What does the statement "… nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle…" mentioned in verse 40 of the chapter of al-Araf mean?

The Details of the Question

What does the statement "… nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle…" mentioned in verse 40 of the chapter of al-Araf mean?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- Since the Quran is a message sent to humans, it is a necessity of eloquence for it to address its addressees with a style that they can understand.

- The Quran was sent down in Arabic since its first addressees were Arabs. Literary arts like similes, metaphors and synecdoche are used a lot in the Arabic language. Thus, it is appropriate for the Quran to use the current style in the language it was sent down and to include the metaphors and similes used in that language.

- The simile “nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle” originates from this literary style. What is sought in this kind of style is whether it contributes to the fact that is intended to be expressed or not. If it helps the fact that is intended to be explained to be understood better, it is understood that this style is appropriate in terms of eloquence; otherwise, it is understood that this style does not have a literary aspect if it does not make a contribution like that.

- There are some criteria about the issue of entering Paradise, which is an issue of ghayb (unknown), in the Quran. Belief and good deeds are necessary to enter Paradise; unbelief and disobedience is the biggest thing preventing a person from entering Paradise. To use the way of simile is a style that the Quran uses a lot in order to show this issue of ghayb. Such a simile is used in the verse in order to show a fact, to explain it with an example and the show it through a window that can be perceived easily by everybody: “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.”(al-Araf, 7/40)

- In the verse above, the camel is chosen among the living beings. For, the greatest animal in the eye of Arabs, who were the first addressees of the Quran, was the camel. In addition, the eye of a needle is mentioned because it is the narrowest hole. It is impossible for a camel to pass through that narrow eye of the needle with its big body. Therefore, it is impossible for unbelievers to enter Paradise.

It has nothing that can be found odd logically. Just as it is impossible for a rope or camel to pass through the eye of a needle so too is it impossible for a denier to enter Paradise. There cannot be a more compassionate warning for people than giving such a clear example to show people that unbelief is a blind alley in this world, where it is always possible to change one’s way.

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