In Chapter One, the focus was on the sources of Muslim law - the Quran and the Hadith - and on Muslim beliefs about God and the Prophet Muhammed (May the Peace of God be upon him). Then certain aspects of life which are determined by this religion were cited in Chapter Two.

In this Chapter, the reward which a believer can expect to obtain from his Merciful Lord will be depicted. Before the reader has the pleasure of mentally picturing Paradise, from traditional Islamic descriptions however, it is necessary to clarify Muslims’ views as to what will happen after death.

The following is a diagram of what is going to happen when we die. To follow it, start at the bottom of the page and read upwards.

Notes for Diagram


I This Present World - ‘DUNIYA

This is the world in which we are now living. It is a world which we can see and feel — you can ‘hit’ your own body (but not the soul). This is the reason why it is called the MATERIAL world.

II Death

This takes a person away from the material world into the SPIRITUAL world. Then we will be able to see God’s angels, Paradise, Hell and all the other things that we cannot see before death.

III Life In the Grave

Every person, after dying, will be asked three questions in the grave by two angels called MUNKAR and NAKIR:

(1) Who is your god?

(ii) What is your religion?

(iii) Who is this person? (Muhammed — May the Peace of God be upon him - will be in everyone’s grave).

The person has to answer:

(1) God

(ii) Islam

(iii) Muhammed (May the Peace of God be upon him) and then he will be told that God will have Mercy on him and that he will go to Paradise. But if the person gets any of these questions wrong, then he will be promised God’s punishment and Hell—Fire. This is what is going to happen to all non—Muslims.


This means that the material world in which we are now living will be finished by God Almighty and a new spiritual world will be made. This new world will last for ever (eternity).


This word means "to get up", i.e. rrom the grave. Non— Muslims will say "Oh, no~ Who has made us get up from our sleeping places?" But Muslims will say: "Praise be to God - this is the Day (of Judgernent) that we were promised and God’s Messengers (the Prophets) told us the truth when they said that this Day would come".


Every group of people will stand behind their Prophet, or whoever they followed in this world.


This Day will be as long as 1,000 years of this world. Whoever did even a bit of good in this world will see it then, and whoever did even a bit of bad will also see it. Deeds will be weighed.


Everyone will have to cross a bridge to get to Paradise. If they fall off, there is Hell—Fire underneath.


This is a place of punishment. There are snakes, scorpions, hot water, fire, punishing food from trees and other things in it.


This is a lovely place — houses/trees/maidens/rivers/horses with wings.


Most readers will know of the expressions —"Enjoy yourself while you’re young"., or "You only live once — make the most of it!" To Muslims, however, this is not the reason why we are on this earth now. Why are we here then?

In Islam, it is held. that God has created man and put him on this world to test him — doea he believe in God although He cannot be seen? Does he worship Him? Will he obey the Apostles sent with the guidance? It Is therefore essential that man glorifies His Lord in the short time before he dies and is then returned to Almighty God. It is not "worth it" enjoying yourself too much as to forget about God, since God will give man the reward, out of His Mercy, for eternity.

If we look at the diagram below, we can see the relation, in terms of time, between this present world and eternity:

The average life span of a person in this world is 70 years. Let us assume there is a life after death, lasting for eternity and Paradise and Hell exist (since this is what Muslims believe). Now let me ask the reader - would you rather make the most of the 70 years of your life in this world and suffer for eternity, or would you rather act in moderation and remember God, your Creator, for those seventy years and then expect your reward from Him for eternity?

I am sure the second alternative would seem to be the more logical choice. Now we know, why Muslims do not attach over-importance to this present world e.g. materialist inclinations — money is everything, so is a happy love life and holidays abroad, etc.

A number of points must be made about the nature of Paradise. Firstly, it is a state of utopia or perfection —there is nothing of evil, corruption, malice and other adverse conditions. Secondly, it is a totally different world from the world in which we live now - so the impossible is possible. The fact that people in Paradise will be able to fly is no surprise. We cannot imagine trees with their roots in the air, or ~ade out of gold and silver, but in the next world this will be possible. (We would not have been surprised if, when we were born, and as we grew up, we discovered that the trees in this world were the ‘other way round’). Thirdly, words have different meanings in the context of Paradise: thus, the river of honey does not contain worldly honey — rather ‘honey’ is something used as a label and may indeed mean a drink which is perfect and which, once you have drunk it, will have satisfied your every desire. Fourthly, life in Paradise will be eternal; ‘eternity’ Is a very difficult concept to conceive because it is natural to think of an ‘end’ to everything. Thus, if people In Paradise fly for one thousand years, this time span is Insignificant, because there is no end with which to measure it.

Fifthly, there is a hierarchy of rewards in Paradise which corresponds to the extent of good deeds which the person has done in this world. A final point which I should wake is that, to the person who does not have ‘faith’ in Islam (the first pillar), the traditions and Quaranic verses regarding Paradise may se~flso supernatural that they may find it difficult to believe that so fascinatingaplace ~ould exist. To Muslims, however, who know that "God is Able to do All Things", and who know that this present world is only artificial compared to the Hereafter, the descriptions not only make sense, but the situations which they describe are to be expected and desired, after death. I hope that these descriptions are a source of information, serious contemplation and possible appreciation for our White British readers.

Abu Said al-Khudri (May God be pleased with him) has reported that the Holy Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) said: In Paradise there Is a tree under the shadow of which a rider of a fine and swift—footed horse would travel for a hundred years without covering the distance completely. There would be the pleasure of God for the inmates of Paradise and He would never be annoyed with them.



Abu Said al-Khudri (May God be pleased with him) has reported that the Holy Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) said that God will say to the inmates of Paradise: O, Dwellers of Paradises

They will say in response: At Thy service and pleasure, our Lord, the good is in Thy hand.

He (the Lord) will say: Are you well-pleased now? They will say: Why shall we not be pleased, O Lord, when Thou hast given us what Thou has not given to any of Thine creatures?

He will, however, say: May I not give you (something) even more excellent than that?

And they will say: O Lord, what thing can be more excelle~it than this?

And He will say: I shall cause My pleasure to alight upon you and I shall never be afterwards annoyed with you*.


* This is the greatest honour conferred upon a human being.



Abu Said al-Khudri (May God be pleased with him) reported the Holy Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) as saying: The inmates of Paradise will see the inmates of the apartment over them just as you see the shining planets which remain in the eastern and the western horizon because of the superiority some have over others. They said: God’s Messenger, will, in these abodes of Apostles, others besides them not be able to reach (them)? He said: Yes, they will, by Him, in whose hand is my life.


* It does not mean that they would be elevated in rank to the high ranks of the Prophets. Only a Prophet can attain that rank. What it means is that the pious persons will be allowed to visit and live near Prophets as they loved and followed them in the worldly life.

"Whosoever obeys God and the Messenger, they are with those unto whom God has shown favour of the prophets and saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of the company are they!"

(IV 69)


Anas bin Malik (May God be pleased with him) narrated that God’s Messenger (May the Peace of God be upon him) said:

In Paradise there is a street to which (the people of Paradise) would come every Friday. The north wind would (then) blow and would scatter fragrance on their faces and on their clothes and would add to their beauty and loveliness and then they would go back to their family after having an added lustre to their beauty and loveliness and their family would say to them: By God., you have been increased in beauty and loveliness after leaving us, and they would (repl3~: By God, you have also increased in beauty and loveliness after us".



Abu Huraira (May God be pleased with him) reported that the Holy Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) said:

The (members) of the first group to get into Paradise will have their faces (shining) as brightly as the full moon during the night, and the next group will have their faces as bright as the shining stars in the sky; every person will have two wives, whose shanks will glimmer ieneath the flesh. There will be none without a wife In the Paradise.



Jabir (May God be pleased with him) reported: I heard God’s Apostle (May the Peace of God be upon him) saying that the inmates of Paradise will eat and drink, but will neither spit, nor pass water, nor void excrement, nor suffer catarrh. It was said: Then what will happen to the food?

Thereupon the Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) said: They will belch and sweat (and it would be over with their food) and their sweat will be that of musk and they will glorify and praise God as easily as you breathe.



Abu Said al—Khudri and Abu Huraira (May God be pleased with them) both reported God’s Messenger (May the Peace of God be upon him) as saying: There will be an announcer (in Paradise) who will wake this announcement:

Verilyt There is in store for you (everlasting) health and that you should never fall ill and that you live (for ever) and do not die at all. And you will remain young and never grow old. And you will always live in affluent circumstances and never become destitute*.

* And it would be announced to them:

"This is the Paradise. You have been

made to inherit it for what you used to do"

(VII 43)


Abu Bakr b. Abu Musa b. Qais (May God be pleased with him) on the authority of his father reported that the Holy Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) said: There will be in Paradise a tent made of a pearl whose height towards the sky will be sixty miles*. In each corner, there will be a family of the believer, out of sight for the others.


* All such descriptions are meant to give an idea of the immeasurable extent of Paradise and not the exact measurements.



Wahb (May God be pleased with him) said that God created the Garden on the day of its creation with a width like that of sky and earth, but its length is known only to God. When the Day of Rising comes, the seven heavens and the seven earths will go, and their place will be a space in the Garden. So the space will be extended to contain all their people.

All the Gardens are one hundred degrees. Between each degree is five hundred years. Their rivers flow and their fruits hang down ready to fall. In them are pure wives, ‘houris’ whom God created from light:




………from other than their husbands. So they do not look at anyone except them,



Whenever her husband comes to her, he finds her virgin. She has seventy robes on. Each robe has a colour which Is lighter than a hair is on her body. The marrow of her legs is seen through her flesh and bones and skin, the same way red wine is seen through white glass. The heads of the ‘houris’ are crowned with pearls inlaid with rubies.


Ibn Abbas (May God be pleased with him) said: "The Gardens have eight gates of gold inlaid with jewels. Written on the first gate is (There is no God but God and Muhammed is the Messenger of God). It is the gate of the prophets, messengers, martyrs and the generous.

The second gate is the gate of those who prayed, who were excellent in (ritual washing before prayer) and the basic elements of the prayer.

The third gate is that of those who gave ‘Zakat’ (alms) cheerfully.

The fourth gate is that of those who commanded good and forbade the reprehensible.

The fifth gate is the gate of those who rooted out their appetites and prevented passions.

The sixth gate is the gate of those who did the pilgrimage (Hajj and Umra).

The seventh gate is the gate of those who fought in the way of God (Jihad).

The eighth gate is the gate of those who turned their eyes from forbidden things and (who) did good actions of respect to parents, relatives and others.


There are eight Gardens

The first is the Abode of Majesty, and it is of white pearl.

The second is the Abode of Peace, and it Is of red ruby.

The third is the Abode of Shelter, and It is of green chrysolite.

The fourth is the Garden of Immortality, and it is of red and yellow coral.

The fifth is the Garden of Bliss, and it is of white silver.

The sixth is the Garden of Firdaws, and it Is of red gold.

The seventh Is the Garden of ‘Adn, and It is of white pearl.

The eighth is the Abode of Rest, and It Is of red gold and it is the dome of the Gardens, and It is raised over the Gardens. It has two gates, and the two leaves are of gold and silver. Between each of the two leaves Is what is between heaven and earth. It Is built of gold and silver bricks. Its mud is musk and its earth is amber and its straw is saffron. Its castles are of pearl and its rooms are of ruby. Its doors are of jewels, and in it are rivers. There is the River of Mercy which flows in all the Gardens, and its pebbles are pearls, with a white brighter than snow, and it is sweeter than honey. In it is the river of Kawthar (abundance) and it is the river of the Prophet Muhazrnned (May the Peace of God be upon him). Its trees are pearls and rubies. In it is the River of Kafur (camphor) and the River of Tasnim (water coming from above), and the River of Salsabil (easy to swallow) and the River of Sealed Nectar (ar-Rahia al-Maktum). Beyond that are rivers whose number is not known.




It is related in a tradition that the Holy Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) said: "The night He conveyed me to the heavens, He showed me all the Gardens. So I saw four rivers,






So I said (to the angel Gabriel): ‘O Gabriel! Where do these rivers come from and where do they go?’

Gabriel (May the Peace of God be upon him) said: ‘They flow to the basin of Kawthar and no-one knows where they come from. So ask God to inform you or to show you.’

(So he called on his Lord, and an angel came and greeted the Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him). He said "O Muhammed! Close your eyes!")

"So I closed my eyes. Then he said: "Open your eyes!" So I opened them and suddenly I was at a tree and I saw a dome of white pearl with a door of green corundum, and its lock was of red gold. Had all the men and genies in the world stood on that dome, they would have been like a bird sitting on a mountain. So I saw these four rivers flowing under this dome. When I wished to return, the angel said to me: "Why don’t you enter this dome?".

I said: ‘How can I enter it when its door is locked?’

He said: ‘Open it’.

I said: ‘How shall I open it?’

He said: ‘The key is in your hand.’

I said: ‘What is it?’

He said: (I begin in the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful).

So when I drew near I said (I begin in the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful). So its lock opened, I entered the dome and I saw those rivers flowing from the four corners of the dome. When I wished to leave the dome, the angel said to me:


‘Did you look and see?’

I said: ‘Yes’.

He said to me: ‘Look again’.

So when I looked, I saw written on the four corners of the dome:

(in arabic - In the Name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful)

From one letter the river of water came forth.

From another letter the river of milk came forth.

From another letter the river of wine came forth.

From another letter the river of honey came forth.

So I (then) knew the source of these rivers was the (In the Name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful).

God said: ‘O Muhammed! Whoever of your community mentions Me with these names with a pure heart and says: (I begin in the Name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful) I will let him drink of these four rivers.


God will let the people of the Garden drink of the water of the Garden on Saturday; Sunday they will drink its honey; Monday its milk and Tuesday Its wine. When they have drunk, they will be intoxicated. When they get intoxicated, they will fly for one thousand years until they reach a great mountain of pure and pungent musk, and Salsabil will issue from under It. They will drink of it, and that will be Wednesday. Then they will fly for one thousand years until they reach a lofty castle. In It are couches raised up and goblets set forth. So each of them will sit on a couch, and the drink of ‘Zanjabli’ (ginger) will descend on them and they will drinc of it. That will be Thursday. Then a white cloud will rain jewels on them for one thousand years. Each jewel will be joined to a houri. Then they will fly for one thousand years until they reach a seat of veracity and that will be Friday. They will sit at the Table of Immortality and ‘Rahtq’ (nectar) will come down on them sealed with a seal of musk. So they will break the seal and drink.

The Holy Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) said:

"They are those who performed right actions and avoided acts of rebellion."


In a Tradition, the Holy Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) said: "God created the faces of the heavenly maidens ("houris") of four colours: white, green, yellow and red. He created their bodies of saffron, musk, amber and camphor. He created their hair of raw silk. From their toes to their knees is of saffron and scent. From their knees to their breats is of musk, from their breasts to their necks of amber, and from their necks to their heads of camphor. Had they spat once in the world it would have become musk. Written on their breasts is the name of their husbands and one of the names of God Most Merciful. On each wrist are ten gold bracelets, on each finger ten rings, and on their ankles, ten anklets of jewels and pearls."



It is related from Ibn Abbas (May God be pleased with him) that the Holy Prophet (May the Peace of God be upon him) said: "In the Garden are heavenly maidens ("houris"). They are (also) called ‘AYN. They were created from f our things: musk, camphor, amber and saffron. Their clay was kneaded with the water of life. All the maidens love their husbands. Had one of them spat once in the sea, the water of the sea would have become sweet from her spittle. Written on her breast is: "Whoever wishes to have the like of me, let him work with obedience to his Lord".



In tradition, it is related that behind the bridge (‘Sirat’) are deserts in which are pleasant trees. Under each tree are two fountains of water which gush out of the Garden. One of these is on the right and one on the left. When the believers cross the bridge, having stood up from the graves for the reckoning, and have stopped on the sun, and have read their books (of deeds) and passed the fires and come to the deserts, they will drink from one of the fountains.

When the water of the fountain reaches their breasts, all that is in them of rancour, deceit and envy will come out and vanish from them. When the water is in their stomachs, all that is in them of corruption, poison and urine will come out. So their outward and inward will be purified. Then they will come to the other fountain, and they will bathe in it and their faces will become like the full moon. The soul will become pure and their bodies pleasant like musk.

So they will reach the gate of the Garden and its knocker is of red ruby. Then they will knock with It. The heavenly maidens will receive them with plates (of refreshment) in their hands. Each maiden will go out to her (husband) and embrace him and say: "You are my beloved". "I am pleased with you and will love you forever", and she will enter the garden with him.



The Vision of God in the Other World


Hammad bin Sulaiman has said: When the Blessed have entered Paradise and have established themselves there in pleasure and delight, in a magnificent Kingdom, a noble residence where they are in security and tranquillity, they quite forget there what they were promised in this world of how they would (one day) see God and go to visit Him, so occupied are they with the blessings and pleasures they are enjoying there. So while they are thus, behold, an angel from before God - Mighty and Majestic is He — looks down upon them from one of the mighty walls of Paradise, from an eminence so high that not a thing in Paradise is hidden from him. (It is a wall) made of glistening pearl whose light shines over against the Throne and shines to the highest point of heaven. This angel will call out at the top of his voice: Tb people of Paradise, greeting of peace to you", yet with a voice so full of compassion that, though it is so loud, all ears incline to it and all faces turn toward it, all souls being moved by it, rejoicing at it, and responding eagerly to it. All of them hear the voice and take cognizance that this 1st a herald from before God — mighty and Majestic is He. It will evoke no doubt in them, so they will respond: "Labbaika! Labbaika! O summoner from God, our Lord. We have heard and we respond".

Then he will say: "Welcome to you, O ye saints of God! Welcome! Most Welcome! God — Mighty and Majestic is He - sends you greeting of peace, saying that He is well-pleased with you (and asking) are ye well pleased with Him?" They will reply: "Praise be to God who has guided us to this, for we were not such as would have been guided bad not God guided us (VII, 43/41). Praise be to Him, since He is well pleased with us and has made us well-satisfied. To Him be praise and thanksgiving, since He has been bountiful to us and given us (all of this)". Then (the angel) will say:

"O saints of God, God — glory be to Him - sends you greeting of peace and says: "Have I fulfilled the promises I made to you in the world, or have I come short of them in any way?". They will answer: "Praise be to God, His are the gifts and the favours. He has indeed fulfilled His promises and bestowed on us bounty from Himself, this Paradise in which we go about wherever we wish". Then (the angel) will say to them: "God — glory be to Him - gives you greeting of peace, and reminds you that In the world He promised you that in Paradise you would visit Him, approach Him, and look upon Him. Now He would fulfill what He promised you, so He gives you here and now permission to prepare yourselves to have your happiness made complete in His presence".

When they hear that, everything they have been enjoying there and all they have so far attained in Paradise will seem to them a little thing compared with that exceeding great happiness. Indeed, all that Paradise contains will seem insignificant over against the fact that God is well—pleased with them and (is allowing them) to visit Him and to look upon Him. So they will get themselves ready for a visit to their Lord in their finest estate and their most beautiful attire. They will clothe themselves with the most precious robes and the choicest ornaments they have, perfume themselves with the most fragrant perfumes and mount the finest of horses and the most nobly born steeds, the most precious that they have, and putting crowns upon their heads they will come forth, each man from his palace and his garden, till he reaches the farthest end of his property and moves out into the paths of Paradise, his WILDAN* preceding him and guiding him on the way to the visitation of the most illustrious King. Meanwhile they raise their voices in expressions of remembrance and encornium and hallelujah (tahlil), and whenever any man among them comes out Into the paths of Paradise he meets his brother (Muslim) who has come out for the same purpose that he has.

* celestial youths who wait on them.

Thus they will journey along till they come to a broad open space at the borders of Paradise where the ground is unencumbered, vacant, white and camphored, its soil being of camphor mixed with musk and ambergris, and its stones of pearl and jacinth. There they will assemble, preceded by the angel who had summoned them and who has travelled on ahead of them till he has brought them to this Garden of Eden. God will have given a call to this Garden, (saying): "Adorn yourself, for I have called My saints to visit Me with the most exquisite and beautiful adornment, and its attendants and WILDAN will likewise have got themselves ready. So when the saints arrive at the gate of the Garden, the angel will precede them, having with hi~ the people of Paradise, and all of them will cry: "Greeting to you, O ye angels of our Lord!".


Then there will be opened for them a gate between whose leaves is the distance between the East and the West here on earth. This gate is of green emerald and over it are curtains of light of such brightness as almost to destroy the sight. They will enter and pour out into a valley—bed there whose enormous size, both in length and breadth, is known only to Him who created it by His power and fashioned it in His wisdom. Its soil is of finest musk and saffron and ambergris, its stones of jacinths and jewels, its little pebbles and rubble are of gold, while on its banks are trees whose limbs hang down, whose branches are low, whose fruits are within easy reach, whose birds sing sweetly, whose colours shine brightly, whose flowers blossom in splendour, and from which comes a breeze (so delightful) as to reduce to insignificance all other delights, one needle’s—eye full of which, were it sent to this world, would cure all the sick.

Beneath these trees are chairs and benches of light that gleam, chairs and benches of jacinth and of jewels and the like of red gold, of green emerald, of musk and ambergris, set there for the prophets, the messengers, then for the saints and the pious, then for the martyrs and the just, then for the Blessed from among all the rest of the people. Over (these seats) are cloths of brocade and satin and green silk, very precious, the silk woven and hemmed with jacinths and with jewels, and (on them) also are cushions of red brocade. On these they will be given permission to seat themselves in accordance with the honourable rank each has. They will be met by cries of welcome and applause, with ascriptions of honour and merit. So each man of them will take his station according to the measure of honour he has with his Lord, and his position of nearness to Him and in His favour, while the angels and the WILDAN show them great respect in seating them. Then, when every man has taken his place and settled himself according to his rank, orders will be given that they be served with the finest food.

So they will eat it and enjoy it with such pleasure that they forget any food they have eaten hitherto, and everything they have ever known before seems insignjfjcan~ to them. (It will be served to them on platters the like of which they have never seen before and on tables whose like they have never beheld). Then orders will be given that they be served the finest kinds of fruit such as they have never before seen, and they will eat of these fruits and enjoy thereof as much as they desire. Then orders will be given that they be served the finest varieties of drinks such as they never yet have drunk, (served to them) in vessels of pearl and jacinth which shine brilliantly, giving out lights the like of whose splendour and loveliness they have hitherto never beheld. So they will drink and enjoy it, and then orders will be given for them to be (perfumed) with perfumes such as they have never before enjoyed. Then orders will bf given for them to be clothed with garments (of honour) the like of which they have not seen even in Paradise, and of such splendour and beauty as they have never before had for their delight.

This will be their state, so ask not about their happiness and their joy there, for all that they have had before now seems to them of no account. Then God — glory be to Him —will say:

"O My saints, O My servants, have I fulfilled to you what I promised you in the world? Have I amply fulfilled My promise’?"

They will answer: "Yea, O our Lord, by Thy might, Thou has fulfilled to us Thy promise and hast amply fulfilled what Thou didst promise us."

Then He - glory be to Him - will say: "Nay, by My might, there still remains for you one thing which you covet yet more and which has a still higher place in your estimation. What is there after you have come to Me but that you should look upon Me, that thereby your blessedness may be complete?".

Then He - glory be to Him - will give command to the veils of light so they will be raised , and to the dread awfulness so that it is set aside. Then He — glory be to Him — will reveal Himself to them and they will look upon Him. Thus will they see Him without suffering any injury or harm, and no joy can equal their joy in that, nor can any happiness or delight stand beside their happiness in that. So they will fall down before their Lord in prostration and deep humility saying: "Glory be to Thee, O our Lord. In Thy praise Thou art blessed and exalted and blessed is Thy name".


(From Ibn Makhluf’s



(Cairo 1899), II, 151—153)


It is related in Tradition that on each of the people of the Garden are seventy robes. Each robe changes colour every hour to seventy different colours. The face of the man is seen in his wife’s face, and her face in her husband’s face; and her breasts and thighs are reflected In his chest and thighs. They do not spit nor blow their noses. The only hair which they have is that of the eyebrows, head and eyelashes.


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