Paradise: Spiritual or Physical?

Paradise: Spiritual or Physical?





I really am confused on the views of the after life. Why does it seem like everything described about the after life and the believers reward is only about “women”? With all due respect, wouldn’t it be contradicting to strive to do right, please Allah, pray 5 times a day, stay away from lustful thoughts and acts, only to arrive in “Paradise” to receive them anyway?


Every Muslim I’ve talked to about this can’t answer me or they give their own interpretation of what these things mean. Which is also confusing. Especially if there’s no documentation of these interpretation. I was always told that whatever the Koran says, is exactly what it is. If it said what the interpretators say, wouldn’t have said that 1st time in the Koran. It’s like the people I’m asking are making up excuses. How can we be in a spiritual realm thinking about women, sexual maidens and booze when these are lustful desires?


I’m fond of Islam but why do things seem so contradicting in the end after living a life of strictness? The Prophet (PBUH) was given what to write directly from Allah. To say something else or interpret it would be contradicting. See verses, 47:15, 78:31-37, 52:17-25, 37:47-50, 55:46-78, 76:5-18 and 56:22-40.



Salam, Kamal.


Thank you for your question.


There are many misconceptions about Islam and unfortunately, they are not limited to the non-Muslim population. Many Muslims have a clear understanding of their faith, promote its teachings properly and live according to the way of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the best of their ability.


They lead a balanced life and have a balanced understanding of Islam. They are role models for all of humanity, but cannot fully escape the misconceptions about them and Islam. Other Muslims have a limited understanding of Islam and often speak on behalf of Muslims regarding Islam.


I am glad to see that you are referring to the Quran to see what Allah has to say about Islam and also that you have sought our help at Reading Islam. We are happy to be able to assist you.


*{Thus, have We made of you an Ummah (nation) justly balanced, that you might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves …}*  (Al-Baqarah 2:143)


Allah has given us the blessing of Islam out of His infinite mercy so that we may benefit from this life and enjoy it as much as possible, but more importantly, to learn the important lessons we need to prepare ourselves for the life to come.


Seeing as this life is quite short in comparison to the next life, almost insignificant, actually, we must struggle to our utmost ability to learn these lessons and be successful in the next phase of our existence.


*{What is the life of this world but amusement and play? but verily the Home in the Hereafter,- that is life indeed, if they but knew.}* Al-Ankabut 29:64)


The next life is really what matters. It is eternal, without end. If we end up in a good state — Paradise — the pleasures of this life will be nothing in comparison to it. If we end up in a bad state — Hellfire — the troubles of this life will be nothing compared to its torment.


I ask Allah to protect us from the torment of Hellfire. But what is the reality of the next life? What does Allah tell us? What does Prophet Muhammad have to say?


You refer to many verses from the Quran so I will do my best to address their messages.


*{Here is a parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised: in it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and grace from their Lord. Can those in such bliss be compared to such as shall dwell for ever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels?}* (Muhammad 47:15)


At first glance we may think that this is a contradiction to the laws of Allah in this life regarding the consumption of wine. But we need to take the message of Allah in its entirety, not to pick and choose which parts of His Message we will follow. The following verses clarify this issue:


*{Round about them will serve youths of perpetual freshness, With goblets, shining beakers, and cups filled out of clear-flowing fountains: No after-ache will they receive therefrom, nor will they suffer intoxication: And with fruits, any that they may select: And the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire. And there will be companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes, like unto pearls well-guarded — a reward for the deeds of their past (life). Not frivolity will they hear therein, nor any taint of ill,- Only the saying, “peace! peace”*} (Al-Waqi`ah 56:17-26)


As you can see, the word “wine” is not used here, but it is implied because this type of drink in Paradise, although similar to wine, is much better in that it does not cause intoxication nor does it leave the drinker with the after-ache of a “hang-over”.


Now this leads us to another apparently confusing description of Heaven in Islam. Isn’t Heaven a spiritual place of bliss? Yes it is, but it is also a physical existence.


Paradise in Islam is similar to the pleasures of this life but far better and everlasting. We do not subscribe to the beliefs of other religious traditions that preach that we will move on to a purely spiritual realm in the next life. This would cause us to assume that physical existence is inherently evil, which Islam rejects.


Allah created us as both physical and spiritual beings. Angels are spiritual creatures only in that they were created from light. They are seen by other religious traditions as being superior to human beings. But even the angels are servants of Allah as we are.


Some humans, prophets for example, are superior to some angels in many ways. When Allah created Adam (peace be upon him) he commanded the angels to bow down to him.


*{Were We then weary with the first Creation, that they should be in confused doubt about a new Creation?}* (Qaf 50:15)


Allah created us all from the elements of the earth beginning with the creation of our father Adam, then in the form of sperm and egg, again basically from nothing. The elements of the universe were created by His Will alone. Only Allah can create from nothing.


Is it difficult for Him to create us again from our bones? Or even from nothing again? Of course, Allah is able to do as He pleases and we are not the ones to ask why or why not.


Regarding the verses about female companions and wives in Paradise, we can use a similar argument. If Allah has blessed us with wives in this life, does it seem right to remove this blessing in the next life? I would dare to say that there are few men in this life that would say no to having many wives in this life if they were sure they could manage it financially and emotionally. The problems we run into in having many wives in this life stem from our shortcomings as men and women. Allah advises us in this matter:


*{You are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire, but turn not away from a woman altogether, so as to leave her as it were hanging in the air. If you come to a friendly understanding, and practice self- restraint, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.}* (Al-Nisaa’ 4:129


In Paradise, however, these shortcomings and ill-feelings will disappear.


*{And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury: (they will be) brothers (joyfully) facing each other on thrones of dignity.}* (Al-Hijr 15:47)


Paradise is a place where no one will experience any type of worry or annoyance. No feelings of jealousy or ill-will would be found among the hearts of its inhabitants. There is no aging and no death, only happiness and enjoyment of the finest things of life, human life. The greatest reward, however, is to be able to look upon Allah as He really is and to have Allah’s pleasure.


Prophet Muhammad taught us more than any other prophet, peace be upon them all, about Paradise and Hell:

Abu Said Al-Khudri and Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with them) both reported Allah’s Messenger as saying:

“There will be an announcer in Paradise who will make this announcement: “Verily there is in store for you everlasting health and that you should never fall ill and that you live for ever and do not die at all. And that you would remain young and never grow old. And that you would always live in affluent circumstances and never become destitute, as words of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, are: *{And it will be announced to them: This is the Paradise. You have been made to inherit it for what you used to do.”}* (Al-A`raf 7:43) (Muslim)

This is not a description of a spiritual existence only. Will we have a youthful appearance and fine clothing?


The Prophet continued, saying:

“Then He would say: Enter the Paradise; whatever you see in it is yours. They would say: O Lord, you have bestowed upon us favors which you did not bestow upon anyone else in the world. He would say: There is with Me a favor for you better than this. They would say: O our Lord! Which thing is better than this? He would say: It is My pleasure. I will never be angry with you after this.” ( Muslim)


Finally, I would like to repeat that we need to take Islam as a whole. It is a comprehensive faith that leaves out nothing in offering the best guidance to mankind in achieving success in this life and the next.


*{He it is Who has sent down to you the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental of established meaning; they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:” and none will grasp the message except people of understanding.}* (Aal `Imran 3:7)


I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.





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