)
“(O ye people!) And your creation or your resurrection is in no wise but as an individual soul: for Allah is He Who hears and sees (all things).” (Luqman, 28).
It is explained in these verses that Allah, who created the heavens and the earth can create man more easily. It is also stated that since He was not incapable in the first creation, He will definitely not be incapable in the second creation, which is easier then the first one. Attention is attracted to the fact that men will be resurrected and come out of their graves. It is also emphasized that the creation of men out of nothing and their resurrection after death is as easy as the creation and resurrection of one man.
Difficulty and easiness depend on men
As a matter of fact concepts like difficulty and easiness are relative concepts. They are difficult or easy for us, for Allah there is nothing like difficult or easy. Everything is easy for him. We are weak beings created with a limited power, knowledge, will and all other things. Allah is eternal in all aspects and He is the supreme creator, who is omnipotent over all things. Since Allah’s power, knowledge, will, all of his attributes and names are endless, there is no difference for Him between few and many, big and small in creation. Therefore there is no difference for Him between the creation of an atom and the sun, creation of billions of men and one man. Nothing is difficult for Him. For Him to create a spring is as easy as to create a flower.
Allah addresses us in the Quran so that we can understand; therefore He uses those statements. As a matter of fact there is no difference for Him between the creation of an atom or the whole universe.
c. Allah, who revives the earth that is dead, can revive man too.
“And We send down from the sky Rain charged with blessing, and We produce therewith Gardens and Grain for harvests; And tall (and stately) palm-trees, with shoots of fruit-stalks piled one over another― As sustenance for (Allah's) Servants;― and We give (new) life therewith to land that is dead: Thus will be the Resurrection” . (Qaf, 9-11.)
The sultans that have the power of state and other groups that have the power reward people who obey the laws that they made and punish people who disobey them. Similarly, Allah, who has a magnificent sultanate of divinity, will reward those who obey Him and punish those who disobey Him. However, the rewards and punishments in this world are not applied sufficiently. So, there is another world where they will be applied completely. That world is the hereafter. Therefore everybody will be sent there willy-nilly.
The names of Allah necessitates the existence of the hereafter
The names of Allah show and want the hereafter and the resurrection there. Allah is eternal. Therefore His names and the manifestations of these names will be eternal. For instance the manifestations of Allah’s names, the Generous and the All Compassionate, are seen in the universe in the maximum way.
Allah is generous. That is, He has endless generosity. We see it in his granting various fruit and vegetables in the universe. He fills the laps of the trees with fruit and sends presents to the heads of plants. The world of plants seems to be servants. They carry Allah’s grants in convoys to men. The world of animals becomes another convoy. They bring grants like milk and meat. They are all evidences for an endless generosity and the owner of that generosity. However, the fact that man’s life is short shows that man could not and will not obtain the endless generosity in a short time. However, endless generosity wants to grant endlessly. Since the world is mortal, the manifestation of this name of Allah’s necessitates the existence of an eternal world where men will receive endless grants.
Similarly, Allah is All Compassionate. That is, He has endless compassion. One of its evidences is that He put compassion in the hearts of all mothers and ensured the protection of babies through compassion. For instance; a hen feeds its chick when it is young but takes its grain from it by hitting it when it gets old. This shows that it is not the mother that is compassionate towards the chick. It is Allah, who gives the mother the feeling of compassion and takes it back when its function ends. The protection of all young animals and babies through the compassion that is given to all mothers in the universe is the evidence for an endless compassion.
Through this compassion, mothers take pleasure in looking after their babies. A mother even sacrifices her life for her baby. However, the thought of parting from her baby without returning again makes the mother think of parting from her baby eternally; so this time compassion torments the mother. The owner of an endless compassion does not allow this eternal parting; because it is contrary to real compassion. So the evidences of the endless compassion seen in the universe want an eternal togetherness. He does not allow eternal disappearance. This shows the existence of life in the hereafter and that it is eternal.
Allah is also perfectly wise. That is, He has endless wisdom. We understand this wisdom by seeing that everything in the universe is created in accordance with a wisdom and purpose. For instance, when we are asked “Why are our ears like bowls?”, we say “so that they will collect the sounds”. When we ask “Why are leaves green?” a purpose or a benefit is stated. All sciences examine the universe. They discover wisdom, purpose or a benefit in everything and tell us about it. That is, they prove that the administrator of the universe operates with endless wisdom. Wise creation is opposite to unnecessariness, purposelessness, immoderation and planlessness. That is, a Wise being does not waste a being that operates wisely. So, the maker of the universe, who makes the whole universe a servant for man, does not put man into the ground so that he will not resurrect again, wasting all of the outcomes of the universe. So the wisdoms in the universe prove the existence of an eternal world.
We see that Allah gives each being the most suitable food and drink and that He feeds each being in the nicest and most affectionate way as a necessity of his name, the Sustainer. Since this world is mortal and transitory, His names are not manifested fully here. The manifestation of these names completely, fully and eternally necessitates the existence of the hereafter world and the resurrection of those who die here. Therefore Allah will bring the hereafter and revive us there again.
It should not be forgotten that when we, men, came to this world found everything at our disposal, like a newborn baby. A newborn baby does not prepare its cradle and the living environment that is necessary for it; similarly man did not prepare the living environment necessary for him when he came to this world. He found everything at his disposal when he came to this world. The Being that brought us here did not ask us before we came to this world whether we wanted to come here or not and did not consult us.
That Supreme Creator does not ask us when he takes us from childhood to youth, from youth to the old age and from old age to death whether we want them to happen or not. That is, he did not ask or consult us when He created us out of nothing and brought to this world; He does not ask or consult us when he takes us from this world; nor will he ask us when resurrecting us and gathering us.
The fact that a baby in the uterus denies the other world because it cannot perceive the world does not negate the world; similarly the fact that we cannot see the hereafter and that we deny it because we do not know its true nature does not negate the hereafter world, Paradise and Hell. To deny the hereafter does not prevent its existence. It prevents us from entering Paradise. What we should do is not to deny the hereafter but to believe that after death the gathering morning will come and the resurrection will take place as definitely as we believe that winter comes after autumn and morning comes after night and prepare ourselves for the hereafter with belief and good deeds.
With our denial we will be deprived of the happiness of the eternal Paradise life and will suffer from a great and irreparable harm. We will not revive by our own will and power in the hereafter. Allah will revive us just as we did not come to this world by our own will and power and Allah brought us by His power. Creation and resurrection are Allah’s deeds, not ours. What is impossible in terms our limited power is very easy for Allah’s power, and He will do it when it is due.
On the other hand, when we have a look at the baby in the uterus, we see that organs like hands, feet, eyes and ears are not necessary for the baby there and that it does not use them there. We understand by reason that the creator that gave it these organs gave them to the baby to use them in the world outside the uterus and that He created it for the outside world. Similarly, we cannot use some of the feelings that were given to us in this world sufficiently here. What is more, our feelings like living eternally and the desire of immortality have no corresponding feelings in this world. So the place to satisfy these desires is not here but the hereafter. This world is transitory for man like the uterus, as for the hereafter, it is the place to live eternally. The feelings of man and the spiritual and material instruments given to him do not fit in this world, and they want the hereafter.
Resurrection after death will take place both bodily and spiritually. This is very easy for Allah. As it is possible to give light to all of the lamps in the world from one center, the dead bodies will be given life in an instant. Just as the members of an army that take a rest come together at once, so will the souls come to the bodies and man will be resurrected in the twinkling of an eye.
“Thus in the gathering and dispersal that takes place every spring we see that in a very short time Allah gathers and then disperses millions of different kinds of animals and plants. He revives and restores the roots of all the trees and plants, as well as some animals. He recreates others in a form so similar as to be almost identical. The seeds which appear, in their outward form, to be so close to each other, nonetheless, in the course of six days or six weeks, become distinct and differentiated from each other, and then with extreme speed, ease and facility, are brought to life in the utmost order and equilibrium. Is it at all possible that for the One Who does all of this anything should be difficult; that He should be unable to create the heavens and the earth in six days; that He should be unable to resurrect men with a single blast? No, by no means is it possible!”
5- Gathering after Resurrection and Gathering Place
“They will come forth― their eyes humbled― from (their) graves, (torpid) like locusts scattered abroad, Hastening, with eyes transfixed, towards the Caller!― "Hard is this Day!" the Unbelievers will say. ”(al-Qamar, 7-8).
Gathering is Allah’s sending men to the gathering place after the resurrection for reckoning and bringing them together. The place where men gather is called the Gathering Place. There are a lot of verses in the Quran about gathering. We can give the following verse as an example.
“One Day He will gather them all together, and say to the angels "Was it you that these men used to worship?" (Saba, 40.)
It is stated in a hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) that the gathering place will be a smooth flat place, men will be sent to the gathering place as naked, barefoot, uncircumcised and faultless; while men wait in the gathering place, the sun will approach and they will sweat, that day men will be sent to the gathering place in three groups; on foot, riding and crawling face downwards. (Bukhari, Riqaq, 44-45.)
6- Receiving Book of Deeds
“Every man's fate We have fastened on his own neck: on the Day of Judgment We shall bring out for him a scroll, which he will see spread open. (It will be said to him:) "Read thine (own) record: sufficient is thy soul this day to make out an account against thee." (al-Isra, 13-14)
The Books of Deeds, in which the good and bad deeds men did in the world were recorded, will be given to men in the gathering place for reckoning. We do not know the true nature of these books.
Without doubt, they do not resemble the books we have in the world. If we use the jargon of today’s technology, we can liken them to candid cameras that record the vision and sound and then show these recordings to viewers.
An owner of knowledge and power, who can save plants in tiny seeds, big trees in small pips, men and animals in a drop of water and maintain their species, can record the deeds of men in a book; just as we save hundreds of pages of information and documents in a small CD. This issue is stated in the Quran as follows:
“And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before you); and thou wilt see the sinful in great terror because of what is (recorded) therein; they will say "Ah! woe to us! what a book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof!" They will find all that they did, placed before them: and not one will thy Lord treat with injustice” . (Al-Kahf, 49.)
The Books of Deeds will be given to the people of Paradise from the right side and the people of hell from the left side or from the back. Receiving the Book from the right side indicates good news that reckoning will be easy and receiving it from the left side indicates a hard reckoning.
“"O our Lord! cover (us) with Thy Forgiveness― me, my parents, and (all) Believers, on the Day that the Reckoning will be established!" (Ibrahim, 41).
After men receive their books in the hereafter Allah will start reckoning in accordance with the records in those books, nobody will be treated with injustice. There are a lot of verses in the Quran related to this issue. Some of them are as follows:
“That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned; no injustice will there be that Day, for Allah is Swift in taking account” . (al-Mumin, 17.)
“(It will be said to him:) "Read thine (own) record: sufficient is thy soul this day to make out an account against thee.". (al-Isra, 14.)
The Prophet (PBUH) informed us that men will definitely be questioned of the following five things on the Day of Judgment:
1. Where they spent their life,
2. Where they spent their youth,
3. Where they earned their property,
4. Where they spent their property,
5. Whether they applied what they knew or not.
8- Mizan (Scale)
“We shall set up scales of justice for the day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it (to account): and enough are We to take account”
Mizan, which means scale and balance, is the measurement of the divine justice that weighs the deeds of everybody in the hereafter following the reckoning. However, its true nature and the inside cannot be known by men. It does not resemble the scales or any other measuring or weighing devices in the world. After the weighing of the deeds, those whose good deeds are heavier than their bad deeds will reach salvation and those whose good deeds are lighter will go to Hell and suffer punishment there. The believers who go to Hell will be taken out of Hell and sent to Paradise after they suffer the punishment accounting for their faults. It is stated in the Quran that those whose good deeds are heavy will be in a pleasant life as follows:
“Then, he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) heavy Will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction. But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light― Will have his home in a (bottomless) pit. ” (al-Qaria, 6-10.)
“Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy - they will attain salvation: But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in Hell will they abide.” (Mumenoon, 102-103).
9- River and Pool of Kawthar
“(O Muhammad!) To thee have We granted the Fount (Of Abundance).” (al-Kawthar, 1)
Kawthar is one of the rivers of Paradise and it is also the name of the pool into which the waters of this river flow. The waters flowing from the river Kawthar gather in this pool in the Day of Judgment. When men are resurrected and gathered in the gathering place, our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) will be given the Kawthar pool. The first person to reach this pool will be our Prophet. Those who reach it and drink from it will never get thirsty again. As it is stated in hadiths, one side of this pool is so long that it takes a month to walk it; its water is whiter than milk, its scent is sharper than musk, its glasses are more than the stars in the sky . (Bukhari, Riqaq, 53.)
Sirat is used to mean a bridge or road laid across Hell. Everybody, whether a believer or an unbeliever, will cross this bridge.
It is stated in the hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH) that in accordance with their deeds some of the believers will cross it like lightning, some like wind, and some creeping, that all of the unbelievers and some of the believers whose sins are not forgiven will be thrown into Hell. Those crossing Sirat will enter Paradise. (Bukhari, Riqaq, 52.)
It is stated in the Quran that everybody will come round to Hell:
“Not one of you but will pass over it: this is, with thy Lord, a Decree which must be accomplished. But We shall save those who guarded against evil, and We shall leave the wrongdoers therein, (humbled) to their knees.” . (Maryam, 71-72.)
Sirat will definitely be in the form that Allah and His Messenger informed us and in the state that Allah knows and wishes. This bridge stretching across Hell to Paradise is in fact a bridge that man constructs during his life in the world with belief and good deeds. The deeds of man in this world come as a bridge in front of him in the hereafter. As a matter of fact we cross Sirat in this world. That is, we deserve to cross Sirat in this world by believing in the fundamentals of belief and by doing good deeds. Those who believe and do good deeds in the world will be able to cross it and those who do not believe and do not do good deeds will not be able to cross it.
As a matter of fact, since the hereafter world is a world of ghaib (unknown unseen, unfelt), we cannot understand the happenings there while we are in this world with our limited mind and organs. As the world and everything in it is ghaib for an unborn baby in the uterus the hereafter world is ghaib for us. Therefore we can only know the existence of Sirat bridge through the revelation Allah sends to His Messenger. However, we cannot understand its true nature.
Allah addresses us, men, in a style we can understand. He tells us about the unknown concepts related to life in the hereafter like Trumpet, Book of Deeds, Pool, Sirat, Scale, etc using the names of the objects we know in the world. Actually there are no relations or similarities between the beings there and those here. For instance, there are no similarities but similarities of name between Sirat bridge and the bridges in the world, the scale there and the scales here, the trumpet there and the trumpets and bugles here, the books there and the books here. Allah knows the true nature of them.
“No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His leave (hath been obtained).”(Yunus, 3).
11- Intercession (Shafaat):
It means for the believers who have sins to ask prophets, ulama (scholars) and martyrs, whom Allah allowed to intercede, to pray and beg Allah for their forgiveness and for those who do not have any sins to ask for ascension to higher degrees.
The Quran gives special significance to intercession and connects it with the issue of oneness. Some of the Quranic verses related to this issue are as follows:
“O Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth?”. (al-Baqara, 255.)
“ they offer no intercession except for those who are acceptable” (al-Anbiya, 28).
Allah can consent to the intercession of only His slaves who deserve to be forgiven as a necessity of His divine justice. The Prophet said the following in a hadith:
“Every prophet has a prayer peculiar to him that is accepted, and they have always prayed. However, I keep my prayer for the intercession for my umma in the hereafter.” (Bukhari, Daawat, 1.)
However, Muslims should not rely on the intercession and show laziness in applying the orders and the prohibitions of the religion, and they should never leave them. On the contrary, they should make a greater effort to act in accordance with those orders and prohibitions in order to deserve intercession. Or else, they may be deprived of intercession.
12- Purgatory (Araf)
Araf is the name given to the high castle and tower separating Paradise and Hell. In other words, Araf is a buffer zone between Paradise and Hell, separating them. There are some disputes over who will be the people of Araf; there are two views that became prominent.
1. People who were not informed about the call of any prophets and children of polytheists who died very young.
2. Believers whose good deeds and bad deeds are equal. They will have to wait between Paradise and Hell before they enter Paradise.
The followings is stated in the Quranic verse about the people of Araf::
“Between them shall be a veil, and on the Heights will be men who would know everyone by his marks: they will call out to the companions of the Garden "peace on you" they will not have entered, but they will have an assurance (thereof.) When their eyes shall be turned towards the companions of the Fire, they will say: "Our Lord! Send us not to the company of the wrong- doers." (al-Araf 46-47.)
However, Araf is not a place of permanent resident. After making the people of Araf wait there for a while temporarily, Allah will make a decision for them and send them to Paradise with his blessing.
“Say "The Truth is from your Lord": let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it): for the wrongdoers We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames), like the walls and roof of a tent will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass, that will scald their faces. How dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on!” (al-Kahf, 29).
“Indeed it throws about sparks (huge) as Forts, As if there were (a string of) yellow camels (marching swiftly)." (al-Murseaât, 32-33).
“When it sees them from a place far off, they will hear its fury and its raging sigh.” (al-Furqan, 12).
Hell is a place of torture where unbelievers will stay continuously and where sinful believers will be punished and stay temporarily in accordance with their sins.
When we have a look at all of the verses about Hell in the Quran, we understand the following from their meanings concisely: Although fire punishment forms the main punishment in hell, it is a vast place of punishment where, spiritual and material, what we can think of and what we cannot think of, all kinds of anguish, pain, torture that influence all of the feelings of man are present.
Unbelievers will stay in Hell eternally and they will never be able to leave Hell. As for sinful believers, they will suffer punishment in accordance with their sins and then they will be taken out of Hell and sent to Paradise.
As it happens in all stages of life in the hereafter, the spirit and the body together will suffer Hell torture. However, the pain, anguish, agony, torture, fire, etc cannot be likened to those in this world. Only Allah knows their true nature and inside; it is impossible for men to know them in this world.
“But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is Gardens, beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom they say: "Why this is what we were fed with before" for they are given things in similitude; and they have therein companions pure (and holy); and they abide therein (forever).” (al-Baqara, 25).
Paradise is a place in the hereafter which is adorned with various blessings and which believers will live eternally.
When we examine the Quran, we see that the Quran describes Paradise and the people of Paradise as follows:
Paradise is a place whose width is that of the heavens and of the earth; and a place where neither excessive heat nor excessive cold is present. There are rivers of clean water, rivers of incorruptible milk and pure honey, a fresh water spring with a scent of ginger and a drink that leaves the scent of musk after drinking. Paradise wine is a kind of drink that does not give headache nor makes drunk; it gives joy to drinkers and it comes out of a snow-white spring. It does not make drunk or give headache, it does not tempt people to commit sins, or make people do nonsense things. There are various fruits, dates, pomegranates, grapevines, cedar trees without thorns, banana-trees with fruits piled one above another and various bird flesh. (Aal-e-Imran, 3/133; al-Insan, 76/13, 18; Muhammad, 47/15; al-Mutaffifin, 83/25-26; as-Saaffat, 37/45-47; al-Waqia, 56/21, 28-29; at-Tur, 52/23; ar-Rahman, 55/68; an-Naba, 78/32.)
The clothes of the people of Paradise are of fine silk and heavy brocade; their adornments are of gold, their houses are beautiful, immortal youths walk around them to serve them, these youths are thought to be scattered pearls because of their beauties; they will pass round dishes and goblets of gold. There will be there all that the souls could desire all that the eyes could delight in. there are mansions built one above another beneath which flow rivers. There are pure companions with special creation. They and their associates will be in pleasant shade, reclining on thrones. The people of Paradise whose spite in their hearts were taken away by Allah sit facing each other on thrones as brothers. There is no tiredness or inconvenience here for them. They will not hear any vanity or untruth. (Ak-Kahf, 21, 31; al-Insan, 19, 21; al-Hajj, 23; al-Fatır, 33; at-Tauba, 72; az-Zukhruf, 71; az-Zumar, 20; al-Baqara, 25; al-Waqia, 35-38; as-Saaffat, 48-49; an-Naba, 33, 35; Ya Seen, 56; al-Hijr, 47.)
Paradise blessings are so beautiful that man’s mind and imagination cannot envisage them. There are all kinds of immaterial and material, bodily and spiritual tastes and joys with all details there. When Allah mentions the blessings there, He explains them by likening them to the worldly blessings so that we can understand them. As a matter of fact, only their names resemble the blessings here, not any other qualities. They are unique blessings prepared in accordance with the conditions of Paradise not the conditions of the world. The Prophet explains the blessings of Paradise in a divine hadith as follows:
“"Allah said, "I have prepared for My righteous slaves such excellent things as no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard nor a human heart can ever think of. "” (Bukhari, “Tafseer”, sura 32; Tawheed, 35; Muslim, Jannah, 1; Tirmizi, “Tafseer”, sura 32.)
No doubt, the greatest blessing in Paradise is to receive the consent of Allah and to see Allah. The following is stated in the Quran related to this issue:
“…the greatest bliss is in the Good Pleasure of Allah: that is the Supreme Felicity.” (At-Tauba, 72. )
On the other hand, believers in the hereafter will see Allah after they enter Paradise. There is no definite information about the true nature and quality of this sight.
The following is stated in a verse in the Quran: “Some faces, that Day, will beam (in brightness and beauty)― Looking towards their Lord.” . (Al-Qiyama, 22-23.)
Our Prophet (PBUH) says the following when talking about how believers will see Allah:
“Certainly you will see your Lord as you see this moon.” (Bukhari, Mawakit, 16; Tawheed, 24; Muslim, Eeman, 81; Tirmizi, Jannah, 15.)
Paradise and the life there is eternal and the people of Paradise will live there eternally. What makes Paradise Paradise and what makes the life there valuable is the fact that it is eternal and immortal. If Paradise were temporary and mortal like this world and if there were death there, it would not have any value in spite of all of its beauties and advantageous blessings. So, eternity and immortality alone are great blessings in Paradise; and what makes Paradise valuable is this property.
We should not forget that Paradise is obtained in this world. To obtain Paradise it is necessary to believe in the existence and oneness of Allah, His angels, His books, His prophets, Day of Judgment, decree and destiny; to do good deeds in accordance with the Quran and the sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) encompassed by the consent of Allah and to live in accordance with Islamic ethic. There is no other way of salvation. Therefore we should all make a great effort in this world to obtain Paradise. May Allah let all of us enter Paradise and live there eternally reaching His consent. Amen.
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