Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice
The Nuts and Bolts
4:57 As to those who have believed and do the good works, We shall admit them into Gardens, beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. They have therein purified spouses, and We will admit them to a very shady place.
89:27 O quiescent soul,
89:28 Return unto your Lord well-pleased and well- pleasing;
89:29 And join the ranks of My servants;
89:30 And enter My Paradise.
Location and Construction
Heaven is just above the clouds and is supported by invisible pillars anchored in the earth (13:2), and that is the truth, but you probably don’t believe it.
In the Name of Allah,
the Compassionate, the Merciful
13:1 Alif – Lam – Mim – Ra.
These are the verses of the Book; and that which has been revealed to you (Muhammad) by your Lord is the truth, but most people do not believe.
13:2 Allah is He Who raised the heavens without pillars that you can see; there He sat upright on the Throne and made the sun and the moon subservient, each running for an appointed term. He manages the [whole] affair and makes clear the Revelations so that you may be certain of meeting your Lord.
Heaven and earth are made of the same materials, which would explain the need for pillars to stop it from crashing to the ground.
21:30 Have the unbelievers not beheld that the heavens and the earth were a solid mass, then We separated them; and of water We produced every living thing. Will they not believe, then?
The rivers that run in what have to be massive layers separating the different levels of heaven, and which irrigates its gardens, may also be the source of some of the precipitation that rains down on earth making its gardens grow.
Rainwater, which science tells us comes from the surface evaporation of the oceans then condensation, may just be recycled water from Paradise or one of Allah's celebrated illusions.
31:10 He created the heavens without pillars that you can see and laid down in the earth immovable mountains, lest it shake with you, and scattered throughout it every variety of beast. And We have sent down water from heaven, thereby causing it to grow in it every noble kind [of plant].
31:11 This is Allah’s Creation; so show Me what those apart from Him have created. Indeed, the wrongdoers are in manifest error.
Heaven can be compared to a high edifice anchored to a fixed earth.
40:64 It is Allah Who made the earth a fixed station for you and the sky a high edifice. He fashioned you in a shapely manner and provided you with the good things. That for you is Allah, your Lord; so blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Heaven was remodeled into seven levels after Allah had taken care of things here on earth.
2:29 It is He Who created for you everything on earth, then ascended to the heavens fashioning them into seven, and He has knowledge of all things.
It took Allah only two days to fashion the seven levels of heaven after their calving from the mass that was the earth and Paradise combined. An accomplishment for which He is justly proud.
41:11 Then He arose to heaven while it was smoke, and He said to it and to the earth: “Come over, willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We come willingly.”
41:12 Then He completed them as seven heavens in two days and assigned to each heaven its proper order. And We adorned the lower heaven with lamps as protection (from the demons). That is the determination of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing.
The creation of heaven and earth may have taken six thousand years by what we reckon.
32:4 Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, sat upon the Throne. You have no guardian or intercessor, apart from Him. Do you not recollect?
32:5 He manages the affair from the heaven to the earth; then, it ascends to Him in one day whose measure is a thousand years of what you reckon.
While busy renovating Paradise, Allah was not unaware of what He had created below.
23:17 We have created above you seven spheres, and We were not oblivious of the creation.
Allah’s heaven is close by. Neil Armstrong almost made it there. In the Koran, as best as we can discern, heaven or Paradise is just beyond the moon, and the moon is just above the clouds along with the sun which is a large lamp illuminating a flat earth, revelation 78:6.
In the Name of Allah,
the Compassionate, the Merciful
78:1 What are they asking each other about?
78:2 About the great tidings,
78:3 Concerning which they are disputing.
78:4 Indeed; they will certainly know (whatever they say about the Hereafter is false, and all their concepts about it are wrong, Moududi).
78:5 Then, indeed; they will certainly know.
78:6 Have we not made the earth as a couch for you?
78:7 And the mountains as pegs?
78:12 And built above you seven mighty [heavens]?
78:13 And created a shining lamp?
You should be able to see the lowest of the seven levels from the ground.
50:6 Have they not beheld the heaven above them, how We erected it and adorned it, and it has no cracks?
Revelation 67:3 may be Allah's way of emphasizing that all seven layers of Paradise are without the cracks that tend to become visible, over time, in manmade construction.
In the Name of Allah
the Compassionate, the Merciful
67:1 Blessed be He whose hands is the sovereignty and He has power over everything.
67:2 He Who created death and life so as to test you as to whoever of you is fairer in action. He is the All-Mighty, the All-Forgiving.
67:3 He Who has created seven stratified heavens. You do not see any discrepancy in the creation of the Compassionate. So fix your gaze, do you see any cracks?
Stare too long or too often skyward and you will strain your eyes.
67:4 Then, fix your gaze again and again, and your gaze will recoil back to you discomfited and weary.
Distance from Hell
Look down and be surprised at who you might see.
37:50 Then, they will advance one towards the other asking each other.
37:51 One of them will say: “I had a comrade;
37:52 “Who used to say: ‘Are you then one of the confirmed believers?’
37:53 “Will we, once we are dead and have become dust and bones, be really judged?”
37:54 He said (to his companion): “Are you looking down?”
37:55 He looked and saw him in the centre of Hell.
37:56 He said: “By Allah, you almost caused my perdition.
37:57 “But for my Lord’s Grace, I would have been one of those brought forward.”
Allah, the people of Paradise and the people of Hell will all be within shouting distance.
7:42 As to those who believe and do the good deeds, We do not charge any souls except with what is within its power. Those are the people of Paradise, abiding therein forever.
7:43 And We shall remove all rancour from their hearts; and under them rivers will flow. They will say: “Praise be to Allah Who guided us to this; we would never have been guided, had not Allah guided us. The Messengers of our Lord came with the truth.” Then a voice will cry out to them: “This is indeed the Paradise which you have been made to inherit for what [good] you used to do.”
7:44 And the people of Paradise will call out to the people of the Fire: “We have found what our Lord promised us to be true; so have you found what your Lord promised to be true?” They will say: “Yes.” Thereupon a caller from their midst shall call out: “May Allah’s curse be upon the wrongdoers;
7:45 “Who bar [others] from Allah’s Way and desire it to be crooked; and they disbelieve in the Hereafter.”
Gardens and Springs
48:4 It is He Who sent down the Serenity upon the hearts of the believers that they may increase in faith upon their faith. To Allah belongs the hosts (legions, Moududi) of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is All-Knowing and Wise.
48:5 That He may admit the believers, men and women, into gardens beneath which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever, and that He may remit their sins. That, in Allah’s Sight, is a great triumph.
The garden (or gardens of Paradise) is one big garden indeed.
57:21 Vie with one another unto forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden the breadth of whereof is like the breadth of the heavens and the earth; it has been prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is Allah’s Bounty which He confers upon whoever He pleases. And Allah is the Great Bounty.
Each level of heaven contains two gardens with much greenery, two gushing springs and in addition to fruit trees such as the drought-tolerant pomegranate, trees ordinarily found in oases i.e. palm trees.
55:62 And beneath them (the two gardens) are two other gardens.
55:63 So, which of your Lord's Bounties do you both (Jinn and humans) deny?
55:64 Of dark green colour.
55:65 So, which of your Lord's Bounties do you both (Jinn and humans) deny?
55:66 Therein are two gushing springs.
55:67 So, which of your Lord's Bounties do you both (Jinn and humans) deny?
55:68 Therein are fruits, palm trees and pomegranates.
55:69 So, which of your Lord's Bounties do you both (Jinn and humans) deny?
Some buildings in heaven are made of bricks.
8:32 And when they said: “O Allah, if this is indeed the truth from You, then rain down upon us brickstones from heaven, or inflict upon us a very painful punishment.”
While Allah does not mention any buildings made of pearl, the Prophet said he saw one there; a building for married women only, and it is HUGE.
Allah's Apostle said, "In Paradise there is a pavilion made of a single hollow pearl sixty miles wide, in each corner of which there are wives who will not see those in the other corners; and the believers will visit and enjoy them.”
Most of heaven’s buildings may be multi-level (not unlike a modern apartment complex) above a source of fresh water.
39:20 But those who fear their Lord will have chambers over which other chambers are built and beneath which the rivers flow. That is Allah’s Promise. Allah does not break His Promise.
A list of those who will get the equivalent of a penthouse:
25:72 Those who do not bear false witness; and when they pass by idle talk, pass by with dignity;
25:73 And those who, when reminded of the Sign of their Lord, do not fall down upon them deaf and blind (turn a deaf ear, Moududi).
25:74 And those who say: “Our Lord, grant us, through our wives and progeny, beloved offsprings, and make us a model for the God fearing.”
25:75 Those shall be reward with a high chamber (in Paradise) for their steadfastness, and will be received therein with greeting and peace.
25:76 Dwelling therein forever. What a delightful resort and lodging!
The last revelation in surah 25, The Light, has more to do with Hell than with Paradise, and may have been in response to a question from someone who interrupted the Prophet during his description of some of the dwellings Allah will supply to the inhabitants of Paradise.
25:77 Say: “My Lord will take no notice of your supplication. For you have disbelieved and that shall be your inevitable perdition.”
Single family dwellings are also likely.
29:57 Every living soul shall taste death; then unto Us you shall be returned.
29:58 Those who have believed and done the righteous deeds, We shall install them in chambers in Paradise, beneath which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever. Blessed is the wage of those who labour!
29:59 Those who stood fast and in their Lord they trust.
Some may even have their own palaces.
25:10 Blessed is He Who, if He wishes, will accord you better than that – Gardens underneath which rivers flow, and will build palaces for you.
… (intermediate revelations are in the chapter Hell)
25:15 Say: “Is that better or the Garden of Eternity which the God-fearing have been promised, as a reward and ultimate resort?”
25:16 They have therein what they desire, abiding forever, as a promise binding upon your Lord.< class="LRIndent">----
25:24 The companions of Paradise on that Day shall be better lodged and more fairly accommodated.
And still others, a piece of land which they call their own.
39:73 And those who feared their Lord will be led to Paradise in throngs. Then, when they have reached it and its gates are opened, [they will enter it] and its keepers will say; “Peace be upon you; you have fared well, so enter it to dwell therein forever.”
39:74 And they will say: “Praise be to Allah Who has been truthful in His Promise to us and has bequeathed upon us the land, wherein we are able to settle in Paradise wherever we wish. Blessed is the wage of the labourers!”
39:75 And you will see the angels circling around the Throne proclaiming the praise of their Lord. And it will be justly decided between them and it will be said: “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.”
Food and Refreshments
43:68 O My servants, today you have no cause to fear nor to grieve.
43:69 Those who believe in Our Signs and are submissive.
43:70 “Enter Paradise, you and your spouses joyfully.
43:71 “Platters and cups of gold shall be passed around them, and therein shall be whatever souls desire and eyes delight in, and in it you shall dwell forever.”
43:72 That is the Paradise which you were given as an inheritance for what you used to do.
43:73 Therein you have abundant fruit from which you will eat.
Each of the seven levels of Paradise has “a garden under which a river runs”; what most of us would call an oasis. These oases also have unusual rivers running above ground such as rivers of milk that never turns sour, rivers of honey, and one which you would not have expected considering Allah’s prohibitions against alcoholic beverages.
47:15 The likeness of the Garden which the God-fearing have been promised is this: rivers of water not stagnant, rivers of milk whose taste has not changed, rivers of wine delighting its drinkers and rivers of distilled honey. Therein they have every variety of fruit and forgiveness from their Lord too …
There may not be that much variety in fruits.
2:25 Proclaim the good news to those who have believed and have done the good works; they will have gardens under which rivers flow. Every time they get some of the fruits with which they are provided, they will say: "This is what we were provided with before", because they are given each time something that looks like it. They will also have their pure spouses there, and they shall live there forever.
44:55 They call therein for every fruit in perfect security.
Wine will be available for the privileged in a specially sealed bottle or jar of some type, from a special spring; but, they may have to fight for it.
83:25 They are given to drink from a sealed wine;
83:26 Whose seal is musk. Over that, let the competitors compete;
83:27 And its mixture is from Tasmin (a spring in Paradise);
83:28 A spring from which the well-favoured drink.
Perhaps the not-so-well-favoured will drink from a spring of water mixed with camphor whose capacity only increases the more people drink from it.
76:5 The pious will surely drink from a cup whose mixture is camphor,
76:6 A spring from which the servants of Allah shall drink, making it gush abundantly.
Meat dishes may also be available, assuming Allah allows the beasts of heaven to be slaughtered.
42:29 And of His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the beasts He has scattered abroad in them; and He is able to gather them together, whenever He wishes.
Food lovers who gave food to the destitute, not because it was the right thing to do but for Allah’s sake also get the silk, the garden, the food, the furniture, the relaxing in the shade etc. and avoid Hell.
76:7 They fulfil their vows and fear a Day whose evil is rampant.
76:8 And they give food, despite their love of it, to the destitute, the orphan and the captive.
76:9 [They say]: “We only feed you for the sake of Allah; We do not want from you any reward or gratitude.
76:10 "We fear from our Lord a dark and dreadful Day.”
76:11 But Allah will guard them against the evil of that Day and give them radiance and joy.
76:12 And reward them for their forbearance, with a garden and silk.
76:13 Therein, they shall recline upon couches, and they shall see therein neither [blazing] sun nor bitter cold.
76:14 And its shades shall come close to them and fruit-bunches shall be brought down.
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
The Prophet said, "Whoever wears silk in this world shall not wear it in the Hereafter."
Bukhari B 72.723
Narrated Abu Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari:
That he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful."
Allah will dress His guests in garments made of what His Messenger railed against, along with other signs of decadence, which will be all the rage in Paradise.
18:30 As for those who believe and do the good deeds, surely, We will not waste the reward of him who does the good work.
18:31 Those shall have Gardens of Eden, beneath which rivers flow, bejeweled therein with bracelets of gold, and wearing green clothes of silk and brocade, reclining therein on couches. Blessed is their reward and fair is the resting place!
Allah's love of silk is again evident in three more reminders of what the believers will be wearing in Paradise.
22:23 Allah shall admit those who believe and do the righteous deeds into Gardens, beneath which rivers flow. Therein they shall be adorned with gold bracelets and pearls, and their raiment there shall be of silk.
22:24 They had been guided to the fair words and guided to the Path of the Praiseworthy.
35:33 Into Gardens of Eden they enter, wherein they are adorned with gold bracelets and pearls and there clothing therein will be silk.
44:51 However, the God-fearing are in a secure place;
44:52 In gardens and well-springs.
44:53 They wear silk and brocade facing each other.
Clothing is not optional!
20:118 “You will certainly not be hungry therein, nor be naked.
Sun block will not be required in Heaven.
20:119 “And you will not thirst therein, nor be exposed to the heat of the sun.”
But before the angels will come for you and take you to Paradise and all it has to offer, your righteousness being taken granted, you must correctly identify who is your Lord.
41:30 Those who say: “Our Lord is Allah”, then are upright, the angels shall descend upon them saying: “Do not fear or grieve, but rejoice in the Paradise which you were promised.
41:31 “We are your protectors in the present life and in the Hereafter, wherein you shall have whatever your hearts desire and you shall have therein whatever you call for;
41:32 “As hospitality from an All-Forgiving, Merciful One.”
A much larger heaven is part of Allah’s plans.
51:47 And heaven, We have built it mightily, and We shall surely expand it.
The Tracks of Heaven
Allah may refer to the changing clouds as the “tracks” of heaven, revelation 51:7; other say that “tracks” refers to paths taken by the stars. This is all according to Moududi.
THE SCATERING WINDS
In the Name of Allah
the Compassionate, the Merciful
51:1 By the scattering winds, as they scatter:
51:2 And the clouds, bearing their burden;
51:3 And the smoothly cruising ships;
51:4 And the angels which apportion the Command (no consensus on what Command means, some scholars have speculated that it means apportioning the water, others the wind and still others the sailing ships).
51:5 Surely, what you are promised is true;
51:6 And the Judgement shall come to pass.
51:7 By the heavens with its many tracks,
Even during the time of the Prophet, the unbelievers in particular, the imposters in revelation 51:10 speculated about the heavens, bringing perplexity to the Koran’s straightforward description of Allah’s home in the sky.
51:8 You are at variance in what you say.
51:9 From it (the Qur’an) are diverted those who would be diverted.
51:10 May the imposters perish!
51:11 Those who are bemused in their perplexity.
Spend less time sleeping, and when you wake up ask forgiveness for whatever you did the night before, part with some of your possessions during the day and you may get to see the tracks of heaven close up.
51:12 They ask: “When is the Day of Judgement coming?”
51:13 The Day they shall be exposed to the Fire.
51:14 “Taste your ordeal; this is what you were trying to hasten (the Meccan unbelievers made fun of the Prophet by asking him to hasten the punishment).”
51:15 The God-fearing shall be amidst gardens and springs;
51:16 Availing themselves of what their Lord has given them. Before that time, they were beneficent.
51:17 They used to sleep but a short watch of the night;
51:18 And at daybreak, they used to ask for forgiveness,
51:19 And of their possessions, the beggar and the destitute had as share.
51:20 In the earth are signs for those of certain faith;
51:21 And in your souls too. Do you not see?
51:22 In heaven is your provision and what you are promised.
51:23 By the Lord of the Heaven and the earth; it is certainly true, just as your own speaking is true.