The Quran and Sunnah are full of references to Paradise and the great reward that is therein for the true believers and strictly adhere by the teachings of Allah and do righteousness in this life. The article therefore gives the descriptions of paradise.
Everlasting Life in Paradise
“But those who have faith and work righteousness, they are companions of the Garden, abiding in it eternally.” [2:82]
“There, no sense of fatigue shall touch them, nor shay they [ever] be evicted.” [15:48]
“They will not taste death therein, except the first death, and He will preserve them from the penalty of the Blazing Fire. [It will be] a bounty from your Lord. That will be the supreme achievement!” [44:56-57]
“As for those who believe and work righteous deeds, they will have the gardens of Paradise as hospitality. Eternally therein, they will not desire any other [place].” [18:107-108]
“Their Lord gives them glad tidings of a mercy from Himself and good pleasure and of gardens for them wherein is lasting enjoyment.” [9:21]
Abu Hurayrah reported that Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) said:
“He who gets into Paradise [will be made to enjoy such an everlasting] bliss that he will neither become destitute nor will his clothes wear out nor will his youthfulness decline.” [Muslim]
Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree and Abu Hurayrah both narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
“There will be an announcer [in Paradise] who will make this announcement, ‘Verily, there is in store for you [everlasting] health. You will never fall ill, and you will live [forever] and never die. You will remain young and never grow old. You will always live in affluent circumstances and never become destitute.’ [This is explained in] the words of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, ‘And it will be announced to them, ‘This is the Paradise you have been made to inherit for what you used to do.’’[7:43]” [Muslim]
Abu Sa`eed reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
“Death will be brought on the Day of Resurrection in the form of a white-colored ram.” [Abu Kuraib made the addition, “Then it will be made to stand between Paradise and Hell.” So far as the rest of the hadeeth is concerned, there is perfect agreement between narrators.] “It will be said to the people of Paradise, ‘Do you recognize this?’ They will raise up their necks, look towards it and say, ‘Yes, it is death.’ Then a command will be given to slaughter it, and it will be said, ‘O people of Paradise, there is everlasting life for you and no death.’ Then [addressing] the people of Hellfire, it will be said, ‘O people of Hellfire, there is everlasting life for you and no death.’” Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) then recited the following verse pointing wit his hand to this [material] world: “Warn them of the day of regret, when their affairs will be decided. They are unmindful, and they do not believe.” [19:39] [Muslim]
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“It will be said to the people of Paradise, ‘O people of Paradise, eternity [for you] and no death!’ To the people of the Fire [it will be said], ‘O people of the Fire, eternity [for you] and no death!’” [Al-Bukhaari]
The Gates of Paradise
“Gardens of perpetual bliss – they shall enter them, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their offspring. And angels shall enter upon them every gate. [ar-Ra`d, 13:23]
“This is a reminder. Verily, for the righteous is a beautiful place of [final] return – gardens of eternity, whose doors will [always] be open to them.” [Saad, 38:49-50]
“And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden in crowds, until behold, they arrive there. Its gates will be opened, and its keepers will say, ‘Peace be upon you!’ Well have you done, do enter it, abiding [in it] eternally.” [Az-Zumar, 39:73]
Sahl bin Sa`d reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Paradise has eight gates, and one of them is called ar-Rayyaan, through which none will enter but those who observe fasting.” [al-Bukhaari]
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Whoever spends two things in the way of Allah will be called from the gates of Paradise and will be addressed, ‘Oh slave of Allah, here is prosperity!’ So whoever was among the people who used to offer their prayers will be called from the gate of the prayer; and whoever was among the people who used to participate in jihaad will be called from the gate of jihaad; and whoever was among those who used to observer fasts will be called from the gate of ar-Rayyaan; and whoever was among those who used to give charity will be called from the gate of charity.” Abu Bakr said, “Let my parents be sacrificed for you, oh Allah’s Apostle! No distress or need will befall him who will be called from those gates. Will there be anyone who will be called from all these gates?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “Yes, and I hope you will be one of them.” [al-Bukhaari]
`Uqba ibn `Aamir said:
“We were entrusted with the task of tending the camels. On my turn, when I came back in the evening after grazing them in the pastures, I found Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) stand and address the people. I heard these words of his, ‘If any Muslim performs ablution well, then stands and prays two rak`ahs, setting about them with his heart as well as his face, Paradise will be guaranteed to him.’ I said, ‘What a fine thing this is!’ A narrator who was before me said, ‘The first was even better than this.’ When I cast a glance, I saw that it was `Umar who said, ‘I see that you have just come and observed. If anyone among you performs the ablution, completes the ablution well and says, “I testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the servant of Allah and His Messenger,” then the eight gates of Paradise will be opened for him and he may enter by whichever of them he wishes.” [Muslim]
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
“The gates of Paradise will be opened on Monday and on Thursdays, and every servant [of Allah] who associates nothing with Allah will be forgiven, except for the man who has a grudge against his brother. [About them] it will be said, ‘Delay these two until they are reconciled. Delay these two until they are reconciled. Delay these two until they are reconciled.'” [Muslim, Maalik, Abu Dawood]
The Road to Paradise
Certainly the ultimate goal of every Muslim is Paradise. As with all aspects of the Unseen, it can be only imagined through analogy, yet its realities are far beyond description in any human language. Allah (subhaanahu wa ta`aala) has prepared for His servants, “what no eye has seen and no ear has heard and has never occurred to a human heart.” [al-Bukhaari, Muslim and others] This eternal home is not limited to what is described here of material and spiritual enjoyments, for it includes “all the soul has longed for” and finally, the greatest and most complete pleasure beyond all imagination – the presence and nearness of the Creator Himself.
Who are the inheritors of such blessing? Who are the souls worthy of such reward?
It is common belief among Muslims today that anyone who professes “La Ilaha ill-Allah” and “Muhammadun Rasoolullah” will enter Paradise. Yet this testimony is more than a statement of the tongue. It is an oath, a commitment that must be fulfilled. It has conditions and requirements which affect all aspects of life. It concerns authority – what actually governs our behavior and deeds. The Arabs of Quraish who refused to pronounce this kalimah did so because they fully understood its implications. Yet Muslims repeat it today without a second thought, their actions and lifestyles bearing witness to something totally different. And they expect Paradise!
In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) has warned against complacency in religion like that of the Jews and Christians who mistakenly claim that God has favored them over others and that Paradise is theirs alone: “It is not by your wishes, nor the wishes of the People of the Scriptures. Whoever does a wrong shall be punished for it, and he will not find other than Allah as a protector or helper.”
Yet many of today’s Muslims consider themselves a chosen people, while neglecting the commands of their Lord, turning their backs on the sunnah of their Prophet (peace be upon him) and insisting on a secular life far from the blessings of divine law… perhaps even going so far as to deny certain aspects of that law. Customs and traditions, materialism, man-made social systems, national leaders and even their own inclinations are now sharing the authority which rightfully belongs exclusively to our Creator, Owner of the Day of Judgment.
The reward of Paradise is too great not to have a price. That price is true faith which is proven by obedience to Allah and His Messenger. The Qur’an states, “And whoever desires the Hereafter and exerts the effort due to it while being a believer – those are the ones whose effort is appreciated [by Allah].” [17:19]
We must return to the Qur’an, not simply in an emotional or academic manner, but with a sense of instruction for obedience and action. We must find out what kind of people Allah has asked us to be and then become as such. This is the road to Paradise.
By Dr. `Abdullah al-Shimemeri