Paradise: Spiritual or Physical?

Paradise: Spiritual or Physical?

 

Source: http://www.islamonline.net

 

Question:

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.

 

Answer:

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.

 

Salam.

 

 

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Multiple Wives in Paradise: What Is for Women?

Name of Questioner

Muslimah   – United Kingdom

 

Title

Multiple Wives in Paradise: What Is for Women?

 

Question

As-salamu `alaykum. 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.

 

 

Date

23/Aug/2005

 

Name of Counsellor

Sano Koutoub Moustapha

Topic

Muslim Creed, Muslim Belief, The Unseen

Answer

Wa `alaykum as-salamu 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.

Sister, first of all, we’d like to say that we are impressed by your question, which emanates from a thoughtful heart. May Allah Almighty help us all adhere to the principles of this true religion, Islam, and enable us to be among the dwellers of Paradise in the Hereafter.

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.

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).) (Aal `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.

 

 

The Reward of Women in Paradise

Name of Questioner

Muslimah

 

Title

The Reward of Women in Paradise

 

Question

Respected scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. Whenever I read the Holy Qur’an, it always makes me wonder what would be the life of a female in Paradise or Jannah. The Qur’an talks about life after death and gives information that how a MAN’s life is going to be in the other life. They will live in gardens where there are rivers and trees full of fruits. But I never read a passage that describes the lives of women in Jannah. If so, please let me know where in the Qur’an I can find information in this regard. How will women be rewarded in Paradise?

 

Date

09/Dec/2004

 

Name of Mufti

IOL Shari`ah Researchers

 

Topic

The Unseen

Answer

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu 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.

Sister, first of all, we’d like to say that we are impressed by your question, which emanates from a thoughtful heart. May Allah Almighty help us all adhere to the principles of this true religion, Islam, and enable us to be among the dwellers of Paradise in the Hereafter, Ameen!

As regards your question, it should be clear that Paradise is the abode of happiness; all its dwellers, males or females, will be showered with Allah’s blessings and favors. There is no discrimination in this regard between men and women. It is righteousness and good deeds that elevates one’s rank in Jannah and exalts his/her position. 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). ) (Aal `Imran 3: 133)

In this context, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states:

 

Jannah or Paradise is not for men alone. It is prepared for both, righteous men and righteous women. All the joys and blessings of Jannah are for both of them. Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an that He put both Adam and his wife Hawwa’ (Eve) in Jannah after creating them, and He told them to eat and enjoy everything (except the fruit of one tree). [See al-Baqarah 2: 35; al-A`raf 7: 19] Thus, all the trees, gardens and rivers of Jannah are made for both men and women and they both will enjoy them.

All Believers, males and females, will enter the Jannah. Allah says, ( Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring) (ar-Ra`d 13: 23)

Further, Allah says, (Indeed, the people of Paradise will be happily occupied. They and their wives shall be in shades, reclining on raised couches. There are for them fruits and there is for them all that they ask for…) (Ya-Sin 36: 55-57)

In the Hereafter Allah will say to the Believers, (Enter the Garden, you and your wives, you will be made glad. There will be brought round for them trays of gold and goblets, and therein is all that the souls desire and eyes find sweet and you will stay there forever. This is the garden, which you are made to inherit because of what you used to do. Therein for you is fruit in plenty whence to eat. ) (Az-Zukhruf 43: 70-73)

There are many other places in the Qur’an where it is mentioned that men and women both will find their reward and none will be deprived. [See: Aal `Imran 3: 195; An-Nisa’, 4: 124; An-Nahl 16: 97; Al-Ahzab 33: 35; Ghafir 40: 40]

The life of women in Jannah will be as pleasant and happy as the life of men. Allah is not partial to any gender. 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.

This verse clearly denotes that those women who do righteous deeds are rewarded with Paradise and given a high rank that is equal to the good deeds they have offered.

Shedding more light on this issue, we’d like to cite the following fatwa issued by the outstanding Muslim scholar, Sheikh ibn Jibreen:

There is no doubt that reward in the Hereafter encompasses both men and women. This is based on the following Qur’anic verses:

( Lo! I suffer not the work of any worker, male or female, to be lost) (Al `Imran 3: 195)

(Whosoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer, We will give a good life. ) (An-Nahl 16: 97)

(And whoever does righteous good deeds, being a male or a female, and is a true believer, such will enter Paradise. ) (An-Nisa 4: 124)

(Verily, the Muslims, men and women, the believers, men and women… Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward. ) (Al-Ahzab 33: 35)

Allah mentions them entering into Paradise together, saying:

(They and their wives will be in pleasant shade. ) (Ya Sin 36: 56)

(Enter Paradise, you and your wives, in happiness. ) (Az-Zukhruf 43: 70)

Allah also mentions that He will recreate women in Paradise in the following verse:

( Lo! We have created them a (new) creation. And made them virgins… ) (Al-Waqi`ah 56: 35-36) That is, Allah will recreate the elderly women and make them virgins; the same will be done for old men, Allah will make them youth.

It is also mentioned in the Hadith that the women of this worldly life have a superiority over Al-hur Al-`In due to the acts of worship and obedience that they performed in this world. Therefore, the believing women will enter Paradise just like the believing men. If a woman had a number of husbands, she, upon entering Paradise with them, would choose among them the one with the best character and behavior.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://www.uh.edu/campus/msa/articles/fatawawom/aqida.html#paradise

Thus, rest assured dear sister that Allah never wrongs anyone, male or female, nor does He, Almighty, deprive any person of his/her work’s fruit.