With the permission of Allah, can it be expected that someone who is in a lower rank in Paradise will rise in rank?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Allah might elevate the rank of a person in Paradise by giving him extra rewards for a good deed. However, Allah is al-Hakim (the All-Wise). He will give people bounties to the extent that they deserve. 

The ranks in Paradise should not be considered as layers or floors of a building. All believers will be in the same Paradise. Everybody will make use of everything as much as they want. However, the pleasures and tastes they will take from those bounties will be different. This difference will not be known; everybody will think that they receive the best bounties.  

Besides, man’s benefitting from Paradise will be based on his lifestyle in the world.  The saying “A person who says alhamdulillah here will eat alhamdulillah there” expresses this fact. That is, none of the good deeds we do in this world will be lost; they will be given to us in the form of Paradise bounties there.

Allah is absolutely just. He will not lose the deeds of anybody; He will reward everybody based on their deeds. Therefore, when a person who does a lot of good deeds and a person who does fewer good deeds go to Paradise, they will benefit from Paradise differently.

When a person whose sense of taste is not very good and a person whose sense of taste is perfect eat the same fruit, the pleasure they take from the same fruit will not be the same. The situation in Paradise will be like that. Both of them will be in Paradise but the pleasure they take will be different.

A prophet and a student of a religious school will not take the same pleasure when they listen to the Quran even when they are in the same place. Being in the same place does not necessarily mean that they will take the same pleasure. Therefore, in the hereafter where material and spiritual bounties deserve to be in Paradise, two friends or two spouses will not take the same pleasure even if they are in the same place. Nothing can prevent them from being together.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi explains the hadith we have just mentioned regarding the issue as follows:

“We shall allude to this elevated truth with a comparison. For example, a magnificent personage set up a vast banquet and finely-adorned spectacle in a splendid garden.

He prepared it in such a way that it included all the delicious foods that the sense of taste can experience, and all the fine things that please the sense of sight, and all the wonders that amuse the faculty of imagination, and so on; he included in it everything that would gratify and give pleasure to the external and inner senses.

Now, there were two friends and they went together to the banquet and sat down at a table in a pavilion. But the sense of taste of one of them was very limited, so he received only minor pleasure. His eyes could see only a little, he had no sense of smell, and he could not understand the wondrous arts nor comprehend the marvels. He could only benefit from and take pleasure in a thousandth or even a millionth of that beautiful place, to the extent of his capacity. The other man however had developed his outer and inner senses, his mind, heart, emotions, and subtle faculties so perfectly and to such a degree that although he was next to his friend, he could perceive and experience all the subtleties and beauties and marvels and fine things in the exhibition, and receive their different pleasures.

Since this confused, sorrowful, and narrow world is thus, and although the greatest and the least are together, the difference between them is as great as from the ground to the Pleiades, surely in Paradise, the realm of bliss and eternity, while friend is together with friend, each will receive his share from the table of the Most Merciful and Compassionate One in accordance with his capacity and to the extent of his abilities.

Even if the Paradises in which they are found are different, it will not be an obstacle to their being together. For although the eight levels of Paradise are one above the other, the roof of all of them is the Sublime Throne.1 If there are walled circles round a conical mountain, one within the other and one above the other from its foot to the summit, the circles are one over the other and look to one another, but do not prevent each other seeing the sun. There are also various narrations of Hadiths indicating that the Paradises are in a manner close to this. (see Sözler, Yirmi Sekizinci Söz)

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