Jannah

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Jannah (Arabic: جنّة‎‎ Jannah) is the Islamic concept of paradise. The common interpretation is that it is an eternal place for the believers of tawhid. According to Islamic eschatology, after death, one's soul will reside in the grave until the appointed resurrection on Yawm al-Qiyāmah or Judgment Day. Muslims believe that the treatment of the individual in the life of the grave will be according to his or her deeds in the worldly life. Jannah is often compared to Christian concepts of Heaven. According to Muslim belief, everything one longs for in this world will be there in Paradise.[1]

The highest level of Paradise is Firdaws (Arabic: فردوس), which is where the most loyal and pious people will dwell.[2] In contrast to Jannah, the words Jahannam, Dozukh, and Nār are used to refer to the concept of hell. There are many words in the Arabic language for both Heaven and Hell and those words also appear in the Quran and Hadith. Most of them have become part of the Islamic traditions.[3]

Descriptions of Paradise[edit]

The descriptions of paradise are mentioned in significant detail in the Quran, Hadiths and traditional tafsīr (exegesis). In the Quran, paradise is described as filled with material delights, such as beautiful maidens, precious stones, delicious foods, and constantly flowing water—the latter especially appealing to the desert dwelling Arabs, who spend most of their life in arid lands.[4] Besides the material notion of the paradise, those descriptions are also interpreted as allegories, explaining the state of joy people will get, the Persian theologian Al-Ghazali said:

This life belongs to the world of earth and the world of visibility; the hereafter belongs to the world of transcendental and the world of beings. By this life I understand your state before death, by hereafter I understand your state after death ... However, it is impossible to explain the world of beings in this life by any other means than allegories.

The true beauty of paradise is also understood as the joy of beholding God, the creator.[5][6]

The Paradise is described as surrounded by eight principal gates, each level generally being divided into a hundred degrees, the highest level is known as firdaws (sometimes called Eden). It will be entered first by Muhammad, then those who lived in poverty, and then the most pious. Entrants will be greeted by angels with salutations of peace or As-Salamu Alaykum.[7]

Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring: and angels shall enter unto them from every gate (with the salutation):
"Peace unto you for that ye persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final home!"

— Quran, sura 13 (al-Ra‘d), ayat 23-24[8]

The Islamic texts describes life for its immortal inhabitants as: one that is happy—without hurt, sorrow, fear or shame—where every wish is fulfilled. Traditions relate that inhabitants will be of the same age (33 years), and of the same standing, their life is one of bliss including wearing sumptuous robes, bracelets and perfumes as they partake in exquisite banquets served in priceless vessels by immortal youths (Houri), as they recline on couches inlaid with gold or precious stones.

In them are women limiting [their] glances, untouched before them by man or jinni -
So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?

— Quran surah 55 (Ar-Rahman), 56-57 [9]

They will eat delicious food and drink, and every bowl will have a new taste, they will take eructation which will digest the food and there will be perfumed sweating for the digestion of water. Inhabitants will rejoice in the company of their parents, spouses, and children (provided they were admitted to paradise)—conversing and recalling the past.[10]

Those on the Right, what people they are! They will dwell amid thornless lote trees, and clustered acacia with spreading shade, constantly flowing water, abundant fruits, unfailing, unforbidden, with incomparable companions We have specially created - virginal, loving, of matching age - for those on the Right, many from the past and many from later generations.

— Quran sura 56 (al-Waqi'a), 27-40 [11]

For these will be the ones brought nearest to God in Gardens of bliss: many from the past and a few from later generations, on couches of well-woven cloth they will sit facing each other; everlasting youths will go round among them with glasses, flagons, and cups of a pure drink that causes no headache or intoxication; [there will be] any fruit they choose; the meat of any bird they like; and beautiful-eyed maidens like hidden pearls: a reward for what they used to do.

— Quran surah 56 (al-Waqi'a, 11-24 [12]

The food in Jannah never rotting and so delicious it will make any person on earth live without feeling hunger forever, the dwellings for inhabitants will be pleasant, with lofty gardens, shady valleys, fountains scented with camphor or ginger; rivers of water, milk, honey and Sharab-un-Tahoora (pure drink); delicious fruits of all seasons without thorns;

One day in paradise is considered equal to a thousand years on earth. Palaces are made from bricks of gold, silver, pearls, among other things. Traditions also note the presence of horses and camels of "dazzling whiteness", along with other creatures. Large trees are described, mountains made of musk, between which rivers flow in valleys of pearl and ruby.[7]

The names of four rivers are Saihan (Syr Darya), Jaihan (Amu Darya), Furat (Euphrates) and Nil (Nile).[13] Salsabil is the name of a spring that is the source of the rivers of Rahma (mercy) and Al-Kawthar (abundance).[14] Sidrat al-Muntaha is a Lote tree that marks the end of the seventh heaven, the boundary where no creation can pass.[citation needed]

In spite of the goodly dwellings given to the inhabitants of paradise, the approval of God and nearness to him is considered greater. According to the Quran, God will bring the elect near to his throne (‘arsh), a day on which "some faces shall be shining in contemplating their Lord." The vision of God is regarded as the greatest of all rewards, surpassing all other joys.[7]

An artists representation of "Muhammed's Paradise". A Persian miniature from The History of Mohammed, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

Conditions of going to Paradise[edit]

According to the Quran, the basic criterion for salvation in the afterlife is the belief in one God (tawḥīd), Angels of God, revealed books of God, all messengers of God, as well as repentance to God, and doing good deeds.

Though one must do good deeds and believe in God, salvation can only be attained through God's judgment.[15]

Conditions of going to Paradise according to the Quran:

Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good;-
And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins,- and who can forgive sins except Allah?- and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done.
For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath,-an eternal dwelling: How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)!

— Quran, surat 3 (Al-i-Imran), ayat 134-136[16]

Allah did aforetime take a covenant from the Children of Israel, and we appointed twelve captains among them. And Allah said: "I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practice regular charity, believe in my messengers, honor and assist them, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path or rectitude."

— Quran, surat 5 (al-Mā’idah) ayah 12[17]

As in life there are many trials which one must face, this is also a condition individuals must encounter in order to enter Jannah.

Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: "When (will come) the help of Allah?" Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near!

— Quran, sura 2 (al-Baqarah), ayah 214[18]

Did ye think that ye would enter Heaven without Allah testing those of you who fought hard (In His Cause) and remained steadfast?

— Quran, sura 3 (Al-i-Imran), ayah 142[19]

The Quran also asserts that those who reject the Prophets of God with their best knowledge are damned in afterlife[15] and if they reject in front of the Messenger of God, then they also face a dreadful fate in this world and in afterlife (see Itmam al-hujjah). Conversely, a person who discovers monotheism not having been reached by a messenger is called Hanif.

Quranic names of Paradise[edit]

Non-Muslims in Jannah[edit]

A few Hadith, for example those narrated by Sahl ibn Sa'd, Abd Allah ibn Abbas, and Abu Hurairah, suggest that some who were born before Islam, during the "period of ignorance" would be allowed into heaven without a full reckoning of their behavior. The "period of ignorance" is believed to be those monotheists who lived between the time of Isa's ascension and before the time of Muhammad's prophethood.[38]

Another hadith states that one certain sect of Christians and one sect of Jews will enter Jannah. Awf ibn Malik reported that Muhammad said, "The Jews split into seventy-one sects, one will enter Paradise and seventy will enter Hell. The Christians split into seventy-two sects, seventy-one will enter Hell and one will enter Paradise. By Him in Whose hand is my soul, my Ummah will split into seventy-three sects, one will enter Paradise and seventy-two will enter Hell." Someone asked, "O Messenger of Allah, who will they be?" He replied, "The main body of the Muslims (Mummin)."[39]

Still in the Hadith literature, Muhammad is reported to have said, "Allah will bring out people from the Fire and admit them into Paradise."[40] Also in the Quran, "Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”[41] Also Muhammad said, “Surely a time will come over hell when its gates shall be blown by wind, there shall be none in it, and this shall be after they have remained therein for many years.”[42]

Doors of Jannah[edit]

According to hadith, there are eight doors of Jannah, their names are as following:[43]

  1. Bāb al-Ṣalāh: For those who were punctual in prayer
  2. Bāb al-Jihād: For those who took part in jihad
  3. Bāb al-Ṣadaqah: For those who gave charity more often
  4. Bāb al-Rayyān: For those who fasted (siyam)
  5. Bāb al-Ḥajj: For those participated in the annual pilgrimage
  6. Bāb al-Kāẓimīn al-Ghayẓ wa-al-‘Āfīn ‘an al-Nās: For those who withheld their anger and forgave others
  7. Bāb al-Aymān: For those who by virtue of their faith are saved from reckoning and chastisement
  8. Bāb al-Dhikr: For those who showed zeal in remembering God

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Annemarie Schimmel. Islam and The Wonders of Creation: The Animal Kingdom. Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, 2003. Page 46
  2. ^ Asad, Muhammad (1984). The Message of the Qu'rán (PDF). Gibraltar, Spain: Dar al-Andalus Limited. pp. 712–713. ISBN 1904510000. 
  3. ^ Asad, Muhammad (1984). The Message of the Qu'rán (PDF). Gibraltar, Spain: Dar al-Andalus Limited. p. 531. ISBN 1904510000. 
  4. ^ Farnáz Maʻsúmián Life After Death: A Study of the Afterlife in World Religions Kalimat Press 1995 page 80
  5. ^ Mouhanad Khorchide, Sarah Hartmann Islam is Mercy: Essential Features of a Modern Religion Verlag Herder GmbH ISBN 978-3-451-80286-7 chapter 2.4
  6. ^ Farnáz Maʻsúmián Life After Death: A Study of the Afterlife in World Religions Kalimat Press 1995 page 81
  7. ^ a b c "Jannah", Encyclopaedia of Islam Online
  8. ^ Quran 13:23–24
  9. ^ Quran 55:56–57
  10. ^ Quran 55:56-58, 56:15-25
  11. ^ Quran 56:27–40
  12. ^ Quran 56:11–24
  13. ^ Hughes, Patrick (1995). "EDEN". A Dictionary of Islam. New Delhi, India: Asian Educational Services. p. 106. ISBN 9788120606722. ISBN 81-206-0672-8. 
  14. ^ Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi (2004). Divine sayings (Mishkat al-Anwar). Oxford, UK: Anqa Publishing. pp. 105, note 7. ISBN 0-9534513-5-6. 
  15. ^ a b Moiz Amjad. "Will Christians enter Paradise or go to Hell?". Renaissance - Monthly Islamic journal 11(6), June, 2001.
  16. ^ Quran 3:134–136
  17. ^ Quran 5:12
  18. ^ Quran 2:214
  19. ^ a b Quran 3:142
  20. ^ Quran 18:107
  21. ^ Quran 23:11
  22. ^ Quran 35:35
  23. ^ Quran 10:25
  24. ^ Quran 6:127
  25. ^ Quran 29:64
  26. ^ Quran 2:35
  27. ^ Quran 3:133
  28. ^ Quran 5:72
  29. ^ Quran 3:72
  30. ^ Quran 13:23
  31. ^ Quran 25:15
  32. ^ Quran 53:15
  33. ^ Quran 5:65
  34. ^ Quran 10:9
  35. ^ Quran 22:56
  36. ^ Quran 54:55
  37. ^ Quran 44:51
  38. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:54:470, Sahih al-Bukhari, 7:71:605, Sahih al-Bukhari, 7:71:648, Sahih al-Bukhari, 7:72:702
  39. ^ http://sunnahonline.com/library/paradise-hell-and-the-hereafter/262-signs-before-the-day-of-judgement-the
  40. ^ "Allah will bring out people from the Fire and admit them into Paradise.". sunnah.com. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  41. ^ Quran: 2:62 http://legacy.quran.com/2/62
  42. ^ Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in Mujma Al Kabir
  43. ^ The Eight Doors of Jannah