Are there rivers that originate/come from Paradise?

The Details of the Question
There are a lot of water bodies like waterfalls and rivers on earth. There are also fresh water bodies flowing underground. Where is the origin of those water bodies?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The origin of every river is in a different place. However, all water bodies and rivers come from Allah's treasure of mercy. As a matter of fact, it is narrated that some rivers come from Paradise.

The number of the rivers coming from Paradise is mentioned as three in some narrations and four and five in others. For instance, while explaining the sentence “For among rocks there are some from which rivers gush forth” in verse 74 of the chapter of al-Baqara in his book called Sözler (Words), Badiuzzaman Said Nursi attracts attention to the rivers like the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates and quotes the hadith “The source of each of those three rivers is in Paradise.” In most of the hadith books including Muslim, four rivers that come from Paradise are mentioned. The hadith is as follows:

“The Sayhan, Jayhan, Euphrates and Nile are all among the rivers of Paradise.”1

The translation of the same hadith reported by Abu Hurayra is as follows in Musnad:

“Four rivers gush forth from Paradise: the Euphrates, the Nile, the Sayhan, and the Jayhan.”2

Fakhrddin ar-Razi quotes the following narration from Ibn Abbas in the explanation of verse 20 of the chapter of al-Muminun:  

“Allah Almighty sent down five rivers from Paradise: the Sayhun, Jayhun, Tigris, Euphrates and Nile.”3

In the “Isra” hadith in Bukhari, when the Prophet (pbuh) and Jibril travel on the Night of Miraj (Ascension), they arrive at Sidratul-Muntaha (the lote tree at the utmost boundary); Jibril states the following:

“This is Sidratul-Muntaha. Four river were emerging from the bottom of this tree. Two rivers were visible and two were invisible." The Messenger of Allah asked,

‘O Jibril! What are those four rivers?’ Jibril said,

‘The invisible rivers are two rivers in Paradise; the visible rivers are the rivers of the Nile and Euphrates.”4

The result obtained from the apparent meanings of those hadiths is as follows: The rivers the Euphrates, Tigris, Sayhan, Jayhan and Nile come from Paradise; their real source is there.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi makes the best explanation about those rivers coming from Paradise:

“It is certainly not possible that the mountains could be the actual source of such mighty rivers. For let us suppose the water was cut completely and the mountains each became a conical reservoir, they would only persist a few months before losing the balance to the swift and abundant flow of those large rivers. And the rain, which penetrates only about a meter into the earth, would not be sufficient income for that high expenditure. This means that the springs of these rivers are not something ordinary and natural arising from chance, but that the All-Glorious Creator makes them flow forth from an unseen treasury in truly marvelous fashion.Thus, alluding to this mystery and stating this meaning, it is narrated in a Hadith: “Each of those three rivers is a drop from Paradise which continuously issues forth from Paradise, as a result of which they are sources of abundance.”5

Yes, it is obvious and clear that all of those estuaries, springs, streams and big rivers, whose benefits, duties and flows are full of wisdom, emerge from Allah Almighty’s treasury of mercy. For, those rivers are beyond the apparent reasons:  

"That is, they transcend by far apparent causes, and flow forth instead from the treasury of a non-material Paradise, from the superabundance of an unseen and inexhaustible source. For example, the blessed Nile, that turns the sandy land of Egypt into a paradise, flows from the Mountains of the Moon in the south without ever being exhausted, as if it were a small sea. If the water that flowed down the river in six months were gathered together in the form of a mountain and then frozen, it would be larger than those mountains. But the place in the mountains where the water is lodged and stored is less than a sixth of their mass. As for the water that replenishes the river, the rain that enters the reservoir of the river is very sparse in that torrid region and is quickly swallowed up by the thirsty soil; hence it is incapable of maintaining the equilibrium of the river. A tradition has thus grown up that the blessed Nile springs, in miraculous fashion, from an unseen Paradise.”6


1. Muslim, Jannah:26.
2. Musnad, 2:261, 289, 440.
3. Futuhul-Ghayb, 23:89.
4. Sahih Bukhari Tajrid Sarikh translation,10:71,
5. Sözler (Words), Yirminci Söz (Twentieth Word), p. 260.
6. Şualar (Rays), p. 94.

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