Will everybody be the same in Paradise? Will there be degrees of beauty?

Details of the Question

-  Will people be in Paradise with their beautiful or ugly shapes in this world?
- If the concepts of beauty and ugliness exist in Paradise, how will they be determined?
- Will all houris be of the same type?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer 1:

There is an important issue to be noted here: The body shape to be given to those who enter Paradise is not the one here; a new shape worthy of Paradise will be given to people there. From this point of view, in Paradise, there will not be anything that is unpleasant in the world.

If a seed under the ground had intellect and if you asked it how the perfect tree with fruit on top of the ground formed, how would the seed describe it? It is virtually impossible for us to understand what kind of tree we will be in the garden of Paradise like those things under the ground. As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) described Paradise as follows: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no heart has conceived.”

All tastes/pleasures will be found in all levels in Paradise; a believer will be given as much property as the world; it will be full of palaces and gardens; a person will be in thousands of places at the same time in Paradise.

In that case, there will be anything one wishes in Paradise. Whatever man wants will exist in all levels. They will be in the form Allah’s wisdom wishes and man will be pleased with

Paradise is a different realm. Since a saint of Allah can be in more than one place and speak in this world, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) can meet and talk to all believers at the same time in Paradise. It is not possible for them to be in a certain place and only to reach a certain level of people there. It is not in question for him to be in a certain place and only people of certain levels to talk to him.  

Believers can listen to the talks of many people at the same time and can have many different flavors and pleasures at the same time in Paradise. It is not possible for us to understand that realm in this world. However, the pleasure believers take from the same talk in Paradise will be different.

We can view this reality through the following example of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi: If the senses of taste of the people eating the same food at the same table are different from one another, the taste they receive will be different from one another even if they eat the same things. Accordingly, we should try to make efforts to develop our sincerity, worship, taqwa and high ethics so that our share will increase in that realm.

The concepts beautiful and ugly exist in the world but there is nothing ugly in Paradise, which is alive in all aspects.

As it is understood from hadiths, everybody in Paradise will be given a place of five hundred years, presumably as big as the earth. In such a large place, a person’s private place will be separate from the realm where he will be with his friends.

Besides, no bad habits exist in Paradise. For this reason, there will be no jealousy; and a person will not have lustful feelings toward non-mahram people. A person who has no eyes cannot see and a person who is deaf cannot hear. Will you be disturbed when a blind person is near you? Will you feel worried when a little boy is near your mother or sister?

So, there are no bad thoughts and habits in Paradise. They are given in this realm to test us. Since there is no need for test in Paradise, they do not exist there. The feeling of lust is deactivated toward non-mahram people. Therefore, no one will be disturbed by others.

What kind of a place is Paradise?

Paradise is the happiness corner of the realm of the hereafter ... Paradise is the sea of blessings and goodness, land of pleasure and tranquility ... Paradise is the town of consent, land of peace. Our Lord, who is free from all sorts of incompleteness and imperfection, commands us to keep away from sins and to be purified from evil so that He will lead us to His land of peace, which is free from all bad deeds and evil ...

There is no place for bad beliefs like unbelief, polytheism and heresy there…
No people with bad habits like lying, gossiping and slander can enter Paradise...
You cannot find any imperfection like illness, fatigue and insomnia there...
There are words and phrases that cannot exist in the glossary of that town like aargh, ouch, I wish and alas…
That land of peace is free and away from all of them...

This universe, whose end our eyes are unable to reach and whose vastness our imagination cannot comprehend, is our examination hall. Man can be tested in candlelight, on a dry board and with a bagel in his hands. So why is this world so magnificent? What do these vegetables and fruits of various types mean?

The huge sun is our lamp in our examination hall. This state opens up a wide horizon to us. It shows to our imagination how wonderful the realm of the hereafter, whose nature we cannot know, is. If the examination hall is so great, beautiful and magnificent, how will the realm of happiness and reward be? If we are given so many boons and blessings in the test, who knows what blessings we will attain in Paradise. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following: “The world is a field of the hereafter.” The field is not a place of entertainment. There is difficulty and fatigue in the field. Time is used in the best way in the field.

With this hadith, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advises us to make use of this field of the world in the best and most productive way. He also gives us the glad tidings that the things we will sow here as seeds will sprout there, one seed yielding one thousand, seventy thousand and more fruits. The eating, drinking, talking, listening and meditating of a believer are like seeds. If they are done legitimately, they will be trees of Paradise.

A person who participates in a religious and scientific talk sows many seeds in that field. The ephemeral minutes spent in that assembly becomes eternal. He becomes a candidate to listen to talks in Paradise in return for the words that he listens there. His power of understanding and meditation in Paradise increases as he understands and meditates there. He is regarded to have prayed to see luminous faces in Paradise when he sees the faces of believers there.  

A person who eats halal food adds what he eats to his account of Paradise. He who always tells the truth and declares what is right adds those words to his account of Paradise. If we make use of all of our deeds, attitudes and words like that, we will attain unbelievable rewards, prepare our capital for Paradise here and send our food in Paradise from the world

Our Lord gives the glad tiding for Paradise as follows:

“Allah hath promised to Believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah: that is the supreme felicity.” (at-Tawba, 9/72)

There are interpretations such as rivers of clean water, rivers of milk and rivers of honey for the rivers in Paradise. And there are many rivers that have not been expressed yet. The small examples of these rivers exist in our world. There is a river of  milk flowing every day in our world but we cannot see the whole of this river; we only see the part coming out of breasts. Those rivers have flown for centuries like the rivers of the Nile, the Tigris and the Euphrates. Our Lord, who informs us about the rivers of Paradise the pleasant dwellings of Eden and who encourages us to prepare for those places, makes our hearts turn toward His consent and teaches us to do all our deeds sincerely with the lofty lesson at the end of the verse: “But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah: that is the supreme felicity.”

The difference between a child who fulfills his father’s request willingly in order to please him and another child who fulfills his father’s request in order to get a chocolate from him is so big. The share of the people who are aware of this subtlety and evaluate their lives with this consciousness related to the eternal grace will be many times more.

This divine news has an aspect that is valid for all people of Paradise: when the fortunate people of the land of happiness receive a blessing/boon, they feel a lofty pleasure thinking as follows: “This is a sign and indication that my Lord is pleased with me.” Badiuzzaman Said Nursi expresses this meaning in a very nice way in his book called Mektubat:

"An apple an august monarch presents to you holds a pleasure superior to that of a hundred, indeed a thousand, apples, for it is he that has bestowed it on you and made you experience the pleasure of a royal favor...”

Thus, believers will benefit from material blessings/boons in Paradise; they will also taste spiritual pleasures superior to them. It will be a wrong understanding contrary to the spirit of all of the verses related to the hereafter not to regard this issue like that and to regard Paradise only as something spiritual.

The spirit only watches the palace of Paradise and houris. It regards it enough to look at the rivers of Paradise. It does not matter whether they are these or those rivers. In that case, will the blessings of Paradise, which are infinitely superior to the blessings of the world, not be lower than the blessings of the world? Is it not better to drink a glass of milk in this world than to watch the river of milk in Paradise?

The spirit will not be satisfied with such an incomplete paradise. Such an understanding satisfies only the delusions of those who cannot accept in their minds that resurrection is material.  The way to the land of Paradise, which is full of the original forms of all kinds of material and spiritual pleasures, is through Sirat Bridge. Those who pass Sirat Bridge safe and sound reach the gates of Paradise. The seed of Sirat Bridge, like everything else in the hereafter, is in the world. Those who carry out all of their works based on the orders of Allah in this world and who always tell the truth will pass Sirat Bridge safe and sound in the hereafter.

If a person falls off from the right side or the left side of Sirat Bridge, he will fall into Hell. This reality also has its seed in the world. Doing something both too much and too little destroys man.  That is, both types of extremism prepares man’s destruction. So, man needs to keep away from both of them and proceed steadily to reach Paradise, the place of bliss. 

Answer 2:

No boon in Paradise is the same as the previous boon. For instance, if a believer who has eaten a fruit eats another one in the same place, the second fruit will be better and more delicious than the first one. If it is thought that even a fruit is not the same as another one, it will be understood that the spouses given to a believer will not be the same. 

"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 (for ever)." (al-Baqara, 2/25)

Some of the interpretations made related to the similarities of the boons served in Paradise are as follows: 

1) The sustenance served to believers in the hereafter is the fruit of good deeds in the world. The good deeds in the world are virtually transformed into thawabs and are served as sustenance in Paradise. Therefore, the people of Paradise will know the sustenance given to them and say, "They are the outcome of the good deeds we did in the world."

2) The boons of Paradise are served in a way that is similar to those in the world but there is a big difference between their tastes.

3) What is meant by "before" is the boons given to them before in Paradise.

Accordingly, no boon will be the same as another one.

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