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The reality of Paradise is something which people will never be able to understand until they actually enter it, but God has shown us glimpses of it in the Quran.  He has described it as a place essentially different to the life of this world, both in the very nature and purpose of life, as well as the types of delights which people will enjoy therein.  The Quran tells people about Paradise, which God offers to them, describes its great blessings, and proclaims its beauties to everyone.  It informs people that Paradise is one of two ways of life prepared for them in the afterworld, and that every good thing will be theirs in Paradise to a degree that surpasses our present ability to imagine.  It also shows that Paradise is a place where all blessings have been created perfectly and where people will be offered everything their souls and hearts will desire, and that people will be far removed from want and need, anxiety or sadness, sorrow and regret.  Every kind of beauty and blessing exists in Paradise and will be revealed with a perfection never seen or known before.  God has prepared such blessings there as a gift, and these will be offered only to people with whom He is pleased.

But what is the nature of these delights in Paradise, and how will it be different from the delights of this world?  We will try to highlight a few of these differences.

Pure delight without pain and suffering

While people in this world experience some delight, they also face much toil and suffering.  If one was to scrutinize the life which they live, they will find that the amount of hardship they face is much more than the ease and comfort.  As for the life of the Hereafter, there will be no hardship nor suffering in it, and people will live therein in pure joy and delight.  All the causes of sorrow, pain and suffering which people experience in this life will be absent in the Hereafter.  Let’s take a look at some of these causes.

Wealth

When one thinks of success in this life, they usually conjure the image of big houses, fine jewelry and clothing, and expensive cars; financial stability is seen to be the key to a happy life.  To most people, success is inseparably related to wealth, even though this is the furthest from the truth.  How many times have we seen the wealthiest of people living such miserable lives, that it sometimes even leads them to commit suicide!  Wealth is something which humans in their very nature desire at any cost, and this desire has been created for a great and wise purpose.  When this desire is not satiated, it causes some extent of grief in a person.  For this reason, God has promised the inhabitants of Paradise that they will have all that they imagined as far as wealth and belongings are concerned, both for those who were extremely poor, experiencing even hunger and thirst, to those well-to-do but who desired even more.  God gives us a glimpse of this when he says:

“... there will be there all that the souls could desire, all that the eyes could delight in …” (Quran 43:71)

“Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent forth (good deeds) in days past!” (Quran 69:24)

“… They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade.  They will recline therein on raised thrones.  How good [is] the recompense!  How beautiful a couch [is there] to recline on!” (Quran 18:31)

Disease and Death

Another cause of pain and suffering in this life is the death of a loved one or disease, which are both non-existent in Paradise.  None will feel any sickness or pain in Paradise.  The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said about the people of Paradise:

“They will never fall ill, blow their noses or spit.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

None will die in Paradise.  All shall live eternally enjoying the pleasures therein.  The Prophet Muhammad said that a caller will call out in Paradise when people enter it:

“Indeed may you be healthy and never be sick again, may you live and never die again, may you be young and never grow feeble again, may you enjoy, and never feel sorrow and regret again.” (Saheeh Muslim)

Social Relationships

As for the remorse felt due to a rift in personal relationships, people will never hear any evil or hurting comments or speech in Paradise.  They will only hear good words and words of peace.  God says:

“They will not hear therein ill speech or commission of sin.  But only the saying of: Peace! Peace!” (Quran 56:25-26)

There will be no enmity between people nor ill-feelings:

“And We shall remove from their breasts any (mutual) hatred or sense of injury (which they had, if at all, in the life of this world)…” (Quran 7:43)

The Prophet said:

“There will be no hatred or resentment among them, their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify God, morning and evening.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

People will have the best of companions in the Hereafter, who were also the best people in the world:

“And whoever obeys God and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom God has bestowed favor – of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous.  And excellent are those as companions!” (Quran 4:69)

The hearts of the people of Paradise will be pure, their speech will be good, their deeds righteous.  There will be no hurtful, upsetting, offensive or provocative talk there, for Paradise is free of all worthless words and deeds. If we were to discuss all the causes for anguish in this life, we would surely find its absence or opposite to be true in Paradise.

The Eternalness of the Hereafter

The Pleasures of this world are transient whilst the joys of the hereafter are lasting and eternal.  In this life when a person enjoys something, it is only a short while before they get bored with it and proceed to search for something they feel is better, or they may not feel a need for it altogether.  As for the delights of Paradise, a person will never feel bored with anything, but rather, its goodness will increase each time they indulge in it.

Also, the life of this world is very short.  Humans only live on this earth for a short while, and very few people reach the age of seventy.

“…Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world.  The Hereafter is (far) better for him who fears God...” (Quran 4:77)

As for Paradise, people will live forever.  God says:

“...its provision is eternal and so is its shade…” (Quran 13:35)

“What is with you must vanish, and what is with God will endure …” (Quran 16:96)

“(It will be said to them): This is Our Provision, which will never finish” (Quran 38:54)

Superior Delights

The delights of the people of Paradise, such as their clothing, food, drink, jewelry and palaces, will be far superior to their counterparts in this world.  There is in fact no room for comparison, as even the smallest space in Paradise is better than this world and all that is in it.  The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“The space of the bow of any one of you in Paradise is better than all that the sun rises upon” (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh 3/85, no. 5615)

Free from all Impurities

Paradise is free from all the impurities of this world.  Eating and drinking in this life results in the need for excretion and its associated unpleasant odors.  If a person drinks wine in this world, he loses his mind.  Women in this world menstruate and give birth, which are sources of pain and hurt.  Paradise is free from all of these discomforts: its people will not urinate, defecate, spit or suffer from catarrh.  The wine of Paradise, as described by its Creator, is:

“Crystal-white, delicious to those who drink (thereof), free from intoxication, nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom” (Quran 37:46-47)

The water of Paradise does not become brackish, and its milk never changes in flavor:

“...rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes...” (Quran 47:15)

The women of Paradise are pure and free from menstruation, postnatal bleeding and all the other impurities suffered by women in this world, and all are free from stool and feces.  God says:

“...and they shall have therein purified mates…” (Quran 2:25)

The prophet answered a person when they asked how the people of Paradise will relieve themselves:

“They relieve themselves by perspiring through their skins, and its fragrance will be that of musk, and all stomachs will have become lean.” (ibn Hibbaan)

What we have mentioned has been a mere comparison in order to understand the nature of Paradise, but as God said, its delights are truly hidden:

“No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.” (Quran 32:17)

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 Maajah, Ibn Hibbaan)

The Sahabah asked the Prophet 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-Daarimee)

God says:

“And when you look there (in Paradise) you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a great dominion.” (Quran 76:20)

What God has kept hidden from us the delights of Paradise is beyond our ability to comprehend.  The Prophet said that God 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 knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.” (Quran 32:17)

In another report:

“Never mind what God has told you; what He has not told you is even greater.” (Saheeh Muslim)

In other articles, we will attempt to mention some of the specific details of Paradise and the delights therein described to us by God and His last Prophet.

The Disease Of Envy

Imam Ibn Taymiyyah

This introduction by islaam.com is intended to briefly describe envy as a disease of the heart, preceding the text below it by Ibn Taymiyyah.

  1. Envy is one of the major sins which is bound to destroy good deeds as fast as the fire burns the wood and dry grass to ashes. “Jealousy eats away at good deeds, just as fire eats away at firewood.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
  2. Envy was described as a sickness by the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam.
  3. Envy is hating that good happens to others.
  4. Envy is displeasure with Allah's decree and His granting blessings upon others.
  5. "Faith and envy do not go together in the heart of a servant." [Ibn Hibban, saheeh]
  6. "The people will be fine as long as they do not envy one another." [At-Tabarani with trustworthy narrators]
  7. Envy is a characteristic the Jews displayed towards the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, causing them to inflict him harm.
  8. Envy leads to hatred.
  9. The Prophet, sallallahu `alahi w sallam, described envy as a shearer of the religion.

10.  Muslims are commanded in Soorah al-Falaq to seek refuge from the evil of the envier when he envies.

11.  Envy is worse than miserliness; this is because the miser only stops himself from having good but the envier dislikes the favours of Allah bestowed upon His servants.

12.  No one attains true belief until one loves for one’s brother what one loves for oneself.

13.  It is said that the people who have the greatest degree of restlessness are the envious. Such a person has no peace and is continuously grieved.

14.  The greatest harm from envy comes to the envier, who with one’s displeasure with Allah’s decree attains a great loss to oneself.

Al-Mubarrad recited the following lines:

The eye of the envier always sees scandal, bringing out faults and hiding the good.
He meets you cheerfully, with a smiling face, while his heart conceals his true feelings.
The envier’s enmity comes without provocation, yet he accepts no excuses while he attacks.

The following is excerpted and adapted from Ibn Taymiyyah's "Diseases of the Hearts and Their Cures" [©1998 Al-Hidaayah]

Strictly speaking, envy (hasad) is hatred and disliking the good condition of the envied one. This is of two types:

1) The blameworthy type of envy is unrestricted dislike of the blessings bestowed upon the envied. This is the type of jealousy that incurs blame, so when one hates something he is then hurt and grieved by the existence of what he hates, and this becomes a sickness in his heart such that he takes pleasure in the removal of the blessings from the envied even if this does not result in any benefit to him except the single benefit of having the pain that was in his soul removed. But this pain is not removed except as a result of his continuously watching the envied so that the jealous person finds relief when the blessing is removed, but then it becomes more severe as is the case of the one who is sick, for it is possible that this blessing, or one similar to it, returns to the envied. This is why the second group said: 'It is a desire to have the blessings removed,' for indeed the one who dislikes the blessings bestowed upon other than him desires them to see removed.

2) That he dislikes the superiority of that person over him, and he desires to be like him or better, so this is jealousy and has been called ghubta, and the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, called it hasad in the hadeeth reported by both al-Bukhari and Muslim from the hadeeth of ibn Mas`ood and ibn `Umar, radiyallahu `anhumaa, that he, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, said, "There is no envy except in two cases: a person to whom Allah has granted wisdom, and he rules by this and teaches it to the people, and a person to whom Allah has granted wealth and property along with this the power to spend it in the cause of Truth."

This being the wording of Ibn Mas`ood. The wording of Ibn `Umar is, "A person to whom Allah has given the Qur'an and he recites it night and day, and a person to whom Allah has granted wealth and property from which he gives in charity night and day."

...So the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, forbade hasad, with the exception of two cases which are referred to as al-ghubta, meaning that a person love the condition of someone else and dislikes that this person be superior in this way (without his wishing that it be removed from that person).

So if it is asked: 'Then why is this (ghubta) called envy when he loves only that Allah bestow these blessings upon him?' It is said, 'The starting point of this love is his looking towards the favors Allah has bestowed upon someone else and his disliking that this person be favored over him. So if this other person were not present then he would not have desired these blessings. So because the starting point of this love is this dislike that someone else be made superior to him, then this is called envy due to the love following the dislike. As for desiring that Allah bestows favors upon him without consideration of people's material conditions then this is not envy at all.'

This is why the generality of mankind have been tried with this second type of envy that has also been called al-munaafasah (competition) because two people compete in a single desired matter, both of them trying to attain the same good. The reason for their trying to attain it is that one of them dislikes that the other be blessed with this matter over him just as any one of two competitors dislikes that the other beat him.

Competition is not considered blameworthy in general, rather it is considered to be praiseworthy when competing for righteousness. The Exalted said,

"Indeed the pious will be in delight. On thrones, looking on. You will recognize in their faces the brightness of delight. They will be given to drink pure sealed wine. The last thereof (that wine) will be the smell of Musk, and for this let those compete who want to compete." [Al-Mutaffifeen (83):22-26]

So one is commanded to compete for these delights and not compete for the delight of this fleeting world.

...The souls do not envy the one who is in severe hardship and this is why the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, did not mention it even though the mujaahid, fighting in the Way of Allah, is superior to the one who is spending wealth.... Similarly, the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, did not mention the one who prays, fasts and performs the pilgrimage, because there is no tangible benefit attained from the people for these actions by which the person can be exalted or disgraced, as can be attained in teaching and spending.

Fundamentally, envy occurs when someone else attains power and authority; otherwise the one who is performing these actions is not normally envied, even if this person be blessed with far more food, drink and wives than others, as opposed to these two blessings of power and authority, for they cause a great deal of envy.

..

Allah praised the Ansaar with His saying, "And they have no jealously in their breasts for that which they have been given (the muhaajiroon), and give them preference over themselves even though they were in need of that." [Al-Hashr (59):9]

As for the jealousy that is totally blameworthy then Allah has said with regards to the Jews, "Many of the People of the Book wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves even after the truth has become clear to them." [Al-Baqarah (2):109]

'They wish' meaning that they hope to make you aspostisise from your religion out of jealousy. So jealousy was the deciding factor behind their wish even after the Truth had been made clear to them. This because when they saw you attain what you attained of blessings - in fact they saw you attain that which they themselves had never attained - they became jealous of you. Similarly this is mentioned in another verse, "Or do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His bounty? Then We have already given the family of Abraham the Book of Wisdom, and conferred upon them a great kingdom. Of them were (some) who believed in him (Muhammad) and of them were some who averted their faces from him and enough is Hell for burning (them)..." [An-Nisaa' (4): 54-55]

"Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Daybreak. From the evil of what He has created. And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness. And from the evil of the witchcrafts when they blow in the knots. And from the evil of the envier when he envies." [Al-Falaq (113):1-5]

...So the one who is jealous, hating the favours bestowed by Allah upon someone else is an oppressor, going beyond bounds due to this. As for the one who dislikes that someone else be blessed and wishes to be blessed in the same way, then this is forbidden for him except in that which will bring him closer to Allah. So if he were to wish for something that has been given to someone else which would help bring him closer to Allah then there is no problem in this. However, his wishing for it in his heart, without looking to the condition of someone else is better and more excellent.

Then if this person were to act, dictated by this jealousy, he would be an oppressor going beyond bounds, deserving of punishment unless he repents...

Jealousy is one of the sicknesses of the soul, and it is an illness that afflicts the generality of mankind and only a few are secure from it. This is why it is said, "The body is never free from jealousy, but debasement brings it out, and nobility hides it." It was said to Al-Hasan Al-Basree, "Can a believer be envied?" He replied, "What has made you forget Yoosuf and his brothers, have you no father? But you should keep (this envy should it occur) blinded in your heart, for you cannot be harmed by that which you did not act upon in speech or action."

So the one who finds that he harbours jealousy in his soul towards someone else, then it is upon him to treat it with patience and taqwaa of Allah, and dislike it being in his soul... As for the one who actually takes a stance against the envied, either with words or actions then he will be punished for this, and the one who fears Allah and is patient and does not become one of the oppressors - Allah will benefit him for his taqwa.

...In the hadeeth there occurs, "There are three sins from which no one can be saved: jealousy, suspicion and omens. Shall I tell you of what will remove you from this: When you envy do not hate, when you are suspicious then do not actualise your suspicions, and when you see omens then ignore them." Reported by Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah.

In the Sunan from the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, "You have been afflicted with the illness of the nations that came before you - jealousy and hatred. They are the shearers, I do not mean the shearers of the hair, rather they are the shearers of the religion." [At-Tirmidhi, at-Tabaranee and al-Hakim who said it was saheeh].

So he called jealousy an illness just as he called miserliness an illness in his saying, "And what illness is worse than miserliness." [Ahmad, Hakim and others, saheeh]

...In the first hadeeth jealousy was mentioned along with hatred. This is because the envier, first of all dislikes the bounty bestowed by Allah upon the one who is envied, and then begins hating this person. This is because the hatred of the thing being bestowed leads to hatred of the one upon whom it is bestowed, for when the blessings of Allah are bestowed upon an individual, he would love that they go away, and they would not go away except by the one who is envied going away, therefore he hates him and loves that he not be there.

Jealousy necessarily leads to desire and hatred just as Allah informed us of those that came before us that they differed, "After there came to them knowledge out of mutual hatred and desire." [Aal `Imraan (3):19]

...

“Do not envy one another, do note hate each other, do not oppose each other…” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

“By the One in Whose Hands is my soul, none of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Greed is a sickness as is miserliness, and jealousy is worse than miserliness, as occurs in the hadeeth, “Jealousy eats away at good deeds, just as fire eats away at firewood.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

This is because the miser only stops himself from having good but the envier dislikes the favours of Allah bestowed upon His servants.


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