Al-Jannah wal an-Nâr-The Paradise and the Hellfire [8/12]

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Paradise: There is Nothing Like It

 

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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 Mâjah, as-Sunan, Kitâb az-Zuhd, Bâb Sifât al-Jannah, 2/1448, no. 4332. Ibn
Hibbân narrated it in his sahîh]

The Sahabah asked the Prophet ﷺ 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-Dârimî, Mishkât al-Masâbîh, 3/29, sahih].

Allâh (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 Allâh (swt) has kept hidden from us the delights of Paradise is
beyond our ability to comprehend: al-Bukhâri reported from Abû Hurayrah (ra)
that the Prophet ﷺ said that Allâh (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 Abû Hurayrah, there is the addition,

“Never mind what Allâh
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]

Allâh (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, “Salâmun ‘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-Rayyân,
which is exclusively for those who fast. Al-Bukhâri and Muslim report
from
Sahl ibn Sa’îdi that the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ said,

“In Paradise
there
are eight gates, one of which is called ar-Rayyân. 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 Kathîr, an-Nihâyah, 2/214]

In addition to Ar-Rayyân, there are also gates for those who pray much,
those who give in charity and those who fight in jihâd; Abû Hurayrah (ra)
reported that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“Whoever spends a pair [of anything]
from his wealth for the sake of Allâh (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
jihâd will be called from the gate of jihâd, and whoever used to fast
[regularly] will be called from the gate of fasting”.

Abû Bakr (ra) said,

“By Allâh, 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 Allâh ﷺ?” He
said,“Yes, and I hope that you will be one of them”.

[sahîh, Ibn Kathîr,
an-Nihâyah, 2/214]

The Prophet ﷺ also said,

“Whoever performs wudhu and does it properly,
then lifts his gaze to the sky and says, “Ashhadu an lâ ilâha illa
Allâh,
wahdahu lâ sharîka 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-Nihâyah, 2/219]

The Prophet ﷺ 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-Shafâ’ah (intercession) whose
authenticity is agreed upon, Abû Hurayrah reported that the Prophet ﷺ
said,

“Allâh (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 hadîth, the Prophet ﷺ 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 Makkâh and Hajar, or between Makkah and Basra”
[an-Nihâyah, 2/221]

The Prophet ﷺ has told us that the gates of Paradise are opened during
Ramadhân. Al-Bukhâri, Muslim, and Ahmad report from Abû Hurayrah that
the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ 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 Allâh

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, Abû Na’îm in al-Hilyah,
from
Hâkim ibn Mu’âwiyah from Mu’âwiyah, sahih; see also Muslim and Ahmad on
the authority of ‘Utbah ibn Ghazwân]

And in the narration of at-Tabarâni reported in al-Mu’jam al-Kabîr from
‘Abdullâh ibn Salâm, 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. Allâh (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 Allâh’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 Allâh] while he is a believer [in tawhîd] then such are the ones
whose
striving shall be appreciated, thanked and rewarded [by Allâh]. 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]

Allâh (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]

Allâh (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. Allâh (swt) also differentiates between
His
Prophets as He does between the rest of His believing slaves. Allâh (swt)
says:

and

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

Muslim reports from Abû Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet ﷺ said

A
strong
believer is better and more beloved to Allâh (swt) than a weak one
although
both are good…”

and al-Bukhâri and Muslim report from Abû Hurayrah and
‘Amr ibn al-Âs that the Prophet ﷺ said,

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

Allâh, subhânahu 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, Allâh has promised the best [reward].” [57:10]

And

“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 Allâh with their wealth and their lives.
Allâh
has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth
and
their lives above those who sit [at home].

Unto each, Allâh has promised good [Paradise] but Allâh 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 Allâh 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 Allâh and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the
Cause of Allâh? They are not equal before Allâh. And Allâh guides not
those people who are the Dhâlimûn. Those who believed and emigrated and
strove hard and fought in Allâh’s Cause with their wealth and their lives
are far higher in degree with Allâh.

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 Allâh is a great reward”. [9:19-22]

“Is one who is obedient to Allâh 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 Allâh’s Signs]” [39:9]

The Prophet ﷺ said, narrated by al-Bukhâri from Abû Hurayrah

…Paradise has one hundred levels which Allâh has reserved for the
mujâhidîn 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 Allâh 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-Bukhâri in as-Sahîh, Kitâb
al-Jihâd, Bâb Darajat al-Mujâhidîn fi Sabîlillâh, Fath al-Bâri,
6/11]

Al-Bukhâri also reports from Anas that Umm Harithah came to the Prophet
ﷺ when her son Harithah had been martyred at Badr, killed by an arrow.
She said,“O Messenger of Allâh, 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.” [Sahîh al-Bukhâri,
Kitâb
ar-Riqâq, Bâb Sifât al-Jannah, wan-Nâr, Fath al-Bâri, 11/418]

Differences between the Levels of al-Jannah

 

The Prophet ﷺ explained that the people will be in different levels in
Paradise according to their status. al-Bukhâri and Muslim report from
Abû
Sa’îd al-Khudri that the Prophet ﷺ 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 Allâh, 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 Allâh, and also in His
Messengers.”

[Sahîh al-Bukhâri, Kitâb Bid’ al-Khalq, Bâb Sifât
al-Jannah wan-Nâr, Fath al-Bâri, 6/220; Sahîh Muslim Kitâb al-Jannah,
Bâb tara’i Ahl al-Jannah Ahl al-Ghuraf, 4/2177, no. 2831]

Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Mâjah and Ibn Hibbân reported from Abû Sa’îd
that
the Prophet ﷺ 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. Abû Bakr and ‘Umar will be among them; what good people they are!” [Sahîh al-Jâmi’ as-Saghîr,
2/187,
no. 2026]

Al-Qurtubî 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 ﷺ said, “No by the One is Whose
Hand is my soul, they are for the men who believed in Allâh (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 Allâh 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 Allâh, focussing on Him, being a true slave to Him. These are the
attributes of al-Muqarrabûn, as Allâh (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 Allâh 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 imân 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-Qurtubî, at-Tadhkirah, p. 464]

The inhabitants of the highest levels of Paradise will enjoy greater
pleasures than the people below them. Allâh (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]

Allâh (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 Allâh mentioned second will
realise
that they are lower than the first two, because the first two are for the
muqarrabûn [those who are close to Allâh], whilst the second two are for
ashâb al-yamîn [those of the Right Hand] as Ibn ‘Abbâs and Abû Musa
al-Ash’ari said [at-Tadhkirah, 440]. al-Qurtubî 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. Allâh
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]
Allâh 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 Hûr al-‘Îyn 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-Bukhâri and Muslim report from Abû Musa al-Ash’ari that the Messenger
of
Allâh ﷺ 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 Allâh, except the
garment of pride over His Face in the Paradise of ‘Adn” [Jâmi’ al-Usûl,
10/498, no. 8029]

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

“Verily the Abrâr [pious, who fear Allâh and avoid evil] will drink a
cup
[of wine] mixed with water from a spring in Paradise called Kafûr” [76:5]

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

It seems – and Allâh Knows Best – that this is for Ahl al-Yamîn.
Elsewhere
Allâh (swt) says:

“It [that wine] will be mixed with tasnîm, A spring
whereof drink those nearest to Allâh” [83:27-28].

Ahl al-Yamîn will
drink
something mixed with Tasnîm, whilst al-Muqarrabûn will drink a pure
drink
of Tasnîm. Tasnîm is the name of a spring in Paradise.

The Highest and Lowest Positions in Paradise

Muslim reports from al-Mughîrah ibn Shu’bah that the Messenger of Allâh
ﷺ said:

“Musâ asked his Rabb, “Who will have the lowest position in Paradise?”
Allâh 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”. Musâ asked, “My Rabb, who will have the highest
status in Paradise?” Allâh 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 Allâh, 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-Wasîlah. It will be attained, insha’Allâh, by the Chosen
Prophet, the best of Allâh’s creation, our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This
is
narrated in a hadith narrated by al-Bukhâri from Jâbir ibn ‘Abdullâh
according to which the Prophet ﷺ said,

“Whoever says, when he hears
the
call to prayer, “Allâhumma Rabba hadhihi-da’wati-tammah,
was-salâtil-qâ’imah, âti muhammadan al-wasîlata wal-fadîlata,
wab’aththu
maqâman mahmûdan alladhi wa’adtahu [O Allâh, Lord of this Perfect Call
and
the Prayer to be Offered, grant Muhammad al-Wasîlah – 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 ‘Abdullâh ibn ‘Amr al-‘Âs said,

“I heard the
Messenger
of Allâh ﷺ say, “When you hear the muaddhin call, say what he says,
then
send blessings on me, for whoever sends blessings on me, Allâh (swt) will
return it to him tenfold. Then ask Allâh to grant me al-Wasîlah, for
whoever asks Allâh (swt) to grant me al-Wasîlah intercession will be
granted for him.””

The Sahâbah asked the Prophet ﷺ “What is al-Wasîlah?” 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 Abû Hurayrah]

The Messenger of Allâh ﷺ said, “al-Wasîlah is a rank above which
is no other in the sight of Allâh (swt). Ask Allâh (swt) to grant me
al-Wasîlah”
[Ahmad from Abû Sa’îd, Sî Ibn Kathîr, an-Nihâyah, 2/2332]

Those Who Take their Positions in the Highest Levels

 

Among those who will occupy the highest levels in Paradise are the
shuhâdâ,
the best of whom are those who fight in the front ranks and never turn
away
until they are killed. Ahmad and at-Tabarâni report with a sahîh isnâd
from Na’îm ibn Hamar that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“The best of the
Shuhâdâ 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, Kitâb az-Zuhd, Bâb al-Ihsân ila al-armila
wal-masâkîn wal-yatîm 2/2286, hadith no. 2982]

The one who helps widows and the destitute will have the status of a
mujâhid
in Paradise. Muslim reports from Abû Hurayrah that the Prophet ﷺ
said,

“The one who helps widows and the destitute is like one who fights in
jihâd
for the sake of Allâh (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”. [Sahîh Muslim,
Kitâb
az-Zuhd, Bâb al-Ihsân, ila al-armilah wal-miskîn wal-yatîm, 2/2286,
no.
2982]

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

Allâh (swt) will raise the status of parents by the blessing of their
children’s du’â. Ahmad reports from Abû Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger
of
Allâh ﷺ said, “Allâh (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 Kathîr said,

“This is a sahîh isnâd although none of the authors of
the six books reported it. But there is a corroborating report in Sahîh
Muslim from Abû Hurayrah (ra), according to which the Prophet ﷺ said,
“When a son of Aadam dies his good works come to an end, except for three:
Sadaqah Jâriyah [ongoing charity], beneficial knowledge [that he
discovered or propogated], and a righteous son who will pray for him.”
[Ibn Kathîr,
an-Nihâyah, 2/340]

The Soil of Paradise

Al-Bukhâri and Muslim reported the hadîth of al-Mi’râj from Anas ibn
Mâlik from Abû Dharr in which Abu Dharr (ra) said,

“The Messenger of Allâh
ﷺ said, “I entered Paradise where I saw lights of pearl and its soil was
musk”.

Muslim and Ahmad report from Abû Sa’îd that Ibn Sayyâd asked the
Messenger ﷺ about the soil of Paradise. He said,

“It is a fine white powder of
pure musk”.

Ahmad reports from Jâbir ibn ‘Abdullâh that the Messenger of Allâh
ﷺ 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-Qâsim,” The Messenger of Allâh ﷺ
said, “Bread is like pearls”. [an-Nihâyah, 2/242]

Ahmad At-Tirmidhi and Ad-Dârimi reported that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“I
asked “O Messenger of Allâh ﷺ, 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.”
[Mishkât al-Masâbîh, 3/89, no. 5630]

The Rivers of Paradise

Allâh (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 ﷺ told us clearly about the rivers of Paradise. He said
that during his Isrâ’ (Night Journey):

“…I saw four rivers flowing out from
beneath Sidrat al-Muntahâ, two visible and two hidden. He asked, “O
Jibrîl, 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, Kitâb al-Imân, Bâb al-Isrâ’, 1/150, no. 164; al-Bukhâri
reports the same from Anas ibn Mâlik, Jâmi’ al-Usûl, 10/507, narrated
by Abu Awanah, al-Isma’îlî and at-Tabaranî in as-Saghîr]

Muslim reports from Abû Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ said,

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

[Sahîh Muslim, Kitâb al-Jannah, Bâb ma fid-dunyâ min anhâr
al-jannah, 4/2183, no. 2839, al-Albâni attributed it, in Silsilat
al-Hadîith as-Sahîhah 1/6, to Muslim, Ahmad, al-Ajirri and al-Khatîb]

Sheikh Nâsir ud-Dîn al-Albâni said,

“Perhaps what is meant is that
these rivers originated in Paradise just as mankind did; this hadîth 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 hadîth,
then it is one of the matters of al-Ghayb [the Unseen], which we must
believe and accept because the Prophet ﷺ has told us about it”. [Silsilat
al-Hadîth as-Sahîhah, 1/18]

Al-Qarî’ said,

“These four rivers are considered to be among the rivers
of paradise because they are so fresh and beneficial, and contain blessings
from Allâh, and were honoured by the fact that the Prophets came to them and
drank from them”. [reported by al-Albâni in his footnotes on Mishkât
al-Masâbîh, 3/80]

Another of the rivers of Paradise is al-Kawthar, which Allâh has given to
His Messenger ﷺ:

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

The Prophet ﷺ saw it and told us about it. al-Bukhâri reported from
Anas ibn Mâlik that the Prophet ﷺ 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 Jibrîl?” 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]. [Sahîh al-Bukhâri, Kitâb ar-Riqâq, Bâb fil-Hawd, Fath
al-Bâri, 11/464]

Ibn ‘Abbâs explained,

“al-Kawthar means the abundant blessings which
Allâh has bestowed upon His Messenger ﷺ.” Then Abû Bishr said to Sa’îd ibn
Jâbir, who reported this comment from Ibn ‘Abbâs, “There are people who
claim that it is a river in Paradise”. Sa’îd said, “The river in
Paradise is one of the blessings that Allâh has bestowed upon him”.

[Sahîh
al-Bukhâri, Kitâb ar-Riqâq, Bâb fil-Hawd, Fath al-Bâri, 11/463]

Hâfidh ibn Kathîr compiled a number of hadîth [an-Nihâyah, 2/246] in
which the Prophet ﷺ spoke about al-Kawthar, such as the report
narrated by Muslim from Anas, which states that when the âyah “Verily We have
granted you al-Kawthar” [108]
was revealed, the Prophet ﷺ said,

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

He also quoted the hadîth narrated by Ahmad from Anas, according to which
the Prophet ﷺ 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 ﷺ said,

“It is a river
that Allâh (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.

Allâh (swt) says:

“The description of Paradise which the Muttaqûn 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 sahîh isnâd, from Hâkim ibn Mu’âwiyah that
the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ 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.” [Jâmi’ al-Usûl, 10/508]

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

Ibn ‘Abbâs narrated that the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ said,

“The
shuhadâ [martyrs] are in a green dome beside the river of Bâriq, near the gate of
Paradise, from which provision comes to them morning and evening.” [Sahîh
al-Jâmi’ as-Saghîr, 3/235, no. 3636]

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