Paradise: The Eternal Abode
This is taken from the book, Paradise and Hell by Dr. Umar Al-Ashqar
Paradise is the tremendous reward which Allaah (swt) Has Prepared for His beloved (awliyaa) and those who obey complete joy and pleasure, where nothing is lacking and nothing can disturb its purity. What Allaah (swt) told us about it makes out heads spin because our minds are not able to comprehend the greatness of such blessings.
Listen to the words of Allaah (swt) in this hadith qudsi:
“I have prepared for My righteous slaves that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and has never mind of any human being”.
Then the Prophet (saw) said, “Recite, if you wish: “No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy for what they used to do” . (32:17)
The joys of Paradise are far greater than the pleasures of this world, which pale into insignificance in comparison. reports from Sahl ibn Sa’d as-Sa’idee that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: “A space the size of a whip in better than this world and al that is in it”. (Fath al-Baari, 6/319, an-Nawawi’s commentary on Muslim 17/166)
Because admittance to Paradise and salvation from the Fire are according to Allaah’s Will and Judgement, it is a tremendous success, as Allaah (swt) says:
“Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden, will have indeed attained the object been successful]” (3:185)
“Allaah Has Promised to believers – men and women – Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of the supreme felicity [or success]”. (9:72)
“…and those who obey Allaah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing underneath, abide therein [forever] and that will be the supreme achievement”. (4:13)
Admittance to Paradise
There is no doubt that the joy of the believers will be incomparable when they are led, group by honourable group, to the blessed Gardens of Paradise.
When they reach Paradise its gates will be opened for them, and they will be welcomed by noble angels congratulating their safe arrival after suffering so much hardship and witnessing so much horror:
“And those who feared their Rabb will be led to the garden in crowds, until, behold, they arrive there; its gates will be opened and its keepers will say “Peace be upon you! Well have you done! Enter here, to dwell therein”. (39:73)
In other words, your words, thoughts and deeds were good so your hearts and souls became pure and for that you deserve Paradise.
The Believers Will Be Purified Before They Enter Paradise
After the Believers have passed over as-Siraat (the bridge over Hell), they will be kept on a bridge between Paradise and Hell, where they will be purified by means of their settling any wrongs that existed between any of them in this world. Then when they enter paradise they will be pure and clean, none of them bearing any ill-will towards another or demanding anything of another.al-Bukhaari reported from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (ra) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said:
“The believers will be saved from the Fire then they will be kept on a bridge between Paradise and Hell. They will settle their accounts with one another for any wrongs that existed between them in this world, until they are purified and cleansed, and will be permitted to enter Paradise. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, each of them will know his dwelling in Paradise better than he knew his dwelling in this world”. (Sahih al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab al-Qisas Yawm al-Qiyamah, Fath al-Baari, 11/395)
Our Prophet (saw) will be the first to ask for the gates of paradise to be opened, after Aadam, the father of mankind, and all the other great Prophets refuse this task.
The First People to Enter Paradise
The first of mankind to enter Paradise will be our Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the first nation to enter Paradise will be his ummah. The first member of this ummah to enter will be Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra).
Ibn Katheer quotes a number of Hadith [an-Nihayah, 2/213] that state this such as the report of Muslim from Anas (ra) according to which the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “I will be the first one to knock at the gates of Paradise”.
Muslim also reported from Anas that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: “I will come to the gates of paradise and ask for it to be opened. The gatekeeper will ask, “Who are you?” I will say, “Muhammad”. The gatekeeper will say, “I was ordered not to open the gate for anyone else before you””.
Al-Bukhaari, Muslim and an-Nasaa’ee report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said: “We are the last, but we will be the first on the Day of Resurrection. We will be the first of mankind to enter Paradise”.
Abu Dawood reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said, “Jibreel came to me, and showed me the gate of Paradise through which my ummah will enter”. Abu Bakr said, “O Messenger of Allaah (saw), would that I had been with you to see it!”. The Messenger of Allaah (saw) “But you, O Abu Bakr, will be the first of my ummah to enter Paradise”.
Those Who Will Enter Paradise Without Being Called to Account
The first group of this ummah who will enter Paradise will be those who were pre-eminent in their imaan, taqwaa, righteous deeds and adherence to the true religion. They will enter Paradise in one rank: the first of them will not enter until the last of them enters, and they will be as beautiful as the full moon.
Al-Bukhaari reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said:
“The first group to enter Paradise will be as beautiful as the full moon. They will not spit, blow their noses or excrete. Their vessels will be fo gold, their combs of gold and silver, their incense o aloe, and their sweat of musk. Each of them will have two wives, the marrow of whose leg-bones will be visible through their flesh because of their extreme beauty. There will be no differences or hatred among them (the people of Paradise); their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify Allaah (swt) morning and evening”. (Kitaab Bid’ al-Khalq, Baab Ma Jaa’ fi Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/318; Muslim, at-Tirmidhi)
Al-Bukhaari reports from Sahl ibn Sa’d (ra) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: “Seventy thousand – or seven hundred thousand – of my ummah will enter Paradise; the first of them will not enter until the last of them does so, and their faces will look like the full moon”. (Fath al-Baari, 6/319)
It is true that with each one of these seventy, Allaah (swt) will give His Prophet seventy thousand. Ahmad reports with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Bakr (ra) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said:
“I have been given seventy thousand of my ummah, who will enter Paradise without being called to account. Their faces will be like the full moon, and their hearts will be as one. I asked my Rabb, may He be glorified, for more, and He gave me, along with each of them, seventy thousand more”. (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1/350, no. 1068)
Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hibbaan report with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Umaamah that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “My Rabb promised me that seventy thousand of my ummah would enter Paradise without being called to account and without being punished, and with each one will be seventy thousand, and three handfuls of people picked up by my Rabb [i.e. it will be a great number]”. (Saheeh al-Jaami’ 6/108, no. 2988).
The Prophet (saw) described the characteristics of these seventy thousand.
Al-Bukhaari reports from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Prophet (saw) said, “I was shown the nations, and I saw a Prophet pass by with a group of his people, and another with a band of his people, another with only ten, another with five, and another on his own (with no followers). Then I looked and saw a large crowd of people. I asked, “O Jibreel, are these my ummah?” He said, “No, but look at the horizon.” So I looked, and saw a huge multitude of people. Jibreel said, “These are your ummah, and those seventy thousand in front will not be called to account or punished.” I asked, “Why?” He said, “They did not treat themselves with branding (cauterisation) or with ruqyaa (charms) and they did not see evil omens in things (i.e they were not superstitious): they put their trust only in their Rabb””. ‘Ukaasha ibn Mihsan stood up and said, “Pray to Allaah (swt) to make me one of them”. The Prophet (saw) said, “O Allaah (swt) make him one of them”. Then another man stood up and said, “Ask Allaah (swt) to make me one of them”. The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Ukaasha has preceded you”. (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Yadhkul al-Jannah Sab’un Alfan bi Ghayri Hisaab, Fath al-Baari, 11/405)
These may be the ones whom Allaah (swt) has called al-Muqarraboon (those nearest to Allaah swt):
“And those foremost [in faith] will be foremost [in the Hereafter]. These will be those nearest to Allaah [al-Muqarraboon], in the Gardens of Bliss”. (56:10-12)
More of them will come from the early generations than from the later generations:
“A multitude of those [foremost] will be from the first generations [who embraced Islaam], and a few of those [foremost] will be from the later generations”. (56:13-14)
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