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Jannah (Arabic: جنّةJannah; plural: Jannat), lit. "garden", generally indicates the final abode of the righteous[1] and the Islamic believers, but also the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Hawwa dwelt. Firdaws (Arabic: فردوس) is the literal term meaning paradise, but the Quran generally uses the term Jannah symbolically referring to paradise. However "Firdaus" also designates the highest layer of heaven.[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 ahadith. Most of them have become part of the Islamic traditions.[3]

Jannah is often compared to Christian concepts of Heaven.

Heaven and Jannah[edit]

"Heaven" in the Quran can be read as "sky", "paradise" then referring to the "Garden" in the afterlife or a celestial sphere. Islamic Cosmology generally depicts 7 layers of heaven analogous to the 7 layers of hell, these heavens are held to be the abode for the righteous after death. According to Sufi cosmology, Paradise is often depicted over the seven heavens, between the 8th and the 9th heaven.[4]

In some modern interpretations, based on Surah 21:30 and 67:5, the lowest heaven is also interpretated as the observable universe, with the other 6 heavens beyond, once were a mess together with the earths and later expanded.[5][4]

Images and descriptions of Jannah[edit]

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

The Paradise is described as surrounded by eight principal gates, each level generally being divided into a hundred degrees guarded by angels (in some traditions Ridwan), the highest level is known as firdaws (sometimes called Eden) or Illiyin. Entrants will be greeted by angels with salutations of peace or As-Salamu Alaykum.[6] Furthermore, paradise is considered to be "as vast as the heavens and the earth".[7]

In the Quran, "the Garden" is described 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, 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.

According to Muslim belief, everything one longs for in this world will be there in Paradise.[8]

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.[9]

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.[6]

The names of four rivers are Saihan (Syr Darya), Jaihan (Amu Darya), Furat (Euphrates) and Nil (Nile).[10] Salsabil is the name of a spring that is the source of the rivers of Rahma (mercy) and Al-Kawthar (abundance).[11] 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.[6] The true beauty of paradise is also understood as the joy of beholding God, the creator.[12][13]

Besides the material notion of the paradise, those descriptions are also interpreted as allegories, explaining the state of joy people will get, for some theologicans, seeing God is not a question of sight, but of awareness of Gods presence.[14] 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.

Inhabitants of Jannah[edit]

According to the Quran, the basic criterion for salvation in the afterlife is the belief in the oneness of 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]

Regarding salvation from hell, according to hadith literature, 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.”[16] Still in the Hadith literature, Muhammad is reported to have said, "Allah will bring out people from the Fire and admit them into Paradise."[17] According to Sunni Islam, a Muslim, even if condemned to hell, will eventually enter Heaven.[18]

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!

— Qur'an, sura 2 (al-Baqarah), ayah 214[19]

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

— Qur'an, sura 3 (Al-i-Imran), ayah 142[20]

Generally 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).[21]

Non-Muslims in Jannah[edit]

There are different opinions among scholars in regard wether Non-Muslims could enter Jannah, some Muslims and Islamic scholars argued Surah 2:62 indicates Jannah is not exclusively for Muslims.

Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans—those who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness—will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.2:62

On the other hand, other scholars hold this verse is abrogated by Surah 3:85 and just applied until the arrival of Muhammad.[22][23]

And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.3:85

Scholars like Ibn Arabi did not hold the first to be abgrogated by the latter, since "Islam" in this context, does not apply to Islam as a religious tradition, but to "submission".[24][25] Ghazali distinguished between the "saved" and "those who will attain success". Therefore, righteous Non-Muslims, will neither enter hell nor Jannah, but will stay in Araf.[26]

Quranic names of Jannah[edit]

Layers of Jannah[edit]

Doors of Jannah[edit]

According to hadith, there are eight doors of Jannah, their names are as following:[45]

  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]


  1. ^ Joseph Hell Die Religion des Islam Motilal Banarsidass Publishe 1915
  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. ^ a b Sachiko Murata The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought SUNY Press 1992 ISBN 978-0-791-40913-8 page 127
  5. ^ Muzaffar Iqbal Contemporary Issues in Islam and Science, Band 2 Routledge 2017 ISBN 978-1-351-94915-6
  6. ^ a b c "Jannah", Encyclopaedia of Islam Online
  7. ^ "Quran". Quran.com. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  8. ^ Annemarie Schimmel. Islam and The Wonders of Creation: The Animal Kingdom. Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, 2003. Page 46
  9. ^ Quran 55:56-58, 56:15-25
  10. ^ Hughes, Patrick (1995). "EDEN". A Dictionary of Islam. New Delhi, India: Asian Educational Services. p. 106. ISBN 9788120606722. ISBN 81-206-0672-8. 
  11. ^ Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi (2004). Divine sayings (Mishkat al-Anwar). Oxford, UK: Anqa Publishing. pp. 105, note 7. ISBN 0-9534513-5-6. 
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ Farnáz Maʻsúmián Life After Death: A Study of the Afterlife in World Religions Kalimat Press 1995 page 81
  14. ^ Cyril Glassé, Huston Smith The New Encyclopedia of Islam Rowman Altamira 2003 ISBN 978-0-759-10190-6 page 237
  15. ^ a b Moiz Amjad. "Will Christians enter Paradise or go to Hell? Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.". Renaissance - Monthly Islamic journal 11(6), June, 2001.
  16. ^ Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in Mujma Al Kabir
  17. ^ "Allah will bring out people from the Fire and admit them into Paradise". sunnah.com. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  18. ^ A F Klein Religion Of Islam Routledge 2013 ISBN 978-1-136-09954-0 page 92
  19. ^ Quran 2:214
  20. ^ Quran 3:142
  21. ^ http://legacy.quran.com/2/62
  22. ^ David Marshall Communicating the Word: Revelation, Translation, and Interpretation in Christianity and Islam Georgetown University Press 2011 ISBN 978-1-589-01803-7 p. 8
  23. ^ Lloyd Ridgeon Islamic Interpretations of Christianity Routledge 2013 ISBN 978-1-136-84020-3
  24. ^ Robert McKim Religious Perspectives on Religious Diversity Philosophy of Religion - World Religions BRILL 2016 ISBN 978-9-004-33043-6 page 155
  25. ^ William C. Chittick The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al-Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination SUNY Press 1989 ISBN 978-088-706885-0 page 197
  26. ^ Mohammad Hassan Khalil Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question Oxford University Press, USA 2012 ISBN 978-0-199-79666-3 page 45-46
  27. ^ Quran 18:107
  28. ^ Quran 23:11
  29. ^ Quran 35:35
  30. ^ Quran 10:25
  31. ^ Quran 6:127
  32. ^ Quran 29:64
  33. ^ Quran 2:35
  34. ^ Quran 3:133
  35. ^ Quran 5:72
  36. ^ Quran 3:72
  37. ^ Quran 13:23
  38. ^ Quran 25:15
  39. ^ Quran 53:15
  40. ^ Quran 5:65
  41. ^ Quran 10:9
  42. ^ Quran 22:56
  43. ^ Quran 54:55
  44. ^ Quran 44:51
  45. ^ The Eight Doors of Jannah Archived 2010-06-05 at the Wayback Machine.