Who Will Reside in Paradise?

Quranic Pearls

Who Will Reside in Paradise?

Mufti Abu Salih Muhammad Qasim Attari

Allah announces:

وَ اُزۡلِفَتِ الۡجَنَّۃُ  لِلۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ غَیۡرَ  بَعِیۡدٍ (۳۱ )  ہٰذَا مَا تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ لِکُلِّ اَوَّابٍ حَفِیۡظٍ (ۚ۳۲ ) مَنۡ خَشِیَ الرَّحۡمٰنَ بِالۡغَیۡبِ وَ جَآءَ بِقَلۡبٍ مُّنِیۡبِۣ (ۙ۳۳ )  ادۡخُلُوۡہَا بِسَلٰمٍ ؕ ذٰلِکَ یَوۡمُ الۡخُلُوۡدِ (۳۴ )  لَہُمۡ  مَّا یَشَآءُوۡنَ  فِیۡہَا وَلَدَیۡنَا مَزِیۡدٌ (۳۵ )  

“Paradise will be brought close to the pious, which will not be far away from them. (It will be said) this is (Paradise) what you are being promised; for everyone who repents, who guards (himself against sins). Who fears the Most Gracious without seeing and came with a repenting heart. It will be said to them, 'Enter Paradise in peace, this is the day of eternity.' For them there is whatever they wish, and with Us there is even more than that.”[1]

This verse describes five key matters:

1.   Paradise, a unique display of Allah’s bounties and gifts, is for those people who are mindful of Allah (muttaqīn). It has been or shall be brought close to them.

2.   The promise of Paradise is for those who consistently entrust their matters to Allah and repent to Him. They also preserve their faith, pious deeds, their open and private affairs, and the rights of Allah. Such individuals are in awe of Allah, although they have not beheld Him, and bask in His presence with hearts that are focused on Him.

3.   Entry into Paradise will be with safety and its dwellers shall remain therein for eternity.

4.   Dwellers of Paradise will be granted everything they desire.

5.   Apart from the blessings they desire, they will be granted even further bounties from Allah, amongst which the greatest will be the honour of seeing Allah Himself.

Paradise will be brought close to the pious. This elevated realm, abundant with the eternal blessings and favours of Allah for His servants, is called Paradise. Only believers will enter it. It contains blessings the likes of which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has ever imagined. It is found above the seven skies.

Bringing Paradise close to the pious has a multitude of meanings:

1.   Paradise is drawn close to the hearts of the pious in this world, such that the yearning to reach it and passion for performing actions that lead to it are placed in their hearts, which they then act upon.

2.   From the plains of the Resurrection, dwellers of Paradise shall have an easy path made for them to access it. Despite the monumental distance, it shall be as though they moved from one place to another without any effort.

3.   Paradise will be easily visible for those destined for it, such that they will clearly view it on the Day of Judgement.

4.   After entering Paradise, all places therein shall be easily reachable. Even if the palace of a Paradise dweller is vaster than the Earth, if they wish to go elsewhere, they can do so in an instant. All places will be close in terms of ease of accessibility.

These interpretations are extracted from the major exegetical works of al-abarī, al-Qurubī, and al-Baghawī.

The scholar Ismāīl al-aqqī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه says regarding this verse:

In terms of entering Paradise, the pious will be of three categories: general believers, special believers and the elite.  General believers will walk to Paradise, as the Quran explains:

وَ سِیۡقَ الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا رَبَّہُمۡ  اِلَی الۡجَنَّۃِ زُمَرًا ؕ 

“And the conveyances of those who were mindful of their Lord will be led towards Paradise, in groups.” [2]

Special believers will ride upon the conveyances of their righteous deeds towards Paradise; their deeds having been transformed into conveyances, just as is related concerning animals of ritual slaughter and masjids.

The elite will be at an elevated place and Paradise will be drawn near to them. Paradise was mentioned not to be far from them.[3]

This verse highlights how the denizens of Paradise will be told, “This is (Paradise) what you are being promised”.  This glad tiding will be given to them upon entering, either from the tongues of the angels or as a great honour from Allah directly. This verse highlights the qualities possessed by those who shall enter Paradise.

The first quality mentioned is: لِكُلِّ اَوَّابٍ – “for everyone who repents”

There are multiple meanings for اَوَّاب (awwāb), and each is correct in its context.

1.   Awwāb is a person who abandons sin and transgression and adopts obedience.

2.   Saīd b. al-Musayyib رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه explained, ”Awwāb is he who sins but then repents. If he sins again, he repents again.

3.   It also refers to those who recall their sins in solitude and seek forgiveness for them.[4]

4.   Awwāb is he who glorifies Allah.[5]

5.   Awwāb is he who returns. This is a person who returns from sins towards pious deeds and seeks forgiveness from Allah.[6]

The second quality: حَفِیْظ (one who guards)

There are many exegetical opinions for this:

1.   Ibn Abbās رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا relates that afī “ is he who guards the commands and rights of Allah. He also acknowledges the bounties Allah bestows upon him and offers thanks for them.”

2.   It is stated in a hadith: “He who consistently performs four units of voluntary salah in the first part of the morning is awwāb and afī.”[7]

3.   This connotes someone who uses every breath for Allah. This means he does not waste his breath in seeking anything other than Allah, and does not forget Him for even a moment.[8]

4.   It also means someone who guards the trusts and rights of Allah.

5.   Ibn Abbās رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا elucidates, “afī is he who safeguards himself from sin and seeks forgiveness for them.”[9]

The third quality: مَنْ خَشِیَ الرَّحْمٰنَ بِالْغَیْبِ – “Who fears the Most Gracious without seeing”

The verse mentions those who have khashya of Allah. Khashya is fear combined with reverence for the other’s grandeur and majesty, i.e., awe. Khashya and khawf are different. Fearing Allah due to the punishment of Hell is khawf, and this state exists in general people. Being in awe of Allah, i.e., fearing Him due to His grandeur is khashya, and this is the attribute of the righteous scholars and saints رَحِمَهُمُ الـلّٰـه.

The verse mentions those who have khashya of Al-Ramān. The usage of the latter name is an indication towards the hope of Allah’s servants in His mercy, despite fearing Him. His servants know His mercy is vast and despite their fear, He will not withhold His mercy from them. This also means they act upon the following verse by keeping a balance between fear and hope.

نَبِّیٔۡ عِبَادِیۡۤ  اَنِّیۡۤ  اَنَا الۡغَفُوۡرُ الرَّحِیۡمُ (ۙ۴۹ ) وَ اَنَّ عَذَابِیۡ ہُوَ  الۡعَذَابُ  الۡاَلِیۡمُ (۵۰ )  

“Inform My bondsmen that undoubtedly only I am the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And only My punishment is painful punishment.” [10]

In the verse, ‘‘Who fears the Most Gracious without seeing” was declared. There are two meanings to this. One is that a person fears his Lord despite not having seen Him. The second is that a believer fears Allah even in solitude, despite no human being able to see him.[11]

The fourth quality: وَ جَآءَ بِقَلْبٍ مُّنِیْبِ – “and came with a repenting heart”

Those that enter Allah’s presence with a repenting heart are those that focus upon obedience to Allah and His Messenger, remain sincere, and are aware of Allah’s prohibitions. They are those whose allegiance is with Allah; they are humble before Him and abandon their carnal desires for His sake.[12]

A repenting heart is like a heart which is salīm, as mentioned in the Quran:

اِذۡ  جَآءَ  رَبَّہٗ  بِقَلۡبٍ  سَلِیۡمٍ (۸۴ )   

“When he presented himself before his Lord, with a heart free from other than Allah.”[13]

The meaning of this is freedom from polytheism. The one who is safe from polytheism abandons other than Allah and turns to his Lord. A heart which does this is referred to as a repenting heart, and the heart which repents to Allah and is free from polytheism is a heart which is salīm.[14]

The verse continues: اُدْخُلُوْهَا بِسَلٰمٍ ؕ - “Enter Paradise in peace”. The righteous will be invited to enter Paradise in a state of tranquillity. This tranquillity signifies the bestowal of security by Allah upon His servants or the angels’ salutation of “salam” to the inhabitants of Paradise. This also entails safety from the removal of the bounties of Paradise, as well as peace, felicity and honour.

In the verse, it is mentioned: ذٰلِكَ یَوْمُ الْخُلُوْدِ ‘this is the day of eternity.' This verse underscores a core Islamic tenet of faith: Paradise is eternal, and its inhabitants will dwell in it forever. This same belief regarding perpetuality is held about disbelievers and Hell; the latter will remain forever and the denizens of Hell will always abide in it.

Regarding the blessings of Paradise, Allah states:

لَهُمْ مَّا یَشَآءُوْنَ فِیْهَا وَ لَدَیْنَا مَزِیْدٌ

 “For them there is whatever they wish, and with Us there is even more than that.”

 Imam Abū al-Qāsim al-Qushayrī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْهم writes: “It will be said to them, ‘You used to say in the world, “Whatever Allah wills shall happen”; now whatever you want will happen’. The reward of goodness is also goodness.” Furthermore, in the verse it is stated that there is even more to be received in Paradise. This is the grace and bounty of being able to behold Allah.

The people of Paradise will gather on Friday and be granted whatever they desire.  Allah will also grant them the Beatific Vision. Friday is known as یوم المزید (yawm al-mazīd) in Paradise.[15] It is the belief of the Ahl al-Sunnah that the believers will see Allah in the Hereafter but unlike how we see others. Allah knows best the details of this matter.

May Allah grant us the qualities and actions of the people of Paradise! May He forgive us without accountability and grant us proximity to the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم in Paradise!

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

[1] Al-Quran, 50:31-35, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[2] Al-Quran, 39:73, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[3] Tafsīr Rū al-Bayān, Qāf, under verse no: 31, vol. 9, p. 130

[4] Tafsīr al- Khāzin, Qāf, under verse no: 32, vol. 4, p. 178; Tafsīr Rū al-Bayān, Qāf, under verse no: 32, vol. 9, p. 131

[5] Tafsīr al-abarī, Qāf, under verse no: 32, vol. 11, p. 428

[6] Tafsīr al-Kabīr, Qāf, under verse no: 32, vol. 10, p. 145

[7] Tafsīr al-Qurubī, Qāf, under verse no: 32, part 17, vol. 9, p. 17

[8] Tafsīr Rū al-Bayān, Qāf, under verse no: 32, vol. 9, p. 131

[9] Tafsīr al- Khāzin, Qāf, under verse no: 32, vol. 4, p. 178

[10] Al-Quran, 15:49-50, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[11] Tafsīr al-Qurubī, Qāf, under verse no: 33, part 17, vol. 9, p. 17

[12] Ibid

[13] Al-Quran, 37:84, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[14] Tafsīr al-Kabīr, Qāf, under verse no: 33, vol. 10, p. 147

[15] Tafsīr Rū al-Bayān, Qāf, under verse no: 35, vol. 9, p. 132




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