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AL JANNAH WA AN NAAR In the Light of the Quran and Sunna

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al-Jannah wa an-Naar – In the Light of the Qur’aan and Sunnah

al-Jannah wa an-Naar In the Light of the Qur’aan and Sunnah Based on the Book by Dr. Umar Sulaiman al-Ashqar  – Book Sample

Hell: Definition and Explanation

Hell is the abode which Allaah (swt) has prepared for those who do not believe in Him (swt), those who rebel against His (swt) laws and disbelieve in His Messengers. It is the punishment for His (swt) enemies, the prison for evildoers.

It is the ultimate humiliation and loss; there is nothing worse:

“Our Lord! Verily, whom You admit to the Fire, indeed, You have disgraced him, and never will the Dhaalimoon [polytheists and wrongdoers] find any helpers” (3:192)

“Know they not that whoever opposes and shows hostility to Allaah and His Messenger, certainly for him will be the fire of Hell to abide therein? That is extreme disgrace”. (9:63)

“The losers are those who will lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection. Verily, that will be a manifest loss!” (39:15)

How could Hell be other than we have described, when it is full of utterly indescribable torment, pain and grief? It is eternal and its inhabitants will remain there forever. Allaah (swt) has condemned them and their place in the Fire:

“Evil indeed it [Hell] is as an abode and as a place to dwell” (25:66)

“This is so! And for the Tagheen [transgressors] – will be an evil final return – Hell! Where they will burn, and worst [indeed] is that place to rest!” (38:55-6)

Paradise and Hell Have Already Been Created                                         

at-Tahhaawi said, in his book on al-‘Aqeedah al-Salafiyyah (correct belief in accordance with that of the early generations of Islaam) that is known as al-‘Aqeedah al-Tahhaawiyyah.

“Paradise and Hell have already been created. They will never come to an end or cease to exist. Allaah (swt) created Paradise and Hell before the rest of creation, and He (swt) created inhabitants for each of them.

Whoever He (swt) wishes (will enter) Paradise by His grace and mercy, and whoever He (swt) wishes (will enter Hell) as a result of His (swt) justice. Every person will behave according to that for which he was created, and his destiny will be that for which he was created; good deeds and evil deeds are foreordained for all men”.

Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abul-‘Izz al-Hanafi remarked, in his commentary on this text:

“With regard to his saying that Paradise and Hell have already been created, Ahl as-Sunnah agree that Paradise and Hell have been created and are in existence at the present moment. Ahlus-Sunnah continued to hold this view, until some odd ideas of the Mu’tazilah and Qaadariyyah came along, which denied that. These groups said: “Allaah will create them (ie Paradise and Hell) on the Day of Resurrection.” They said this because of their false arguments by means of which they seek to improve regulations on what Allaah (swt) should do; (they say) it befits Allaah (swt) to do this, or it does not befit Allaah (swt) to do that. They compare Him to His creation and their actions. This is a kind of anthropomorphism with regard to deeds; they have allowed the ideas of Jahmiyyah (a sect of Mu’tazilah named after the deviant, Jahm ibn Safwan) to creep into their thinking, and have become mu’attalah (those who deny that Allaah can see). They said, “It

does not make sense for Paradise to be created before the time of reward, because it will not be used or inhabited for a very long time. They rejected the aayaat and reports that contradict these false notions they seek to project onto Allaah (swt). They misinterpreted the texts and accused those who disagreed with them of going astray and concocting bid’ah”.

Proofs from the Qur’aan and Hadeeth in support of this are, for example:

“Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord, and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heaven and the earth, prepared for those who believe in Allaah and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allaah, which He bestows on whom He is pleased with. And Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty”. (57:21)

“…for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for al-Muttaqun” (3:133)

“And fear the fire, which is prepared for the disbelievers” (3:131)

“And indeed he (Muhammad) saw him (Jibreel) at a second descent (ie another time), near Sidrat al-Muntahaa (lote tree of the utmost boundary (beyond which none can pass), near it is the Paradise of Abode” (53:13-15)

The Prophet (saw) saw Sidrat al-Muntahaa, a tree in Heaven, and near it, Paradise, as is mention in al- Bukhaari, and Muslim in the hadith of Anas (ra). At the end of this narrative of al-Israa, the Prophet (saw) said, “Then Jibreel brought me to Sidrat al-Muntahaa which was veiled in colours indescribable. Then I entered Paradise, and its lights were of pearls and its soil was musk”.

Muslim, Abu Dawud and Imaam Ahmad report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger (saw) said, “When Allaah (swt) created Paradise and Hell, He sent Jibreel to Paradise, saying “Go and look at it and at what I have prepared therein for its inhabitants”. So he went and looked at it and at what Allaah had prepared therein for its inhabitants…. then He sent him to Hellfire saying, “Go

and look at it and what I have prepared therein for its inhabitants” So he looked at it and saw that it was in layers, one above the other….”

Muslim reports from Aishah (ra) that there was a solar eclipse in the time of the Messenger (saw) and he said, “Whilst I was standing here I saw everything that you have been promised, I even saw myself picking some of the fruits of Paradise, when you saw me stepping forward. And I saw Hellfire, parts of it consuming other parts, when you saw me stepping backward”.

al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Ibn ‘Abbas the same incident, “I saw Paradise and I tried to take a bunch of its fruit. If I had managed to do so, you would have eaten from it until the end of time. And I saw the Fire of Hell, and I have never seen anything so horrific or terrifying. I saw that the majority of its inhabitants are women.”

Muslim also reports from Anas that the Prophet (Saw) said, “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if you had seen what I saw, you would laugh little and cry much.” They said, “What did you see, O Messenger of Allaah?”, He said, “I saw Paradise and Hell”.

The Prophet (saw) also ascended into jannah on the night of Mi’raj in his ‘Isra (night journey): for example –

* “…I saw four rivers flowing out from beneath Sidrat al-Muntahaa, two visible and two hidden.”

(Muslim, Kitaab al-Imaan, Baab al-‘Israa, 1/150, no.164) * “Whilst I was walking in Paradise I saw a river whose banks were domes of hollow pearls and I asked, “What is this, O Jibreel?” He said,

“This is al-Kawthar which your Rabb has given to you”. (from Anas ibn Maalik, Sahih al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab fil-Hawd, Fath al-Baari, 11/464)

 al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Jaabir that the Messenger of Allaah said, “I entered Paradise where I saw ar-Rumaysa, the wife of Abu Talhah. And I heard footsteps and asked, “Who is that?” He (Jibreel) said, “That is Bilaal”. And I saw a palace with women in its courtyard. I asked, “Whose is this?” They said, It is for ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab” (Mishkaat al-Masaabih, 3/226)

Imaam Ahmed, Ibn Hibbaan and al-Haakim report from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (saw) said, “The children of the believers are in Paradise, being cared for by Ibraahim (as) [and in the narration of Abu Nu’aym, ad-Dawylami, and Ibn Asakir it adds- “and Sarah, until they give them back to their parents on the day of Resurrection”]

al-Bukhaari and Muslim also report from ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (ra) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “When anyone of you dies, he will be shown his position morning and evening. If he is one of the people of Paradise then he will be one of the people of Paradise, and if he is one of the people of Hell, then he will be one of the people of Hell, and he will be told, “This is your position, until Allaah (swt) resurrects you on the Day of Resurrection”.

According to al-Muwatta of Imaam Maalik and as-Sunaan, Abu Dawood, “Ka’b ibn Maalik said the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “Verily the soul of the believer is a bird hanging on to the trees of Paradise, until Allaah Swt returns it to its body on the day of Resurrection”

This makes it clear that souls will enter Paradise before the Day of Resurrection.

As for the specious arguments of those who say that Hell has not been created yet, they say: If it was already created now, then it would of necessity have to come to an end of the Day of Resurrection and everyone in it would have to perish because Allaah says: “Everything will perish save His Face” (28:88) and “Everyone shall taste death..” (3:185) The response to this is: If you mean that Paradise does not exist until the Trumpet is blown and people are resurrected from their graves, then this is incorrect and is refuted by the evidence quoted above and other proofs which we have not mentioned here. If you mean that Allaah (swt) has not yet completed the creation of everything that He will prepare for the inhabitants of Paradise and that He is still creating more and more things in it, and that when the believers enter Paradise, Allaah (swt) will create even more things in it, then this is true and cannot be refuted, and the evidence that you give can only mean this, but when you use the aayah – “Everything will perish save His Face” – as evidence, your problem is that you misinterpret this aayah. Using it to prove that Paradise and Hell do not yet exist is like your colleagues using it to prove that they will both be destroyed and their inhabitants will all perish! You and your scholars did not understand the aayah properly; only the leaders (great scholars) of Islaam have understood it properly. They say that “everything” for which Allaah (swt) has decreed destruction and oblivion “will perish” but Paradise and Hell have been created to last forever and never pass away, as has the Throne, which forms the roof of Paradise.

“It was suggested that it meant that everything would perish except His dominion, or whatever was done for His sake. Another suggestion was that when Allaah (swt) revealed the word: “Whatever is on it will perish” – the angels said, “The people of earth are doomed”, and hoped that they would remain. Allaah said that the people of heaven and earth would perish and said, “And invoke not any other ilaah along with Allaah, Laa ilaaha illaa Huwaa. Everything will perish save His Face” (28:88) because He is the Living and does not die. The angels realise that they too were destined to die. Their words should be taken in the light of and reconciled with other clear and unambiguous reports that prove that both Paradise and Hell are eternal”.

(Sharh at-Tahaawiyyah, p.479, see also Siddeeq Hasan Khan, Yaqadhah ula al-‘i’tibaar, p. 37 and ‘Aqeedah as-Safarini 2/230)

The Keepers of Hell

Standing over Hell are MIGHTY and STERN angels who never disobey Allaah subhaanahu wa ta’ala Who has created them. They do whatever He commands them, as Allaah subhaanahu wa ta’ala says:

“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones, over which are [appointed] angels stern [and] severe, who flinch not [from executing] the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do [precisely what] they are commanded.” (66:6)

Their number is nineteen as Allaah (swt) says:

“Soon I will cast him into Hellfire. And what will explain to you what Hellfire is? Naught does it permit to endure, and naught does it leave alone! Darkening and changing the colour of

man! Over it are nineteen [angels as guardians and keepers of Hell]” (74:26-30)

This number was a challenge to the kuffaar who thought that they would easily overcome such a small number, but they did not realise that one of these angels has the strength to confront the whole of mankind on his own. For this reason, Allaah (swt) said in the next aayah:

“And We have set none but angels as guardians of the Fire, and We have fixed their numbers [19] only as a trial for the disbelievers..” (74:31)

Ibn Rajab said, “What is known and well-established among the earlier and later generations (as-Salaf wal- Khalaf) is that the trial came about when the number of angels was mentioned and the kuffaar thought that it was possible to kill them. They thought that they would be able to fight and resist them. They did not know that humankind in its entireity would not be able to resist even ONE of them.” (at-Takhweef min an- Naar, p.174)

These angels are the ones whom Allaah subhaanahu wa ta’ala called the guardians of Hell:

“Those in the Fire will say to the keepers [angels] of Hell: “Call upon your Rabb to lighten for us the torment for a day!” (40:49)

The Location of Hell

The scholars differ as to where Hell is located at present. Some say that it is in the lower earth, other say that it is in the heavens, and yet others refrain from discussing the matter at all. This last group is correct, because there are no sound and clear reports that define the location of Hell. One of those who prefer not to discuss the matter at all is al-Haafidh as-Suyuti who said, “Do not discuss Hell, i.e. do not discuss where it is locaetd, for none knows this except Allaah (swt) and I know of no hadeeth that I could rely on with regard to this issue”. (Siddiq Hasan Khan, Yaqazah uli al-I’tibar, p.47)

Sheikh Waliullaah ad-Dahlawee says in, his ‘Aqeedah, “There is no clear text which states their location (of Paradise and Hell). They are wherever Allaah (swt) wishes them to be, and we cannot comprehend all the universes created by Allaah (swt)” (ibid, p.47). Siddeeq Hasan Khan says, commenting on these words, “I say, that is the best and most cautious of opinions, inshaa’Allaah” (ibid).


 Paradise: the Eternal Abode

Paradise is the tremendous reward which Allaah (swt) has prepared for His beloved (awliyaa) and those who obey Him. It is complete joy and pleasure, where nothing is lacking and nothing can disturb its purity. What Allaah (swt) and His Messenger have told us about it makes out heads spin because our minds are not able to comprehend the greatness of such blessings.

Listen to the words of Allaah (swt) in this hadith qudsi:

“I have prepared for My righteous slaves that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and has never crossed the mind of any human being”.

Then the Prophet (saw) said, “Recite, if you wish: “No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do”. (32:17)

The joys of Paradise are far greater than the pleasures of this world, which pale into insignificance in comparison. al-Bukhaari reports from Sahl ibn Sa’d as-Sa’idee that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: “A space the size of a whip in Paradise is better than this world and al that is in it”. (Fath al-Baari, 6/319, an-Nawawi’s commentary on Muslim 17/166)

Because admittance to Paradise and salvation from the Fire are according to Allaah’s will and judgement, it is a great victory and tremendous success, as Allaah (swt) says:

“Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden, will have indeed attained the object of life [or: been successful]” (3:185)

“Allaah has promised to believers – men and women – Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein [forever], and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allaah. That is the supreme felicity [or success]”. (9:72)

“…and those who obey Allaah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing underneath, to abide therein [forever] and that will be the supreme achievement”. (4:13)

Admittance to Paradise – AL JANNAH WA AN NAAR

There is no doubt that the joy of the believers will be incomparable when they are led, group by honourable group, to the blessed Gardens of Paradise.

When they reach Paradise its gates will be opened for them, and they will be welcomed by noble angels congratulating them on their safe arrival after suffering so much hardship and witnessing so much horror:

“And those who feared their Rabb will be led to the garden in crowds, until, behold, they arrive there; its gates will be opened and its keepers will say “Peace be upon you! Well have you done! Enter here, to dwell therein”. (39:73)

In other words, your words, thoughts and deeds were good so your hearts and souls became pure and for that you deserve Paradise.

The Believers Will Be Purified Before They Enter Paradise

After the Believers have passed over as-Siraat (the bridge over Hell), they will be kept on a bridge between Paradise and Hell, where they will be purified by means of their settling any wrongs that existed between any of them in this world. Then when they enter paradise they will be pure and clean, none of them bearing any ill-will towards another or demanding anything of reported from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (ra) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said:

“The believers will be saved from the Fire then they will be kept on a bridge between Paradise and Hell. They will settle their accounts with one another for any wrongs that existed between them in this world, until they are purified and cleansed, and will be permitted to enter Paradise. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, each of them will know his dwelling in Paradise better than he knew his dwelling in this world”. (Sahih al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab al-Qisas Yawm al-Qiyamah, Fath al-Baari, 11/395)

Our Prophet (saw) will be the first to ask for the gates of paradise to be opened, after Aadam, the father of mankind, and all the other great Prophets refuse this task.

The First People to Enter Paradise – AL JANNAH WA AN NAAR

The first of mankind to enter Paradise will be our Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the first nation to enter Paradise will be his ummah. The first member of this ummah to enter will be Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra).

Ibn Katheer quotes a number of Hadith [an-Nihayah, 2/213] that state this such as the report of Muslim from Anas (ra) according to which the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “I will be the first one to knock at the gates of Paradise”.

Muslim also reported from Anas that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: “I will come to the gates of paradise and ask for it to be opened. The gatekeeper will ask, “Who are you?” I will say, “Muhammad”. The gatekeeper will say, “I was ordered not to open the gate for anyone else before you””.

al-Bukhaari, Muslim and an-Nasaa’ee report from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said: “We are the last, but we will be the first on the Day of Resurrection. We will be the first of mankind to enter Paradise”.

Abu Dawood reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said, “Jibreel came to me, and showed me the gate of Paradise through which my ummah will enter”. Abu Bakr said, “O Messenger of Allaah (saw), would that I had been with you to see it!”. The Messenger of Allaah (saw) “But you, O Abu Bakr, will be the first of my ummah to enter Paradise”.

Those Who Will Enter Paradise Without Being Called to Account

The first group of this ummah who will enter Paradise will be those who were pre-eminent in their imaan, taqwaa, righteous deeds and adherence to the true religion. They will enter Paradise in one rank: the first of them will not enter until the last of them enters, and they will be as beautiful as the full moon.

Al-Bukhaari reports from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said:

“The first group to enter Paradise will be as beautiful as the full moon. They will not spit, blow their noses or excrete. Their vessels will be fo gold, their combs of gold and silver, their incense o aloe, and their sweat of musk. Each of them will have two wives, the marrow of whose leg-bones will be visible through their flesh because of their extreme beauty. There will be no differences or hatred among them (the people of Paradise); their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify Allaah (swt) morning and evening”. (Kitaab Bid’ al-Khalq, Baab Ma Jaa’ fi Sifaat al-Jannah, Fath al-Baari, 6/318; Muslim, at-Tirmidhi)

al-Bukhaari reports from Sahl ibn Sa’d (ra) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: “Seventy thousand – or seven hundred thousand – of my ummah will enter Paradise; the first of them will not enter until the last of them does so, and their faces will look like the full moon”. (Fath al-Baari, 6/319)

It is true that with each one of these seventy, Allaah (swt) will give His Prophet seventy thousand. Ahmad reports with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Bakr (ra) that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said:

“I have been given seventy thousand of my ummah, who will enter Paradise without being called to account. Their faces will be like the full moon, and their hearts will be as one. I asked my Rabb, may He be glorified, for more, and He gave me, along with each of them, seventy thousand more”. (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1/350, no. 1068)

Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hibbaan report with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Umaamah that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said, “My Rabb promised me that seventy thousand of my ummah would enter Paradise without being called to account and without being punished, and with each one will be seventy thousand, and three handfuls of people picked up by my Rabb [i.e. it will be a great number]”. (Saheeh al-Jaami’ 6/108, no. 2988).

The Prophet (saw) described the characteristics of these seventy thousand.

al-Bukhaari reports from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Prophet (saw) said, “I was shown the nations, and I saw a Prophet pass by with a group of his people, and another with a band of his people, another with only ten, another with five, and another on his own (with no followers). Then I looked and saw a large crowd of people. I asked, “O Jibreel, are these my ummah?” He said, “No, but look at the horizon.” So I looked, and saw a huge multitude of people. Jibreel said, “These are your ummah, and those seventy thousand in front will not be called to account or punished.” I asked, “Why?” He said, “They did not treat themselves with branding (cauterisation) or with ruqyaa (charms) and they did not see evil omens in things (i.e they were not superstitious): they put their trust only in their Rabb””. ‘Ukaasha ibn Mihsan stood up and said, “Pray to Allaah (swt) to make me one of them”. The Prophet (saw) said, “O Allaah (swt) make him one of them”. Then another man stood up and said, “Ask Allaah (swt) to make me one of them”. The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Ukaasha has preceded you”. (Saheeh al Bukhaari, Kitaab ar-Riqaaq, Baab Yadhkul

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