Why do people need extra houses in Paradise?

The Details of the Question

- The Prophet (pbuh) said that whoever built a mosque, Allah would build a similar house in Paradise for him.
- My question is this: Everybody will have a house in Paradise. So why does a person need an extra house?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The fact that a person who cannot be in many places at the same time and can only be in one place has houses such as summer houses and winter houses even in this ephemeral, painful and temporary world shows that having thousands of palaces in the infinite and eternal realm is very wise for a person who can be in countless places at once.

We should also keep in mind all the time that it is very difficult for someone in the lower dimensions to properly understand the higher dimensions.

For example, it is very difficult for a creature living in the x-y plane to understand the additional “z” axis to x-y, forming the third dimension. Sometimes you just have to accept.

We are in a body created from soil in this world. Our spirit is subtle and luminous, but this luminous spirit is limited to the body created from soil. Therefore, that a mortal body created from soil cannot meet the dreams of the luminous soul that wants everlastingness. The dreams of that luminous soul can only be fulfilled by Allah, who created us, and who is the eternal light, the Everlasting.

For this reason, everybody in the world, without exception, actually seeks Allah, but some are aware of it and some are not aware of it; and some reject it. However, they seek Allah in any case.

It is very difficult for us to imagine Paradise, which is the realm of light, from the world. Our Lord tells us about it through similes. Although we will have a body worthy of the hereafter and our bodily pleasures in Paradise, it will be above all our imaginations.

Everyone will have their own private palaces, vineyards and gardens; there will also be places that everyone can benefit from.

Since there will be no worldly worries and bad habits like jealousy, possessiveness and hoarding, we can say that all Paradise is ours. All the mansions and palaces are ours. Since it is possible to reach many places and be in many places at once with a relatively fine body, we will be able to use many mansions and palaces.

For example, we do not share our shirt, which is of little value to us, with anyone in the world, but we share the Sun, which means a lot for us, maybe with all people, and no one is jealous of the Sun.

Thus, like this example, the palaces and mansions that our Lord God will bestow upon us are diverse and they are all for us. We can go wherever we want, whenever we want, and do whatever we want.

And we will definitely be able to see the names of our Lord from Paradise without a veil. Probably, each pavilion will be the structures that show them to us in the most beautiful way.

It will be more appropriate to do with what our Lord tells us in His Book and what His Messenger (pbuh) says on these issues, pertaining to ghayb (the unseen/unknown), and to say, “Our Lord has done the best and the most beautiful for us” on issues that are difficult for us to understand.

A hadith narration regarding the issue is as follows:

“Some people of Paradise are given a place the size of the earth; hundreds of thousands of pavilions and hundreds of thousands of houris are bestowed.” (See Tirmidhi, Jannah: 17, Tafsiru Suratil-Qiyamah: 2.)

The blessings reported in this hadith are not metaphors, they are real because there are two main reasons that make the bestowal of so many blessings reasonable.

Firstly, there is no limit to the emotions and faculties placed in the human nature.

With this aspect, man is such a great miracle of power that even in this ephemeral world, in this short life, due to the needs of some of his undeveloped jokes, if the sultanate, wealth and delicacies of the whole world were given, perhaps his ambition would not be satisfied. On the other hand, a person who is in eternal bliss, possesses endless talent, knocks on the door of an endless mercy with the language of endless needs, with the hand of endless desires, of course, the divine favors stated in the hadiths are reasonable, right and true.

Secondly, Paradise and human life in Paradise are eternal. From the perspective of eternal life, these blessings given in Paradise are perfectly normal and reasonable because no matter how large the number is, it is nothing compared to infinity. In other words, since man will be bestowed eternal life, giving him so many palaces and houris is a necessity of wisdom and mercy.

Besides, there are signs that houris are abundant in many verses and hadiths. Let us have a look at them as examples:

“As to the Righteous (they will be) in a position of Security, Among Gardens and Springs; Dressed in fine silk and in rich brocade, they will face each other; So; and We shall join them to fair women with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes” (ad-Dukhan, 44/51-54)

“Verily for the righteous there will be a fulfillment of (the Heart’s) desires; Gardens enclosed and Grape-vines; Companions of Equal Age; And a Cup full (to the Brim).” (an-Naba, 78/31-34)

“Therein will they recline (at ease); therein can they call (at pleasure) for fruit in abundance and (delicious) drink; And beside them will be chaste women restraining their glances (companions) of equal age.” (Sad, 38/51, 52)

We have created (their Companions) of special creation. And made them virgin-pure (and undefiled) Beloved (by nature) equal in age.” (al-Waqia, 56/35-38)

Many feelings and thoughts of man are at the nucleus level when he comes to the world. He develops his powers at the level of this nucleus over time and brings them into action, that is, develops them. For example, there is no difference between the passion of a child who has the ability to paint and the passion of a man who is at the level of an artist. No matter at what level their emotions are in terms of passion and keenness, they cannot be satisfied with this world.

In other words, these feelings in human beings are very ambitious even at the nucleus and potential level, and his desires can encompass everything. This severity of emotions is actually a sign for the life in the hereafter. The world and what is in it are too small for these feelings; therefore, the real target and place of satisfaction of these feelings is the life in the hereafter. For this reason, it is stated in the hadiths that a special garden as big as the world will be given to the man with the lowest rank there. (See Tirmidhi, Jannah: 17, Tafsiru Suratil-Qiyamah: 2)

There is a symmetrical harmony and measure between the unlimited feelings and organs that humans have and the endless and unlimited blessings of Paradise.

Human nature is simple and limited; but if Paradise were eternal, it would be incompatible. Similarly, if Paradise were simple and limited but if human nature were unlimited, it would be incompatible. To be compatible; man’s nature must be unlimited, and Paradise must be eternal and endless.

Since the nature of man is unlimited and the world is limited, man cannot reach satisfaction and happiness in this worldly life. It shows the existence of an unlimited and infinite realm.

The existence of signs on the road but the nonexistence of the city indicated by the signs is unwise. Suppose that there are hundreds of signs indicating Istanbul along the way but that there is no Istanbul at the end of the road.

Similarly, there are thousands of signs indicating the existence of the hereafter on the way of the world; if the hereafter itself does not exist, it is unwise. Allah is beyond and free from such unwiseness.

The feeling of everlasting love in man is a sign indicating the eternal realm, Paradise.

Bediuzzaman concisely explains all these facts in the form of questions and answers:

“Question: It says in Hadiths: ‘Some of the people of Paradise are given lands as extensive as the world, and thousands of palaces and hundreds of thousands of houris are bestowed on them.’ What need has a single person of all these things, why should it be necessary? How can this be and what does it mean?

“Answer: If man was only a lifeless being, or was only a vegetable creature consisting of a stomach, or consisted only of a limited, heavy, temporary, simple corporeality or animal body, he could not own many palaces and houris, or be fit for them.

But man is such a comprehensive miracle of power that even in this transitory world and brief life, if he is given the rule of all the world with its wealth and pleasures, his ambition is not satisfied – in respect of the need of some of his subtle faculties, which do not develop here. It is therefore reasonable, right, and true that a person possessing an infinite capacity who knocks on the door of an infinite mercy with the hand of infinite desires and the tongue of infinite needs will receive in an eternal abode of bliss the Divine bounties described in Hadiths. We shall observe this elevated truth through the telescope of a comparison. It is as follows:

Although, like this valley garden,1 all these gardens and vineyards of Barla have different owners, all the birds and sparrows and honey-bees in Barla, who have only a handful of grain for food, may say: ‘All the gardens and orchards of Barla are my pleasant resorts where I fly around and enjoy myself.’ Each may take possession of Barla and include it in its property. Others sharing it does not invalidate his ownership.

Similarly, a man who is a true human being may say: ‘My Creator made this world a house for me. The sun is my lamp and the stars my electric lights. The face of the earth is my resting-place spread with flowered carpets.’ And he offers thanks to God. The other creatures sharing it does not negate his statement. On the contrary, the creatures adorn his house like decorations.

And so, if in this narrow fleeting world, by virtue of his humanity, man – and even a bird – claims a sort of power of disposal over such a vast sphere and receives such a vast bounty, how can it be deemed unlikely that he is given ownership of a property stretching over a five-hundred-year distance in a broad and eternal abode of bliss?

Moreover, just as in this dense and dark narrow world the sun is present in the same way at the same time in numerous mirrors, so too, as is proved in the Sixteenth Word, a luminous being may be present in many places in the same way at the same time. For example, Gabriel (Peace be upon him) being on a thousand stars simultaneously, and at the Divine Throne, and in the presence of the Prophet (PBUH), and in the Divine Presence; and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) meeting with most of the righteous of his community at the resurrection of the dead at the same time and appearing in this world in innumerable places simultaneously; and a strange group of the saints known as abdal, appearing at the same time in many places; and ordinary people sometimes carrying out as much as a year’s work in one minute in a dream and observing this; and everyone being in contact with and concerned with numerous places at the same time in their hearts, spirits, and imaginations – all these are well-known and may be witnessed. Most certainly, in Paradise, therefore, which is luminous, unrestricted, broad, and eternal, the people of Paradise, whose bodies have the strength and lightness of the spirit and the swiftness of imagination, being in hundreds of thousands of places at the same time, and conversing with hundreds of thousands of houris, and receiving pleasure in hundreds of thousands of ways, is fitting for that eternal Paradise, that infinite mercy, and as told by the Bringer of Sure News (PBUH), is reality and the truth.

Nevertheless, these vast truths cannot be weighed on the scales of our tiny minds.

This tiny mind cannot perceive the true meanings, for this scale cannot bear such a weight.” (see Ziya Paşa, Terkîb-i Bend.; bk. Nursi, Sözler, Yirmi Sekizinci Söz)

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