1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet
A Palace in the Sky
Allah not only differentiates between the worthiness of the believers by scattering them among the seven levels of His Paradise, but also by the type of accommodations in which they are housed, from tents, apartments, and single-family homes to mansions.
Muhammad's abode in the sky will be a palace on an expanse of land where a river flows and on whose shores will be an encampment of tents, very special tents.
When the Prophet was made to ascend to the Heavens, he said (after his return), "I came upon a river the banks of which were made of tents of hollow pearls.
I asked Gabriel. 'What is this (river)?'
He replied, 'This is the Kauthar.'"
The Kauthar, the immense lake that feeds it, the encampments of tents made of pearl, the palace, and the luxuries that come with it are unique, some would say extravagant, gifts from a grateful God to the best of spokesman.
Narrated Abu Bishr:
Said bin Jubair said that Ibn 'Abbas said about Al-Kauthar. "That is the good which Allah has bestowed upon His Apostle."
I said to Sa'id bin Jubair, "But the people claim that it is a river in Paradise."
Said said, "The river in Paradise is part of the good which Allah has bestowed on His Apostle."
God, in fashioning this exceptional gift for His beloved spokesperson, did not overlook Muhammad’s love of the smell of musk.
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
The Prophet said: "While I was walking in Paradise (on the night of Mi'raj), I saw a river, on the two banks of which there were tents made of hollow pearls. I asked, 'What is this, O Gabriel?'
He said, 'That is the Kauthar which Your Lord has given to you.' Behold! Its scent or its mud was sharp smelling musk!"
Guests of the Prophet may stay in tents, but they will be able to eat like rich people who can afford utensils.
Narrated Abu Ubaida:
I asked Aisha regarding the verse: "Verily we have granted you the Kauthar."
She replied, "The Kauthar is a river which has been given to your Prophet on the banks of which there are (tents of) hollow pearls and its utensils are as numberless as the stars."
The utensils mentioned in the previous hadith may actually have been vessels, as in sailing vessels.
Narrated Haritha bin Wahb:
I heard the Prophet mentioning the Lake-Fount (Al-Kauthar), saying, "(The width of the Lake-Fount) is equal to the distance between Medina and Sana (capital of Yemen)."
Haritha said that he heard the Prophet saying that his Lake-Fount would be as large as the distance between Sana and Medina.
Al-Mustaurid said to Haritha, "Didn't you hear him talking about the vessels?"
He said, "No."
Al-Mustaurid said, "The vessels are seen in it as (numberless as) the stars."
The distance between Medina and Sana is 1,122.9 kilometres or 605.9 nautical miles. That would make Lake Fount, assumed to be the source of the Kauthar river, a very big lake indeed.
“Jugs by the millions,” or another estimate of the width of Lake Fount describes it as being as wide as the distance between Aila (modern day Aqaba) and Sana, which is, as the crow flies, 1,141 miles or 1,836 kilometres across.
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Allah's Apostle said, "The width of my Lake-Fount is equal to the distance between Aila (a town in Sham) and Sana (the capital of Yemen) and it has as many (numerous) jugs as the number of stars of the sky."
Not all of Muhammad’s former companions will be welcomed at his private retreat in the sky.
The Prophet said, "I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount (Kauthar) and some men amongst you will be brought to me, and when I will try to hand them some water, they will be pulled away from me by force whereupon I will say, 'O Lord, my companions!'
Then the Almighty will say, 'You do not know what they did after you left, they introduced new things into the religion after you.'"
No mercy for those who changed the religion Muhammad left behind.
Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd:
I heard the Prophet saying, "I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount (Kauthar), and whoever will come to it, will drink from it, and whoever will drink from it, will never become thirsty after that. There will come to me some people whom I know and they know me, and then a barrier will be set up between me and them."
Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri added that the Prophet further said: "I will say those people are from me. It will be said, 'You do not know what changes and new things they did after you.' Then I will say, 'Far removed (from mercy), far removed (from mercy), those who changed (the religion) after me!’"
There will be no need for signs warning apostates to stay away.
The Prophet said, "I will be at my Lake-Fount (Kauthar) waiting for whoever will come to me. Then some people will be taken away from me whereupon I will say, 'My followers!' It will be said, 'You do not know they turned Apostates as renegades (deserted their religion).'"
Much of what we know about Paradise, Hell, and Judgement Day are from dreams and lucid visions where Muhammad is shown the reality of the afterlife, usually by angels and one angel in particular, Gabriel. An example of a straightforward lucid vision:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Once Allah's Apostle led us in prayer and then (after finishing it) ascended the pulpit and pointed with his hand towards the Qibla of the mosque and said, "While I was leading you in prayer, both Paradise and Hell were displayed in front of me in the direction of this wall. I had never seen a better thing (than Paradise) and a worse thing (than Hell) as I have seen today, I had never seen a better thing and a worse thing as I have seen today."
A long hadith where Muhammad is first shown his palace in the sky in a dream, but not before two angels of Allah take him for a stroll in a surreal landscape where creative cruelty is the order of the day, as it is in so many hadiths.
Narrated Samura bin Jundub:
Allah's Apostle very often used to ask his companions, "Did anyone of you see a dream?" So dreams would be narrated to him by those whom Allah wished to tell.
One morning the Prophet said, "Last night two persons came to me (in a dream) and woke me up and said to me, 'Proceed!'
I set out with them and we came across a man lying down, and behold, another man was standing over his head, holding a big rock. Behold, he was throwing the rock at the man's head, injuring it. The rock rolled away and the thrower followed it and took it back. By the time he reached the man, his head returned to the normal state. The thrower then did the same as he had done before.
I said to my two companions, 'Subhan Allah! (Glorious is God) Who are these two persons?'
They said, 'Proceed!'
So we proceeded and came to a man lying flat on his back and another man standing over his head with an iron hook, and behold, he would put the hook in one side of the man's mouth and tear off that side of his face to the back (of the neck) and similarly tear his nose from front to back and his eye from front to back. Then he turned to the other side of the man's face and did just as he had done with the other side. He hardly completed this side when the other side returned to its normal state. Then he returned to it to repeat what he had done before.
I said to my two companions, 'Subhan Allah! Who are these two persons?'
They said to me, 'Proceed!'
So we proceeded and came across something like a Tannur (a kind of baking oven, a pit usually clay-lined for baking bread).
I think the Prophet said, "In that oven there was much noise and voices."
The Prophet added, "We looked into it and found naked men and women, and behold, a flame of fire was reaching to them from underneath, and when it reached them, they cried loudly.
I asked them, 'Who are these?'
They said to me, 'Proceed!'
And so we proceeded and came across a river."
I think he said, "... red like blood."
The Prophet added, "And behold, in the river there was a man swimming, and on the bank there was a man who had collected many stones. Behold. While the other man was swimming, he went near him. The former opened his mouth and the latter (on the bank) threw a stone into his mouth whereupon he went swimming again. He returned and every time the performance was repeated. I asked my two companions, 'Who are these (two) persons?'"
They replied, 'Proceed! Proceed!'
And we proceeded till we came to a man with a repulsive appearance, the most repulsive appearance you ever saw a man having! Beside him there was a fire and he was kindling it and running around it.
I asked my companions, 'Who is this (man)?'
They said to me, 'Proceed! Proceed!'
So we proceeded till we reached a garden of deep green dense vegetation, having all sorts of spring colors. In the midst of the garden there was a very tall man and I could hardly see his head because of his great height, and around him there were children in such a large number as I have never seen.
I said to my companions, 'Who is this?'
They replied, 'Proceed! Proceed!'
So we proceeded till we came to a majestic huge garden, greater and better than I have ever seen! My two companions said to me, 'Go up' and I went up.
The Prophet added, "So we ascended till we reached a city built of gold and silver bricks and we went to its gate and asked (the gatekeeper) to open the gate, and it was opened and we entered the city and found in it, men with one side of their bodies as handsome as the handsomest person you have ever seen, and the other side as ugly as the ugliest person you have ever seen.
My two companions ordered those men to throw themselves into the river. Behold, there was a river flowing across (the city), and its water was like milk in whiteness. Those men went and threw themselves in it and then returned to us after the ugliness (of their bodies) had disappeared and they became in the best shape."
The Prophet further added, "My two companions (angels) said to me, 'This place is the Eden Paradise, and that is your place.'
I raised up my sight, and behold, there I saw a palace like a white cloud!
My two companions said to me, 'That (palace) is your place.' I said to them, 'May Allah bless you both! Let me enter it.'
They replied, 'As for now, you will not enter it, but you shall enter it (one day).'
I said to them, 'I have seen many wonders tonight. What does all that mean which I have seen?'
They replied, 'We will inform you:
As for the first man you came upon whose head was being injured with the rock, he is the symbol of the one who studies the Quran and then neither recites it nor acts on its orders, and sleeps, neglecting the enjoined prayers.
As for the man you came upon whose sides of mouth, nostrils and eyes were torn off from front to back, he is the symbol of the man who goes out of his house in the morning and tells so many lies that it spreads all over the world.
And those naked men and women whom you saw in a construction resembling an oven, they are the adulterers and the adulteresses, and the man whom you saw swimming in the river and given a stone to swallow, is the eater of usury (Riba), and the bad looking man whom you saw near the fire kindling it and going round it, is Malik, the gatekeeper of Hell, and the tall man whom you saw in the garden, is Abraham and the children around him are those children who die with Al-Fitra (the Islamic Faith).'
The narrator added: "Some Muslims asked the Prophet, 'O Allah's Apostle! What about the children of pagans?'"
The Prophet replied, "And also the children of pagans."
The Prophet added, "My two companions added, 'The men you saw half handsome and half ugly were those persons who had mixed an act that was good with another that was bad, but Allah forgave them.'"
In another vision of Paradise recalled in more than one hadith, Muhammad sees a woman washing herself beside what he is told is the palace of Umar bin Al-Khattab, a close companion and future caliph. Needless to say, this distresses him somewhat, for she obviously belongs to Umar who may be insulted to hear that another man has gazed upon a female of his, even if it was in a separate reality and not intentional. What that woman is doing there, in what should be an empty suburb of Paradise whose residents will not take up occupancy until Judgement Day, is anyone’s guess.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
We were sitting with Allah's Apostle, he said, "While I was sleeping, I saw myself in Paradise. Suddenly I saw a woman performing ablution beside a palace. I asked, 'For whom is this palace?'
They (the angels) replied, 'It is for Umar bin Al-Khattab.'
Then I remembered Umar's ghira (self-respect) and went back hurriedly."
On hearing that, Umar started weeping and said, "Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you. O Allah's Apostle! How dare I think of my ghira being offended by you?"
The wonder remains that adults who thrived on such unreal discussions could inspire generations through the ages to slaughter countless millions for doubting the veracity of the strange, fantastic stories told by God’s alleged last and greatest spokesperson and which permeate both the hadiths and the Koran.