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PARADISE PEOPLE.

 

1)     PEOPLE OF PARADISE

2)     ALL MUSLIMS WILL BE ENTERING HEAVEN

3)     HOORS IN HEAVEN

4)     THE BELIEVER'S FAMILY JOINING HIM IN PARADISE

5)     WHOEVER SAYS LAA ILAAHA-ALLAH WILL ENTER IN PARADISE

 

 

1. PEOPLE OF PARADISE

Question :

Can you list in details the people who will enter paradise?

Answer :

Paradise is the tremendous reward which Allah (swt) has prepared for His beloved (awliyaa) and those who obey Him. It is complete joy and pleasure, where nothing is lacking and nothing can disturb its purity. What Allah (swt) and His Messenger have 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 Allah (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 crossed the mind of any human being".

The joys of Paradise are far greater than the pleasures of this world, which pale into insignificance in comparison. Bukhaari reports from Sahl ibn Sa'd as-Sa'idee that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "A space the size of a whip in Paradise is better than this world and al that is in it".

Because admittance to Paradise and salvation from the Fire are according to Allah's will and judgement, it is a great victory and tremendous success, as Allah (swt) says: "....Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden, will have indeed attained the object of life [or: been successful]" (Aale-Imran 3:185)

"Allah has promised to believers - men and women - Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein [forever], and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme felicity [or success]". (At-Tauba 9:72)

"...and those who obey Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing underneath, to abide therein [forever] and that will be the supreme achievement".(An-Nisa 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 them on 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". (Sad 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. Bukhaari reported from Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (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".

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).

Muslim also reported from Anas that the Messenger of Allah (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"". [Saheeh Muslim]

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 Allah (saw), would that I had been with you to see it!". The Messenger of Allah (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.

Bukhaari reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (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 of 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 Allah (swt) morning and evening".

Bukhaari reports from Sahl ibn Sa'd (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (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".

It is true that with each one of these seventy, Allah (swt) will give His Prophet seventy thousand. Ahmad reports with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Bakr (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (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 Allah (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]".

The Prophet (saw) described the characteristics of these seventy thousand.

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 Allah (swt) to make me one of them". The Prophet (saw) said, "O Allah (swt) make him one of them". Then another man stood up and said, "Ask Allah (swt) to make me one of them". The Prophet (saw) said, 'Ukaasha has preceded you".  

These may be the ones whom Allah (swt) has called al-Muqarraboon (those nearest to Allah swt): "And those foremost [in faith] will be foremost [in the Hereafter]. (10) These will be those nearest to Allah [al-Muqarraboon], (11) in the Gardens of Bliss". (Al-Waqia 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], (13) and a few of those [foremost] will be from the later generations". (Al-Waqia 56:13-14)

The Poor Will Enter Jannah Ahead of the Rich

Muslim reports from 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said "The poor of the Muhajireen will enter Paradise forty years ahead of the rich". (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 2/663, no. 5235)

Tirmidhi reported from Abu Sa'eed, and Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah reported from Abu Hurayrah, that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "The poor of the Muhajireen will enter Paradise five hundred years ahead of the rich of the Muhajireen" (Saheeh al-Jaami).

The hadith quoted above stated that the poor will enter Paradise forty years ahead of other people while others state that the difference will be five hundred years. The two statements may be reconciled by pointing out that the poor are not all alike, neither are the rich. As Al-Qurtubee suggested (at-Tadhkirah, p.470) the poor vary in the strength of their imaan and their achievements, and the same applies to the rich. If we think in terms of the first of the poor and the last of the rich to enter Paradise then the time-span will be five hundred years, but if we are thinking of the last of the poor and the first of the rich, then the time span is forty years. And Allah knows best." (Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah)

Elsewhere the Prophet (saw) explained that these are the people who have nothing to be brought account for, and this is in addition to their jihaad and virtue. al-Haakim reported from 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Do you know who will be the first of my ummah to enter Paradise?" I said, "Allah and His Messenger know best". He said, "The poor of the Muhajireen. They will come to the gate of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection and ask for it to be opened. The gatekeepers will say to them, "Have you been brought to account?" They will say, "What do we need to be brought to account for? We were carrying our swords and fighting for the sake of Allah (swt) until we died." Then the gates will be opened for them and they will stay there for forty years before anyone else enters". (Silsilah al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 2/532, no. 853, al-Haakim said it is sahih according to the conditions of al-Bukhaari and Muslim).

Bukhaari reports from Usaamah ibn Zayd that the Prophet (saw) said, "I stood by the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of those who entered were the poor and wretched. The rich [Muslims] were detained while the people of Hell were ordered to be taken to Hell".

The Sinners Among the Believers Will Enter Paradise

(i) They will be brought forth from Hell and will enter Paradise by means of intercession.

Muslim reports from Abu Sa'eed that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

"The people of Hell will remain there, never dying, and never living. But there are people who will enter Hell because of their sins, and will be killed therein, so that they become like coals. Permission will be granted for intercession to be made, and they will be brought forth in groups and spread on rivers of Paradise, and it will be said, "O people of Paradise, pour water on them. Then they will grow like seeds in the silt left by a flood". [Saheeh Muslim]

Muslim also reports from Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Some people will be brought out of the Fire, having been burnt all over except for their faces, and they will enter Paradise". [Saheeh Muslim]

The people of Paradise will call these people who are brought out of Hell and admitted to Paradise, al-Jahannamiyyoon. Bukhaari reports from 'Imraan ibn Husayn (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said, "Some people will be brought out of Hell through the intercession of Muhammad (saw). They will enter Paradise and will be known as al-Jahannamiyyoon."

Muslim reports a lengthy hadith from Abu Hurayrah, in which the Prophet (saw) describes the Hereafter, and in which he says: "...When Allah (swt) has finished judging mankind, and wants to bring whomever He wills out of Hell by His Mercy, He will order angels to bring forth those upon who He wishes to bestow His mercy of the people who never associated anything in worship with Allah (swt), and who said, "Laa ilaaha illaah Allah". The angels will recognise them in Hell, and will known them by the mark of sujood on their foreheads. The Fire will consume all of a man except the mark of sujood which Allah (swt) has forbidden the Fire to consume. They will be brought forth, having been burned in the Fire, the water of life will be poured on then, and they will grow like seeds left by still after a flood". [Saheeh Muslim]

It was reported in more than one hadith that Allah (swt) will bring forth from hell whoever has a dinaar's weight of faith in his heart, or even half a dinaar's weight or an atom's weight. Moreover, people will be brought forth who never did any good deeds at all. Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Allah (swt) will admit the people of Paradise to Paradise and He will admit whomsoever He will by His Mercy. And He will admit the people of Hell to Hell, then He will say, "Look for anyone who has the weight of a mustard seed of faith in his heart, and bring him out"". [Saheeh Muslim]

One of the reports about Hell is the hadeeth narrated by Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah (ra) concerning entering Hellfire:

"Then intercession will be permitted and they will interceded until whoever says Laa ilaaha illa Allah and has a barley grain's worth of goodness in his heart will be brought forth. They will be made to stand in the courtyard of paradise and the people of Paradise will start to pour water over them, until they begin to grow like seeds left by silt after a flood. All traces of the Fire will disappear, then he [the person who was brought out of Hell] will keep asking until he is given the equivalent of this world and ten times more". [Sahih Muslim]

Anas ibn Maalik reported that the Prophet (saw) said: "Whoever says Laa ilaaha illaa Allah and has a barely grain's weight of goodness in his heart will be brought out of the Fire. Then whoever says, "Laa ilaaha illaa Allah" and has a wheat grains weight of goodness in his heart will be brought out of the Fire. Then whoever says, Laa Ilaaha illaa Allah and has an atom's-weight of goodness in his heart will be brought out of the Fire". [Sahih Muslim]

Now about the shirk done people :

"Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him, but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases...." (An-Nisa 4:48)

Shirk will not be forgiven, but any other sin is subject to the Will of Allah. The one who repents will be as if he never sinned. The aayaat that the Khawaarij use to prove that intercession will not be accepted actually refers to the kinds of intercession believed in by the mushrikeen. They think that interceding with Allah is like interceding with rulers or authorities on earth, where a person may intercede with someone (an authority figure) without that person's permission and even if the one in authority is displeased with the one on whose half intercession is made. This is not so in the case of Allah (swt) may He be glorified. Several texts reject this type of intercession, for example:

"Then guard yourselves against A Day when one soul shall not avail another, nor shall intercession be accepted from him nor will compensation be taken from him nor shall anyone be helped [from outside]" (Al-Baqarah 2:48)

"Say: O My Slaves who have transgressed against themselves [by committing evil deeds and sins]! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft-forgiving, All-Merciful". (Az-Zumr 39:53)

"Then will no intercession of [any] intercessors profit them". (Al-Mudathir 74:48)

"..No intimate friend, nor intercessor will the wrongdoers have, who could be listened to". (Al-Ghafir 40:18)

Several texts explain that no-one can intercede with Allah except with His permission and unless He is pleased both with the intercessor and the one for whom he seeks to intercede: "....and they cannot interceded except for him with whom He is pleased...." (Al-Anbia 21:28)

"And there are many angels in the heavens, whose intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He wills and pleases". (An-Najm 53:26).

"....No intercession can avail in His presence, except for those to whom He has granted permission...." (Saba 34:23)

These aayaat reject and refute the kind of intercession believed in by the mushrikeen, i.e. intercession via angels, prophets and righteous people, ("saints"), and confirm only that intercession which takes place with the permission of Allah (swt) and when He is pleased with both the intercessor and the one on whose behalf he intercedes. Allah (swt) is not pleased with the kuffaar and mushrikeen. As for the disobedient monotheists, intercessors will interceded for them, but they will not intercede for a mushrik. Narrated that Abu Hurayrah (ra) said, "I said, "O Messenger of Allah, who will be the most happy with your intercession on the Day of Resurrection?" He said, "I thought, O Abu Hurayrah, that no one would ask me this question before you, because I have seen that you are so eager to learn hadith. The one who will be the most happy with my intercession on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who says Laa ilaaha illaa Allah sincerely and from the heart"". [Bukhaari]

(Khawaarij & Mu'tazilah : Khawaarij are a sect that emerged after the battle of Siffin; they denounced 'Ali and Mu'awiyah, and whoever followed them, as kaafirs, and claimed that whoever was disobedient to Allah (swt) would remain forever in Hell. The Mu'tazilah are the followers of Waasil ibn 'Ataa' who believe in the Mu'tazili doctrine that whoever commits major sins will remain eternally in Hell, but does not judge their position in this life).

The Last Person to Enter Paradise

The Prophet (saw) has told us about the last man who will be brought out of Hell and into Paradise and the conversation that will take place between him and his Rabb, and the incredibly great honour that Allah (swt) will bestow upon him. Ibn al-Ithir collected all the hadith on this topic in Jami' al-Usool from which we will quote the following:

(i) 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'oud (ra) said:"The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "I know the last of the people of Hell who will be brought forth from it, and the last of the people of Paradise to enter it. It is a man who will come out of Hell crawling on all fours." Allah will say to him, "Go and enter Paradise". So he will come to it and will suppose that it is full. He will go back and say, "My Rabb, I found it full". Allah (swt) will say, "Go and enter Paradise for there you have something like the world and ten times over [or you have something ten times better than the world]. He will says, "Are you making fun of me - or laughing at me - and You are the Sovereign of all?" I ['Abdullaah] saw the Messenger of Allah (saw) smiling so broadly that his back teeth were visible. He used to say, "That is the one who is lowest in status of the people of Paradise". [Bukhaari]

(ii) 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'oud reported that the Messenger of Allah (Saw) said: "The last person to enter paradise will be a man who will alternately walk, stagger and be touched by the Fire. Once he has passed out of the Fire, he will turn to face it and say, "Blessed be He Who has saved me from you. Allah (swt) has given me something that He did not give to the earlier and later generations. Then a tree will be raised up for him, and he will say, "O my Rabb, bring me closer to this tree so that I may enjoy its shade and drink of its water". Allah (swt) will say, "O son of Aadam perhaps if I grant you this, you will ask Me for something else?" He will say, "No, O Rabb, I promise that I will not ask for anything else". Allah (swt) will excuse him because he is seeing something that he has no patience to resist so he will bring him closer and he will enjoy its shade and drink its water. Then another tree, better than the first, will be raised up for him and he will say, "O my Rabb, bring me near to this tree so that I may drink its water and enjoy its shade, then I will not ask you for anything more". Allah (swt) will say, "O son of Aadam did you not promise Me that you would not ask me for anything else? Perhaps if I bring you closer to this tree you will ask for more?" So the man will promise not to ask for any more, and Allah will excuse him because he is seeing something that he has no patience to resist, so He will bring him closer and he will enjoy its shade and drink its water. Then a third tree will be raised up at the gate of paradise, and it will be better than the first two. The man will say, "O My Rabb, bring me closer to this [tree] so that I may enjoy its shade and drink its water, and I will not ask for anything more." Allah will say, "O son of Aadam, did you not promise Me that you would not ask Me for anything more?" He will say, "Yes, O Rabb, I will not ask you for anything more." His Rabb, may He be glorified, will excuse him because he is seeing something which he has no patience to resist, so He will bring him closer. When he is brought close, he will hear the voices of the people of Paradise, and will say, "O my Rabb, admit me to it." Allah (swt) will say, "O son of Aadam what do you want so that you will never ask Me for anything else? Will it please you if I give you the world and as much again?" He will say, "O Rabb, are You making fun of me when You are the Rabb al-Aaalameen?" Ibn Mas'oud smiled and said, "Why do you not ask me why I am smiling?" They asked, "Why are you smiling?" He said, "Because the Messenger of Allah (saw) smiled". They asked, "Why are you smiling, O Messenger of Allah (saw)?" He said, "Because the Rabb of the Worlds will smile when He is asked, "Are You making fun of me when You are the Rabb of the Worlds?" He will say, "I am not making fun of you, but I am able to do whatever I will". [Muslim]

And in the version of Abu Sa'eed, he adds, "Allah (swt) will tell him, "ask for such and such" and when he has stated his wishes, Allah (swt) will say, "You will have them and ten times more". Then he will enter his house [in Paradise] and his two wives from among al-hoor al-'eeyn will enter and say, "Praise be to Allah (swt) who has created you for us and created us for you". He will say, "No one has ever been given anything like that which I have been given." [Muslim]

Those Who Will Enter Paradise Before the Day of Resurrection

The first human being ever to enter Paradise was the father of mankind, Aadam (as), "O Aadam! Dwell you and your wife in the Garden and enjoy [its good things] as you wish, but approach not this tree or you run into harm and transgression". (Al-Araf 7:19)

But Aadam disobeyed Allah by eating from the tree which Allah (swt) had forbidden him to eat from, so Allah (swt) sent him down from the Garden of Paradise to this world of distress and misery:

The Messenger of Allah (saw) also saw Paradise. Bukhaari reports from 'Imraan ibn Husayn that the Prophet (saw) said, "I have seen Paradise and I saw that its inhabitants are the poor.." [Sahih Bukhaari]

Among those who will enter paradise before the Day of Resurrection are ash-Shuhadaa [the martyrs]. Muslim reports that Masruq said, "We asked Abdullaah ibn Mas'oud about this aayah: "Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Rabb" (Aale-Imran 3:169)

He said, "We asked about that too, and the Prophet (saw) said, "Their souls are in the bellies of green birds, and they have lights suspended from the Throne. They wander about in Paradise wherever they wish, then they take shelter in those lights. Their Rabb will suddenly come to them and ask," Do you desire anything?" They will say, "What thing could we wish for when we can wander wherever we wish in Paradise?" Allah will come and ask this three times. When they see that they will not be allowed to giver no reply, they will say, "O Rabb, would that we could return our bodies and be killed for Your sake one more time." When Allah (swt) sees that they have no wants or needs, they will be left alone"". (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 2/351, no. 3804)

Whoever dies will be shown his position in Paradise or Hell morning and evening. Muslim reports from Ibn 'Umar (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "When any one of you dies, he will be shown his position morning and evening. If he is one of the people of Paradise, then he will be one of the people of Paradise, and if he is one of the people of Hell, then he will be one of the people of Hell and he will be told, "This is your position until Allah (swt) resurrects you to it on the Day of Resurrection"". [Muslim]

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. Allah (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." [Al-Isra 17:21]

Allah (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. Allah (swt) also differentiates between His Prophets as He does between the rest of His believing slaves. Allah (swt) says: and "...And indeed We have preferred some of the Prophets above others.." [Al-Isra 17:55]

Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said "A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah (swt) than a weak one although both are good..." and Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Hurayrah and 'Amr ibn al-Aas that the Prophet (saw) said, "If a judge seeks to form an independent judgement [ijtihaad] and is correct, he will have two rewards; if he seeks to form an independent judgement and is wrong, he will have one reward."

Allah, subhaanahu 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, Allah has promised the best [reward]." [Al-Hadid 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 Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit [at home]. (95) Unto each, Allah has promised good [Paradise] but Allah 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 Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, All-Merciful". [An-Nisa 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 Allah and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah? They are not equal before Allah. And Allah guides not those people who are the Dhaalimoon.(19) Those who believed and emigrated and strove hard and fought in Allah's Cause with their wealth and their lives are far higher in degree with Allah. They are the successful. (20) 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. (21) They will dwell therein forever. Verily, with Allah is a great reward". [At-Tauba 9:19-22]

"Is one who is obedient to Allah 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 Allah's Signs]" [Az-Zumr 39:9]

The Prophet (saw) said, narrated by al-Bukhaari from Abu Hurayrah, "...Paradise has one hundred levels which Allah has reserved for the mujaahideen 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 Allah for something, ask for al-Firdaus 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". [Bukhaari in as-Saheeh, Kitaab al-Jihaad]

Bukhaari 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 Allah, 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-Firdaus, the Highest." [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq]

Differences between the Levels of Paradise

The Prophet (saw) explained that the people will be in different levels in Paradise according to their status. Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Sa'eed 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 Allah, 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 Allah, and also in His Messengers." [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Bid' al-Khalq]

Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah and Ibn Hibbaan reported from Abu Sa'eed 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. Abu Bakr and 'Umar will be among them; what good people they are!" [Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 2/187, no. 2026]

Al-Qurtubee 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 Allah (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 Allah says, "Those will be rewarded with the highest place [in Paradise] because of their patience.." [Al-Furqan 25:75]

This patience often involved self sacrifice and being steadfast for the sake of Allah, focusing on Him, being a true slave to Him. These are the attributes of al-Muqarraboon, as Allah (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".
[Saba 34:37]

Here Allah 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 imaan 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-Qurtubee, at-Tadhkirah, p. 464]

The inhabitants of the highest levels of Paradise will enjoy greater pleasures than the people below them. Allah (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" [Ar-Rahman 55:46]

Allah (swt) described these Gardens, then He (swt) said, "And besides these two, there are two other Gardens [i.e. in Paradise]" [Ar-Rahman 55:62]

These two gardens will be lower in status. Whoever thinks of the characteristics of the two gardens which Allah mentioned second will realize that they are lower than the first two, because the first two are for the muqarraboon [those who are close to Allah], whilst the second two are for ashaab al-yameen [those of the Right Hand] as Ibn 'Abbaas and Abu Musa al-Ash'ari said [at-Tadhkirah, 440].

Al-Qurtubee 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" [Ar-Rahman 55:50] whereas in the second two "..will be two springs gushing forth water" [Ar-Rahman 55:66]. Gushing or bubbling water is not the same as flowing water; bubbling is of a lesser degree than flowing.

Allah says that in the first two gardens "..will be every kind of fruit in pairs" [Ar-Rahman 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" [Ar-Rahman 55:68] Allah 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" [Ar-Rahman 55:54], while in the second two gardens they will be "reclining on green cushions and rich beautiful mattresses" [Ar-Rahman 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 Hoor al-'Eeyn in the first two gardens are described as "like rubies and coral" [Ar-Rahman 55:58] whilst those in the second two gardens are described as "fair [wives] good and beautiful" [Ar-Rahman 55:70]; not everything that is beautiful is as beautiful as rubies and coral.

The first two gardens are described as "with spreading branches"  [Ar-Rahman 55:48] while the second two are "dark green [in colour]" [Ar-Rahman 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]

Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Musa al-Ash'ari that the Messenger of Allah (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 Allah, except the garment of pride over His Face in the Paradise of 'Adn" [Jaami' al-Usool, 10/498, no. 8029]

Allah (swt) described the drink of the pious in Paradise: "Verily the Abraar [pious, who fear Allah and avoid evil] will drink a cup [of wine] mixed with water from a spring in Paradise called Kafoor" [Al-Insan 76:5]

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

It seems - and Allah Knows Best - that this is for Ahl al-Yameen. Elsewhere Allah (swt) says : "It [that wine] will be mixed with tasneem, (27) A spring whereof drink those nearest to Allah" [Al-Mutaffafeen 83:27-28].

Ahl al-Yameen will drink something mixed with Tasneem, whilst al-Muqarraboon will drink a pure drink of Tasneem. Tasneem is the name of a spring in Paradise.

The Highest and Lowest Positions in Paradise

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

"Musaa asked his Rabb, "Who will have the lowest position in Paradise?" Allah 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".

Musaa asked, "My Rabb, who will have the highest status in Paradise?" Allah 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 Allah, 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". [As-Sajda 32:17]

The Highest Position in Paradise

The highest position in Paradise which will be attained by only one person is called al-Waseelah. It will be attained, insha'Allah, by the Chosen Prophet, the best of Allah's creation, our Prophet Muhammad (saw).

This is narrated in a hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari from Jaabir ibn 'Abdullaah according to which the Prophet (saw) said, "Whoever says, when he hears the call to prayer, "Allahumma Rabba hadhihi-da'wati-tammah, was-salaatil-qaa'imah, aati muhammadan al-waseelata wal-fadeelata, wab'aththu maqaaman mahmoodan alladhi wa'adtahu [O Allah, Lord of this Perfect Call and the Prayer to be Offered, grant Muhammad al-Waseelah - 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 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr al-'Aas said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, "When you hear the muaddhin call, say what he says, then send blessings on me, for whoever sends blessings on me, Allah (swt) will return it to him tenfold. Then ask Allah to grant me al-Waseelah, for whoever asks Allah (swt) to grant me al-Waseelah intercession will be granted for him."

The Sahaabah asked the Prophet (saw) "What is al-Waseelah?" 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 Abu Hurayrah]

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "al-Waseelah is a rank above which there is no other in the sight of Allah (swt). Ask Allah (swt) to grant me al-Waseelah" [Ahmad from Abu Sa'eed, See Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah, 2/2332]

Those Who Take their Positions in the Highest Levels

Among those who will occupy the highest levels in Paradise are the shuhaadaa, the best of whom are those who fight in the front ranks and never turn away until they are killed. Ahmad and at-Tabaraani report with a saheeh isnaad from Na'eem ibn Hamar (1) that the Prophet (saw) said, "The best of the Shuhaadaa 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, Kitaab az-Zuhd, Baab al-Ihsaan ila al-armila wal-masaakeen wal-yateem 2/2286, hadith no. 2982]

The one who helps widows and the destitute will have the status of a mujaahid in Paradise. Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (saw) said, "The one who helps widows and the destitute is like one who fights in jihaad for the sake of Allah (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". [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab az-Zuhd]

The one who sponsors an orphan will be close to the Prophet (saw) in Paradise. Muslim reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said, "The one who sponsors an orphan, whether from his own wealth or from the orphan's wealth, I and he will be like these two in Paradise," - and Maalik [the narrator] gestured with his forefinger and middle finger. [Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab az-Zuhd, 2/2286, no. 2982; "lahu aw ghayrihi" - whether from his own wealth or from the orphan's wealth - means whether he supports him from his own wealth or is a legal guardian over the orphan and the orphan's wealth]

Allah (swt) will raise the status of parents by the blessing of their children's du'aa. Ahmad reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Allah (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 Katheer said, "This is a saheeh isnaad although none of the authors of the six books reported it. But there is a corroborating report in Saheeh Muslim from Abu 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 Jaariyah [ongoing charity], beneficial knowledge [that he discovered or propogated], and a righteous son who will pray for him." [Ibn Katheer, an-Nihaayah, 2/340]

The People of Paradise: The Deeds for Which People Will Deserve to Enter Paradise

The people of Paradise are the believers and strict monotheists. All those who associate others with Allah or disbelieve in Him, or deny any of the principles of faith will not be allowed to enter Paradise. Their destination will be Hellfire.

The Qur'an often states that the people of Paradise are the believers who do righteous deeds, to quote one of many examples: "But whoever comes to Him as a believer [in tawheed] and has done righteous good deeds, for such are the high ranks [in the Hereafter] (75) Adn [Eden] Paradise [everlasting gardens [under which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever: such is the reward of those who purify themselves". [Taha 20:75-76]

* Believers may earn Paradise through their eemaan and Islaam:

"My worshippers! No fear shall be on you this Day, nor shall you grieve, (68) [you] who believed in Our aayaat and were Muslims, (69) Enter Paradise you and your wives in happiness" [Az-Zukhruf 43:68-70]

* Or because they were sincere in their devotion to Allah:

"Save the chosen slaves of Allah [al-Mukhliseen]. (40) For them there will be a known provision, (41) Fruits and they shall be honoured, (42) In the gardens of delight." [As-Saffat 37:40-43]

* Or for the strength of their relationship with Allah, their longing for Him and worship of Him: "Only those who believe in our aayaat who, when they are reminded of them fall down prostrate, and glorify the praises of their rabb, and they are not proud. (15) Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Rabb in fear and hope, and they spend [charity in Allah's Cause] our of what We have bestowed on them". [As-Sajda 32:15-16]

* Or for their patience and reliance upon Allah: "....Excellent is the reward for those who do ( good deeds), (58) those who are patient and put their trust [only] in their Rabb[Al-Ankaboot 29:58-59]

* Or for their steadfastness in faith: "Verily those who say "Our Rabb is Allah" and remain firm [on that path], on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (13) Such shall be the Companions of the Garden dwelling therein: a recompense for their good deeds". [Al-Ahqaf 46:13-14]

* Or for their humility: "Verily those who believe and do righteous deeds and humble themselves [in repentance and obedience] before their Rabb - they will be dwellers of Paradise to dwell therein forever" [Younus 11:23]

* Or for their fear of Allah: "But for him who fears standing before his Rabb there will be two Gardens" [Ar-Rahman 55:46]

* Or for their hatred of the kuffaar and mushrikeen and their refusal to befriend them: "You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred [people]. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Ruh [proof, light and guidance] from Himself. And We will admit them to Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein [forever]. Allah is pleased with them and they with Him". [Al-Mujadila 58:22]

Some aayaat discuss in detail the righteous deeds for which a person may deserve Paradise; for example, Surah ar-Ra'd states: Those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined, [i.e. good to relatives and not severing the ties of kinship], fear their Rabb and dread the terrible reckoning, (21) And those who remain patient, seeking their Rabb's Countenance, perform as-Salaat, and spend out of that which We have bestowed on them, secretly and openly, and defend evil with good, for such there is a good end Adn [Eden] (22) Paradise which they shall enter and [also] those who acted righteously from among their fathers and their wives, and their offspring. And angels shall enter unto them from every gate [saying](23) Salaamun ''alaykum for that you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!" [Ar-Rad 13:21-24]

And at the beginning of Surah al-Mu'minoon, Allah explains that success is for the believers and then described the deeds that will qualify them for success: "Successful indeed are the believers,(2) those who offer their salaah with khushoo', (3) and those who turn away from al-laghw [dirty, false, evil, vain talk, falsehood and all that Allah has forbidden], (4) and those who pay the zakah, (5) and those who guard their chastity, (6) except from their wives or those whom their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame; but whoever seeks beyond that then those are the transgressors; (7) those who are faithfully true to their amaanah [all duties that Allah has ordained: honesty, moral responsibility, and trusts] and to their covenants (8) and those who strictly guard their prayers [at the fixed times]. (9) These are indeed the inheritors (10) who shall inherit al-Firdaws. They shall dwell therein forever" [Al-Muemanoon 23:2-11]

The Prophet (saw) also said, "The people of Paradise are three: a ruler who is fair and just; a man who is compassionate and gentle towards every relative and Muslim; and a man with a large family who is proud and does not beg" [Muslim]

The People of Paradise: The Way to Paradise is Very Hard

Paradise is very high, and ascending lofty places takes a great deal of effort. The way to Paradise is filled with things that go against human wishes and inclinations. This needs strong determination and willpower. In a hadith narrated by Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (ra) the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Hell has been veiled with desires, and Paradise has been veiled with [surrounded by] hardships."

A-Nasaa'ee, at-Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,
"When Allah created Paradise, He told Jibreel, "Go look at it". So he went and looked at it, then he came back and said, "By Your Glory, no-one will hear of it but he will enter it". So He surrounded it with hardships and said, "Go and look at it". So he went and looked at it, then came back and said, "By Your Glory, I fear that no-one will enter it"".
[Jaami al-Usool, 10/520, 8068]

A-Nawawi commented on the first hadith:

"This is an example of the beautiful, eloquent and concise speech which the Prophet (saw) was capable, in which he gives a beautiful analogy. It means that nothing will help you to reach Paradise except going through hardships, and nothing will lead you to Hell, but whims and desires. Both are veiled as described, and whoever tears down the veil will reach what was hidden behind it. The veil of Paradise is torn down by going through hardships and the veil of Hell is torn down by giving in to whims and desires. Hardship including striving consistently and patiently in worship, restraining one's anger, forgiving, being patient, giving in charity, being kind to those who mistreat you, resisting physical desires, etc" [Sharh an-Nawawi 'ala Muslim, 17/165]

The People of Paradise: The People of Paradise Will Inherit The Portion of Paradise That Would Have Gone to the People of Hell

Allah has given two positions to every descendent of Aadam: a position in Jannah and a position in Jahanam. Then whoever is destined to damnation of the kuffaar and mushrikeen will inherit the positions in Hell that had been allocated to the people of Paradise, and those of the people of Paradise for whom eternal bliss is decreed will inherit the portions of Paradise that had been allocated to the people of Hell. After describing the good deeds that would earn Paradise for the successful believers, Allah said, "These are indeed the inheritors, who shall inherit the Fridaus”

Ibn Katheer said in his commentary on this aayah: "Ibn Abi Haatim said - and he quoted to the isnaad going back to Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "There is no one among you who does not have two positions, one in Paradise and one in Hell. The believer will have a house built for him in Paradise, and his house in Hell will be demolished".

The believers will inherit the positions of the kuffaar, because those positions were created for those who worship Allah (swt) alone and do not associate anything in worship with Him, because they did what they were commanded to do as far as worship is concerned, whilst the kuffaar neglected the duty for which they had been created. So the believers gained the share that the kuffaar would have gained if they had obeyed Allah (swt) and they will gain even more than that. Muslim reported from Abu Burdah from Abu Musaa that the Prophet (saw) said: "Some people amongst the Muslims will come on the Day of Resurrection with sins as great as a mountain. Allah will forgive them, and will pass [the burden of sin] to the Jews and Christians". According to another version of this hadith, the Prophet (saw) said, "When the Day of Judgement comes, Allah (swt) will allocate a Jew or Christian for every Muslim and will say, "This is your ransom from the Fire". This hadith reflects the words of Allah (swt): "Such is the Paradise which We shall give as an inheritance to those of Our slaves who have been al-Muttaqoon" [Maryam 19:63] and "This is the Paradise which you have been made to inherit because of your deeds which you used to do [in the life of this world]" [Az-Zukhuf 43:72] [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 5/10]

The People of Paradise: The Weak and Destitute Will Form the Majority in Paradise

 Most of those who will enter Paradise will be the weak and destitute, whom people tend to ignore and care little about, but in the sight of Allah (swt) they are important, because they fear Him and worship Him faithfully and with humility.

Bukhaari, Ahmad and Muslim reported from Usaamah ibn Zayd that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that most of those who entered were the poor and destitute. The people of means were held back, whilst the people of Hell had been ordered into the Fire. I stood by the gate of Hell, and saw that most of those who entered it were women". [Mishkaat al-Masaabih]

The People of Paradise: Will There Be More Men or Women in Paradise?

Men and women engaged in this dispute when the Sahaabah were still alive. Muslim reports from Ibn Sireen:

"Men and women disputed as to which of them would form the majority in Paradise. According to another report, either they were competing, or they were discussing, whether there would be more men or women in Paradise. They consulted Abu Hurayrah, who said that women would form the majority, on the basis of the words of the Prophet (saw): "The first group to enter Paradise will be as beautiful as the full moon, and the group that follows them will be like the brightest shining stars in the sky: each man of them will have two wives, the marrow of whose leg-bones will be visible through the flesh because of their extreme beauty. There will be no one who is unmarried in Paradise" [Sahih Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah]

This hadith clearly indicates that there will be more women than men in Paradise. Some others though that there would be more men, because of the hadith, "I saw that they [women] formed the majority of the people of Hell". The response to this is the fact that women will form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell does not necessarily mean that they will be a minority in Paradise, as Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalaani said [Fath al-Baari 6/325]

The two hadiths may be reconciled by stating that women will be in the majority in both Paradise and Hell, just as there are more women than men in this world. We could say that the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah indicates that the total number of women in paradise, including women of this world and al-Hoor al-'Eeyn will outnumber men. The question then is, who will be greater in number in Paradise: the men of this world or the women? Al-Qurtubee reconciled between these two hadiths by suggesting that women will form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell before the Shafaa'ah [intercession], when the sinners from amongst the muwwahideen will be brought out of Hell. Thereafter women will form the majority of the people of Paradise. [at-Tadhkirah, al-Qurtubee, p. 475]

The People of Paradise: The Children of the Believers

The children of the Believers who die before reaching the age of puberty will be in Paradise, insha'Allah, by the Grace and Mercy of Allah. He (swt) says: "And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in faith - to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned" [At-Tur 52:21]

'Ali ibn Abi Taalib understood this aayah - "Every person is a pledge for what he has earned" [Al-Mudaathir 74:38] - to indicate that the children of the believers would be in Paradise, because they did not earn anything for which they would be considered a pledge.              [at-Tadkhirah, p. 511]

Bukhaari included a chapter in his Saheeh entitled "The virtue of one whose child dies and he bears it with patience for the sake of Allah", in which he quoted the hadith of Anas who said that, "A Muslim whose three children die before reaching the age of puberty will be admitted to Paradise by Allah out of Mercy towards them."

According to a hadith narrated by Abu Sa'eed the women asked the Prophet (Saw) "Set aside a day for us". So he preached to them and said, "Any woman whose three children die will be shielded from the Fire by them." A woman asked, "What about two?" He said, "And if two [die]." [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Janaa'iz]

"A Muslim couple whose three children die before reaching the age of puberty will be admitted by Allah to paradise, they and their children, by His Grace and Mercy" [Fath al-Baari, 2/245]

From Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "Their little ones are the pageboys of Paradise. One of them will meet his father - or his parents - and take hold of his clothes - or his hand - just as I am taking hold of the hem of your garment, and he will not let go" Or he said," And he will not let go until Allah admits him to Paradise." [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 1/184, no. 342]

"The children of the believers will be in Paradise, being cared for by Ibraaheem and Sarah until they give them back to their parents on the Day of Resurrection". [narrated by Abu Na'eem, ad-Daylami and Ibn 'Asaakir from Abu Hurayrah - Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 3/451 no. 1467; see also 2/156 no. 603 narrated by Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan, al-Haakim]

An-Nawawi referred to the ijmaa'' of reliable Muslim scholars that any Muslim child who dies will be in Paradise. [Fath al-Baari, 3/244]. An-Nawawi said, "Some of them refrained from giving an opinion because of the hadith of 'Aaishah which was reported by Muslim with the wording, "A boy of the Ansaar died, and I said, "It is good for him, because he did not do or know any evil". The Prophet (saw) said, "You should not say that because Allah (swt) has created its own people for Paradise.." The response to that is that he was most likely rebuking her for hastening to say something so decisive with no proof, or else he said that before he knew that the children of the Muslims would be in Paradise." [Fath al-Baari, 3/244].

I suggest that the best opinion is that this hadith indicates that it is not permitted to state definitely that any one particular person is one of the people of Paradise, even if we know that in general they will be in Paradise.

The second point is that we should not be hasty in such matters, so that people will not dare to do what happens so often nowadays, when the bereaved claim that their departed loved one is in Paradise, even though he was the worst of people. Ibn Taymiyyah said, "We should not say every single child of the believers that he is in Paradise, but we accept that this is the case in general." [Majmu' Fataawa Shaykh al-Islaam, 4/281]

 The People of Paradise: The Children of the Mushrikeen

The Messenger of Allah (saw) was asked about the children of the Mushrikeen and he said, "Allah who created them knows best what they would have done". [on the authority of Ibn 'Abbaas, Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Janaa'iz]

Abu Hurayrah (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said, "Every child is born in a state of fitrah [the natural state of man] and his parents make him a Jew or a Christian, or a Magian, just as an animal produces a perfect baby animal: do you find it mutilated?" [Saheeh Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Janaa'iz]

As Ibn Hajar said, "Bukhaari may Allah have mercy on him, indicated that he was refraining from giving an opinion on the children of the mushrikeen.

Later in his Saheeh, in the tafseer of Surat ar-Rum, he indicates that he favoured the suggestion that they are in Paradise. He also organized the hadith in this chapter in such a way that shows this was his favoured opinion. He starts with a hadith which indicates that we cannot say one way or the other, then quotes a hadith which indicates that they are in Paradise, and follows that with a hadith that clearly states that this is the case:

Ibn Hajar said, "This is supported by the hadith of Anas reported by Abu Ya'la, in which the Prophet (saw) said,
"I asked my Rabb for the laheen [those who play or those who are unaware] of the children of mankind, that they would not be punished, and that was granted to me." [its isnaad is hasan] Laheen was explained as meaning children, because of the hadith of ibn 'Abbaas nrarted by al-Bazzar. Ahmad reported from al-Khansaa bint Mu'aawiyah ibn Suraym from her paternal aunt who said, "I said, "O Messenger of Allah, who is in Paradise?" He said, "Prophets are in Paradise, martyrs are in Paradise and newborn babies are in Paradise". Its isnaad is hasan. [Fath al-Baari, 3/246]

They also took as evidence the hadith, "The children of the mushrikeen are servants of the people of Paradise" [Albaani deemed it saheeh by the sum of its isnaad, Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 3/452, no. 1468]

This is the correct position favoured by those who study the words of Allah, "..And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger [to give warning]" [Al-Isra 17:15]"

This is also the favoured view of Ibn Taymiyyah, who suggested that they will be tested of the day of Resurrection - "The correct view is what was said concerning them, Allah knows best what they would have done". We cannot say of any particular individual that he will be in Paradise or Hell. A number of hadiths state that on the Day of Resurrection they will be tested in the arena of judgement: they will be given commands and prohibitions and those who obey will enter Paradise, whilst those who disobey will be sent to Hell." He attributed this to Imaam Ahmad and Abul-Hasan al-Ash'ari who attributed it to Ahlus-Sunnah [Majmu' Fataawa, 24/372, 4/303, 4/281].

Ibn Hajar also stated that they would be tested in the Hereafter by being shown the Fire: whoever enters it will find it cool and safe, but whoever refuses to enter it will be punished. Ahadeeth to this effect were reported by al-Bazzar from Anas and Abu Sa'eed and by at-Tabaraani from Mu'aadh ibn Jabal. It has been proven through saheeh asaanid that the insane and those who lived between the time of Jesus (as) and Muhammad (saw) will also be tested in the Hereafter.

The soundness of this opinion is indicated by the clear unambiguous aayaat of the Qur'an which tells the story of the righteous slave whom Musa (as) travelled to meet at the junction of the two seas. Explaining the reason why he killed the boy he said :
"And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief" [Al-Kahf 18:80].

Muslim reports from Ibn 'Abbaas (ra) "The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, concerning the boy was killed by al-Khidr, "He was decreed from the beginning to be a kaafir and if he had been left, he would have oppressed his parents with his rebellion and disbelief." Commenting on this hadith, Ibn Taymiyyah said "It means that Allah decreed it in Umm al-Kitaab [the Register Book in Jannah] i.e. it was written that he would be a kaafir and if he had lived he would have been a kaafir indeed."

Al-Qurtubee said, in at-Tadhkirah [p.514]: "What makes this idea [that they will be tested in the Hereafter] weak is the fact that the Hereafter is not the place of testing; it is the place of recompense - reward of punishment. al-Hulaymee said "This hadith is not proven to be sound, and it contradicts the basic beliefs of the Muslims, because the Hereafter is not the place of testing. Everyone will inevitably know about Allah, and there is no test when a thing is inevitable."

This is incorrect and was refuted by Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah who said, "Responsibility only ceases when one enters the abode of recompense, which is either Paradise or Hell. In the arena of judgement they will be tested just as they are tested in al-Barzakh. The individual will be asked, "Who is your Rabb? What is your deen? Who is your Prophet?" Allah (swt) says, "[Remember] the Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate to Allah but they [hypocrites] will not be able to do so" [Al-Qalm 68:42]..." [Majmu' Fataawa, 24/ 372]

Testing will only cease when a person enters Paradise or Hell. al-Qurtubee's suggestion that everyone will inevitably know Allah on that Day is correct, but the testing will take the form of orders and prohibitions as is reported in a number of texts. Allah (swt) will test them by ordering them to enter the Fire: whoever obeys will be blessed, whilst whoever disobeyed will be doomed.

 The People of Paradise: The Number of People from This Ummah in Paradise

Many people from this ummah will enter Paradise, but only Allah knows their exact number. Bukhaari reports from Sa'eed ibn Jubayr who said, "Ibn 'Abbaas told me that the Prophet (saw) said, "I was shown the nations, and I saw a Prophet passing by with his ummah, another with a band of followers, another with ten followers, another with five, and another who was alone. I looked and saw a huge crowd of people, and I asked, "O Jibreel, are these my ummah?" He said, "No look at the horizon." I looked and saw a vast multitude. He said,"These are your ummah, and the seventy thousand in front will not be brought to account or be punished." [Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq]

The first crowd which the Prophet (Saw) thought was his ummah was in fact the Children of Israel as is stated in a number of saheeh reports, "I hoped that this would be my ummah, but I was told that this was Musa and his people." [Fath al-Baari, 11/407].

Concerning the words "a vast multitude" Ibn Hajar said, "A report from Sa'eed ibn Mansoor says, "huge" [Adheem] and adds, "It was said to me, "look at the horizon" So I looked and I saw a huge multitude. Then I was told, "Look at the other horizon, it is just like the first one."" According to a report given by Ibn Faadil, "[I saw] a multitude that filled the horizon and it was said to me "Look here and here, all across the horizon". According to a version narrated by Ahmad, "I saw my ummah filling the plains and the mountains, and I was amazed at the numbers and their appearance. I was asked, "Are you pleased O Muhammad?" and I said, "Yes O Rabb."" [Fath al-Baari, 11/408]

Some hadiths state that along with every thousand of the seventy thousand will be another seventy thousand plus three handfuls added by Allah.

Our Prophet (saw) hoped that this ummah would constitute half of the population of Paradise. In a hadith whose authenticity is agreed upon, Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri said that when the Messenger of Allah (saw) was speaking about who would be sent to hell, he said, "By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, I hope that you will be half of the people of Paradise. Among the people you are no more than a black hair on the hide of a white bull.." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/8]

Muslim reports from Anas (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "I will be the first intercessor in Paradise. No Prophet was believed in as I was believed in. Among the Prophets is one who was believed in by only one man." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/124, no. 5744].

The reason why so many people of this ummah believed is because of the great miracle of the Messenger of Allah (saw), which was a recited revelation which is addressed to hearts and minds. It is a miracle that is preserved and will remain until the Day of Judgement. Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,

"There is no Prophet who was not given a sign [or miracle] in which people believed and followed him. That which I have been given is a Revelation from Allah and I hope that I will have the greatest number of followers on the Day of Resurrection." [Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh]

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2. ALL MUSLIMS WILL BE ENTERING HEAVEN

Question:

I have heard one comment, statement or fatwa or whatever you want to call it, many times through out my life and from many scholars all over the world. It goes like this We are Muslims, we will not go to hell, even if we do go there it will be for a short period and eventually we will be taken out of there and will be sent to heaven. My question is that what is the source for this and how we have come to this conclusion? Please give me exact references of Quran and hadith.

Answer :

Being a Muslim does not guarantee any one that he/she will be going to heaven and escaping hell. There is a criterion that have to be met as a minimum.

In other words it does not matter what people claim, even if they were born Muslims, they still have to meet the criteria which is as stated above:

1)  Believe in Allah (s.w.t.) and His last Messenger Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

2)  Believing in Allah’s Messengers, books sent by Him on His Messengers, Fate and The Day of Judgment.

3)  Doing good deeds as directed by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

There is a hadith from the Prophet saying:'' whoever says There is no God Except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, with his heart fully believing in it, shall enter Jannah.''

This hadith is misunderstood by the masses. What is meant by saying with his heart fully believing in it, is to practice it and subsequently do the Faraids (believing and observing) of Islam like Salat, Zakat, Seyam, etc. Because action confirms or denies one's claims.

It is accepted by all Muslims that they may go to Hell due to their overwhelming bad deeds. However if one have not done “Shirk’ (associating partners with Allah), then he/she will finally go to heaven.

 Allah says in Quran : “Verily, God does not forgive the ascribing of divinity to aught beside Him, although He may forgive all other (sin) whomever He wills: for he who ascribes divinity to aught beside God has indeed contrived an awesome sin. (An-Nisa 4:48)

Shirk (associating partners with Allah) is the sin which Allah has vowed not to forgive and may forgive all others sins as further explained in following hadith.

In different hadiths by prophet, specially one that states ‘one who has uttered ‘La ilaha ill-Allah (none has right to be worshiped but Allah) will enter heaven’.

Narrated Anas bin Malik (RTU) “I heard the prophet (PBUH) saying, “On the day of Resurrection I will intercede and say,’O my Lord! Admit into paradise (even) those who have faith equal to a mustard seed in their hearts. Such people will enter paradise, and then I will say,’(O Allah) admit into paradise (even) those who have the least amount of faith in their hearts’” (Al-Bukhari, Book of Tawhid)

In addition to above hadith, hadith 602 says that prophet gone to Allah for three times, asking entry to heaven of different weight of faith, and on the fourth time, hadith says. “I then return for a fourth time and praise him similarly and prostrate before Him.Then it will be said,’O Mohammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be listened to, and ask, for you will be granted, and intercede for your intercession will be accepted.’ I will say,’O Lord, allow me to intercede for whoever have said, ‘La ilaha ill-Allah (none has right to be worshiped but Allah). Then Allah will say,’By  My Power, and My Majesty, and by My Supermacy, and by My Greatness, I will take out of Hell whoever has said,’ ‘La ilaha ill-Allah (none has right to be worshiped but Allah) (Al-Bukhari Book of Tauhid 9:602)

Another hadith says the same :

It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: “It was said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, who will be the most blessed of people by your intercession of the Day of Resurrection?’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I thought, O Abu Hurayrah, that no one would ask me about this hadeeth before you, because I have seen how keen you are to learn hadeeth. The people who will be most blessed by my intercession on the Day of Resurrection are those who say Laa ilaaha ill-Allah sincerely from the heart.’” 

It is also clear by a verse in Quran which says as follow : “Again and again will those who disbelieve, wish that they had bowed (to Allah's will) in Islam”.(Al-Hijr15:2)

It implies that those who deliberately rejected Allah and His Messenger and Quran, will have no excuse on Resurrection Day for getting His mercy or any intercession by anyone. They will be deeply furious and will say that, at least they must have accepted and uttered the words of “Oneness” of Allah by heart.

Once Allah has sent His last messenger and last testament (Quran), so after the time of His last prophet coming, whoever have heard about Islam and did not try to explore and accept it, then he/she will be liable for Hell. People before last prophet will be judged according to the acceptance of their prophets and their deeds. After coming of last prophet, people may be having done very good deeds, will not be entering heaven, as per following.Allah says :  “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers” [Aale ‘Imraan 3:85].

This indicate that Muslims will be not be loser if they have solid faith in oneness of Allah and His prophet. They will enter heaven, after having some initial punishment time in Hell. And Allah knows the best.

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3. HOORS IN HEAVEN

Question :

Some traditional Muslims believe that Muslim men will be rewarded with 70 houris specially created for them and two believing women from this life. This is very demeaning and offensive to all women.

A question comes to my mind at this point. Why would God cause jealousy between husband and wife on this earth when He promises to give the same cause of jealousy (multiple wives) in Heaven to one gender (man) as a reward? Who put love, mercy, and affection between the spouses? It is sad to find that in traditional Muslim literature the concept of Heaven is a place specially created for men; there is no equality between men and women.

For men, Heaven is simply an extension of the earth where they established control and dominance over women through legitimizing unsanctioned polygamy and unlimited sex with females. One man’s Heaven is a woman’s Hell. This is supported by scholars, as a majority of them state that Paradise is a place of fulfillment of desires, and men—being prone to polygamy—will receive this as a reward.

My question is, how is it possible that Allah Almighty will grant the fulfillment of the desires of the male but not of the female—that is, to not share her husband with multiple women?

What about women who are patient in this life, hoping that their desire of not sharing their husbands will come true? I have read that scholars state that Allah will remove the “jealousy” from the heart of the women so they shouldn’t worry about it. Please explain how does this justify anything?

Instead of her desire/wish being fulfilled, she will be brainwashed, but on the other hand men won’t have to give up anything. Why won’t Allah remove the lust to have multiple wives from their hearts in order to please the female servants, while He will remove jealousy from the hearts of females in order to please male servants?

How come jealousy is a “female” product? When men are jealous, their jealousy is labeled as “ghayrah” (attack on morality). Bur when women are “jealous”, they are labeled as jealous beings? How I see it, being neutral, jealousy is a human product and not just a female thing. Allah created one mate, at least that’s what is mentioned in the Qur’an, for Adam (peace be upon him).

Therefore it is the fitrah of every male and female to feel “jealousy” when it is about sharing one’s spouse. Men are more possessive and would react in a similar way, even worse when it is about sharing their spouse. The reason is because we are both human beings. I totally agree with the “acceptance” of polygamy in this life, because it is a “solution” advised in the situations to avoid the haram. But it is discouraged by putting conditions on it. But paradise is every Muslim’s (men and women) goal. It doesn’t sound/feel right to the fitrah that it will be more rewarding towards men and again will require females to sacrifice and share. No matter how you put it, it is sharing the reward when one’s husband will have at least two other wives.

Does Allah love men more than women? A male martyr will receive 70 wives, but if a female servant of Allah dies for Jihad fisabillillah, she will still be required to share her husband with other wives. This concept is very discouraging and offensive towards Muslim sisters.

I personally feel like crying because it seems that no matter how hard I work to please Allah, even go as far as giving up my life for Allah Almighty, my reward will not be equivalent to that of a male servant.

Answer :

Paradise is the abode of the believers in the Hereafter. Allah has prepared for His believing servants, males and females, in Paradise indescribable bliss which no eye has seen, no ear has heard of, and that has never ever crossed the minds of people, to the extent that even the person who has the least blessings in Paradise will think that he is the most blessed one.

When you are resurrected, you will be of a new creation. You will have different psyche and different desires. You won't be of the same feelings and habits of Dunya. In general, you will be the person who will be satisfied and consented fully. You will never miss anything of what you like or desire as the Quran elaborates. Jealousy is of your worldly feelings.

In more than one Qur’anic verse, Allah Most High, calls upon His servants to do their utmost in order to be favored with Paradise. For example, He says, “And vie one with another for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who ward off (evil” (Aale `Imran 3: 133)

As regards your question, we’d like to inform you that in Paradise believing men and women will be showered with blessings; there is no room for discrimination based on sex in Paradise. The life of women in jannah will be as pleasant and happy as the life of men. Allah is not partial to any sex. He created both of them and He will take care of both of them according to their needs and desires. Let us all work to achieve the jannah and then, in sha’ Allah, we will find there what will satisfy all of us fully.

In his response to your question, Dr. Sano Koutoub Moustapha, professor of Fiqh and its Principles, International Islamic University, Malaysia, states the following:

Thank you so much for your very interesting comments and understanding of the issue of polygamy and the blessings given to men in Heaven.

I congratulate you for your logical ability and critical way of looking at things. However, I shall also confirm to you the issue of polygamy, be it in this life or the hereafter, it should not be classified as a privilege but rather a solution as you correctly mentioned in your arguments.

In other words, Islam does not open the door of polygamy for all men as it does not open it to women at all. As you may know well that each ruling or law has an exception and the exception is not the principle, therefore, we can not judge a law through its exceptions.

In this regard, I shall remind you that rewarding a mujahid with many wives doesn’t mean betraying the female mujahid.

It simply means there is a such reward for those mujahids who are looking for it. In other words, there is no compulsion upon all mujahids to accept or reject this reward. It is exactly the same thing as the polygamy in this life.

It is meant for those who want it, not for every single mujahid. Yet every Muslim man and woman who is allowed to enter Heaven is given the opportunity to get whatever he or she wants as clearly stated in the Qur’an and many Hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). This means that those women who don’t want their husbands to have more could be granted this wish and desire. At the same time if the husbands of those women want to have more than them Allah is great and can satisfy each of them in the way He, the Almighty, wants.

Therefore, a woman should not be frustrated for a privilege of polygamy offered to men. This is not, for sure, at the expense of woman. Heaven is meant for both men and women, both of them are equally entitled to get what they wish for.

Certainly, there would be no clashes in their wishes, if any, the Almighty knows how to please each of them. Having said that, I shall inform you that the existing setup of humans in terms of desire, would be changed on the Day of Judgment.

In other words, both men and women would not be allowed to enter Heaven in their existing physical makeup. They will be in a better and greater form as stated by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Both of them would enjoy living together and having whatever they wish and like.

Finally, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) describes Heaven as a place where there are many things which no eyes have ever seen, no ears have ever heard before and no heart has ever felt. Let us pray the Almighty to grant us this great and wonderful place. Let us work harder and harder to be in this place. It is only through our full submission to the will and the orders of Allah that we will one day be granted this place.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islamonline.net

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4. THE BELIEVER’S FAMILY JOINING HIM IN PARADISE

Question :

Will the people who go to Heaven be reunited with their loved ones who go to Hell? Is it possible to take loved ones out of Hell, since all requests in Heaven are granted (assuming they know about their fate)? 

Can we also be reunited with our Loved ones in this world who are non-mahrum to us? This includes those that we loved but could not marry.

Answer :  Praise be to Allah .

Firstly, you say, “does this include those whom we loved but could not marry?” 

The answer to this is that it is not permissible for a Muslim man to form a relationship with a non-mahram women, or for a Muslim woman to form a relationship with a man or to have an emotional attachment to him, except for her husband.

Secondly, you say, “Will the people who go to Heaven be reunited with their loved ones who go to Hell?” 

The answer is, yes, the people of Paradise will be reunited with their loved ones who went to Hell, if they were believers in Tawheed (the oneness of Allah). That will be by virtue of their intercession for them to be brought forth from Hell and admitted to Paradise. The evidence for that was narrated by al-Bukhaari in Kitaab al-Tawheed, no. 7440: 

It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: “We said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?’ He said, ‘Do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon when the sky is clear?’ We said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘So you will have no difficulty in seeing your Lord on that Day, just as you have no difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon (in a clear sky). …Then the bridge will be laid across Hell.’ We said, "O Messenger of Allah! What is the bridge?’ He said, ‘It is a slippery (bridge) on which there are clamps and (hooks like) thorns which are wide at one side and narrow at the other and have bent ends. A plant with such thorns is found in Najd and is called al-Sa'daan. Some of the believers will cross the bridge as quickly as the wink of an eye, some others as quick as lightning, a strong wind, or fast horses or she-camels. So some will be safe without any harm; some will be safe after receiving some scratches, and some will fall down into Hell (Fire). The last person will cross by being dragged (over the bridge). You (Muslims) cannot be more pressing in claiming from me a right that has been clearly proved to be yours than the believers in interceding with Almighty Allah  for their (Muslim) brothers on that Day, when they see themselves safe. 

They will say, “O Allah! (Save) our brothers (for they) used to pray with us, fast with us and also do good deeds with us.” Allah will say, “Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one (gold) Dinar.” Allah will forbid the Fire to burn the faces of those sinners. They will go to them and find some of them in Hell (Fire) up to their feet, and some up to the middle of their legs. So they will take out those whom they will recognize and then they will return, and Allah will say (to them), “Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one half Dinar.” They will take out whomever they will recognize and return, and then Allah will say, “Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant),” and so they will take out all those whom they will recognize.’” Abu Sa’eed said, “If you do not believe me, read, if you wish, ‘Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a small ant), but if there is any good (done), He doubles it...’ (An-Nisaa’ 4:40 – interpretation of the meaning). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Then the Prophets and Angels and the believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (Allah) will say, ‘Now remains My Intercession. He will then hold a handful of the Fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of Paradise, called the water of life. They will grow on its banks, as a seed carried by the torrent grows…”   (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 7440) 

But for those who believed in shirk, no intercession will benefit them. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills ….”   (An-Nisaa’ 4:48) 

Note that intercession is of two types: 

“The first type is the kind of intercession that is the exclusive preserve of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), which is of varying kinds, the greatest of which is the Great Intercession in the Station of praise and glory (al-maqaam al-mahmood) which Allah  has promised to him in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

‘And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salaah (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Quran in the prayer) as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawaafil) for you (O Muhammad). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaam Mahmood (a station of praise and glory, i.e., the honour of intercession on the Day of Resurrection)’   (Al-Israa’ 17:79) 

This intercession means that he will intercede for the people who are standing on the Day of Resurrection, so that the distress they are suffering will be reduced for them. 

The second type is general intercession on the part of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for all the believers. This is of various kinds:

(i) Intercession for those who deserve Hell, so that they will not enter it. This is indicated by the words of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “There is no Muslim who dies and forty men who do not associate anything with Allah  pray the funeral prayer for him, but Allah  will accept their intercession for him.” (narrated by Muslim, 2/655).

(ii) Intercession for those who have entered Hell, so that they will be brought forth from it. It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: “The Messenger of Allah  (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘By the One in Whose hand is my soul, You (Muslims) cannot be more pressing in claiming from me a right that has been clearly proved to be yours than the believers in interceding with the Almighty for their (Muslim) brothers on that Day, when they see themselves safe. 

They will say, “O Allah! (Save) our brothers (for they) used to pray with us, fast with us and also do good deeds with us.” Allah will say, “Go and take out (of Hell) everyone whom you recognize.” Allah will forbid the Fire to burn the faces of those sinners. So they will bring forth many people who were  in the Fire up to their calves or their knees.” (Narrated by Muslim, 269) 

(iii) Intercession to raise the believers in status. This is because of the du’aa’s of the believers for one another, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, making du’aa’ for Abu Salamah: “O Allah , forgive Abu Salamah, raise him in status among those who are guided, make his grave spacious for him and fill it with light, and protect his family who are left behind.” And there is the du’aa’ for intercession as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There is no Muslim who dies and forty men who do not associate anything with Allah  pray the funeral prayer for him, but Allah  will accept their intercession for him.” 

Excerpted, with some modifications, from: http://islamqa.com/en/

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5. whoever says Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah will enter Paradise

Question :  

How can we reconcile between the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “There is no slave who says Laa ilaaha ill-Allah then dies believing in that but he will enter Paradise,” and the idea that the mushrikeen and hypocrites will abide in Hell forever even though they said Laa ilaaha ill-Allah?.

Answer :  Praise be to Allah.  

The hadeeth indicates that the one who says Laa ilaaha ill-Allah by heart is a true believer; however during his life span one is tempted by his whims and desires, so he does some acts of disobedience or acts of major sins such as stealing, telling lies, false evidences etc. 

The belief of Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l-Jamaa'ah is that the destiny of the true believer, even if he commits a major sin, is Paradise. Punishment of Hell to a Muslim before entry to Paradise is up to Allah.  If He wills, He will punish him, and if He wills, He will forgive him initially or later.

The evidence for that is the verse in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills”   (An-Nisa’ 4:48) 

So all those who committed sins – even if they were involved in major sins, but if the sins were less than kufr, they will not be prevent him from entering Paradise. The destiny of the one who uttered “Laa ilaaha ill-Allah” by full confidence in heart (of its meaning), is Paradise.

However he may be punished to Hell for the sins that he committed for any period of time, and then later sent to heaven. Also Allah may forgive him due to any one (or multiple) of his good deed which is valued so high in the library of Allah that He sends him to Heaven due to His being extreme merciful. So the matter rests with Allah, when He will send him to Heaven, initially or later.

As for the mushrikeen (unbelievers) or hypocrites, they did not really say “Laa ilaaha ill-Allah” from heart, because of their disbelief or hypocrisy which led them to kufr. It is the opposite of sincerity, and sincerity is essential for saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allah

If a person says Laa ilaaha ill-Allah, and still he believes that there is no God at all, or he believes that there is another god or gods along with Allah who controls the universe, then such people are not sincere in their saying and therefore does not fall to those people who have said.

 “Whoever bears witness that there is no god except Allah or says Laa ilaaha ill-Allah, will enter Paradise.” 

Unless the Shahaadatayn {testimony of Allah alone as God and prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as His messenger} must be spoken with sincerity by heart, no body can be a Muslim. Munaafiqeen (hypocrites) at the time of prophet used to do all acts as Muslims do, but without faith in heart. Listen, what Allah says concerning the munaafiqeen.

“And when they [the hypocrites] stand up for As-Salaah (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little” (An-Nisa’ 4:142) 

In the same passage, Allah says:

“Verily, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depth (grade) of the Fire; no helper will you find for them”    (An-Nisa’ 4:145) 

Allah further says about them:

“When the hypocrites come to you (O Muhammad), they say: ‘We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah…..’”    (Al-Munafaqoon 63:1)

However this is merely verbal testimony, not by heart as Allah continues in the same verse: 

“…. Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars indeed”   (Al-Munafaqoon 63:1)

It means they are lying when they say, We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah”. For they mention Allah and bear witness to His Messenger, but their hearts are devoid of that which is uttered by their lips.

Another evidence from Quran that Muslims will be sent to Heaven at the end of day, is cleared from following verse:

“Perhaps (often) will those who disbelieve wish that they were Muslims” (Al-Hijr 15:2)

“Often” will be those people who were disbeliever or hypocrite during their life time. As per tafseer of Ibne-Kaseer from different narrations on above verse, this will happen, may be on two occasions.

One on the Day of Judgment when Munafqeen and Unbelievers will see that Muslims are not being sent to Hell and being saved by Allah due to different reasons (His mercy, intercession by prophet, pious people etc). 

Secondly when Muslims will be in Hell along with them and then sent out from Hell to Heaven.

It is to be remembered that Muslims may be sent to Hell due to their excess of bad deeds. During this time of joint punishment, Munafqeen and Unbelievers will be taunting them, may be like this “there is no difference between you and us in punishment, so what is benefit of you being a Muslim”

This will get invoked Allah’s mercy, and then in stages he will get all those Muslims out from Hell, and lastly all those who have faith even to the weight of an atom. When this will happen, Munafqeen and Unbelievers will have a desperate wishing, at least  they were Muslims” which mean to have said by heart, Laa ilaaha ill-Allah”.

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