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.





The Political Framework of Islam

The political system of Islam is based on the three principles of  Tawheed (Oneness of Allah), risalah (prophethood) and khilafah (humans’ moral responsibility).


Tawheed means that Allah (God) alone is the One and Only Creator, Sustainer and Master of the universe. He alone has the right to command or forbid. Worship and obedience are due to Him alone.


Hence, it is not for us to set the ethical and moral codes or invent our frames of reference, though every nation, group or individual is entitled to contextualize Allah’s commandments and guidance that were revealed in succeeding religious messages within their own time and space; hence religious devotion is a dynamic and not a static condition. This principle of the Oneness of Allah does not contradict the concept of the legal and political sovereignty of the political community; hence the different models of Islamic democratic governance through Islamic history.


The risalah is the message of the prophets. Islam is the last revealed religion and the Qur’an is the last testament. Muslims believe in the previous messengers and their messages and their original and authentic Holy Books. The Qur’an lays down the broad principles on which human life should be based universally, as it is the last revealed message from Allah, and Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah, established a model system of Islamic life in accordance with these principles. The combination of these two elements — Tawheed and risalah — is called the  Shari ‘ah (Law).


Khilafah means representation. Humans — both men and women — according to Islam, are the representatives of Allah on earth, His vicegerents.


To illustrate what the previous notions mean, let us take the example of an estate of yours which someone else has been appointed to administer. There are four conditions in this relation: First, the real ownership of the estate remains vested in you and not in the administrator; second, he administers your property directly in accordance with your instructions; third, he exercises his authority within the limits prescribed by you; and fourth, in the administration of the trust he executes your will and fulfills your intentions and not his own. Any representative who does not fulfill these four conditions will be abusing his authority and breaking the covenant which was implied in the concept of delegation.


This is exactly what Islam means when it affirms that man is the representative (khalifah) of Allah on earth. Hence, these four conditions are also involved in the concept of khalifah. The state that is established in accordance with this political theory will, in fact, be a caliphate under the sovereignty of Allah. It should rule with the power of the people in accordance with the principles of justice and welfare. Such a society carries the responsibility of the khilafah as a whole, and each one of its individuals shares in it.


Hence the form of Islamic government might be called theo-democracy, a combination fully different from the Western historical experience of the relation between church and state.




Heaven and Hell: Permanent or Temporary?

Question and Answer Details

Name of Questioner

Nadia   – Australia



Heaven and Hell: Permanent or Temporary?







As-salaamu alaikum.

I need to ask you about this theory: We Muslims will definitely go to Heaven, although many of us will have to be “cleansed” in Hell first before entering Heaven.

Interestingly, a good Christian friend of mine has exactly the same idea (only with the word “Muslims” substituted with “Christians,” of course).

From that concept, it is saying that Hell can be temporary (i.e. Some people enter it just to get rid of their sins, but they do not stay there forever and they will get out at some point).

However, as far as I know, the Qur’an always portrays Heaven and Hell as permanent destinations (e.g. An-Nisaa’ 4:14; Al-Baqarah 2:80).

So, my question is: Where does this idea of temporary Hell come from? Is it from the Qur’an, Hadith, or neither?





Islamic Creed


Name of Counselor

Idris Tawfiq


Salam, Nadia.

Thank you for this interesting question. In answering it, we should mention Christian teaching first, since this is relevant to what you ask, and then move on to Muslim belief. It could be that because of talking to your Christian friends, you have got things a bit mixed up with what they believe.

Purgatory in Roman Catholic Teachings

It is a standard Roman Catholic teaching that before a person goes to Heaven, he or she must be purified in Purgatory. According to this teaching, Purgatory is a separate place than Heaven.

Even though Roman Catholics believe that their sins can be forgiven in this life by a priest when they go to Confession, the effects of their sins still remain, which cannot be erased by anyone. Purgatory, then, is a place where people make up for all the wrong they have done in this life, since no one can enter Heaven in anything less than a pure state.

Purgatory is the kind of “temporary Hell,” you talk about.

You are right when you mention Christian teaching regarding who will go to Heaven. Basing their teaching on Saint John’s Gospel, Christians have always taught that “unless a man be born again by water and the Spirit (i.e. Baptism), he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” In other words, for centuries the Church taught that only the baptized could enter Heaven.

The supposed death and resurrection of Jesus, according to Christian tradition, makes it possible for people to enter Heaven. This doctrine was reevaluated in the last century to suggest that some of the un-baptized could go to Heaven, but only because of the action of Jesus on the Cross.


These “anonymous” Christians, although not baptized, might enter Heaven because of their good lives and because Jesus has chosen to redeem them. Islam or Buddhism or Judaism, then, according to this doctrine, cannot save a man, but some Muslims or Buddhists or Jews might be saved because Jesus chooses to save them because of their good lives.

Heaven and Hell in Islam

I hope that this hasn’t confused you! Turning now directly to your question, Muslims are quite clear that Heaven and Hell have existed even before the creation of the world. They are both permanent places.

A translation of what we read in the Qur’an tells us this:

*{“Surely, We [Allah] have prepared for the evildoers a fire, whose pavilion encompasses them. If they call for help, they will be helped with water like molten copper that will scald their faces. How dreadful a drink and how evil a resting place.}* (Al-Kahf 18: 29)

In another part of the Qur’an, we read:

*{Certainly, Allah has cursed the unbelievers and prepared for them a blazing fire to dwell therein forever, they shall find neither protector nor helper. On the day when their faces are turned about in the fire, they shall say, “Would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger!”}* (Al-Ahzab 33: 64-66)

There are other descriptions of Hell that are graphically horrific. Muslims believe that some people will be sent to Hell for all eternity, because we are told so in either the Qur’an or in the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him). They will never leave. Some of these people are actually mentioned by name.

According to authorities in Hadith like Al-Bukhari and Muslim, such people include Abu Lahab, `Amr ibn Luhai Al-Khuza`i, and others. Those who aren’t identified by name are identified by description: every unbeliever, polytheist, or hypocrite (those who pretend they are Muslims but are not.)

All Muslims in Heaven?

As for your assertion that all Muslims will go to Heaven, we must, of course, add the words, in sha’ Allah. We can never presume Allah’s actions towards us. Only He knows the true intentions of our hearts.

Given this proviso, however, we do believe that Muslims will go to Heaven, even though they may have committed terrible crimes while they were alive. Muslim belief about this is as follows:

When a person dies, he or she will be laid in the grave. The Prophet told us that in the grave, all people will be questioned in the grave about their belief. They will sit up and answer the angels’ questions. The believers will answer, “Allah is my Lord, Islam is my religion, and Muhammad is my prophet.” The unbelievers will say, “I do not know. I heard the people saying something and I said it.”

Once again, Prophet Muhammad is recorded to have said many things about this. Those Muslims who led good lives, obedient to the will of Allah, will rest in comfort in the grave, awaiting the Day of Judgment. Those Muslims who led bad lives, or who were Muslim in name only, will be punished severely in the grave.

In the Qur’an, we read:

*{If you could only see when the evildoers are in the agonies of death and the angels are stretching out their hands, saying, “Give up your souls! Today you shall be rewarded with the punishment of humiliation for what you used to say untrue about Allah, and for scornfully rejecting His signs.”}* (Al-An`am 6 :93)

On the Day of Judgment, all people will be raised from their graves and their lives will be placed before them. They will have to give an account of how they lived. Good deeds will be weighed against bad deeds.

Once people’s deeds have been weighed up and the remaining balance is in their favor, they will then have to give justice to those they offended in this life. If they offended someone, some of their remaining good deeds will be transferred to the offended.

If, after all this, their good deeds weigh as much as even just an atom, they will, in sha’ Allah, enter Paradise. If, on the other hand, their good deeds have been exhausted in making up for wrongs they did to others, the offended will transfer some of their bad deeds, so that they go to Hell and suffer not only for their own bad deeds but also for the bad deeds of those they offended.

Allah knows what is best. As Muslims we believe that some Muslims will enter Hell and will remain there being punished until such time as Allah allows them to be released.

Not Temporary, But Relief Is Possible

This is not a temporary Hell. Hell is a fixed, permanent place, but Allah may allow some Muslims to be released from it because of His mercy.

We believe that the Prophet will be allowed by Allah to intercede on behalf of some believers who are in Hell, and by Allah’s will they will be taken out of Hell.

Allah will also take out of the Hell some believers, not because someone has interceded on their behalf, but simply because He chooses to.

Your simple question, then, required quite a complicated answer! In summary, as Muslims we believe some wicked Muslims will be sent to Hell for a limited time but ultimately will be granted Paradise because of the mercy of Allah.

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


Useful Links:

Who Will Go to Heaven?

Is There Hell for Muslims?

Destiny of People of the Book

Are We Judged for What’s Already Destined?

The Justice of Divine Judgment

Atheists and Heaven

The Road to Heaven

Defining Heaven

The Way to Heaven?

Original Sin or … Innocence?

“This Life and the Next”

Is Paradise Just Spiritual Pleasure?

The Description of Paradise

Questions About Paradise



Do Good and Evil Come from Allah?

Question and Answer Details

Name of Questioner




Do Good and Evil Come from Allah?






Hello. First I wish to thank you for this user-friendly and informative site. I wish to ask about a point which has been bothering me recently and I hope that one of the counselors will be able to answer me in sha’ Allah.


In surat An-Nisaa’ (Women), there is a verse that states that everything is from Allah, but the next verse states that when bad things happen, they are from us humans, but everything good is from Allah.

I can see the logic behind this and that there is no contradiction, but I just wish somebody knowledgeable will explain these verses further.





Islamic Creed, WorldView


Name of Counselor

Shahul Hameed


Salam, Salma.


Thank you very much for your question and the good words you have spoken about the site.

The question of destiny and freewill has been nagging humans all through the centuries; and each religion has attempted to answer the question in its own way.
Master or Puppet?

The noble Qur’an enunciates the view that man is not completely a master of his fate; nor is he a puppet in the hands of blind destiny. It is a fact that Allah’s sovereignty is all pervading and nothing falls outside its purview; which is to say that Allah knows everything and things happen according to His Will.

The whole of creation i.e. all the things and beings in the universe are subject to the overriding power of Allah, and we humans can do nothing without Allah willing it to be so. 
Allah says in the noble Qur’an what gives the meaning of:


*{He created everything for its destiny (or its measure) }* (Al-Furqan 25: 2)

*{We created everything according to a measure or destiny.}* (Al-Qamar 54:9)

In both the above verses “destiny” implies the latent capabilities of things.

But this is not to say that Allah created a universe finished and complete, bound to the iron rules of nature. On the contrary, it means only that the creation of this universe was in accordance with the grand design of the Creator.

Well-Designed and Well-Planned

There is no element of chance in the creation of this universe. Everything is well-designed and well-planned. And Allah has a foreknowledge of everything that He created. But this does not imply that human beings have been completely deprived of the freedom of action.

The foreknowledge of Allah is different from predestination. Otherwise, man will not have any freedom of will or action; and what is more, Allah Himself is then made to be inactive, as things happen according to what people call predestination. But the glorious Qur’an clearly says that Allah is constantly active in creation. Allah Almighty says what means:

*{Allah. There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Supporter of all. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permits? He knows what (appears to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne does extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. For He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).}* (Al-Baqarah 2: 255)

We may understand Allah’s knowledge to be a living creative activity, which includes His fore-knowledge of events to come. The future may be conceived as an open possibility that pre-exists to be realized. This means that destiny as conceived by Islam does not negate our freedom of choice and action.

A Limited Freedom

Out of a set of inherent possibilities, we can make a free choice of those actions that are in harmony with Allah’s Will; if so, we earn our reward from Allah. Thus from the point of view of Islam, humanity is free (in a limited sense) for all practical purposes, and has no excuse for making the wrong choice in the name of fate.

The Qur’anic view of humans is that they have a natural inclination to all that is good; but as we are given freedom of choice, we may choose evil against our natural tendency towards good. About divine guidance, Allah says what can be translated as:

*{It is the truth from your Lord; wherefore let him who will, believe, and let him who will, disbelieve.}* (Al-Kahf 18: 29)

Again we read:  

*{Indeed Allah does not wrong the people at all, it is they wrong their own selves.}* (Yunus 10: 44)


*{There is no compulsion in religion. Surely the right way has become distinct from error. }* (Al-Baqarah 2: 256)

The particular Qur’anic verses you have referred to in your question should be studied against the foregoing background.


*{….. If some good befalls them, they say, “This is from Allah.; but if evil, they say, “This is from thee” (O Prophet). Say: “All things are from Allah.” But what hath come to these people, that they fail to understand a single fact? Whatever good happens to thee is from God; and whatever evil befalls thee is from thyself…}* (An-Nisaa’ 4:78-79)


Good and Bad: From Allah’s Will


First, it is mentioned that all things are from Allah; and then it is stated that good happenings come from Allah and evil happenings come from humans.


If we look for the correct interpretation of the verses above, we can see that there is no contradiction there. In fact, Allah Almighty is the ultimate source of all that is happening.


Consequently, all good that comes to man and all evil that befalls him flow originally from Allah’s will: that is, everything is from Allah. And when man uses his freewill and makes a wrong choice out of several available options, evil follows. And we should remember that evil is the absence of good; or its opposite that follows a wrong choice by man. Thus it is true that evil happenings come from man.


It is also possible that what appears to be evil may very well turn out to be good in the end. In such cases evil is no more than a means of spiritual growth for man, and need not necessarily be “evil” in reality. And remember that:


*{Allah does not wrong anyone by as much as at atom’s weight.}* (An-Nisaa’ 4:40)

We can also view the whole matter from a different angle as well. Everything is from Allah; and so we are from Allah. Evil is from us ourselves; but since we are from Allah, the evil that comes from us can also be attributed to the original source of all, namely Allah Almighty. So there is absolutely no contradiction in the verses you referred to.  

The Qur’anic concept of destiny includes the ideas of measurement, proportion, guidance and the completion of the creative process. We may say that it is the Law of Allah operating in the whole of His creation, including man.


In the case of humanity, the Divine Law includes the idea of freewill too. Allah has created everything with a purpose, a purpose that is attained by the completion of the process of creation.


In this scheme, humanity alone has a unique status as people can exercise freewill, where “evil” has a significant role along with good.
I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.





Useful Links:


Islam Between Surrender and Free Will


Why Do We Have Free Will?


Freedom of Religion


Are We Entirely Free?


Fate and Free Will


Predestination of One’s Deeds?


Are We Judged for What’s Already Destined?


Are We Predestined?


Hindu Karma and Destiny


Qadar: A Measured Destiny


Divine and Human Will


 Reflections on the Existence of Evil



Did Allah Obligate Adam to Disobey Him?

Question:  Respected scholars, as-salamu`alaykum. I’m trying to understand the concept of destiny and the purpose of the creation. Did Allah “obligate” Adam, by His will and He forced that action to disobey Him? Or Allah knew that, but He didn’t obligate Adam? In other words, if this action wouldn’t have happened, there would not be Hell and the disbelievers.

If you shed some light on this, I would be so grateful.

Jazakum Allahu khayran.


Answer:  Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, thanks a lot for your question, which shows your care to have a clear view of the teachings of Islam. Allah commands Muslims to refer to people of knowledge to get themselves well-acquainted with the teachings of Islam as well as all aspects of life.

As Muslims, we believe that Almighty Allah has the absolute knowledge of what happened and what is going to happen and what would happen in case something else did not happen. Nothing happens in this universe without Allah’s will and it is His will that He gave people the ability to choose between right and wrong; thus, people will be held accountable based on their own choices.

Almighty Allah says,

[And shown people the two ways (i.e. the good and evil paths)] (Al-Balad 90:10).

In his response to your question, Sheikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah, former president of ISNA (the Islamic Society of North America) and member of the Fiqh Council of North America, stated,

This is a complicated issue that requires a high level of trust and submission to the will and wisdom of Allah. The whole concept of qadar (Arabic for: destiny) is based on the belief in Allah as having the absolute knowledge and wisdom, and therefore we owe him worship and servitude. Human beings are created with freewill. Allah created us and showed us right from wrong, and He gave us the ability to choose between them. Allah says, [And shown him the two ways (i.e. the good and evil paths)] (Al-Balad 90:10). He also blessed us with the instrument of choosing and distinguishing between right and wrong — that is the faculty of understanding. A sane person is able to make choices, and therefore, he or she is judged accordingly, whereas an insane person is absolved from such accountability since he or she lacks the faculty of understanding by which distinction between right and wrong is performed. Allah’s knowledge is unlimited. He is the Omniscient, and therefore He knows everything about His servants. However, Allah judges us for what we willingly choose to do, and not according to what He knows we will do. Even when we think of something evil, we will not be judged until this evil thought has been put into practice. If the evil thought is not carried out, it is forgiven. So we have to differentiate between Allah’s knowledge and Allah’s will.

As for Adam, of course, Allah knew Adam would eat from the tree, but Allah did not force him to eat, and Allah did not punish him until after Adam actually ate from it. The Qur’an (Ta-Ha 20:115) tells us that Adam “did forget,” and in another verse (Ta-Ha 20:121) it tells us that “Adam disobeyed his Lord.” However, Adam repented (Ta-Ha 20:122) and Allah accepted his repentance.

In brief, we are instructed to follow Allah’s commandments; do what we have been ordered to do and avoid what we have been forbidden to do. If we do anything bad, it is because of our wrong choice:

[Whatever good, (O people!) happens to you, is from Allah; whatever evil happens to you, is from your (own) soul. And We have sent you [Prophet Muhammad] as a Messenger to (instruct) humankind. And it is sufficient that Allah is the witness.] (An-Nisaa’ 4:79).
















































































Most Common Questions asked by Non-Muslims – 4




How can you prove the existence of hereafter, i.e. life after death?


1.   Belief in the hereafter is not based on blind faith?

Many people wonder as to how a person with a scientific and logical temperament, can lend any credence to the belief of life after death. People assume that anyone believing in the hereafter is doing so on the basis of blind belief.

My belief in the hereafter is based on a logical argument.

2.   Hereafter a logical belief

There are more than a thousand verses in the Glorious Qur’an, containing scientific facts (refer my book “Qur’an and Modern Science-Compatible or Incompatible?”). Many facts mentioned in the Qur’an have been discovered in the last few centuries. But science has not advanced to a level where it can confirm every statement of the Qur’an.

Suppose 80% of all that is mentioned in the Qur’an has been proved 100% correct. About the remaining 20%, science makes no categorical statement, since it has not advanced to a level, where it can either prove or disprove these statements. With the limited knowledge that we have, we cannot say for sure whether even a single percentage or a single verse of the Qur’an from this 20% portion is wrong. Thus when 80% of the Qur’an is 100% correct and the remaining 20% is not disproved, logic says that even the 20% portion is correct. The existence of the hereafter, which is mentioned in the Qur’an, falls in the 20% ambiguous portion which my logic says is correct.

.   Concept of peace and human values is useless without the concept of hereafter

Is robbing a good or an evil act? A normal balanced person would say it is evil. How would a person who does not believe in the hereafter convince a powerful and influential criminal that robbing is evil?

Suppose I am the most powerful and influential criminal in the world. At the same time I am an Intelligent and a logical person. I say that robbing is good because it helps me lead a luxurious life. Thus robbing is good for me.

If anybody can put forward a single logical argument as to why it is evil for me, I will stop immediately. People usually put forward the following arguments:

   a.    The person who is robbed will face difficulties

Some may say that the person who is robbed will face difficulties. I certainly agree that it is bad for the person who is robbed. But it is good for me. If I rob a thousand dollars, I can enjoy a good meal at a 5 star restaurant.

   b.    Someone may rob you

Some people argue that someday I may be robbed. No one can rob me because I am a very powerful criminal and I have hundreds of bodyguards. I can rob anybody but nobody can rob me. Robbing may be a risky profession for a common man but not for an influential person like me.

   c.    The police may arrest you

Some may say, if you rob, you can be arrested by the police. The police cannot arrest me because I have the police on my payroll. I have the ministers on my payroll. I agree that if a common man robs, he will be arrested and it will be bad for him, but I am an extraordinarily influential and powerful criminal.

Give me one logical reason why it is bad for me and I will stop robbing.

   d.    Its easy money

Some may say its easy money and not hard-earned money. I agree completely that it is easy money, and that is one of the main reasons why I rob. If a person has the option of earning money the easy as well as the hard way, any logical person would choose the easy way.

   e.    It is against humanity

Some may say it is against humanity and that a person should care for other human beings. I counter argue by asking as to who wrote this law called ‘humanity’ and why should I follow it?

This law may be good for the emotional and sentimental people but I am a logical person and I see no benefit in caring for other human beings.

   f.     It is a selfish act

Some may say that robbing is being selfish. It is true that robbing is a selfish act; but then why should I not be selfish? It helps me enjoy life.

1.    No logical reason for robbing being an evil act

Hence all arguments that attempt to prove that robbing is an evil act are futile. These arguments may satisfy a common man but not a powerful and influential criminal like me. None of the arguments can be defended on the strength of reason and logic. It is no surprise that there are so many criminals in this world.

Similarly raping, cheating etc. can be justified as good for a person like me and there is no logical argument that can convince me that these things are bad.

2.    A Muslim can convince a powerful and influential criminal

Now let us switch sides. Suppose you are the most powerful and influential criminal in the world, who has the police and the ministers on his payroll. You have army of thugs to protect you. I am a Muslim who will convince you that robbing, raping, cheating, etc. are evil acts.

Even if I put forth the same arguments to prove that robbing is evil the criminal will respond the same way as he did earlier.

I agree that the criminal is being logical and all his arguments are true only when he is the most powerful and influential criminal.

3.     Every human being wants justice

Each and every human being desires justice. Even if he does not want justice for others he wants justice for himself. Some people are intoxicated by power and influence and inflict pain and suffering on others. The same people, however, would surely object if some injustice was done to them. The reason such people become insensitive to the suffering of others is that they worship power and influence. Power and influence, they feel, not only allows them to inflict injustice on others but also prevents others from doing likewise to them.

4. God is Most Powerful and Just

As a Muslim I would convince the criminal about the existence of Almighty God (refer to answer proving the existence of God). This God is more powerful than you and at the same time is also just. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“Allah is never unjust
In the least degree”

        [Al-Qur’an 4:40]

5.     Why does God not punish me?

The criminal, being a logical and scientific person, agrees that God exists, after being presented with scientific facts from the Qur’an. He may argue as to why God, if He is Powerful and Just, does not punish him.

6. The people who do injustice should be punished

Every person who has suffered injustice, irrespective of financial or social status, almost certainly wants the perpetrator of injustice to be punished. Every normal person would like the robber or the rapist to be taught a lesson. Though a large number of criminals are punished, many even go scot-free. They lead a pleasant, luxurious life, and even enjoy a peaceful existence. If injustice is done to a powerful and influential person, by someone more powerful and more influential than he, even such a person would want that person perpetrators of injustice to be punished.

7. This life is a test for the hereafter

This life is a test for the hereafter. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“He who created Death
And life that He
May try which of you
Is best in deed;
And He is the Exalted
In Might, Oft-Forgiving”
          [Al-Qur’an 67:2]

8. Final justice on day of judgement

The Glorious Qur’an says:

“Every soul shall have
A taste of death:
And only on the Day
Of Judgement shall you
Be paid your full recompense.
Only he who is saved
Far from the Fire
And admitted to the Garden
Will have attained
The object (of life):
For the life of this world
Is but goods and chattels
Of deception.”
          [Al-Qur’an 3:185]

Final justice will be meted out on the Day of Judgement. After a person dies, he will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement along with the rest of mankind. It is possible that a person receives part of his punishment in this world. The final reward and punishment will only be in the hereafter. God Almighty may not punish a robber or a rapist in this world but he will surely be held accountable on the Day of Judgement and will be punished in the hereafter i.e. life after death.

9. What punishment can the human law give Hitler?

Hitler incinerated six million Jews during his reign of terror. Even if the police had arrested him, what punishment can the human law give Hitler for justice to prevail? The most they can do is to send Hitler to the gas chamber. But that will only be punishment for the killing of one Jew. What about the remaining five million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine Jews?

10. Allah can burn Hitler more than six million times in hellfire

Allah say in the Glorious Qur’an:

“Those who reject
Our signs, We shall soon
Cast into the Fire;
As often as their skins
Are roasted through,
We shall change them
For fresh skins,
That they may taste
The penalty: for Allah
Is Exalted in Power, Wise”
          [Al-Qur’an 4:56]

If Allah wishes he can incinerate Hitler six million times in the hereafter in the hellfire.

11. No concept of human values or good and bad without concept of hereafter

It is clear that without convincing a person about the hereafter, i.e. life after death, the concept of human values and the good or evil nature of acts is impossible to prove to any person who is doing injustice especially when he is influential and powerful.

Jizyah, Compulsion and Islam

Name of Questioner

Muhammad   – Singapore



Jizyah, Compulsion and Islam






Salam, I have a question regarding the history of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For one of his dawah, Prophet Muhammad sent a letter to a country called Najran if I’m not wrong. They were mostly Christians and had received the Prophet’s invitation to join Islam. Please correct me if I’m wrong. What I like to know is that the Prophet told them they had to pay the jizyah if they didn’t join Islam. And if they didn’t want to pay, they would have to fight against the Muslims in a war.


Is this true? Would the Prophet use this kind of strategy to get people to join islam? Thank you in advance for answering.




Prophetic Ethics


Name of Counselor

Mohsen Haredy


Salam, Muhammad.


Thank you for your interesting question. Thank you also for your keenness to have a clear picture of the history of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).


The ABCs of Dawah


Let me start with the last part of your question. Simply put, it is a fact that throughout his life, Prophet Muhammad never forced anybody to join Islam. He was applying the clear statement made by Allah in the Quran which can be translated as follows:


*{Let there be no compulsion in religion.}* (Al-Baqarah 2:256)


His dawah was based on calling people to Islam with wisdom and good exhortation. In doing so, he was following the divine order which reads:


*{Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner; surely your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He knows best those who follow the right way.}* (An-Nahl 16:125)


Therefore, his mission was to let people know about his message and just to call them to follow it. Here ends his mission. The issue of guidance is always left to Allah Who guides whom He chooses. The Prophet was told in the Quran:


*{Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases, and He knows best the followers of the right way.}* (Al-Qasas 28:56)


Najran’s Delegation


Concerning the specific incident you mentioned in your question, Najran is located south of Makkah towards Yemen. It included seventy three villages. They arrived in Madinah in the year 9 A.H. The delegation comprised sixty men. Twenty-four of them were of noble families. Three out of twenty-four were at one time leaders of Najran.


When that group of delegates arrived in Madinah, they met the Prophet, exchanged inquiries with him. When he called them to Islam and recited the Quran to them, they refused. They asked him what he thought about Jesus (peace be upon him. The Prophet , he waited a whole day till the following Quranic reply was revealed to him:


*{Verily, the likeness of Jesus before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: ‘Be!’ — and he was.}* (Aal `Imran 3:59)


After long discussions with the Prophet, the chiefs of the delegation came to him and said: “We grant you what you have demanded.” The Prophet acknowledged that agreement and ordered them to pay jizyah. In return they will have the covenant of Allah and His Messenger. He gave them a covenant that provides for practicing their religious affairs freely. They asked the Prophet to appoint a trustworthy man to receive the money agreed on for peace, so he sent them the trustworthy man of this nation Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn Al-Jarrah to receive the amounts of money agreed on in the peace treaty. (Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum)


It is worthy mentioning here that Najran’s delegation stayed at the Prophet’s mosque. They were free to practice their Christian rituals inside the mosque while hanging the cross on their bodies. The Muslims were protecting and serving them as they were guests in the Prophet’s mosque.


The Dhimmah Covenant


The covenant that the Prophet concluded with Najran’s delegation was the first to include the word dhimmah (pledge of security).


The covenant granted them protection that embraces their property, their souls, their land, their religion, those of them who were present or absent, and all that which they possessed, whether ample or little. No bishop, monk, or priest shall be removed from his office. No army shall enter their land. If anyone of the people of Najran demanded their rights, justice must be given to him. Neither shall they oppress nor shall they be oppressed.


Today, there is no place for the word dhimmah. It can be replaced by citizenship. And the term ahl al-dhimmah can be replace by the term citizens.




As we have seen the covenant did not mention the jizyah. Muslims were paying zakah which was used in all sorts of services and social welfare. It was fair to make non-Muslims pay jizyah. So, it was a compensation for not going to war as it was not fair to ask these non-Muslim citizens to fight with Muslims against fellow believers of their same religion.


The Companions and Successors absolved non-Muslims who participated with Muslims in defending their country from the tax. Because of this, Suraqah ibn Amr absolved Armenians from paying jizyah in 22 AH, as did Habib ibn Maslamah Al-Fahri with the non-Muslims of Antioch. The Companions of Abu Ubaidah ibn Al-Jarrah, with his approval and the Companions’ approval, absolved a non-Muslim community on the Turkish–Syrian border known as Al-Jarajimah. (Dr. Mohammad Salim Al-Awa, A Lecture delivered at the Arab Christian Media Men Conference, The Middle East Council of Churches, Beirut, Oct. 10, 2002.)


In today’s world, non-Muslim citizens living in Muslim countries perform military service and protect their nations. Therefore, it is not obligatory on them to pay jizyah.


Non-Muslim Minorities


In Muslim countries, non-Muslim citizens are guaranteed the freedom to practice their religion. Their places of worship are protected and no one is allowed to attack them.


Non-Muslims are our neighbors, classmates, co-workers, etc. Muslims are to treat them gently. There is much to agree on with non-Muslims. Islam does not disrespect anyone for whatever reason. We have a saying in Islam attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet’ cousin, that says: (People are of two types, either those who are brothers in faith or those who are brothers in humanity.)


So, Muslims are the brothers of non-Muslims in humanity regardless of their different beliefs.


The Quran recommends Muslims to show non-Muslims who are not at war with Muslims kindness. We read what means:


*{Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you in the matters of your religion and those who did not expel you from your homes, that you show them courtesy and kindness and act justly with them because Allah loves those who are Just.}* (Al-Mumtahanah 68:8)


This is what Islam teaches Muslims. If some Muslims are not practicing this, then the problem is with the Muslims’ understanding of Islam not with Islam itself. Islam should not be judged by the bad practice of Muslims.


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




Naught Is as His likeness!

Name of Questioner

Maryam   – Qatar



Naught Is as His likeness!



As-Salamu `Alaykum. Most people imagine Allah to have a certain form or image and to be in a particular place. Is this belief correct? What does Islam tell us about the appearance or physical attributes of Allah Almighty, and His place?





Name of Counsellor

Islam Online Fatwa Editing Desk



Muslim Belief


Wa`alaykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.Dear sister in Islam, thank you very much for having confidence in us, and we hope our efforts, which are purely for Allah’s Sake, meet your expectations.First of all, we would like to stress the fact that, every committed Muslim should have a firm belief that Allah Almighty is UNIQUE in everything. There is no resemblance between Allah, the Creator and His creation. Referring to this, Allah Almighty says: “Naught is as His likeness; and He is the Hearer, the Seer.” (Ash-Shura: 11)

Also, one should be aware of the perverted ideas promoted by non-Muslims in this regard. In addition, every Muslim has to be aware of the snares of the Satan, and to avoid any wishful thinking concerning such issues that do more harm to the minds of Muslims than benefiting them.

In his response to the question, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), states the following:

“Allah, Glorified be He, is not something abstract. The Qur’an describes Him as a Personal Being with face, eyes, hands. He sees, hears, speaks, sits on the throne, likes and dislikes, loves and hates, certain things please Him and certain things displease Him and make Him angry. All these descriptions are in the Qur’an. Thus Allah certainly has an image or Surah.

We, Muslims, believe in and accept all that Allah has told us about Himself. But we do not say “how”.

In Islamic theology this is called ‘Bila Kayf’ or ‘without how.’ Thus, we accept that Allah has face, hands and eyes, but we do not make a picture or an image of them. Allah Almigty says:”“Naught is as His likeness; and He is the Hearer, the Seer.” (Ash-Shura: 11). He Almighty also says: “There is none equal to Him.” (Al-Ikhlas :4)

It is acceptable in Islam to say that Allah is above or to raise one’s head or hands towards the heaven to pray to Allah. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, went to the heavens in his Mi`raj and there Allah spoke to him. The “above” signifies the greatness, honor and glory of Allah. However Allah is not limited and confined to any particular place. His knowledge encompasses everything.

The Qur’an also tells us that He is very close to us. Allah Almighty also says: “…and He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah is Seer of what ye do.” (Al-Hadid: 4)”

Moreover, Dr. `Abdur-Raziq Muhammad Fadl at Al-Azhar University, adds:

“There are limits to what our mortal minds can grasp, in the sense that we will surely go astray if we give free rein to our thinking about Allah. A Muslim has to keep in mind that what applies to Allah do not apply to His Creatures. Allah Almighty says, “Vision comprehendeth Him not, but He comprehendeth (all) vision. He is the Subtle, the Aware.” (Al-An`aam: 102)

Elaborating more on this, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, the well known Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, states:

“The people of Ahl As-Sunnah Wal Jama`ah believe that Allah is exalted above His creation. This is based on the evidence from the Qur’an, Sunnah, consensus of the scholars, common sense and man’s innate instinct or Fitrah

The Qur’an:

The Qur`an describes the “exaltedness” or “highness” of Allah in different ways, as His being High and Above, and by describing how things come down from Him, and go up to Him, and by stating that He is above heaven. For example, Allah Almighty says: “. . .and He is the Most High, the Most Great.” (Al-Baqarah : 255)

He Almighty also says: “Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High.” (Al-A’la:1)

The Sunnah:

Many authentic reports state that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to say “Subhana Rabbi Al-A’la or “Glory be to my Lord Most High” in sujood, and in some Hadiths he is reported to have said “By Allah Who is above the Throne.”

Among his deeds is the gesture of pointing up with his finger, when addressing the people in the greatest gathering, on the Day of ‘Arafah during his Farewell Pilgrimage. He asked the people, “Have I conveyed the message?” and they said, “Yes, you have.” He asked again, “Have I conveyed the message?” and they said, “Yes, you have “. He asked a third time, have I conveyed the message?” and they said “Yes, you have!” Each time, he said: “O Allah, bear witness!”. He said so while pointing up to the sky and then at the people.The Prophet also used to raise his hands towards heaven when he made Du`a, as it’s reported in tens of Hadiths. This also confirms the fact that Allah is Exalted and High.An example of an approval of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon Him, which indicates that Allah is Exalted and High is the Hadith concerning the young slave girl, to whom the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon Him, said: “Where is Allah?” She said: “In heaven” He asked, “Who am I?” She said, “The Messenger of Allah.” So he said to her master: “Set her free, for she is a believer.” This young girl, though uneducated and a slave, knew that her Lord is above heaven.

Common Sense:

Highness is a quality which is associated in people’s minds with perfection. If this is the case, then it should be attributed to Allah because every absolute perfection should be attributed to Him.”

The above quotation is excerpted with slight modifications from

Finally, it’s clear that Allah Almighty is Omnipresent, though our mortal minds fall short to grasp His Divine Presence. But we have to bear in mind that He is the Creator of physical space and time, He is All-Knowing of every single millimeter in the entire universe.

If you have any further comments, please don’t hesitate to write back!

May Allah guide you to the straight path, and guide you to that which pleases Him, Amen.



Allah Almighty knows best.

Why did Allah Create Us?

Name of Questioner

Nasrdeen   – Vietnam



Why did Allah Create Us?



As-Salaam Alaykum Waramatullah Wabarakatuh!Dear scholars, I want to ask about something troubling my mind. As ALLAH knows all our future and He knows which one of us is predestined for Hell and which one for Paradise, the question is, why did He create us in the first place, although whatever comes afterwards is already written and known?Secondly, In the Qur’an, there are statements like ALLAH YAHDI MAN YASHAA WA YODL MAN YASHAA. So how could we know that we are from those who ALLAH puts in the right path or not, and can we help those who are not in the right way of living and pray for them to be better or it is something already decided? Thank you.






Name of Counsellor

Muhammad `Ali Al-Hanooti



Muslim Belief


Wa Alaykum As-Salaamu, Waramatullah Wabarakatuh!In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother in Islam, thanks for posing this interesting question. May Allah Almighty help us all obey His teachings and rules in order to gain His reward and mercy, Amen.
Responding to your question, the following is what Sheikh Muhammad `Ali Al-Hanooti, a member of the Fiqh Council of North America, says:“I understand that the one who raises this question is a Muslim who believes in Allah. I would like to tell him that Allah is the One Who has the full control over everything of His creation. We are accountable, but Allah is not. What we have of knowledge even concerning the worldly matters is very limited. I could say, relatively, that your knowledge of any science of this world could at most be very finite, whereas what is of the knowledge that you are involved in, in your perspective, is infinite.

In this regard, Allah says in the Qur’an: “Say: “If the ocean were ink (wherewith to write out) the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Lord, even if we added another ocean like it, for its aid.” (Al-Khaf:109)

Part of what makes a person a true Muslim is to believe in the ghaybiyat (the Unseen). This means things that are known to Almighty Allah alone. A Muslim’s knowledge is always sought for deeds and action. We never know only in order to just know. Rather, we know in order to do. One of the best scholars who wrote about this is Ash-Shatibi in his book Al-Muwafaqaat [volume 1 within the thirteen introductions. ]

Al-Imam Ibn Abi Al-‘Izz in his commentary on Al-‘Aqeedah At-Tahawiyyah elaborated on the question of Qadar (destiny) in a very clear way that makes it the best literature for that cause. He says that man’s life is like a circle. That circle is called the lawful circle. Man has the free will, in whatever he wants or doesn’t want, man is provided with all the means of his free will. If he is not qualified for that then he cannot be judged for any wrongdoing; like the under age or the insane. Neither of them can be responsible for his acts for he doesn’t have the power to have free will.

Whatever we do in our life is to be judged according to the Law and we have the full power to do or not to do. No murderer will dare say to the judge that I am a murderer because Allah has predestined me to be a murderer. Rather, he would say, I know murder is haram and I did something wrong and I know that I could have avoided it. This circle is what the author calls iradah shar’iyyah. Man has the full accessibility to that circle.

This circle is surrounded with an infinite circle that is called iradah kawniyyah, which means, the Will of Allah. We cannot reach anything of that circle because it is of the Unseen. If Allah tells me that Abu Lahab was predestined to be the way he was and Iblis was created for the job he did, I say, everything of that is the second circle, I have nothing to argue with because what I have of decodification is limited to our circle. But we cannot decodify anything of the other circle.

This is why the angels said to Allah, “Glory be to You” when He asked them to tell Him the names of certain objects, as mentioned in the verse of Surah Al-Baqarah 2:32. Because they were asked a question that deals with the second circle. So they knew that getting involved in the second circle would be tantamount to some type of kufr (disbelief) or shirk (polytheism).

A Muslim should manifest his full submission to Allah, in feelings, as well as in action. His goal should always manifest his servitude to Allah and his feelings should reflect that submission and servitude to Allah.”



Allah Almighty knows best.