al-Jannah wal an-Nr-The Paradise and the Hellfire #8/12

by 'Umar Sulayman al-Ashqar

Paradise: There is Nothing Like It

The delights of Paradise surpass the imagination and defy description. They are like nothing known to the people of this world; no matter how advanced we may become, what we achieve is as nothing in comparison with the joys of the Hereafter. As is mentioned in several reports, there is nothing like Paradise:

"It is sparkling light, aromatic plants, a lofty palace, a flowing river, ripe fruit, a beautiful wife and abundant clothing, in an eternal abode of radiant joy, in beautiful soundly-constructed high houses".

[Ibn Mjah, as-Sunan, Kitb az-Zuhd, Bb Sift al-Jannah, 2/1448, no. 4332. Ibn Hibbn narrated it in his sahh]

The Sahabah asked the Prophet (saw) about the buildings of Paradise and he replied with a wonderful description:

"Bricks of gold and silver, and mortar of fragrant musk, pebbles of pearl and sapphire, and soil of saffron. Whoever enters it is filled with joy and will never feel miserable; he will live there forever and never die; their clothes will never wear out and their youth will never fade."

[Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, ad-Drim, Mishkt al-Masbh, 3/29, sahih].

Allh (swt) indeed spoke the truth when He (swt) said:

"And when you look there [in Paradise] you will see a delight [that cannot be imagined]. And a great dominion" [76:20]

What Allh (swt) has kept hidden from us the delights of Paradise is beyond our ability to comprehend: al-Bukhri reported from Ab Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said that Allh (swt) said

"I have prepared for My slaves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human heart can imagine". Recite if you wish, "No person know what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do." (32:17).

In the version reported by Muslim from Ab Hurayrah, there is the addition,

"Never mind what Allh has told you; what He has not told you is EVEN greater".

The Gates of Paradise

Paradise has gates through which the believers, like the angels, will enter:

"'Adn [Eden - everlasting gardens] of Paradise, whose doors will open for them"[38:50]

"...And angels shall enter unto them from every gate [with the salutation]: "Peace be unto you for that you persevered in patience! How excellent is the final home!" [13:23-24]

Allh (swt) has told us that these gates will be opened when the believers reach them, and they will be welcomed by the angels with greetings of peace:

"...til, when they reach it, its gates will be opened, and its keepers will say, "Salmun 'alaykum! You have done well, so enter here to abide therein." [39:73]

The number of gates in Paradise is eight, one of which is called Ar-Rayyn, which is exclusively for those who fast. Al-Bukhri and Muslim report from Sahl ibn Sa'di that the Messenger of Allh (saw) said,

"In Paradise there are eight gates, one of which is called ar-Rayyn. No one will enter it except those who fast, and when they have entered it will be locked behind them and no one else will enter it".

[Ibn Kathr, an-Nihyah, 2/214]

In addition to Ar-Rayyn, there are also gates for those who pray much, those who give in charity and those who fight in jihd; Ab Hurayrah (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said,

"Whoever spends a pair [of anything] from his wealth for the sake of Allh (swt) will be called from the gates of Paradise, and Paradise has eight agates. Whoever used to pray [regularly and properly] will be called from the gate of prayer; whoever use to give in charity will be called from the gate of charity' whoever used to fight in jihd will be called from the gate of jihd, and whoever used to fast [regularly] will be called from the gate of fasting".

Ab Bakr (ra) said,

"By Allh, it would not matter if a person was called from any of them but will anyone be called from all of them, O Messenger of Allh (saw)?" He said,"Yes, and I hope that you will be one of them".

[sahh, Ibn Kathr, an-Nihyah, 2/214]

The Prophet (saw) also said,

"Whoever performs wudhu and does it properly, then lifts his gaze to the sky and says, "Ashhadu an l ilha illa Allh, wahdahu l sharka lah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan 'abdahu wa rasuluhu, the eight gates of Paradise will be opened to him, and he will enter it through whichever one he wishes".

[Muslim, Ahmad and others on the authority of 'Umar, an-Nihyah, 2/219]

The Prophet (saw) told us that there is a gate, which is only for those who will not be called to account: this is the right-hand gate of Paradise. Everyone else will enter Paradise with the rest of the nations through the other gates. In a hadith about ash-Shaf'ah (intercession) whose authenticity is agreed upon, Ab Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (saw) said,

"Allh (swt) will say, "O Muhammad, admit those of your ummah who do not need to be brought to account through the right-hand gate and the others will enter through the other gates like the rest of the people.""

In the same hadth, the Prophet (saw) described the width of the gates of Paradise:

"By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the distance between two panesl of the gates of Paradise or between the two gateposts, is like the distance between Makkh and Hajar, or between Makkah and Basra" [an-Nihyah, 2/221]

The Prophet (saw) has told us that the gates of Paradise are opened during Ramadhn. Al-Bukhri, Muslim, and Ahmad report from Ab Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allh (saw) said,

"When the month of Ramadhan comes, the gates of heaven are opened".

In some reports it states that the distance between the two gate-panels when they are open is that of a forty year journey. The Messenger of Allh (saw) said,

"The distance between the two gate-panels of one of the gates of Paradise is the distance of forty-year's walking, but there will come a time when it is very crowded".

[Ahmad in al-Musnad, Ab Na'm in al-Hilyah, from Hkim ibn Mu'wiyah from Mu'wiyah, sahih; see also Muslim and Ahmad on the authority of 'Utbah ibn Ghazwn]

And in the narration of at-Tabarni reported in al-Mu'jam al-Kabr from 'Abdullh ibn Salm, it is said "..and it [the gate] will become as crowded as a drinking-trough surrounded by thirsty camels".

The Levels of Paradise

(i) Evidence that Paradise has various levels and its inhabitants will be in different categories Paradise consists of levels, some of which are above others, and its people will be of differing levels and categories according to their position in Paradise. Allh (swt) says:

"Whoever wishes for the quick passing [transitory enjoyment of this world] we readily grant him what We will for whom We like. Then afterwards, We have appointed for him Hell, he will burn therein disgraced and rejected, [-far away from Allh's Mercy]. And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due to it, [i.e. righteous deeds of obedience to Allh] while he is a believer [in tawhd] then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, thanked and rewarded [by Allh]. To each - these as well as those - We bestow from the bounties of your Rabb. And the bounties of your Rabb can never be forbidden" [17:18-20]

Allh (swt) explains how He gives more of His bounty in this world or the next, as He (swt) wills, and His Bounty is not withheld [forbidden] from either the righteous or the sinful. Then He (swt) says:

"See how We prefer one above another [in this world] and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preference." [17:21]

Allh (swt) explains that the differences between people in the Hereafter will be greater than the differences between them in this life, and the difference between the levels or ranks of the Hereafter is greater than the differences here in this life. Allh (swt) also differentiates between His Prophets as He does between the rest of His believing slaves. Allh (swt) says: and

"...And indeed We have preferred some of the Prophets above others.." [17:55]

Muslim reports from Ab Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said

A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allh (swt) than a weak one although both are good..."

and al-Bukhri and Muslim report from Ab Hurayrah and 'Amr ibn al-s that the Prophet (saw) said,

"If a judge seeks to form an independent judgement [ijtihd] and is correct, he will have two rewards; if he seeks to form an independent judgement and is wrong, he will have one reward."

Allh, subhnahu wa ta'ala, says:

"Not equal among you are those who spent and fought before the conquest [of Makkah] [with those among you who did so later]. Such are higher in degree that those who spent and fought afterwards. But to all, Allh has promised the best [reward]." [57:10]


"Not equal are those of the believers who sit [at home] except those who are disabled [by injury or are blind or lame, etc] and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allh with their wealth and their lives. Allh has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit [at home].

Unto each, Allh has promised good [Paradise] but Allh has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit [at home] by a huge reward; degrees of [higher] grades from Him, and Forgiveness and Mercy. And Allh is Ever Oft-Forgiving, All-Merciful". [4:95-96]

"Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of al-Masjid al-Haram [at Makkah] as equal to the worth of those who believe in Allh and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allh? They are not equal before Allh. And Allh guides not those people who are the Dhlimn. Those who believed and emigrated and strove hard and fought in Allh's Cause with their wealth and their lives are far higher in degree with Allh.

They are the successful. Their Rabb gives them glad tidings of a Mercy from Him, and that He is pleased and of Gardens for them wherein are everlasting delights. They will dwell therein forever. Verily, with Allh is a great reward". [9:19-22]

"Is one who is obedient to Allh prostrating himself or standing [in prayer] during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Rabb [like one who disbelievers]? Say: "Are those who know equal to those who know not?" It is only men of understanding who will remember [i.e. learn a lesson from Allh's Signs]" [39:9]

The Prophet (saw) said, narrated by al-Bukhri from Ab Hurayrah "

...Paradise has one hundred levels which Allh has reserved for the mujhidn who fight in His Cause and the distance between each of the two grades is like the distance between the heavens and the earth. So when you ask Allh for something, ask for al-Firdaws which is the best and highest part of Paradise. Above it is the throne of the Most Merciful, and from it originate the rivers of Paradise".

[al-Bukhri in as-Sahh, Kitb al-Jihd, Bb Darajat al-Mujhidn fi Sablillh, Fath al-Bri, 6/11]

Al-Bukhri also reports from Anas that Umm Harithah came to the Prophet (saw) when her son Harithah had been martyred at Badr, killed by an arrow. She said,"O Messenger of Allh, you know how dear Harithah was to my heart. If he is in Paradise, I will not weep over him, but if he is not there, you will see what I do". He said, "Is there only one Paradise? There are many Paradises and he is in al-Firdaws, the Highest." [Sahh al-Bukhri, Kitb ar-Riqq, Bb Sift al-Jannah, wan-Nr, Fath al-Bri, 11/418]

Differences between the Levels of al-Jannah

The Prophet (saw) explained that the people will be in different levels in Paradise according to their status. al-Bukhri and Muslim report from Ab Sa'd al-Khudri that the Prophet (saw) said,

"The people of Paradise will look at the people dwelling in the chambers above them in the same way that people look at a brilliant star shining far away on the horizon, in the East or West, because of their superiority [in reward] over them." The people asked, "O Messenger of Allh, are these the dwellings of the Prophets which no one else can attain?" He replied, "No by the One in Whose Hand is my soul, they are for the men who believed in Allh, and also in His Messengers."

[Sahh al-Bukhri, Kitb Bid' al-Khalq, Bb Sift al-Jannah wan-Nr, Fath al-Bri, 6/220; Sahh Muslim Kitb al-Jannah, Bb tara'i Ahl al-Jannah Ahl al-Ghuraf, 4/2177, no. 2831]

Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Mjah and Ibn Hibbn reported from Ab Sa'd that the Prophet (saw) said,

"The people in the higher levels will be seen by those below them as if they were looking at a star rising on the horizon. Ab Bakr and 'Umar will be among them; what good people they are!" [Sahh al-Jmi' as-Saghr, 2/187, no. 2026]

Al-Qurtub said,

"Know that these chambers will differ in height, and appearance according to the deeds of their occupants. Some of them will be higher than others. When the Prophet (saw) said, "No by the One is Whose Hand is my soul, they are for the men who believed in Allh (swt) and also in His Messengers; he did not mention deeds or anything other than faith and belief in the Messengers, with no doubts or questions. Otherwise, how could these chambers be reached through the faith and belief of the ordinary people? If that were the case, then all the Muslims would reach these highest levels, and that is impossible" as Allh says,

"Those will be rewarded with the highest place [in Paradise] because of their patience.." [25:75]

This patience often involved self sacrifice and being steadfast for the sake of Allh, focussing on Him, being a true slave to Him. These are the attributes of al-Muqarrabn, as Allh (swt) says:

"And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us, but only he [will please Us] who believes and does righteous deeds; for such there will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will reside in the high dwellings [Paradise] in peace and security". [34:37]

Here Allh mentioned the highest chambers or dwellings of Paradise and states that they will not be attained by means of wealth and children, but through faith and righteous deeds then they will have a double reward. Their place will be the high dwellings, which tells you that this is faith that gives one tranquility and certainty, and fills the heart. A person with such faith is content no matter what happens to him, and in all situations and circumstances. If he does a good deed, he does not mix it with the opposite, which are evil deeds. Good deeds that are uncontaminated with evil deeds cannot be achieved except by the one whose imn is very great and who is content and has no doubts, no matter what his circumstances. The faith and deeds of the one whose good deeds are contaminated are not like that, so his status will be lower" [al-Qurtub, at-Tadhkirah, p. 464]

The inhabitants of the highest levels of Paradise will enjoy greater pleasures than the people below them. Allh (swt) has promised two gardens to those who fear Him:

"But for him who fears the standing before his Rabb, there will be two gardens" [55:46]

Allh (swt) described these Gardens, then He (swt) said,

"And besides these two, there are two other Gardens [i.e. in Paradise]" [55:62]

These two gardens will be lower in status. Whoever thinks of the characteristics of the two gardens which Allh mentioned second will realise that they are lower than the first two, because the first two are for the muqarrabn [those who are close to Allh], whilst the second two are for ashb al-yamn [those of the Right Hand] as Ibn 'Abbs and Ab Musa al-Ash'ari said [at-Tadhkirah, 440]. al-Qurtub said:

"When He described the two pairs of gardens, He referred to the difference between them. Describing the first two, He said "in them [both] will be two springs flowing free" [55:50] whereas in the second two"..will be two springs gushing forth water" [55:66]. Gushing or bubbling water is not the same as flowing water; bubbling is of a lesser degree than flowing. Allh says that in the first two gardens "..will be every kind of fruit in pairs" [55:52] - all kinds of fruit, well known and rare, moist and dry; this is a general statement. But in the second two gardens "..will be fruits, date palms and pomegranates" [55:68] Allh does not say that there would be every kind of fruit in pairs.

In the first two gardens the people will be "reclining upon the couches lined with silk brocade" [55:54], while in the second two gardens they will be "reclining on green cushions and rich beautiful mattresses" [55:76] which means embellished or embroidered, and there is no doubt that a couch lined with silk brocade is superior to an embroidered cushion. The Hr al-'yn in the first two gardens are described as "like rubies and coral" [55:58] whilst those in the second two gardens are described as "fair [wives] good and beautiful" [55:70]; not everything that is beautiful is as beautiful as rubies and coral. The first two gardens are described as "with spreading branches" [55:48] while the second two are "dark green [in colour]" [55:64] so intensely green that it is almost black. The first two clearly have many bushes and trees, whilst the second two are described simply as being green" [at-Tadkhirah, p. 440]

al-Bukhri and Muslim report from Ab Musa al-Ash'ari that the Messenger of Allh (saw) said,

"Two gardens of silver, their vessels and everything in them and two gardens of gold, their vessels and everything in them, and there will be nothing between the people and their seeing Allh, except the garment of pride over His Face in the Paradise of 'Adn" [Jmi' al-Usl, 10/498, no. 8029]

Allh (swt) described the drink of the pious in Paradise:

"Verily the Abrr [pious, who fear Allh and avoid evil] will drink a cup [of wine] mixed with water from a spring in Paradise called Kafr" [76:5]

"And they will be given to drink there a cup [of wine] mixed with Zanjabl [ginger]" [76:17]

It seems - and Allh Knows Best - that this is for Ahl al-Yamn. Elsewhere Allh (swt) says:

"It [that wine] will be mixed with tasnm, A spring whereof drink those nearest to Allh" [83:27-28].

Ahl al-Yamn will drink something mixed with Tasnm, whilst al-Muqarrabn will drink a pure drink of Tasnm. Tasnm is the name of a spring in Paradise.

The Highest and Lowest Positions in Paradise

Muslim reports from al-Mughrah ibn Shu'bah that the Messenger of Allh (saw) said:

"Mus asked his Rabb, "Who will have the lowest position in Paradise?" Allh said, "A man who will come after the people of Paradise have entered Paradise. He will be told, "Enter Paradise",and he will say, "O my Rabb, how? The people have already taken their places." He will be asked, "Will you not be content if you could have the equivalent of a kingdom on earth?" He will say, "Yes, my Rabb". So he will be told, "You will have that and as much again, and as much again, and as much again, and as much again."

On the fifth time, he will say, "I am content with that, my Rabb". He will be told, "You will have all that and ten times more; you will have whatever your heart desires and whatever will delight your eyes." The man will say, "I am content with that". Mus asked, "My Rabb, who will have the highest status in Paradise?" Allh said, "They are those whom I choose. I establish their honour with My own hand and then set a seal over it, [and they will be blessed with Bounties] which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human mind can comprehend."" This confirmed by the words of Allh, may He be glorified and exalted,

"No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do". [32:17]

The Highest Position in Paradise

The highest position in Paradise which will be attained by only one person is called al-Waslah. It will be attained, insha'Allh, by the Chosen Prophet, the best of Allh's creation, our Prophet Muhammad (saw). This is narrated in a hadith narrated by al-Bukhri from Jbir ibn 'Abdullh according to which the Prophet (saw) said,

"Whoever says, when he hears the call to prayer, "Allhumma Rabba hadhihi-da'wati-tammah, was-saltil-q'imah, ti muhammadan al-waslata wal-fadlata, wab'aththu maqman mahmdan alladhi wa'adtahu [O Allh, Lord of this Perfect Call and the Prayer to be Offered, grant Muhammad al-Waslah - the highest position in Paradise - and also the eminence and resurrect him to the praised position You have promised], intercession for him will be granted on the Day of Resurrection."

Muslim reported that 'Abdullh ibn 'Amr al-'s said,

"I heard the Messenger of Allh (saw) say, "When you hear the muaddhin call, say what he says, then send blessings on me, for whoever sends blessings on me, Allh (swt) will return it to him tenfold. Then ask Allh to grant me al-Waslah, for whoever asks Allh (swt) to grant me al-Waslah intercession will be granted for him."" The Sahbah asked the Prophet (saw) "What is al-Waslah?" He said,"It is the highest level of Paradise, which only one man will reach, and I hope that I will be the one". [Ahmad from Ab Hurayrah] The Messenger of Allh (saw) said, "al-Waslah is a rank above which is no other in the sight of Allh (swt). Ask Allh (swt) to grant me al-Waslah" [Ahmad from Ab Sa'd, S Ibn Kathr, an-Nihyah, 2/2332]

Those Who Take their Positions in the Highest Levels

Among those who will occupy the highest levels in Paradise are the shuhd, the best of whom are those who fight in the front ranks and never turn away until they are killed. Ahmad and at-Tabarni report with a sahh isnd from Na'm ibn Hamar that the Prophet (saw) said,

"The best of the Shuhd are those who fight in the first rank, and do not turn their faces away until they are killed. They will have the pleasure of occupying the highest dwellings in Paradise. Your Rabb will smile at them, and whenever your Rabb smiles upon any of His Slaves, that person will not be brought to account". [Musnad Ahmad, Kitb az-Zuhd, Bb al-Ihsn ila al-armila wal-maskn wal-yatm 2/2286, hadith no. 2982]

The one who helps widows and the destitute will have the status of a mujhid in Paradise. Muslim reports from Ab Hurayrah that the Prophet (saw) said,

"The one who helps widows and the destitute is like one who fights in jihd for the sake of Allh (swt)." I [the narrator] think he said, "And he is like the one who stands all night in prayer and never sleeps, and like the one who fasts continually and never breaks his fast". [Sahh Muslim, Kitb az-Zuhd, Bb al-Ihsn, ila al-armilah wal-miskn wal-yatm, 2/2286, no. 2982]

The one who sponsors an orphan will be close to the Prophet (saw) in Paradise. Muslim reports from Ab Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said,

Allh (swt) will raise the status of parents by the blessing of their children's du'. Ahmad reports from Ab Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allh (saw) said, "Allh (swt) will raise the status of His righteous slave in Paradise, and he will say, "O my Rabb, how could I deserve this?" He will say, "Because your child sought forgiveness for you.""

Ibn Kathr said,

"This is a sahh isnd although none of the authors of the six books reported it. But there is a corroborating report in Sahh Muslim from Ab Hurayrah (ra), according to which the Prophet (saw) said, "When a son of Aadam dies his good works come to an end, except for three: Sadaqah Jriyah [ongoing charity], beneficial knowledge [that he discovered or propogated], and a righteous son who will pray for him." [Ibn Kathr, an-Nihyah, 2/340]

The Soil of Paradise

Al-Bukhri and Muslim reported the hadth of al-Mi'rj from Anas ibn Mlik from Ab Dharr in which Abu Dharr (ra) said,

"The Messenger of Allh (saw) said, "I entered Paradise where I saw lights of pearl and its soil was musk".

Muslim and Ahmad report from Ab Sa'd that Ibn Sayyd asked the Messenger (saw) about the soil of Paradise. He said,

"It is a fine white powder of pure musk".

Ahmad reports from Jbir ibn 'Abdullh that the Messenger of Allh (saw) said, concerning the Jews:

"I am going to ask them about the soil of Paradise, which is a fine white powder." So he asked them, and they said, "It is like a loaf of bread, O Abul-Qsim," The Messenger of Allh (saw) said, "Bread is like pearls". [an-Nihyah, 2/242]

Ahmad At-Tirmidhi and Ad-Drimi reported that the Prophet (saw) said,

"I asked "O Messenger of Allh (saw), From what are people made?" He said, "From water." We asked, "From what is Paradise built?" He said, "Bricks of gold and silver and mortar of fragrant musk; its pebbles are pearls and rubies, and its soil is saffron. Whoever enters it is blessed with joy and will never be miserable; he will remain there forever and never die; his clothes will never wear out, and his youth will never fade away." [Mishkt al-Masbh, 3/89, no. 5630]

The Rivers of Paradise

Allh (swt), may He be Blessed and Exalted, has told us that rivers flow from beneath Paradise:

"And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow.." [2:25]

"For them will be Gardens of Eternity: beneath them rivers will flow" [18:31]

The Prophet (saw) told us clearly about the rivers of Paradise. He said that during his Isr' (Night Journey):

"...I saw four rivers flowing out from beneath Sidrat al-Muntah, two visible and two hidden. He asked, "O Jibrl, What are these rivers?" He said, "The two hidden rivers are rivers of Paradise, and the two visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates".

[Muslim, Kitb al-Imn, Bb al-Isr', 1/150, no. 164; al-Bukhri reports the same from Anas ibn Mlik, Jmi' al-Usl, 10/507, narrated by Abu Awanah, al-Isma'l and at-Tabaran in as-Saghr]

Muslim reports from Ab Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allh (saw) said,

"Sihran, Jihran, the Euphrates and the Nile are all from the rivers of Paradise".

[Sahh Muslim, Kitb al-Jannah, Bb ma fid-duny min anhr al-jannah, 4/2183, no. 2839, al-Albni attributed it, in Silsilat al-Hadith as-Sahhah 1/6, to Muslim, Ahmad, al-Ajirri and al-Khatb]

Sheikh Nsir ud-Dn al-Albni said,

"Perhaps what is meant is that these rivers originated in Paradise just as mankind did; this hadth does not contradict the well-established fact that these rivers spring forth from known sources on earth. If this is not in fact the meaning of this hadth, then it is one of the matters of al-Ghayb [the Unseen], which we must believe and accept because the Prophet (saw) has told us about it". [Silsilat al-Hadth as-Sahhah, 1/18]

Al-Qar' said,

"These four rivers are considered to be among the rivers of paradise because they are so fresh and beneficial, and contain blessings from Allh, and were honoured by the fact that the Prophets came to them and drank from them". [reported by al-Albni in his footnotes on Mishkt al-Masbh, 3/80]

Another of the rivers of Paradise is al-Kawthar, which Allh has given to His Messenger (saw):

"Verily We have granted you [O Muhammad] al-Kawthar [a river in Paradise]" [108:1]

The Prophet (saw) saw it and told us about it. al-Bukhri reported from Anas ibn Mlik that the Prophet (saw) said,

"Whilst I was walking in Paradise I saw a river whose banks were domes of hollow pearls, and I asked, "What is this, O Jibrl?" He said, "This is al-Kawthar which your Rabb has given to you". And its scent - or its mud - was of fragrant musk".

Hudbah [one of the narrators] was not sure if he said tib [scent] or teen [mud]. [Sahh al-Bukhri, Kitb ar-Riqq, Bb fil-Hawd, Fath al-Bri, 11/464]

Ibn 'Abbs explained,

"al-Kawthar means the abundant blessings which Allh has bestowed upon His Messenger (saw)." Then Ab Bishr said to Sa'd ibn Jbir, who reported this comment from Ibn 'Abbs, "There are people who claim that it is a river in Paradise". Sa'd said, "The river in Paradise is one of the blessings that Allh has bestowed upon him".

[Sahh al-Bukhri, Kitb ar-Riqq, Bb fil-Hawd, Fath al-Bri, 11/463]

Hfidh ibn Kathr compiled a number of hadth [an-Nihyah, 2/246] in which the Prophet (saw) spoke about al-Kawthar, such as the report narrated by Muslim from Anas, which states that when the yah "Verily We have granted you al-Kawthar" [108] was revealed, the Prophet (saw) said,

"Do you know what al-Kawthar is?" They said, "Allh and His Messenger know best". He said, It is a river that Allh (swt) has promised me and in it is much goodness".

He also quoted the hadth narrated by Ahmad from Anas, according to which the Prophet (Saw) said,

"I have been given al-Kawthar, which is a river flowing across the face of the earth; its banks are domes of pearl and it is not covered. I touched its mud with my hand, and found that it was fragrant musk and its pebbles were pearls".

Also narrated by Ahmad from Anas, the Prophet (saw) said,

"It is a river that Allh (swt) has given to me in Paradise. Its mud is musk and its water is whiter than milk, and sweeter than honey. Birds with necks like the necks of camels drink from it."

The rivers of Paradise do not just contain water. There are rivers of water, of milk, of wine and of clear honey.

Allh (swt) says:

"The description of Paradise which the Muttaqn have been promised is that in it are rivers of water the taste and smell of which are not changed; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine delicious to those who drink; and rivers of clarified honey [clear and pure].." [47:15]

At-Tirmidhi reports, with a sahh isnd, from Hkim ibn Mu'wiyah that the Messenger of Allh (saw) said,

"In Paradise there is a sea of honey, a sea of wine, a sea of milk and a sea of water, and the rivers flow out of these seas." [Jmi' al-Usl, 10/508]

He also told us of a river called Briq, which flows by the gate of Paradise. During the period of al-Barzakh [the time between death and the day of Judgement] the shuhad are beside this river:

Ibn 'Abbs narrated that the Messenger of Allh (saw) said,

"The shuhad [martyrs] are in a green dome beside the river of Briq, near the gate of Paradise, from which provision comes to them morning and evening." [Sahh al-Jmi' as-Saghr, 3/235, no. 3636]

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