The path to paradise is outlined most brilliantly in the following verse of Surah Ahzaab (The Confederates):
إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّـهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّـهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.
This verse works like a blueprint. By so powerfully mentioning both men and women together yet separately, Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), highlights the equality and justice with which He views His servants. It is this justice that also affords women a distinct status in general society.
Surah Ahzaab empowers the Muslim woman in ways previously not seen in Arabia, specifically with regard to inheritance and marriage. Interestingly, it is reported that this verse was revealed after Umm Salamah, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), had requested greater mention of women in the Qur’an1.
- Belief. The believing Muslim submits entirely to Islam. Surrendering one’s own will and desires to that of Allah (swt), the Muslim prefers the Divine Commands and Decree over all else.
- Faith. A greater degree than belief, faith requires accepting the six pillars (Allah, the Angels, the Books, the Prophets, the Last Day and the Divine Decree). It is to worship Allah (swt) with ihsaan (excellence)—knowing that Allah can see us—and implementing knowledge into action.
- Obedience. True obedience is omnipresent—on one’s heart and tongue and limbs, in every place and at every point in time. Whether at the grocery store or at a relative’s house, at the workplace or at the mosque, the obedient Muslim is compliant to Allah (swt) with every action and every statement. No deed is too small. “And to Him belongs whoever is in the heavens and earth. All are to Him devoutly obedient,” (Qur’an, 30:26).
- Truthfulness. The siddeeqeen (truthful ones) have a rank alongside the prophets of Allah (swt). A believer might be many things across the vicissitudes of life, but can never be liar2. Avoiding the hypocrisy in lying3, the Muslim always speaks the truth, solely to please Allah (swt).
- Patience. Prophet Ya’qub `alayhi as salaam (peace upon him) said it best: “Patience is most fitting,” (Qur’an, 12:18). And Allah (swt) says, “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, God is with the patient,” (Qur’an, 2:153). The patient Muslim trusts that Allah (swt)’s decisions are the best possible, and knows that with it, ease and reward are most certainly ahead.
- Humility. Across the spectrum of life, humility refines and beautifies a person. The Muslim is aware that all blessings are from Allah (swt), and humility is in return an essential form of gratitude. Equally necessary is humility before people. Good character is the essence of Islam, and without it, a person’s faith is incomplete.
- Generosity. Spending on one’s parents, relatives and the poor and needy purifies wealth and intentions. Financial assistance is encouraged, but spending one’s time and efforts in these causes is just as laudable.
- Fasting. A deed that in turn increases one’s obedience, patience and humility is also a pillar of Islam. The Muslim prioritizes fasting days both involuntary (during Ramadan) and voluntary (three days of each lunar month, for example).
- Modesty. Physically adorning one’s self with the dress code mandated by Allah (swt) coupled with the appropriate characteristics in thought and speech illustrates modesty. Spiritually, the Muslim is modest in character. Modesty is a “branch of faith”4, and a hallmark of Islam.
- Remembrance of Allah (swt). On the tongue, in the heart and in actions, the remembrance of Allah (swt) is habitual for the Muslim. Never forgetting Allah (swt) is a responsibility, whether by uttering “subhan Allah” (glory to God) upon seeing a beautiful sunset, or guarding one’s prayers with due diligence on a daily basis.
For those who solidify these ten qualities in their daily routines, Allah (swt) promises forgiveness and a great reward. Principally, it means entry into Paradise, along with a clean slate in the Hereafter, freedom from worries and concerns, limitless enjoyment and eternal peace. More simply, an abode better than any human being could ever imagine.
May we learn to embody these qualities and become worthy of the Almighty’s forgiveness and reward. Ameen.
Anum obtained a Bachelor of Science in Global Business and later a Master of Public Affairs (MPA). After graduating, Anum turned her focus and attention toward the study of the Qur’an, and has recently completed a comprehensive Qur’anic tafseer certificate course. She plans on teaching, insha’Allah after completing her teacher certification. Her interests include teaching, blogging, reading and cooking, as well as Islamic studies and history.
1 Musnad Ahmad 6: 305; An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:431; At-Tabari 20:270
2 Imam Malik, Mishkaat Book 56, Hadith 19
3 Sahih al Bukhari 2749, Book 55, Hadith 12
4 Sunan an-Nasa’i 5005, Book 47, Hadith 21
- Umm Salamah radi Allahu `anha (may Allah be pleased with her) the wife of the Prophet said, “I said to the Prophet, ‘Why is it that we we are not mentioned in the Qur’an as men are?’ Then one day without my realizing it, he was calling from the Minbar and I was combing my hair, so I tied my hair back then I went out to my chamber in my house, and I started listening out, and he was saying from the Minbar: O you who believe, indeed Allah says in His Book: (Verily, the Muslims: men and women, the believers: men and women…) to the end of the Ayah.”
[Musnad Ahmad 6:305; al-Sunan al-Kubra al-Nasa’i 6:431; At-Tabari 20: 270]
- Malik related to me that Safwan ibn Sulaym said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked, ‘Can the Believer be a coward?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He was asked, ‘Can the Believer be a miser?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He was asked, ‘Can the Believer be a liar?’ He said, ‘No.’ “
[Imam Malik, Mishkaat Book 56, Hadith 19]
- Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet ﷺ said, “The signs of a hypocrite are three: 1. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. 2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise). 3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest. (If you keep something as a trust with him, he will not return it).”
[Sahih al Bukhari 2749, Book 55, Hadith 12]
- It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Faith has seventy-odd branches, the most virtuous of which is La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and the least of which is removing something harmful from the road. And modesty (Al-Haya’) is a branch of faith.'”
[Sunan an-Nasa’i 5005, Book 47, Hadith 21]