The Pleasure in Paradise
The reality of Paradise is something which people will never be able to understand until they actually enter it, but Allah(mean one God)(swt) has shown us glimpses of it in the Quran. He has described it as a place essentially different to the life of this world, both in the very nature and purpose of life, as well as the types of delights which people will enjoy therein. The Quran tells people about Paradise, which God offers to them, describes its great blessings, and proclaims its beauties to everyone. It informs people that Paradise is one of two ways of life prepared for them in the after world, and that every good thing will be theirs in Paradise to a degree that surpasses our present ability to imagine. It also shows that Paradise is a place where all blessings have been created perfectly and where people will be offered everything their souls and hearts will desire, and that people will be far removed from want and need, anxiety or sadness, sorrow and regret. Every kind of beauty and blessing exists in Paradise and will be revealed with a perfection never seen or known before. God has prepared such blessings there as a gift, and these will be offered only to people with whom He is pleased.
But what is the nature of these delights in Paradise, and how will it be different from the delights of this world? We will try to highlight a few of these differences.
Pure delight without pain and suffering
While people in this world experience some delight, they also face much toil and suffering. If one was to scrutinize the life which they live, they will find that the amount of hardship they face is much more than the ease and comfort. As for the life of the Hereafter, there will be no hardship nor suffering in it, and people will live therein in pure joy and delight. All the causes of sorrow, pain and suffering which people experience in this life will be absent in the Hereafter. Let’s take a look at some of these causes.
When one thinks of success in this life, they usually conjure the image of big houses, fine jewelry and clothing, and expensive cars; financial stability is seen to be the key to a happy life. To most people, success is inseparably related to wealth, even though this is the furthest from the truth. How many times have we seen the wealthiest of people living such miserable lives, that it sometimes even leads them to commit suicide! Wealth is something which humans in their very nature desire at any cost, and this desire has been created for a great and wise purpose. When this desire is not satiated, it causes some extent of grief in a person. For this reason, God has promised the inhabitants of Paradise that they will have all that they imagined as far as wealth and belongings are concerned, both for those who were extremely poor, experiencing even hunger and thirst, to those well-to-do but who desired even more. God gives us a glimpse of this when he says:
“... there will be there all that the souls could desire, all that the eyes could delight in …” (Quran 43:71)
“Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent forth (good deeds) in days past!” (Quran 69:24)
“… They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade. They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good [is] the recompense! How beautiful a couch [is there] to recline on!” (Quran 18:31)
Disease and Death
Another cause of pain and suffering in this life is the death of a loved one or disease, which are both non-existent in Paradise. None will feel any sickness or pain in Paradise. The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said about the people of Paradise:
“They will never fall ill, blow their noses or spit.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
None will die in Paradise. All shall live eternally enjoying the pleasures therein. The Prophet Muhammad said that a caller will call out in Paradise when people enter it:
“Indeed may you be healthy and never be sick again, may you live and never die again, may you be young and never grow feeble again, may you enjoy, and never feel sorrow and regret again.” (Saheeh Muslim)
As for the remorse felt due to a rift in personal relationships, people will never hear any evil or hurting comments or speech in Paradise. They will only hear good words and words of peace. God says:God has said in the Quran:When someone converts to Islam, God forgives all of his previous sins and evil deeds. A man called Amr came to the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and said, “Give me your right hand so that I may give you my pledge of loyalty.” The Prophet stretched out his right hand. Amr withdrew his hand. The Prophet said: “What has happened to you, O Amr?” He replied, “I intend to lay down a condition.” The Prophet asked: “What condition do you intend to put forward?” Amr said, “That God forgive my sins.” The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said: “Didn’t you know that converting to Islam erases all previous sins?”
After converting to Islam, the person will be rewarded for his or her good and bad deeds according to the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad: “Your Lord, Who is blessed and exalted, is most merciful. If someone intends to do a good deed but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him. And if he does do it, (a reward of) ten to seven hundred or many more times (the reward of the good deed), will be recorded for him. And if someone intends to do a bad deed but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him. And if he does do it, a bad deed will be recorded against him or God will wipe it out.”
The Islam that was revealed to Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is the continuation and culmination of all the preceding revealed religions, and hence it is for all times and all peoples. This status of Islam is sustained by glaring facts. Firstly, there is no other revealed book extant in the same form and content as it was revealed. Secondly, no other revealed religion has any convincing claim to provide guidance in all walks of human life for all times. But Islam addresses humanity at large and offers basic guidance regarding all human problems. Moreover, it has withstood the test of fourteen hundred years and has all the potentialities of establishing an ideal society as it did under the leadership of the last Prophet Muhammad.
It was a miracle that Prophet Muhammad could bring even his toughest enemies to the fold of Islam without adequate material resources. Worshippers of idols, blind followers of the ways of forefathers, promoters of tribal feuds, and abusers of human dignity and blood became the most disciplined nation under the guidance of Islam and its Prophet. Islam opened before them vistas of spiritual heights and human dignity by declaring righteousness as the sole criterion of merit and honor. Islam shaped their social, cultural, moral and commercial life with basic laws and principles which are in conformity with human nature and hence applicable in all times as human nature does not change.
It is so unfortunate that the Christian West instead of sincerely trying to understand the phenomenal success of Islam during its earlier time, considered it as a rival religion. During the centuries of the Crusades, this trend gained much force and impetus and huge amount of literature was produced to tarnish the image of Islam. But Islam has begun to unfold its genuineness to the modern scholars whose bold and objective observations on Islam belie all the charges leveled against it by the so-called unbiased orientalists.
Here we furnish some observations on Islam by acknowledged non-Muslim scholars of modern time. Truth needs no advocates to plead on its behalf, but the prolonged malicious propaganda against Islam has created great confusion even in the minds of free and objective thinkers.
We hope that the following observations would contribute to initiating an objective evaluation of Islam.
Canon Taylor, Paper read before the Church Congress at Walverhamton, Oct. 7, 1887, Quoted by Arnond in The Preaching of Islam, pp. 71-72:
“It (Islam) replaced monkishness by manliness. It gives hope to the slave, brotherhood to mankind, and recognition of the fundamental facts of human nature.”
Sarojini Naidu, Lectures on “The Ideals of Islam”, see Speeches and Writings of Sarojini Naidu, Madras, 1918, p. 167:
“Sense of justice is one of the most wonderful ideals of Islam, because as I read in the Qur’an I find those dynamic principles of life, not mystic but practical ethics for the daily conduct of life suited to the whole world.”
De Lacy O’Leary, Islam at the Crossroads, London, 1923, p.8:
“History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”
H.A.R. Gibb, Whither Islam, London, 1932, p. 379:
“But Islam has a still further service to render to the cause of humanity. It stands after all nearer to the real East than Europe does, and it possesses a magnificent tradition of inter-racial understanding and cooperation. No other society has such a record of success in uniting in an equality of status, of opportunity, and of endeavors so many and so various races of mankind... Islam has still the power to reconcile apparently irreconcilable elements of race and tradition. If ever the opposition of the great societies of East and West is to be replaced by cooperation, the mediation of Islam is an indispensable condition. In its hands lies very largely the solution of the problem with which Europe is faced in its relation with East. If they unite, the hope of a peaceful issue is immeasurably enhanced. But if Europe, by rejecting the cooperation of Islam, throws it into the arms of its rivals, the issue can only be disastrous for both.”
G.B. Shaw, The Genuine Islam, Vol. 1, No. 81936:
“I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.”
“Those who have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if one offered it as a ransom. They will have a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers.” (Quran 3:91)
So, this life is our only chance to win Paradise and to escape from Hell fire, because if someone dies in disbelief, he will not have another chance to come back to this world to believe. As God has said in the Quran about what is going to happen for the unbelievers on the Day of Judgment:
“If you could but see when they are set before the Fire (Hell) and say, “Would that we might return (to the world)! Then we would not reject the verses of our Lord, but we would be of the believers!” (Quran 6:27)
But no one will have this second opportunity.
The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said: “The happiest man in the world of those doomed to the Fire (Hell) on the Day of Judgment will be dipped in the Fire once. Then he will be asked, ‘Son of Adam, did you ever see any good? Did you ever experience any blessing?’ So he will say, ‘No, by God, O Lord!’”
“They will not hear therein ill speech or commission of sin. But only the saying of: Peace! Peace!” (Quran 56:25-26)
There will be no enmity between people nor ill-feelings:
“And We shall remove from their breasts any (mutual) hatred or sense of injury (which they had, if at all, in the life of this world)…” (Quran 7:43)
The Prophet said:
“There will be no hatred or resentment among them, their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify God, morning and evening.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
People will have the best of companions in the Hereafter, who were also the best people in the world:
“And whoever obeys God and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom God has bestowed favor – of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions!” (Quran 4:69)
The hearts of the people of Paradise will be pure, their speech will be good, their deeds righteous. There will be no hurtful, upsetting, offensive or provocative talk there, for Paradise is free of all worthless words and deeds. If we were to discuss all the causes for anguish in this life, we would surely find its absence or opposite to be true in Paradise.Real happiness and peace can be found in submitting to the commands of the Creator and the Sustainer of this world. God has said in the Quran:
“Truly, in remembering Allah(swt) do hearts find rest.” (Quran 13:28)
On the other hand, the one who turns away from the Quran will have a life of hardship in this world. Allah(swt) has said:
“But whoever turns away from the Quran, he will have a hard life, and We will raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.” (Quran 20:124)
This may explain why some people commit suicide while they enjoy the material comfort money can buy. For example, look at Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), formerly a famous pop singer who used to earn sometimes more than $150,000 a night. After he converted to Islam, he found true happiness and peace, which he had not found in material success.
 i.e. neither believes in the Quran nor acts on its orders.
 The present mailing address of Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), in case you would like to ask him about his feelings after he converted to Islam, is: 2 Digswell Street, London N7 8JX, United Kingdom.Perhaps the best way to begin a discussion of the relationship between Islam and peace and security is to deal with a statement that is heard often these days: “Islam means peace.” If the one making this statement means that the actual meaning of the word “Islam” is “peace,” then this is definitely wrong. It is true that the word Islam and the Arabic word for peace (salaam) both come from the same root. This demonstrates that there is going to be a relationship between the two. It is vitally important to understand what that relationship is and how that relationship occurs.
The word “Islam” is the verbal noun of the verb aslama. This verb is defined as, “He resigned or submitted himself.” When used with respect to God, it means, “He became submissive to God.” Thus, Islam is about an individual recognizing who his Lord is and recognizing that his attitude toward his Lord and Creator should be one of submission and worship.
This understanding of what the word Islam means is vital for understanding the relationship between Islam and peace. Islam, the submission to God, is what leads to true peace. True peace—both internally and externally—can only be the result of the correct implementation of Islam. Of course, what is meant here is not simply peace as in “an absence of a state of war.” Peace means much more than that. One can be free of war yet still suffer from anxiety or despair and lack peace. Here, it is referring to a complete sense of peace. Islam brings about a complete tranquility and peace of mind that is the result of realizing that one is believing and acting in accord with the guidance of one’s Creator. This internal peace can then spread to the family, the community, the society and the world as a whole. It is a special form of tranquility that can only be produced by the proper belief in God. Hence, God says:
“Indeed, there has come to you from God a Light and a clear Book wherewith God guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace, and He brings them out of darkness by His Will unto light and guides them to a Straight Way” (Quran 5:15-16)
In fact, God is calling humans to the abode of eternal peace:
“God calls to the home of peace (Paradise) and guides whom He wills to a Straight Path” (Quran 10:25)
For those who follow this path, their ultimate reward will be the abode of peace:
“For them will be the home of peace (Paradise) with their Lord” (Quran 6:127)
In sum, it is not correct to say, “Islam means peace,” but certainly true peace comes only via Islam.
How Islam Brings About Peace
True and complete peace can only be had when the individuals themselves achieve internal peace. This results from Islam or the true submission to God alone. This is the only way of life consistent with the nature of human beings. In fact, this is what can be called the “true life.” Thus, God says:
“O you who believe! Answer God (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which will give you life…” (Quran 8:24)
Knowing God is what can bring about true contentment in the soul. If the individual does not know his Creator, his soul will always be yearning for something that is missing in his life. He will always be agitated and confused. If and when he seeks things other than God—even things which he believes is his “god”—he will eventually end up in despair when he realizes that all of the things that he seeks after are not the one Being that his heart is yearning for.
Ibn Taimiyyah wrote:
You must know that a human’s need for Allah(swt) that he worship Him and not associate any partner with Him¾ is a need concerning which there is no comparison that one can make an analogy to. In some matters, it resembles the need of the body for food and drink. However, there are many differences between the two.
The reality of a human being is in his heart and soul. These cannot be prosperous except through [their relation] with God, concerning whom there is no other god. There is[, for example,] no tranquility in this world except in His remembrance. Verily, man is proceeding toward his Lord and he shall meet Him. He must definitely meet Him. There is no true goodness for him except in meeting Him. If the human experiences any pleasure or happiness other than in God, that joy and happiness will not endure. It will move from one nature to another or from one person to another. The person will enjoy it at one time or only some of the time. In fact, sometimes the thing he enjoys and gets pleasure from does not bring him pleasure or enjoyment. Sometimes it even hurts him when it comes to him. And he is even more harmed by that. But his God is definitely always with him under every circumstance and at all times. Wherever he is, He is with him [by His knowledge and aid]…
If someone worships anything other than God¾ even if he loves it and attains some love in this world and some form of pleasure from that¾ [that false worship] will destroy the person in a way greater than the harmful displeasure that comes to a person who ate poison…
You must know that if anyone loves something other than for the sake of God, then that beloved thing will definitely be a cause of harm and punishment… If somebody loves something other than for the sake of God, that thing will harm him whether it is with him or he is without it…
All of the wealth and the goods of this world will not be able to bring the human such true internal contentment. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet(SAW), may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:
“True richness is not via much property and belongings but true richness is in self-contentment.”
Another hadith states:
“True richness is the richness of the heart. True poverty is the poverty of the heart.”
Once an individual is at peace with himself and free of any internal agitations, he can then enter into truly peaceful relations with others. He will have no reason to feel resentment towards the rest of the world—those whom he may blame for his lack of internal peace. In fact, since his goal is that of the Hereafter, he has no reason even to feel envy or rage towards others concerning what they have received in this world—while envy and rage strike at the very root of peaceful relations towards others.
 E. W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (Cambridge, England: The Islamic Texts Society, 1984), vol.1, p. 1413.
 On this point, one can read Sayyed Qutb, Islam and Universal Peace (Indianapolis, IN: American Trust Publications, 1977), passim.Societies are made up of different individuals who vary in race, ethnicity and religion. Today, there is much talk about pluralistic societies and how can societal cohesion be promoted in such societies. The approach to Islam in this question is unique. In the process, it creates the strongest bond possible.
Before getting to a description of the strongest bond, it is important to note that Islam strikes at the very root of societal disunity: racism and prejudice. One can pass as many laws as one wills but as long as this disease is rooted in the heart, there can never be true social cohesion. Nothing highlights this fact more than the debates going on in Europe and the U.S. over immigration. Hatred for “foreigners,” even those who are full members and citizens of society, will always prevent true social cohesion.
Islam has wiped that disease away with one verse that indicates wherein one’s true worth lies. God has said:
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with God is that (believer) who has piety and God-consciousness. Verily, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Quran 49:13)
Hence, race and ethnicity should have no effect whatsoever with respect to societal cohesion in the eyes of a Muslim. There is, though, a difference that Islam does take into consideration: the difference of faith and religion. Hence, this discussion of societal cohesion will be focused on societal cohesion in the context of a pluralistic society with respect to religion.
The Bond of Faith
If one were to ask many today as to what the strongest bond there could possibly be among people, most of them would probably answer something like blood relationship, ethnic origin, nationality and so forth. Actually, the Quran shows that these types of bonds are not that strong if the foundation behind them is weak. In the Quran, God gives the examples of Cain and Abel, who were two brothers yet one killed the other, as well as the example of the brethren of Joseph, who cast Joseph into a well. Those were all blood relatives; however, they put this world above their relationship with others. Such is occurring today throughout the world. The ties between the people are subservient to their desires, goals and wants of this world. Many individuals are quickly and easily willing to sell out their own kith and kin to get ahead in this world or to get something they want in this world.
All of this demonstrates one thing: When the ties between people are based on worldly considerations, even if they are originally blood ties, then those ties are given up when the worldly considerations so demand them to be given up. Hence, those are not the strongest ties that can be built among people. The strongest ties that can be achieved between people are the ties of Islam and true faith. These are the bonds forged between people that are solely the result of their belief in God and their love for God. This was clearly pointed out by God in the Quran when God stated:
“And He has united their (believers’) hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but God has united them. Certainly, He is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Quran 8:63)
God also says:
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of God, and be not divided among yourselves, and remember God’s favor on you, for you were enemies and He joined your hearts together, so that by His grace, you became brethren and you were on a brink of a Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus God makes clear His signs to you, that you may be guided.” (Quran 3:103)
The Quran and the Sunnah show that the bond of faith is the strongest of all bonds. It represents humans from all over the world coming together for one purpose only: to establish the worship God alone. To achieve that goal, Muslims work together and help one another in compassion mercy and love.
There are actually numerous texts of the Quran and hadith that demonstrate beyond any doubt that Muslims are to form one universal, international brotherhood and sisterhood. For the sake of brevity, only a few examples of those texts will be presented here:
“The believers, men and women, are auliyaa (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoining what is good and eradicate what is evil. They offer the prayers and pay the zakat and obey God and His Messenger. Surely, God will have His Mercy on them. Surely, God is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Quran 9:71)
Another verse reads:
“The believers are nothing else but brothers…” (Quran 49:10)
God also says:
“Muhammad(saw) is the Messenger of Allah(swt), and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers and merciful among themselves…” (Quran 48:29)
The Prophet(saw), may the mercy and blessings of Allah(swt) be upon him, said:
“The believer with respect to another believer is like a building, one portion strengthening the other.” (Saheeh al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim)
Another hadith states:
“The parable of the believers with respect to their love, mercy and compassion for one another is like that of the body: if one of its limbs is hurting, the remainder of the body is afflicted by sleeplessness and fever.” (Saheeh Muslim)
But this great brotherhood of Islam is not something simply theoretical. It is, in fact, well defined and supported by practical guidance. It has certain basic components to it and specific rights and obligations that are spelled out in the Quran and Sunnah. These rights and obligations are due to every Muslim, of every time and place.Islam instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation. Within a few years of the spread of Islam, great civilizations and universities were flourishing. The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas, and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history. Many crucial systems, such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and the concept of zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from the Muslim world. Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery, such as the astrolabe, the quadrant, and good navigational maps, were also developed by Muslims.
The Astrolabe: One of the most important scientific instruments developed by Muslims which was also used widely in the West until modern times.
Muslim physicians paid much attention to surgery and developed many surgical instruments as seen in this old manuscript.