The term ‘Jannah’ is derived from an Arabic word meaning hidden, cover, or concealed, as Jannah is a place which is hidden from sight and covered by trees and plants. Jannah is often translated to mean ‘Green Garden’. Jannah or Paradise is understood to be located in the region of the Seventh Heaven. The English word ‘Heaven’ refers to the realm of seven Heavens/Skies that hover above the Earth.
As with other aspects of Islam, Muslims are obligated to believe in the concept of Jannah (Paradise) in order to complete their faith. Jannah is the eternal of radiant joy, peace, and bliss in the afterlife, reserved only for faithful and righteous individuals who during their lifetimes believed in the One and Only God–the Ultimate Creator, His Message, and His Prophets and Messengers–and lived righteous lives, following the commandments of God and guarding themselves against evil. It will be the final destination for those entering Paradise, who will dwell there forever and never taste evil or death.
Paradise is exalted, a place of absolute peace and contentment. A person will attain his or her complete fulfillment in this haven, where their wishes will be granted with no restrictions. Inhabitants will see only what they desire and listen to sounds that give them pleasure. Unlike the joys of the world we inhabit, the joys of Paradise will never fade away and are pure and everlasting.
A person in Paradise will find their company in the righteous, with many families reuniting. Paradise will be free of emptiness, sorrow, hate, boredom, jealousy, handicap, illness, uneasiness, fatigue, diseases, hurt, distress, and anxiety. The shade of Jannah will be a shelter of protection and security, and no fear or sadness will afflict its residents.
The bounties, the beauties, and the pleasures of Paradise are so great, so vast, so pure, so astonishing, that it is beyond the abilities of a person’s mind to understand; so no heart or mind can ever comprehend them. Much like a blind person cannot possibly see or describe colors accurately in this world, a person cannot possibly imagine the delights of Paradise; delights so immense that they have no basis of comparison in the earthly realm. No one will ever be able to fully understand or grasp the true realm of Paradise until they enter its bounds. God’s Messenger stated: “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘I have prepared for my righteous slaves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and the mind of no man has conceived. God, the Almighty in his Mercy, has given mankind only glimpses of the descriptions of Paradise in the Holy Quran and in narrations of our Prophet Muhammad; thus providing an idea of what one can look forward to in Paradis, as encouragement and inspiration for one to strive to please their Lord and enter Paradise.
In terms of the ethereal rewards of its residence, Paradise is the opposite of this world. While some delight and pleasures do exist in this world, our environment contains hardship, toil, suffering, sadness, discomfort, and disappointment. All such feelings will be non-existent in Paradise.
Paradise was created before the creation of mankind by the Almighty, and this ethereal place will never come to an end or cease to exist. The mansions, food, clothing, and jewelry found in Paradise will be far superior to and greater than their counterparts of this world. Unlike the joys and pleasures of this world, the pleasures of Paradise are ever-lasting. One will never grow tired in Paradise, where delights and pleasures will only increase each time as they indulge in them.
The first of mankind to enter Paradise will be the last and final Prophet of God, Muhammad peace be upon him; and the first nation to enter Paradise will be his nation, the final nation. Generally speaking, the poor will enter Paradise before the rich. Amongst the first to enter Paradise are Al-Shuhada (the martyrs), the ones who are chaste and proud; and the slaves who worship Allah with devotion, sincerity, and faithfulness towards their Master. Amongst the ones that will enter Paradise first are the 70,000 individuals who will be allowed entrance without any questioning or punishment and according to the narration of our Prophet. Arriving with each thousand of them will be another seventy thousand, plus three handfuls of the handfuls of our Lord, may He be Glorified.
Paradise consists of seven levels, with each level divided into many different stages, levels, and categories. Each level up in Paradise consists of greater joys and pleasures, and is more amazing than the level beneath it. The lowest level of Paradise is ten times the size of this whole Universe. The highest level of Paradise is called Jannat Ul-Firdous. Our Prophet stated: “Paradise has one hundred grades, each of which is as big as the distance between Heaven and Earth. The highest of them is Firdaus and the best of them is Firdaus. The Throne is above Firdaus and from it spring forth the rivers of Paradise. If you ask of Allah Glorified And Exalted Be He), ask Him for Firdaus.”
Inhabitants of Paradise from all levels will be able to communicate with one another. Whereas one would be able to visit levels beneath them, one will not be able to live or enjoy the pleasures of levels higher than he or she inhabits.
Paradise consist of Eight Gates. Each Gate is named and reserved exclusively for individuals who performed specific good deeds. One of the gates is reserved exclusively for those who fast; another one is meant for those who struggle in the way of God. One gate is for those who pray, and another is for those who give charity. Some will be called to enter from all Eight Gates. The gate at the far right will be for those who will not be held to any accountability. Everyone else will enter Paradise with the rest of their nations, through the other seven gates. The Gates are so vast that the distance between two panels within just one of the gates of Paradise is that of a distance of forty years’ walking–still there will come a time when the ethereal realm gets very crowded.
Before entering Paradise from its gates, one would feel its breeze and inhale its fragrance; both so strong that they can be experienced 40 years away. When the Doors open, upon entering, Angels will greet and congratulate its inhabitants with the greatest of kindness and peace.
“But those who feared their Lord will be driven to Paradise in groups until, when they reach it while its gates have been opened and its keepers say, “Peace be upon you; you have become pure; so enter it to abide eternally therein,” [they will enter]” (Quran 39:73)
The dwellers of Paradise will say:
The people of Paradise will live in pure delight without pain and suffering. No one will feel any anger, sadness, sorrow, emptiness, resentment, envy, jealousy, or bitterness towards others; regardless of any differences or disagreements, they may have experienced in their life. The hearts of the dwellers of Paradise will be clean and pure. All speech and actions will be good.
One would feel absolute safety, tranquility, peace, and contentment in Paradise, facing no worries or concerns in the future. Faces will shine radiantly like stars in the sky, some akin to the glow of a full moon. The people of Jannah will be praising God not because they are forced to, rather of their own free will. The people of Jannah (Paradise) will never have to use the restroom, spit, or blow their nose. They will have combs made of gold and their sweat will bear the scent of musk. They would wear no hair on their bodies and no beards. The people of Jannah will have beautiful characteristics, their physical forms likening the form of Prophet Adam—who is 60 feet tall and forever the age of thirty-three. They will have the beauty of Prophet Yusuf and the heart of Prophet Ayyub. The people of Jannah will have the strength of one hundred men of this world.
Paradise will be lined with immense mansions made of gold on top of silver. Rooms upon rooms upon rooms inside these palaces will feature waterfalls falling beneath their rooms. No cracks will mar their facades, nor any repairs will ever be needed. The Soil of Jannah is of pure white musk, and the pebbles are made of pearls, rubies, diamonds, and jewels. The spread carpets in Paradise are culled from soft and colorful silk and are filled with musk, camphor, and amber. The people of Jannah will be leaning back into the fabrics of luxurious elevated soft couches, and beds with cup holders and comfortable blankets. The beds will be so wide in proximity that it would take 500 years to walk through their confines.
The people of Jannah will have a true kingdom which they will control, which will offer whatever they desire. The people of Jannah will have thousands of servants at their command. Paradise will flow forth with rivers of clear, pure water, rivers of milk that never go sour, rivers of pure luscious honey, and rivers of wine that do not intoxicate. Jannah will never be too hot or cold, and will always host an environment of the perfect temperature. Jannah has no day or night hours, no sun nor moon, as there will be no need of them. Paradise contains trees offering shade that seem like they do not cease.
The dwellers of Paradise will eat and drink whatever they wish. If one sees a bird he wishes to eat, it would fall roasted between his hands with no effort on his or her part. Cups will be served to them containing shiny rubies, pearls, and diamonds. Fruits will be hanging freely from trees, and automatically lowered for its inhabits to enjoy whenever they desire.
The clothes of Jannah will never wear out or age. The dwellers of Paradise will wear luxurious green silk and will accessorize with jewelry made of diamonds, white pearls, gold, and rubies.
A crown of magnificence will be placed on heads that would outshine the sun, and residents will be given to wear seventy thousand different types of clothing adorned with various gems and pearls. One piece of their jewelry would be worth more than this world and everything it contains. The fragrance of the perfume of Paradise will smell so pleasant and strong that the scent would reach up to a distance equal to a thousand years.
To satisfy the natural urge and desire for physical pleasure, virgin spouses will be gifted to be loved and adored.
“Indeed, We have produced the women of Paradise in a [new] creation. And made them virgins. Devoted [to their husbands] and of equal age” (Quran 56:35-37)
Allah will say to the dwellers of Paradise: ‘O’ People of Paradise, is there anything else I can give to you?’ The dwellers of Paradise will respond: ‘Oh Allah, didn’t you beautify our faces, enter us into Paradise, and save us from the hellfire? You have given us what you have not given anyone else from your creation.’ Allah will then respond, ‘Shall I not give you better than that?’ Then Allah will remove his veil.
Nothing will be more beloved and enjoyable than the vision of Allah. The Ultimate Pleasure one will experience in Jannah is the ability to see their Lord; there is no Greater joy than seeing Allah’s Face, and this experience will stand as the Almighty’s most precious gift to his servants who entered Paradise.
“[Some] faces, that Day, will be radiant, Looking at their Lord” (Quran 75:22-23)
Allah will announce to them, ‘Death will never come to you again, you will live forever. I am pleased with you today and I will never be angry at you ever again!’ The inhabitants of Paradise will be able to directly communicate with their Lord, acting as His friend and neighbor.
The dwellers of Paradise will differ in seeing Allah; some will see Him once a week, some will see Him twice a day, etc., depending on the level of Paradise they inhabit. According to our Prophet’s narration, the people of Jannah will be able to see God with ease, just like we are able to see the moon here on earth.
Ultimately, the life of this world is not meant for one to experience forever. It is a place where one resides temporarily. As a temporary destination, one should prepare themselves to the best of their ability for the next world, which is ever-lasting and their final destination. It is irrational and illogical for one to become too connected to and engrossed in this temporary world while forgetting and not preparing for their final and eternal destination: the next world.
The descriptions of Heaven found in the Quran and the hadith are meant to inspire and encourage one to work harder and become a better person and servant of God. The acts of laziness, procrastination, carelessness, and not using one’s intellect can prevent one from entering the abode of never-ending joy and pleasure.
One should note that the finest and greatest things in this life do not come easy–and neither will the reward of Paradise. One needs to strive to his or her best ability to earn the pleasures of Paradise. God states in his Book:
“Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believed in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty” (Quran 57:21)