Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala tells us very clearly in verse 120 of Surah Al Mai'da:
"To Allah doth belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth,
And all that is therein,
And it is He who hath power over all things."
The ultimate reward of Jannah with its unimaginable beauty and the magnificent life that awaits the Ummah of Almighty Allah's Beloved Prophet Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam in the Akhhirah (Hereafter) is described and promised in great detail by Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala. So great is His Muhabbat for us that He reminds all of us of the Glorious life, the beauty and the great splendour that awaits us over 193 times in the Most Holy and Glorious Quran.
The meaning of the word Al-Jannah is derived from the Arabic word Jann which primarily means to cover. Hence Al-Jannah means a place that is covered i.e. a place that is covered by trees and plants. In simpler terms, we all know that a place that is covered by trees and plants is called a garden, whence Al-Jannah came to mean a garden.
Says Almighty Allah in verse 35 of Surah Al-Ra'd:
"The parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised! Beneath it flow rivers: Perpetual is the fruits thereof and the shade therein: Such is the End of the Righteous; and the end of the unbelievers is the Fire."
This verse in its derived meaning means fruit and enjoyment of all kinds, spiritual as well as other. The joys of Jannah are not like the joys of this world, which fade away or cloy. The joys of Jannah are pure, everlasting, and without any of the drawbacks which we associate with the joys of the sense. The shade of Jannah that Almighty Allah speaks about literally means shelter, protection and security for we all know that shade is one of the delights of a garden.
In this verse, as in other places, the Fire is contrasted with the Garden, as Misery is contrasted with Bliss. We can also imagine other incidents in contrast with those of the Garden, e.g. with the Fire will be drought, aridity and thirst, instead of beautiful rivers; pain and suffering, instead of perpetual delight; no protection against the fierceness of the heat, as contrasted with the cool shades ever deepening as you proceed in the Garden.
Our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam said:
"Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala has prepared for His righteous servants what no eye hath seen, and no ear had heard, and no heart hath conceived."
In other words, the external sense organs of humanity cannot give an idea of the rewards and blessings of Jannah and the punishments and agony of Jahannum. The true concept of these two abodes are totally and completely beyond any human comprehension. In the Mishkat-ul-Masabih - We are told that the foundation of Jannah is of silver and gold. The earth of Jannah is of musk, its dust is of camphor, its plants of saffron and its rain of perfume. There are eight stages of Jannah popularly called doors. They are
>Darul - Qarar
and Jannathul-Ferdous (highest stage of heaven.)
Our Beloved prophet Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam said that if any one of his Ummah seeks to enter Jannah they should always pray for Jannathul Ferdous as it is the highest stage of paradise. It is stated in a Hadith that, when Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala created Jannah, He told Sayyidina Jibra?eel Ameen Alayhis Salatu Wasallam to go and visit Jannah. Upon his return from Jannah, Sayyidina Jibra'eel Ameen reported:
"O Allah! By Your Greatness and Glory, whoever comes to know of it, will strive with all their resources to enter it"
That is to say, its pleasures, comforts, enjoyments and untold blessings are so intense that there will be no body who, after knowing and believing, will not strive their utmost for admission into it. Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala then surrounded Jannah with hardships and made it compulsory to display Imaan and Taqwa, perform regular Salaat, give Zakat, observe fasting during Ramadan, partake in Jihad, perform Hajj, display love and Muhabbat for all those around you, obedience to parents etc., as a pre-requisite for admission into Jannah. Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata?ala then instructed Sayyidina Jibra'eel Ameen Alayhis Salatu Wasallam to visit it again. Upon his return he reported to Almighty Allah:
"O Ya Rabbal Alameen! I fear that hardly anybody will be able to enter it."
Jannathul-Ferdous has a tree at its farthest limit called "the farthest Lot tree" i.e. ? The Seedratul Muntaha? beyond which there is no power of man to proceed. This tree is so big that it will take a rider on a swift horse a hundred years just to cover the shade of this tree.
Similarly, after Almighty Allah created Jahannum (Hell), He ordered Sayyidina Jibra'eel Ameen Alayhis Salatu Wasallam (angel) to visit it. After witnessing the punishments, the horrors, the afflictions and tortures of Jahannum, he submitted:
"O Allah! I swear by Thy Glory and Thy Grandeur that if anyone comes to know of the conditions in Jahannum they will do everything possible never to go near it."
Almighty Allah then surrounded Jahannum with acts of indulgence, such as Shirk, Fitnah, lying and back-biting, adultery and fornication, drinking, cruelty and disrespect towards parents, stealing, Ribah, pride and disregard of the Divine Commandments etc., and then asked Sayyidina Jibra'eel Ameen Alayhis Salatu Wasallam to visit it again. He saw it and submitted:
"My Lord and Creator! I fear that hardly anybody will be able to escape it."
Is Jannah and Jahannum located in any particular geographic area? This also baffles our conception. However, Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala through His Infinite Mercy and Bounty reminds us in verse 133 in Surah Al-Imran:
"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) Of the heavens and the earth, prepared for the righteous."
The picture of Jahannum is drawn in a concrete manner for easy human conception in the words of the Most Holy and Noble Quran. It is said that the fire of Jahannum burnt for a thousand years then it became red. Again it was burnt for an additional thousand years and then it became black. It is at this stage black with the redness of the flame.
There are seventy thousand valleys in Jahannum with seventy six thousand hillocks in each valley. There is a valley in Jahannum called Jabal Hazan from which this section of Jahannum seeks refuge seventy times a day from the intensity of the punishment and the heat. Jahannum is so deep that if a rock is thrown into it, it will take more than seventy years to reach the bottom. It is also mentioned in the Mishkat-ul-Masabih that the fire of this world that Almighty Allah blessed humanity with originated from just one single flame of Jahannum that had to be washed seventy times before it was brought down to earth. Just one drop of the stench of Jahannum is enough to kill the entire human race.
Says Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata?ala in verses 6, 7 and 8 of Surah Al-Mulk:
"For those who reject Their Lord (and Cherisher) Is the chastisement of Jahannum: And evil is (such) destination."
"When they are cast therein, they will hear the
(terrible) drawing in of its breath even as it blazes forth."
"Almost bursting with fury: Every time a
Group is cast therein, its Keepers will ask: "Did no warner come to you?"
Says Almighty Allah in verses 17,18 and 19 of Surah At-Tur:
"As for the righteous, they will be in Gardens, and in Happiness."
"Enjoying the (Bliss) which their Lord hath bestowed on them, and their Lord shall deliver them from the Chastisement of the Fire."
(To them will be said:)
"Eat and drink ye, with profit and health, because of your good deeds."
The righteous will be in Bliss far beyond their merits: their sins and faults will Insha'Allah be forgiven by the grace of Almighty Allah, which will save them from the penalties which they may have incurred from human frailty.
And says Almighty Allah in verse 21 of Surah At-Tur:
"And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join with their families: Nor shall we deprive them (Of the fruit) of their works: (Yet) is each individual In pledge of his deeds.
As practising Muslims and as sincere believers in Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala we should for ever be most thankful to our Creator and sustainer who has favoured the Ummah of his beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallalahoo Alayhi Wasallam over all other nations of the world. The great Muhabbat that Almighty Allah has for us is clearly shown in verse 110 of Surah Al-Imraan where Allah has confirmed our status:
"You are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind. Enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, And believing in Allah."
In view of this wonderful declaration by our Glorious Creator, we must for now and forever strive with all our resources to glorify and worship none other than Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wat'ala. The logical conclusion to the evolution of religious history is a non-sectarian, non-racial, non-doctrinal, universal religion, which Islam claims to be. For Islam is complete submission to the Will of Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal. This implies (1) Faith. (2) doing right, being an example to others to eschew wrong, and having the power to see that wrong and injustice are defeated. Islam therefore lives, not for itself, but for mankind.
O servants' of Almighty Allah Jallah Wa'ala! Let us surrender ourselves completely to our Glorious Creator and Exalted Creator - Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal. Give back to Him both the price and the merchandise. Say to Him: "Our souls, wealth and paradise are Yours. Everything besides You O Allah belongs to You. We want nothing but You O Rabbul Ala'meen." You are Gafoorroor Raheem and You are our Creator and Maker.
Ya Ay'yu hal Muslimoon! Let us search for the good neighbour before we look for a house. Look for the companion on the road before we embark on our journey. We who are asking for Paradise, the buying and building of it is done today, not tomorrow. Increase our rivers and let the their waters flow today not tomorrow. Let us all beg for forgiveness while the door of forgiveness is still open to us.
O you who believe! Be clean and pure, and seek not occasions for quibbles, nor go after sorcery or false gods. Be faithful in your trusts, learn obedience, and settle your quarrels under the guidance of Almighty Allah's Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. Keep away from hypocrisy and every kind of falsehood. Then will you be admitted to the glorious fellowship with the highest and noblest in the spiritual world.
May He in All His Infinite Mercy, Glory and Bounty grant the Ummah of His Beloved Nabee S.A.W. with Sabir, Imaan, Taqwa and Muhabbat so that we may share His Blessings and Bounty with our children, our families and with the rest of humanity. "O Allah! Increase us with beneficial knowledge, save us from the punishment of the grave and the Akhirah and forever keep us on the path of Seerathal Mustaqeem."
By Moulana Abdul Hamid Lachporia