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Paradise the Believers' Real Home

Harun Yahya

Race each other to forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden [i.e., Paradise] as wide as the heavens and Earth, prepared for those who do their duty. (Surah Al 'Imran, 133)

About the Author

The author, who writes under the pen-name HARUN YAHYA, was born in Ankara in 1956. Having completed his primary and secondary education in Ankara, he then studied arts at Istanbul's Mimar Sinan University and philosophy at Istanbul University. Since the 1980s, the author has published many books on political, faith-related, and scientific issues. Harun Yahya is well-known as an author who has written very important works disclosing the imposture of evolutionists, the invalidity of their claims, and the dark liaisons between Darwinism and such bloody ideologies as fascism and communism.

His pen-name is made up of the names "Harun" (Aaron [as]) and "Yahya" (John [as]), in memory of the two esteemed Prophets who fought against their people's lack of faith. The Prophet (saas)'s seal on the cover of the books is symbolic and is linked to the their contents. It represents the Qur'an (the final scripture) and the Prophet Muhammad (saas), the last of the prophets. Under the guidance of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, the author makes it his purpose to disprove each one of the fundamental tenets of godless ideologies and to have the "last word," so as to completely silence the objections raised against religion. The seal of the final Prophet, who attained ultimate wisdom and moral perfection, is used as a sign of his intention of saying this last word.

All of the author's works center around one goal: to convey the Qur' an' s message to people, encourage them to think about basic faith-related issues (such as Allah's Existence and Unity and the hereafter), and to expose the feeble foundations and perverted ideologies of godless systems.

Harun Yahya enjoys a wide readership in many countries, from India to America, England to Indonesia, Poland to Bosnia, and Spain to Brazil. Some of his books are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Urdu, Arabic, Albanian, Russian, Serbo-Croat (Bosnian), Polish, Malay, Uygur Turkish, and Indonesian, and they are enjoyed by readers worldwide.

Greatly appreciated all around the world, these works have been instrumental in many people recovering their faith in Allah and in many others gaining a deeper insight into their faith. The wisdom, as well as the sincere and easy-to-understand style, gives these books a distinct touch that directly effects any one who reads or studies them. Immune to objections, these works are characterized by their features of rapid effectiveness, definite results, and irrefutability. It is unlikely that those who read these books and give serious thought to them can any longer sincerely advocate materialistic philosophy, atheism, or any other perverted ideology or philosophy. Even if they continue to do so, it will be only a sentimental insistence, since these books refute such ideologies from their very foundations. All contemporary movements of denial are now ideologically defeated, thanks to the collection of books written by Harun Yahya.

There is no doubt that these features result from the Qur'an's wisdom and lucidity. The author modestly intends to serve as a means in humanity's search for Allah's right path. No material gain is sought in the publication of these works.

Considering these facts, those who encourage people to read these books, which open the "eyes" of the heart and guide them to become more devoted servants of Allah, render an invaluable service.

Meanwhile, it would just be a waste of time and energy to propagate other books that create confusion in people's minds, lead them into ideological chaos, and that clearly have no strong and precise effects in removing the doubts in people's hearts, as also verified from previous experience. It is impossible for books devised to emphasize the author's literary power rather than the noble goal of saving people from loss of faith, to have such a great effect. Those who doubt this can readily see that the sole aim of Harun Yahya's books is to overcome disbelief and to disseminate the Qur'an's moral values. The success and impact of this service are manifested in the readers' conviction.

One point should be kept in mind: The main reason for the continuing cruelty, conflict, and all the ordeals endured by the vast majority of people is the ideological prevalence of disbelief. This state can be ended only with the ideological defeat of disbelief and by conveying the wonders of creation and Qur'anic morality so that people can live by it. Considering the state of the world today, which leads people into a downward spiral of violence, corruption and conflict, it is clear that this service has to be provided more speedily and effectively. Otherwise, it may be too late.

It is no exaggeration to say that the collection of books by Harun Yahya have assumed this leading role. by the will of Allah, these books will be a means through which people in the twentyfirst century will attain the peace, justice and happiness promised in the Qur'an.

To the Reader

The reason why a special chapter is assigned to the collapse of the theory of evolution is that this theory constitutes the basis of all anti-spiritual philosophies. Since Darwinism rejects the fact of creation, and therefore Allah's Existence, during the last 140 years it has caused many people to abandon their faith or fall into doubt. Therefore, showing that this theory is a deception is a very important duty, one that is strongly related to religion. It is imperative that this important service be rendered to everyone. Some of our readers may find the chance to read only one of our books. Therefore, we think it appropriate to devote a chapter for a summary of this subject.

In all the books by the author, faith-related issues are explained in the light of Qur'anic verses, and all people are invited to learn Allah's words and to live by them. All the subjects that concern Allah's verses are explained in such a way as to leave no room for doubt or question marks in the reader's mind. The sincere, plain, and fluent style employed ensures that everyone of every age and from every social group can easily understand the books. This effective and lucid narrative makes it possible to read them in a single sitting. Even those who rigorously reject spirituality are influenced by the facts recounted in these books and cannot refute the truthfulness of their contents.

This book and all the other works of the author can be read individually or discussed in a group. Those readers who are willing to profit from the books will find discussion very useful in the sense that they will be able to relate their own reflections and experiences to one another.

In addition, it will be a great service to religion to contribute to the presentation and reading of these books, which are written solely for the good pleasure of Allah. All of the author's books are extremely convincing. for this reason, for those who want to communicate true religion to other people, one of the most effective methods is to encourage them to read these books.

It is hoped that the reader will take time to look through the review of other books on the final pages of the book, and appreciate the rich source of material on faith-related issues, which are very useful

and a pleasure to read.

in these books, unlike some other books, you will not find the author's personal views, explanations based on dubious sources, styles that are unobservant of the respect and reverence due to sacred subjects, nor hopeless, doubt-creating, and pessimistic accounts that create deviations in the heart.

All translations from the Qur'an are from the Noble Qur'an: A New Rendering of its Meaning in English by Hajj Abdalhaqq and Aisha Bewley, published by Bookwork, Norwich, UK. 1420 CE/1999 AH.

Edited by:

Jay Willoughby

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Contents

Introduction

Blessing and Dissipation

This Life is Not Our Real Life

The State of the People of Paradise ın This World

Good News

Allah's Promise

Those Who Ardently Hope for Paradise:The Party of Allah

An Easy Passage to the Next World

An Easy Accounting

The Natural Beauty of Paradise

Endless Delight

Where Believers Live in Paradise

Spouses of the People of Paradise

A Paradise Beyond the Imagination

The Highest Blessing: Allah's Good Pleasure

Conversations in Paradise

Some Superstitions about Paradis

The Evolution Deception

Introduction

What do you want most out of life? a nice house, expensive clothes, money, wealth, opulence? What if you were told about a place where you could get everything you wanted and keep it forever? What would you say? of course you would be very excited and want to see this perfect place right away. Surely no one would ever object to living in such a wonderful place.

Now just think. Has anyone ever talked to you about a place filled with a countless array of blessings, where beauty is spread out at your feet? Surely someone must have done so, telling you and all other people about the existence of a life – the life of Paradise – where everything that you want will be prepared for you. Everyone knows that after death there is an endless Paradise. Everyone judged worthy to enter it will find everything they desire there; they will receive their rewards and blessings, and live in a perfect place surrounded by beauty forever. to those faithful servants who pass the test of this earthly life, Allah has promised an unprecedented land. The limited time one spends in this world, on the other hand, is an opportunity to attain these beauties.

So what keeps people from being overcome with joy at the good news of Paradise? What stops them from longing for it, from expending every effort to attain it? Why do people, knowing that they will receive these blessings as a divine reward, not prepare for Paradise? Surely the most important reason is that some people do not have an assured faith that it exists; others are not convinced. There may be other reasons why people do not believe in or have doubts about it. but the basic thing that we must consider is that this doubt sometimes arises from a lack of knowledge.

The only remedy for this lack of knowledge is the Qur'an.

In the Qur'an, Allah describes a wonderful life of perfect and endless beauty in Paradise. Someone who does not know this beauty's extent or how the Qur'an describes it may have difficulty envisioning Paradise and the kind of life there.

This book tells people about Paradise, which Allah offers to them, describes its great blessings, and proclaims its beauties to everyone. It informs people that Paradise is one of two ways of life prepared for them in the afterworld, and that every good thing will be theirs in Paradise to a degree that surpasses our present ability to imagine. It also shows that Paradise, is a place where all blessings have been created perfectly and where people will be offered everything their souls and hearts will desire; that people will be far removed from want and need, anxiety or sadness, sorrow and regret. Every kind of beauty and blessing exists in Paradise and will be revealed with a perfection never seen or known before. Allah has prepared such blessings there as a gift, and these will be offered only to people with whom He is pleased.

This book describes everything about Paradise in the light of the Qur'an's verses. So, as you read this information and try to envision that blessed place, remember that the Qur'an is the truth. Based on this information, consider the perfection of the real land that is waiting for you, and make every effort to be worthy of it. Be aware that Allah will give you all of these things by His grace, and that they can be yours forever. Given all of this, if you still cannot decide in favor of eternal beauty, remember that the only choice left is Hell, a place full of anguish from where you will observe the comfort of those in Paradise and experience eternal anxiety, sadness, misery, and sorrow.

Blessing and Dissipation

In the following sections, we will analyze how the Qur'an looks at Paradise and, based upon these descriptions,"try to imagine this perfect place. but before we do this, let's look at a few important points. In today's societies, many people have erroneous ideas and impressions in their conscious and subconscious minds. as such obstacles cause them to formulate a mistaken view, we must describe some basic Islamic concepts whose meanings have departed from their original understanding.

With this in mind, we first have to distinguish between "blessing" and "dissipation."

In the following pages, we will see that the Qur'an describes Paradise as an extremely luxurious and magnificent place, and that life therein is as comfortable and attractive as it can be.

However, to many people today, such a life is not so much "Islamic" as it is a natural outcome of being alienated from Allah and religious moral teaching.

So, because of this erroneous understanding that dominates society, very many people think that a comfortable, luxurious, and ostentatious life, and all that goes along with it, are "un-Islamic." They see such things as expensive clothes, rich food, entertainment, dinner parties, magnificently appointed houses, décor, and valuable art works as belonging to ignorant people cut off from their religion. They usually call a life filled with these things "dissolute," and criticize those who give this society its name as "living undisciplined lives of dissolution." the word "dissolution" (safahat) comes from the Arabic safih, and can be translated as "a lack of discipline, overindulgence, a weakness of mind that comes from living an irresponsible life of wealth and comfort."

Here, we encounter a false understanding that must be corrected. The life of Paradise that Allah has been pleased to choose for His servants, as well as a life that contains every kind of luxury, comfort, and ostentation, is also the most beautiful and noble way of life, one that conforms as closely as possible to religious moral teaching.

A false definition of dissolution opens the way to misunderstanding. Dissolution, or rebellion against Allah through a lack of discipline and overindulgence, is a condition of the human mind. People are not dissolute because of their clothes, ostentatious houses, aesthetic environments, or material wealth. Rather, the problem is in their minds.

The natural result of this situation is this: if people have a Qur'anic morality and a strong faith, they can live among the richest opulence imaginable without ever becoming dissolute. On the contrary, because they view everything they encounter according to the Qur'anic criteria and moral teaching, they see all of the beauty surrounding them as a blessing. In other words, they realize that all of these things are gifts from Allah. So, if Muslims know that Allah has given all of the surrounding riches, beauty, opulence, and magnificence, naturally they thank our Lord for what He has provided. This is, after all, why all blessings have been created.

If we applied this general way of thinking to our present society, we would have to say that those who live a dissolute life and turn away from Allah's commands have gone astray, because they do not see that all of their possibilities are blessings from Him. if they saw these things as blessings, this understanding would lead them to give thanks to Allah. and then, they would use these blessings as Allah intended them to be used: avoiding waste and using them in a way pleasing to Him.

So, wealth can be defined in two ways. Some rich people are believers who consider all of their possessions to be blessings from Allah, while other rich people go astray by considering all of their possessions as their own, forget Allah, and fall into dissolution. However, the model that Allah has proposed for all of His servants is wealth, as mentioned in the first model above. Wealth and poverty are tests for believers. Although some believers may be tested by poverty, Allah commands: "We desired to show kindness to those who were oppressed in the land, and to make them leaders and inheritors" (Surat al-Qasas, 5). This might happen in the world, but it certainly will happen in the afterlife.

Therefore, it would be very wrong for Muslims to find fault with grand, luxurious, and opulent lives. Muslims must not shun such people and regard them with disdain, because, after all, all material things in this life (e.g., fine clothes, delicious food, magnificent homes and works of art) were created for Muslims, as we read in Surat al-A'raf, 32:

Say: "Who has forbidden the fine clothing that Allah has produced for His servants and the good kinds of provision?" Say: "On the Day of Rising, such things will be exclusively for those who had faith during their life in the hereafter…"

The Qur'an gives the example of Prophet Sulayman (as), to whom Allah gave great wealth. In fact, it describes these possessions, as well as his opulent palace and works of art, in Surah Saba', 12-13 and Surat an-Naml, 44.

The important thing here is that Sulayman (as) gave thanks to Allah amid all of these magnificent possessions, for he knew that they were a mercy from our Lord. by relating his words: "Truly do I love the love of good with a view to the glory of my Lord" (Surah Sad, 32), the Qur'an draws our attention to his deep understanding.

This example shows us that the love of possessions, defined here as "the love of good," is legitimate as long as it is a means to praise Allah. No doubt, believers who have this kind of love will not hesitate to use their possessions as Allah directs. Possessions are a blessing belonging to Allah, and so those who have them will use them as Allah commands.

But if possessions are not seen as a blessing, dissolution sets in. The Qur'an gives many examples of how deviators understand the meaning of riches. One of the clearest examples is that of Qarun, a rich man who "gloated" (Surat al-Qasas, 76) and said: "I have only been given it because of the knowledge I have" (Surat al-Qasas, 78). Such a love of possessions cannot bring people close to Allah; rather, it diverts them from His way and alienates them from faith. The Qur'an describes this type of love as:

[T]ruly man is ungrateful to his Lord, and indeed he bears witness to that. Truly he is fierce in his love of wealth. (Surat al-'Adiyat, 6-8)

So, for this reason Muslims must view wealth according to the Qur'an's criteria and pursue it only to please Allah and serve Islam. They must desire all of Allah's blessings, because all blessings of this earthly life have been created for those faithful and sincere servants who exert every effort to please and serve Allah. We have to be continually thankful for these blessings and follow Sulayman's (as) example: "What an excellent servant! He truly turned to his Lord" (Surah Sad, 30).

Those who live according to the real spirit of the Qur'an's moral teachings and adopt the point of view described above will be deemed "worthy and qualified" to enter Paradise, which possesses, as one of its most salient characteristics, eternal splendor and dazzling wealth and beauty. People who think and feel like Sulayman (as), who said: "Truly do I love the love of good with a view to the glory of my Lord" (Surah Sad, 32) amid all of this beauty, are believers.

Since this is how believers will think in Paradise, their true home, they must establish this point of view in this world, which is no more than a preparation for the world to come. Far from regarding wealth, beauty, and splendor as dissolution, believers must know that every blessing is a mercy from our Lord, recognize its value, learn to enjoy it, and be thankful.

The blessings of Paradise that we will look at in the following pages must be examined from this point of view.

This Life Is Not Our Real Life

Many people think that they can make a perfect life for themselves in this world. They think that if they can acquire enough material possessions, they will experience total personal satisfaction and happiness. According to the most widespread opinion, a person's life will be perfect after he or she has attained material wealth, gotten married with this intention in mind, and is respected by society because of his or her influential and well-established career.

The Qur'an does not support this view, for it states that this present life will never be perfect and without problems, as it is designed like that.

The root of dunya (world) has a very important meaning in this sense: It is a derivative of the adjective "daniy": low, unrefined, basic and worthless. "World" means a space characterized by these traits. So, the Qur'an often emphasizes this worldly life's worthlessness and unimportance. It refers to such things as wealth, family, status, and success, which are thought to make for a good life, as nothing more than transitory and deceptive. In one verse, Allah says:

Know that the life of the world is merely a game and a diversion and ostentation, and a cause of boasting among yourselves and trying to outdo one another in wealth and children, like the plant-growth after rain, which delights the cultivators. but then it withers, you see it turning yellow, and then it becomes broken stubble. In the hereafter there is terrible punishment, but also forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure. The life of the world is nothing but the enjoyment of delusion. (Surat al-Hadid, 20)

Another verse explains how people are blinded by illusion because of this earthly life:

Yet still you prefer the life of the world, when the hereafter is better and longer lasting. (Surat al-A'la, 16-17)

As this verse says, such people regard the life of this world as superior to the afterlife. Such a mistaken view causes them to turn away from faith in Allah and His Book. The Qur'an describes such people as "those who do not expect to meet Us and are content with the life of the world and at rest in it, and those who are heedless of Our Signs" (Surah Yunus, 7) and reveals that they will find themselves in Hell's eternal agony. Surely, this imperfection does not mean that this world contains no beautiful things. On the contrary, Allah filled the world with beautiful things to remind us of Paradise. but mixed in with these beautiful things are the imperfection and ugliness of Hell.

The qualities of Paradise and Hell are mixed together here, for this world is really a place of testing. Thus believers can get an idea of those two places and, instead of getting caught up in this world's short and transitory life, can direct themselves toward the real, perfect, and endless life of the hereafter. as a result, the Qur'an describes the afterlife as each person's true and eternal land.

But despite this truth, many people think they can make a perfect life in this world. They view this life's imperfections and deficiencies (e.g., getting sick, becoming tired, and suffering from pain and worry) as something totally natural. However, Allah has created all these imperfections with many hidden meanings, and people have to think seriously about these meanings and learn the appropriate lessons.

It could have been possible would never get sick or feel so tired that they would need to rest or sleep. They could have had so much stamina and energy that they would not feel fatigued. if Allah had willed, He could have created us without such flaws and deficiencies. but He created us with them so that we might understand that we are helpless and weak.

Each individual must come face to face with his or her helplessness and weakness at every moment of life. His body, upon which he lays so much value, constantly reminds him of his situation. When he wakes up every morning and starts his day, his face is swollen and distorted, his mouth has a bad taste, and there is an uncomfortable dirty feeling on his skin, hair, and body. if he does not clean himself carefully, he cannot leave this unpleasant state. This cleaning must be repeated several times during the day, because after a few hours have passed, the dirt returns. After not washing for a few days, his need to wash himself becomes all the more obvious, coming to a point where he makes those around him very uncomfortable.

The human body is not as strong or resilient as a stone or a piece of metal; rather, it is made of an extremely perishable material: flesh. The body is covered with a thin skin that could be torn at any moment by the slightest accident. Structurally speaking, flesh is very vulnerable. It can be wounded, bruised, and twisted by the slightest blow, and, with age, begins to lose its former youthfulness and becomes rough and wrinkled. After death, it starts to rot. A few weeks after burial, the body begins to disintegrate and be eaten by worms and bacteria, until finally it mixes with the soil and disappears.

As stated earlier, this shows us our frailty and reminds us that the imperfections in the world are specially created. Instead of flesh, human beings could have been created from much stronger and purer materials or could have been totally free of pain, illness, and vileness. However, all of these things were created to remind human beings of how poor and needy they are in relation to Allah, and to show them just how imperfect and deficient a place this world really is.

When we look at these imperfections, we can see our own frailty and understand the transitory nature of all people's earthly strength and values. Meanwhile, we also can understand that the people who we adore, try to please, or earn their respect and praise are as weak and imperfect as anybody else.

But as most people cannot understand this or see this world's great imperfection and flaws, they find satisfaction in this earthly life. Actually, this is the result of an extreme ignorance and lack of intelligence.

The morality of such people is described in the Qur'an as follows:

So turn away from him who turns away from Our remembrance and desires nothing but the life of the world. That is as far as their knowledge extends... (Surat an-Najm, 29-30)

Those who are unaware of this truth and bound by a passion for the life of this world are people without "knowledge," as the verse says.

But what is this "knowledge" that we must have in this matter? in truth, it is nothing less than the knowledge of Paradise, which Allah has promised to us. The most important steps toward this are to be well-versed in the Qur'an and to think seriously about what it says.

In the Qur'an, Allah described the believers' real homeland in these words:

The life of the world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The abode of the hereafter – that is truly Life, if they only knew. (Surah al-'Ankabut, 64)

One hadith records our Prophet (saas) as saying that Paradise is humanity's real abode, a place in which there will be no human imperfection:

A proclaimer will proclaim: "For you there is everlasting health, and you will never be sick. for you there is everlasting life, and you will never die. for you there is perpetual youth, and you will never get old. and for you there is everlasting bliss, and you will never be in want. (Muslim)

The State of the People of Paradise in This World

The Beautiful Lives of Believers in this World

The Qur'an promises believers the joy of an endless reward and eternal happiness. but one point often escapes attention: This good news, extending in endless time and into endless beauty, has already started for believers in this world, for since they have been promised Paradise in the world to come, they will be blessed in this world by Allah's grace and generosity. The Qur'an also says that believers who do good works will be given a good life in this world as well:

Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Surat an-Nahl: 97)

In several places, the Qur'an proclaims that the good news announced in the verse above will be enjoyed by all sincere believers, the Prophets being the foremost among believers. for example, our Prophet (saas), who was given the good tidings of the highest ranks of Paradise in the Qur'an, was someone whom Allah made rich in this life: "Did He not find you impoverished and enrich you?" (Surat ad-Duha, 8). In addition, the Qur'an mentions the riches and possessions given to Prophets Dawud (as), Sulayman (as), Ibrahim (as), and Dhu'l Qarnayn (as) several times.

Giving blessings and beauty in this world as a reward and encouragement, as well as an indication to sincere believers of our Lord's grace and favor, is one of Allah's unchanging laws. Since wealth, splendor, and beauty are Paradise's most basic characteristics, Allah creates similar blessings here to remind His chosen servants of Paradise and to increase their ardor and desire to attain it. Therefore, just as unbelievers already begin their eternal anguish in this world, sincere believers begin to see the eternal beauty promised to them.

Believers live far from every spiritual anxiety and sorrow, because they remain in the awareness of Allah, Who created them, and so conform to His commands and prohibitions; because they live according to Islam, the religion that Allah was pleased to choose for humanity; and, most importantly, because they nurture hope and great expectations for the life to come. above all, our Lord's assistance and support is with them, for: "Allah sent down His serenity on His Messenger and on the believers" (Surat at-Tawba, 26). Believers find a sense of comfort in the knowledge that Allah sees them in every prayer they observe, in every faithful work they perform, and in everything they do, both great and small, to gain His good pleasure. In addition, they also know that angels record their deeds in books and that they will be rewarded in the afterlife for what they have done. This is the sense of security that comes from their knowledge that Allah supports them with unseen hosts and angels, that they have a "succession of angels in front of them and behind them, in order to "guard them by Allah's command" (Surat ar-Ra'd, 11), that they will overcome the challenges they will face in Allah's way, and that they always have the joyful promise of Paradise. So, sincere believers, according to what Allah revealed to the angels, will never be overcome with fear or excitement, for: "I am with you, so make those who have faith firm" (Surat an-Anfal, 12).

The Qur'an says that believers are "those who say: 'Our Lord is Allah,' and then go straight" (Surah Fussilat, 30). The angels descend on them and say: "Do not fear and do not grieve, but receive the glad tidings of Paradise you have been promised" (Surah Fussilat, 30). It also says that believers know that Allah "imposes on no self any more than it can bear" (Surat al-A'raf, 42).

They have a firm belief in destiny and that Allah makes and accomplishes everything. Thus they accept everything that happens to them as being from Allah, as the following verse says: "Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us" (Surat at-Tawba, 51). Since they seek to please Allah, saying: "Allah is enough for us and the Best of Guardians" (Surah Al 'Imran, 173-174), no evil thing will touch them.

But because this world is a place of testing, believers will face difficulties, such as hunger, illness, and sleeplessness, an accident or material loss. They may go through even more difficulties and trials, such as those of poverty and constraint, as indicated in the following verse:

Or did you suppose that you would enter Paradise without facing the same as those who came before you? Poverty and illness afflicted them, and they were shaken to the point that the Messenger and those who had faith with him said: "When is Allah's help coming?" Be assured that Allah's help is very near. (Surat al-Baqara, 214)

Such trials did not sway the Prophets and the believers from their firm faith in our Lord, or from their determination to put the Qur'an's verses into practice. at the end of the verse, Allah promises believers that His assistance is already very near to them. In another verse, He states that:

Allah will give security, in their victorious Safe Haven, to those who had fear. No evil will touch them, and they will know no sorrow. (Surat az-Zumar, 61)

All believers know that difficulties are created to test their faith, and that if they are patient and submissive, these difficulties will be great opportunities for them to mature spiritually. In addition, these trials will become the source of their eternal reward in the afterlife. for this reason, they will submit to these difficulties and retain their well-being, happiness, or joy. These anxieties will not upset their spiritual balance or adversely affect their perception or determination. In fact, their enthusiasm will continue to grow, because they know that they will receive the reward for their patience and submission in His Presence.

For unbelievers, the situation is just the opposite. Those who deny the Qur'an suffer spiritual anguish in addition to the physical pain that they endure in this earthly life. The fear, sorrow, hopelessness, tension, pessimism, and other negative feelings that they experience here are just the beginning of the anguish they will suffer in Hell. Allah describes these people in the following verse:

When Allah desires to guide someone, He expands his breast to Islam. When He desires to misguide someone, He makes his breast narrow and constricted, as if he were climbing up into the sky. That is how Allah defiles those who do not believe. (Surat al-An'am, 125)

Allah reveals that He wills to forgive the sins and errors of those who stand in awe and reverence of His Glory, that He will reward His faithful and repentant servants with the finest blessings in this earthly life, and that they will find favor with Him. as we read in the Qur'an:

Ask your Lord for forgiveness, and then turn toward Him in repentance. He will let you enjoy a good life until a specified time, and will give His Favor to all who merit it. but if you turn your backs, I fear for you the punishment of a Mighty Day. (Surah Hud, 3)

In other words, seeking Allah's forgiveness and turning to Him in repentance are duties enjoined upon all faithful Muslims. These attitudes show that believers are aware of how helpless and weak they are before Allah, for they know their errors and shortcomings and are aware that they can make mistakes. Therefore, they desire Allah's mercy. as our Lord has said, He rewards such people here for their fine morality and gives them a good life until they die. In another verse, He describes the believers' earthly life in this way:

When those who have fear of Allah are asked, "What has your Lord sent down?" their reply is, "Good!" There is good in this world for those who do good, and the abode of the hereafter is even better. How wonderful is the abode of those who guard against evil. (Surat an-Nahl, 30)

When all of this life's beauties are compared with the land to come, they become completely valueless. Therefore, if a goal is to be chosen, it can only be the life of the world to come. Allah increases the blessings of those believers who, already in this world, have set their hearts on the life to come.

In their prayers, believers pray for the world to come and ask Allah for blessings and good in this life. Examples of such prayers are given in the following verses:

When you have completed your rites, remember Allah as you used to remember your forefathers – or even more. Some people say: "Our Lord, give us good in this world." They will have no share in the hereafter. Others say: "Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." They will have a good share from what they have earned. Allah is swift at reckoning. (Surat al-Baqara, 200-202)

In the Qur'an, those faithful servants of Allah who sincerely believe in Him are said to be made heirs of this world. Surely His promise is true and will come to pass. One verse states:

Allah has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land, as He made those before them successors; (that He) will firmly establish for them their religion (Islam), which He is pleased to give them; and, in place of their fear, security. "They worship Me, not associating anything with Me." as for those who do not believe after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur, 55)

Good News

In an earlier section, we mentioned that those sincere believers who give themselves to Allah will enjoy His blessings in this life before they enter Paradise. One of the most important blessings is the promise of good news to believers. Several verses"speak of Allah's promise of Paradise and the announcement of this good news to believers as follows:

Their Lord gives them the good news of His mercy and good pleasure, and Gardens where they will enjoy everlasting delight. (Surat at-Tawba, 21)

There is good news for them in the life of the world and in the hereafter. There is no changing the words of Allah. That is the great victory! (Surah Yunus, 64)

The hearts of those believers who have hope in this good news trust that their good works will find favor in Allah's sight, that the blessings they await are close at hand, and are filled with contentment.

The Qur'an states that believers will receive the good news also from angels. Those faithful servants who sincerely believe in Allah and associate nothing with Him, who carefully obey the Qur'an's commands and counsel, and are eager to live according to its moral teaching, may hope for this joyful news. Certainly, this news is an indescribable joy for all believers who ardently desire Paradise. as we read in the Qur'an:

The angels descend upon those who say: "Our Lord is Allah," and then go straight: "Do not fear or grieve, but receive the glad tiding of Paradise that you have been promised. We are your protectors in the life of the world and the hereafter. You will have there all that your selves could wish for. You will have there everything that you demand. Hospitality from the One Who is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Surah Fussilat, 30-32)

Allah has also entrusted the prophets with announcing this good news. In Surat al-Ahzab, 47, Allah commands the Prophet (saas) to proclaim that believers will receive an immense reward from Him; in Surah Ya Sin, 11, He reveals him that"those who obey the Qur'an and stand in awe of the Most Gracious will receive pardon and an excellent reward; and Surat az-Zumar, 17 announces that those who shun the worship of false gods and turn toward Allah will have good news. and in Surah Yunus, 2, Allah tells His Messenger to "give good news to those who believe, that they are on a sure footing with their Lord."

When we look at the common characteristics of the believers, those described in the above verses as those given the good news of Paradise, we see that they are sincere people who are extremely close to Allah, acknowledge their weakness, obey the Qur'an and the Prophet, and fear Allah.

Allah's Promise

To those who will come into His Presence as believers, Allah gives the promise of Paradise, wherein they will remain forever. as there is no doubt that this promise will be fulfilled, those who believe with certainty will never doubt its truth. Moreover, if they have surrendered their souls to Him as believers, they know that their sins will be forgiven and that they will be accepted into Paradise. The following verse makes this clear:

Gardens of Eden which the All-Merciful has promised to His servants in the Unseen. His promise is always kept. (Surah Maryam, 61)

The fact that Allah has promised Paradise to believers brings them an indescribable joy and enthusiasm. They know that Allah wills Paradise for His faithful servants, and that He has made them its heirs. Here is another verse that mentions this promise:

Is someone to whom We have promised good and who then obtains it like someone to whom We have given enjoyment in the life of the world and then, on the Day of Rising, is one of those brought to punishment? (Surat al-Qasas, 61)

If Allah has promised Paradise to any individuals, they will attain eternal blessings with Allah's permission. and when believers enter Paradise, they will certainly express their thanks to Allah in this way:

They will say: "Praise be to Allah Who has fulfilled His promise to us and made us the inheritors of this land, letting us settle in Paradise wherever we want. How excellent is the wage of those who work." (Surat az-Zumar, 74)

Believers who have been given the good news several times during their earthly lives, and to whom Allah has promised Paradise, will receive at the end of their lives that for which they hoped. Finally, that long-awaited moment will come. The place that they have contemplated throughout their lives, prayed to attain, and striven to be worthy of is Paradise – "the best place to be," and "the most beauteous of all goals." This perfect place was prepared for believers, and its doors are opened to them.

The following verse gives a unique view about their entrance into Paradise:

Gardens of Eden that they will enter, and all of their parents, wives, and children who have acted honorably. Angels will enter in to welcome them from every gate: "Peace be upon you because of your steadfastness! How wonderful is the Ultimate Abode!" (Surat ar-Ra'd, 23-24)

They will be welcomed into Paradise "with greetings and [words of] peace" (Surat al-Furqan, 75), and enter there "in peace, in complete security!" (Surat al-Hijr, 46). There is only one thing left to do: to discover the beauties of this eternal land prepared for believers and endowed with every kind of blessing.

Those Who Ardently Hope for Paradise: The Party of Allah

Allah has inscribed faith upon such people's hearts, will reinforce them with a spirit from Him, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. Such people are the party of Allah. Truly it is the party of Allah who are successful. (Surat al-Mujadala, 22)

Those believers to whom Allah has announced His promise of good news have important qualities, as revealed in the Qur'an:

=They believe and do right actions. (Surat al-Baqara, 25)

=They fear Allah. (Surah Al 'Imran, 15)

=They spend for the cause of Islam in times both ease and hardship. (Surah Al 'Imran, 134)

=They control their rage. ( Surah Al 'Imran, 134)

=They pardon other people.( Surah Al 'Imran, 134)

=After they act indecently or wrong themselves, they remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their wrong actions. (Surah Al 'Imran, 135)

=They do not knowingly persist in doing wrong actions. (Surah Al 'Imran, 135)

=The obey Allah and his Messenger. (Surat an-Nisa', 13)

=They keep up prayer, spend in charity, believe in and support Allah's messengers. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 12)

=They are truthful. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 119)

=They leave their homes for the cause of Allah and strive in Allah's way with their souls and possessions. (Surat at-Tawba: 20)

=They do good. (Surah Yunus, 26)

=They humble themselves before their Lord. (Surah Hud, 23)

=They repent of their sins. (Surah Maryam, 60)

=They honor their trusts and contracts. (Surat al-Mu'minun: 8)

=They safeguard their prayers. (Surat al-Mu'minun: 9)

=They compete with one another in the doing of good deeds. (Surah Fatir, 32)

=They are Allah's chosen servants. (Surat as-Saffat, 40)

=They believe in the Qur'an. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 69)

=They say "our Lord is Allah" and thereafter stand firm in their faith. (Surat al-Ahqaf, 13)

=They are heedful. ( Surah Muhammad, 15)

=They turn toward Allah with their whole heart. (Surah Qaf, 32)

=They stand in awe of the Most Gracious, although He is beyond the reach of human perception, and come unto Him with a heart returning in repentance. (Surah Qaf, 33)

=They are the doers of good. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 16)

=They ask for Allah's forgiveness before the dawn. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 18)

=They are the forerunners. (Surat al-Waqi'a, 10)

=They always keep their word and fear a day whose evil will spread far and wide. (Surat al-Insan, 7)

=They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives. (Surat al-Insan, 8)

=They give the appropriate respect to the Messenger of Allah. (Surat al-Hujurat, 3)

An Easy Passage to the Next World

Those the angels take in a virtuous state. They say: "Peace be upon you! Enter Paradise for what you did."

(Surat an-Nahl: 32)

Death in a Virtuous State

Up to this point, we have seen that sincere believers live a good life in this world, are not overcome with fear or pessimism, and have a healthy and comfortable spiritual life. Since those who believe seek Allah's pleasure, we learn from the Qur'an that they have won His special assistance, support, and protection; their misdeeds will be removed from them and that they will be rewarded according to the best of what they did; and they will not be wronged. Since they "purchase" the next life in exchange for this life, they have made what the Qur'an calls a "good bargain." Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him.

But what will happen to them at the end of their lives? Where and when will Allah meet them at the hour He has appointed for their death? Neither believers nor unbelievers know where and when they will die. This fact is explained in Surah Luqman in these words:

Truly Allah has knowledge of the Hour, sends down abundant rain, and knows what is in the womb. and no self knows what it will earn tomorrow, and no self knows in what land it will die. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Surah Luqman, 34)

Together with this, the Qur'an informs us how death will come to believers, how their souls will be taken, and what will happen at the moment of death. as far as we know, believers experience death as a very gentle passage, like a momentary change in dimension. Just like the person whom Allah causes to be "as dead during his sleep" (Surat az-Zumar, 42) and wakes up the next morning to a new day, when believers die, they will be taken out of the worldly dimension and pass to the next dimension (Certainly Allah knows the truth.)

Allah announced this gentle and easy passage in Surat an-Nazi'at, 2, where He points to the appointed angels and says "those who draw out gently."

Another verse tells about the angels' conversation when they come to take a believer's soul:

Those the angels take in a virtuous state. They say: "Peace be upon you! Enter Paradise for what you did." (Surat an-Nahl, 32)

the following verse describes a believer's death:

The greatest terror will not upset them, and the angels will welcome them: "This is your Day, the one that you were promised." (Surat an-Anbiya', 103)

Clearly, believers who have led a good life in this world will have a beautiful and easy death, and their life in the next world will begin when they are met by angels. From that moment on, all of their relations with this world will cease, and they will be sent to an appointed place where they will come before Allah's Presence. as it was from the beginning, so it continues: comfort and ease await all believers.

An Easy Accounting

After the believers' souls are taken gently by angels comes the moment of accounting, when all human beings will come before our Lord's Presence with all that they have done.

The course of events begun on the Day of Rising will continue with the resurrection of everyone who has ever lived with a new body and their gathering around the flames of Hell. Later, all of the witnesses will be brought in, each person's book of deeds will be opened, and everyone will account for what he or she did in the world. After this, all believers will be saved from the flames of Hell by Allah's mercy and taken to Paradise. The Qur'an describes the end of the world and the believers' state on that day in some detail.

The end of the world begins with the first blow of the trumpet. The world and the universe will be destroyed forever, mountains will break into pieces, the seas will boil, and the sky will be destroyed…

With the second blow, human beings will be resurrected and gather in one place to account for their actions. Everything they did, no matter how small, will be revealed to witnesses and to the one giving the account. This moment will bring a deadening shame to unbelievers, but joy and excitement to believers, for the Qur'an refers to that day as the "Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who had faith along with him" (Surat at-Tahrim, 8)

Allah promises: "We will certainly help Our Messengers and those who believe both in the life of this world and on the Day the witnesses appear," (Surah Ghafir, 51)

On the last day, sincere believers will receive the book of their worldly deeds on their "right side." Their accounting will be easy, as the Qur'an says, and they will be considered worthy enough to enter Paradise.

As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will say: "Here, come and read my Book!" (Surat al-Haqqa, 19-22)

Believers, who are to receive what our Lord has promised, are excited and happy on "the Day of Timeless Eternity" (Surah Qaf, 34), and their state is described as follows:

As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will be given an easy reckoning and return to his family joyfully. (Surat al-Inshiqaq: 7-9)

When they have given their account, believers experience the joy of being saved. One verse says: "Enter them [Gardens and Springs] in peace, in complete security!" (Surat al-Hijr, 46) This is also described in another verse:

O self at rest and at peace, return to your Lord, well-pleasing and well-pleased! Enter among My servants! Enter My Paradise. (Surat al-Fajr, 27-30)

By then, Allah has forgiven the sins of those servants upon whom He has mercy, transformed their wrong actions into good, and given them permission to enter Paradise. These servants say:

..."If my people only knew how my Lord has forgiven me and placed me among the honored ones!" (Surah Ya sin, 26-27)

In another verse, Allah announces this good news to the people of Paradise:

This is the Day when the sincerity of the sincere will benefit them. They will have Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever and ever. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 119)

My servants, you will feel no fear today; you will know no sorrow. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 68)

In another verse, Allah informs us that "Paradise will be brought up close to the righteous, not far away" (Surah Qaf, 31)

The Natural Beauty of Paradise

"What is the example [i.e., description] of Paradise promised to the righteous like? It has rivers flowing under it, and its foodstuffs and cool shade never fail. That is the final fate of those who have done their duty. but the final fate of the disbelievers is the Fire." (Surat ar-Ra'd, 35)

Natural beauty and greenery are among Paradise's wonderful blessings. Mansions built in gardens, right next to springs, are another beauty. Paradise, in which there is "neither burning sun nor bitter cold" (Surat al-Insan, 13), has such a pleasant climate that no one is made uncomfortable. It contains no exhausting sweaty heat or freezing cold. In Paradise, Allah will admit believers into "cool, refreshing shade" (Surat an-Nisa', 57)

The expression "refreshing shade," along with revealing that the climate will be comfortable and just as a person would want it, points out that Paradise's environment and conditions have been designed to give the human spirit true satiety and comfort. Every thing and condition in Paradise will be just as a believer desires.

One of the natural beauties most mentioned by Allah in the Qur'an is that of "outpouring water" (Surat al-Waqi'a, 31).

As we observe in this earthly life, the human spirit derives great pleasure from water, especially flowing water. Lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and streams flowing in a forest all speak to the human spirit. All artificial pools and fountains in mansions, residences, estates, and villa gardens, as well as artificial and natural streams, arise from this longing for the spiritual aesthetic.

The main reason why these esthetic views are so pleasurable is because the human spirit has been created for Paradise. These beauties are described elsewhere, as follows:

In them [two other Gardens] are two gushing springs. (Surat ar-Rahman, 66)

The sight and sound of flowing water comfort and gladden the human heart. The sight and sound of water falling from above give pleasure and are a means whereby people can give thanks to Allah and praise His name. Especially if the water flows in the hills, among trees and greenery or runs over stones, it is a really impressive sight. It either collects in the place where it falls, or forms pools and flows from one place to another. Continually flowing water is a sign of endless and inexhaustible plenty.

As we learn in Surat al-Hijr, 45: "The heedful will be amid Gardens and Springs." Another verse reads: "The heedful will be in shady nooks by springs" (Surat al-Mursalat, 41)

The "shady nooks" may be special spaces created so that believers can sit and observe all of this beauty. (Allah knows best) as with mansions, these shady nooks also are placed in high places so that the people in Paradise can view the beauty below and see its many details. Shady nooks offer special pleasure to believers. for example, people are served various kinds of food and fruits there, come together there and hold pleasurable conversations, and enjoy themselves there. Their being placed next to springs, spaces that give pleasure to the human soul, adds to their attractiveness. From these springs flow delicious waters.

Another natural beauty is the gardens. for example, the "lush Meadows of the Gardens" mentioned Surat ash-Shura, 22 have been prepared only for believers. One of their particular features is the harmony of natural beauty contained therein. Within them grow a never-ending variety of plants, similar to the most delicate and sweet-smelling ones on Earth, and several species of animals, both known and unknown to us.

The gardens are adorned with various fruit and other types of trees, plains of "deep viridian green" (Surat ar-Rahman, 64) plants and flowers, and, in some places, pools and fountains. Surat al-Waqi'a also mentions "fruit-laden lote-trees with thorns removed" and "[banana] trees layered [with fruit]" (28-29).

By reflecting upon all of these things, we can form a general view of Paradise. Some of its characteristics remind us of things in this world; others are unique blessings and beauties of Paradise that no one has ever seen or known, and that our minds cannot imagine or express. We must be aware that beautiful things and surprises are waiting for believers in Paradise, things and surprises prepared by Allah's infinite knowledge and beyond our imagination. as Surat ash-Shura, 22 tells us: "They will have whatever they wish for with their Lord. That is the great favor," everything in Paradise, including all of its natural beauties, are brought into being in accordance with a believer's own desire and pleasure. In other words, Allah allows a believer's imagination a role in forming Paradise's environment as a favor from Him.

Endless Delight

Eat and drink with relish for what you did. (Surat al-Mursalat, 43)

The Qur'an announces that the people of Paradise are blessed with the finest food and various drinks. but since these people require no nourishment, we can understand that such food and drink have been created only to give pleasure.

This food resembles the food of this world. The people of Paradise will express this similarity in the following way:

Give the good news to those who believe and do right actions, that they will have Gardens with rivers flowing under them. When they are given fruit there as provision, they will say: "This is what we were given before." but they were only given a simulation of it. They will have there spouses of perfect purity, and will remain there timelessly, forever. (Surat al-Baqara, 25)


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