by Raiiq Ridwan
Close your eyes and imagine this:
Your every wish
at your finger tips
Perched on a throne, near a stream;
So serene and exquisite a scene
You’ve never seen
Yet you still dream
Gone is pain, gone is fear,
Gone is grief, gone are tears;
Idle speech you shall never hear,
And the Prophets make up your social sphere
The martyrs, righteous and truthful too—
You are from them, and they from you.
They held tightly to what they knew was true,
and to join them, you did too.
Maidens, chaste, who restrain their gaze,
Lost in a glance for days and days.
Fun and frolic, as a child plays
Where the breath that leaves your lips is praise
of the One who gave you more…
Imagine you and your father, with ages the same;
Imagine showing off your book with no shame;
Imagine nights with the sahabah1, with their stories to entertain;
Imagine Muhammad ﷺ2 knowing your name.
What could there be more…
Gardens underneath which rivers flow;
A goal so far, and yet so close;
A journey worth taking, for those who know;
Tell me—Do you not wish to go?
For all the bounties, all the grace,
All the sights and the smells and the tastes,
Will be forgotten, without a trace,
as if frozen in time and space—
When you see His Face.
What an excellent Master, of a miserable slave—
You forgot and He forgave.
He gave you guidance, and you still strayed
You asked for mercy, that He gave—
and more… and more… and more…
This was a poem written by Ammar Alshukry on Jannah. Watch him perform it here. Brother Ammar says, “Imagine this,” and that in and of itself should bring forth in us the zeal to ponder what he is saying. Yet, no one can do justice to the topic, just as Brother Ammar rightly ended with “and more… and more… and more…” Because in jannah (paradise) are things that the eye have never seen, the ear has never heard of, and the mind can’t even imagine (Sahih Bukhari).
I am reminded of my days past, when I was a child growing up in Chittagong, how excited I would be every time my father came back from abroad, or even another town. I knew he would bring something for me, and I would rush to him as soon as he used to ring the doorbell. Now wonder, this is what Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) has promised for those of His slaves who have gained that status to be admitted into paradise? Would you not want to be one of them? When we know these faint descriptions of Paradise, should we not try and rush to fulfill the requirements needed to reach jannah insha`Allah (God willing)? I will mention one verse of the Qur’an that really got me flying, and got me wanting to jump into jannah right now, right here, if only it was possible—
“Circulated among them will be plates and vessels of gold. And therein is whatever the souls desire, and [what] delights the eyes and you will abide therein eternally,” (Qur’an, 43:71).
Think of your food and drink coming on trays of gold and silver. Ponder on the next part of the verse, “And therein is whatever the souls desire.” Think of all that you wanted in life and you never got; think of all that you want in your life that you are unlikely ever to get; and think of all your wildest imaginations which in this limited world is ‘impossible’, and imagine having them as soon as you want them. ‘Impossible’ now breaks down into ‘I’m possible.’ And as the chapter continues, you will never even see anything that you don’t like, and immortality will be granted to you. While millions of dollars are being dumped into research to gain immortality in this world, Allah (swt) is giving us the promise of paradise. He doesn’t want money; He doesn’t want any of our things; instead He only demands obedience and worship, and in return, immortality is ours. “And you will abide therein eternally,” is indeed what every human truly desires: a life that never dies, and one which every wish and desire fulfilled!
Charecteristics of the People of Jannah
Various places in the Qur’an, Allah (swt) describes the People of Jannah. Therefore, I decided to pull out two passages from the Qur’an, one from Surah Ali `Imran (Chapter of the Family of `Imran), and one from Surah Mu’minoon (Chapter of the Believers).
1. Certainly will the believers have succeeded:
2. They who are during their prayer humbly submissive
3. And they who turn away from ill speech
4. And they who are observant of zakah [charity]
5. And they who guard their private parts
6. Except from their wives or those their right hands possess,
for indeed, they will not be blamed –
7. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors –
8. And they who are to their trusts and their promises attentive
9. And they who carefully maintain their prayers –
10. Those are the inheritors
11. Who will inherit al-Firdaus [the highest garden of paradise]. They will abide therein eternally.
The next passage from Surah Ali `Imran discusses charecteristics of the People of Jannah as well. However, chronologically they are placed in a very ‘strategic’ location. First is a description of jannah, and then the description of the people, and then again description of jannah. Therefore, sandwiched between two description of jannah are these people, may Allah (swt) make us of them.
Surah Al Imran
133. And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden [i.e. Paradise] as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous
134. Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good;
135. And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.
136. Those – their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow [in Paradise], wherein they will abide eternally; and excellent i s the reward of the [righteous] workers.
To prevent this article from becoming too long, I will keep it free of any explanations of or commentary on these amazing verses of the Qur’an. However, in the next article on our series, we will look at how Shaykh Saalih ibn Uthaimeen radi allahu `anhu, may Allah have mercy upon him, has described these verses, and insha` Allah derive the benefits from them.