Islamic Concept of Jannah (Heaven)

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

Jannah, commonly referred to as Paradise, is an important part of Islamic theology and belief about the afterlife. Muslims commonly believe that Paradise is beyond human understanding as human beings lack sufficient knowledge until they enter it. However, despite this lack of experiential knowledge, Allah, the God of Islam, has revealed glimpses of it within the Quran, the sacred scripture of the Muslims.

The Quran describes heaven (Paradise) in many places with a major theme being that of wealth and material abundance. Inhabitants of Paradise will wear the likes of bracelets of gold and pearls” (22:23) and be “dressed in fine silk and in rich brocade” (44:53). There will be “green cushions and rich carpets of beauty” (55:76), “thrones encrusted with gold and precious stones” (56:15), an “abundance of fruit” (43:71, 73) such as “dates and pomegranates” (55:68). Paradise will also have gardens bursting with a constant flow of water. There “with rivers flowing beneath” (3:136; 13:35; 15:45; 22:23) and “two springs pouring forth water in continuous abundance” (55:66). Paradise is conceived as being a beautiful place for its inhabitants and which will include lofty gardens, shady valleys, fountains, rivers of milk, water, and honey. The inhabitants of Paradise will also be near to God, which is considered the greatest reward and a joy that surpasses all others.

Included in Paradise will be that of sexually attractive virgins of whom men, should they see them, would “think them scattered pearls” (76:19). There will be “fair women with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes” (44:54) and “voluptuous women of equal age” (78:31). According to the Quran these women are “maidens” who “no man or Jinn before them has touched” (55:56), and to whom the blessed will be “joined” (52:20). Ultimately, Paradise will be a place consisting of “all that the souls could desire, all that their eyes could delight in” (43:71, 73).

Not everyone will into Paradise, however, as many will enter Hell. For example, entering Paradise is conditional on the belief that Allah is one (Tawhid). It is also conditional on the belief in the messengers of Allah, in repentance of sin, and in doing good deeds. Salvation can only be given by Allah and his judgment. Some surahs from the Quran suggest that there will be non-Muslims in Paradise (2:62) although most Muslim exegetes believe that this surah has been abrogated by surah 3:85 which says that anyone who does not accept Islam as his or her true religion will be will be among the losers in Hell.

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