Fruits for the Week

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Paradise is the tremendous reward that Allah, the All-Powerful, has prepared for His beloved servants and those who obey Him. It is perfect joy and pleasure, where nothing is lacking and nothing can disturb its purity. What Allah, the Almighty, and His Messenger (saw) have told us about it makes us mystified with indescribable joy because our minds are not able to comprehend the greatness of such blessings.

The joys of Paradise are far greater than the pleasures of this world, which pale into great insignificance in comparison. Bukhari reports from Sahl ibn Saád as-Sa’dee that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “A space the size of a whip in Paradise is better than this world and all that is in it.” (Fathul Bari, 6/319)

3. The grades of Paradise

Paradise consists of grades, some of which are above others, and its people will be of differing levels and categories according to their position in Paradise. Allah (SWT) said: “But whoever comes to Him as a believer, and has done righteous good deeds, for such are the high ranks (in the Hereafter).” (Qur’an 20: 75)

Ibnu Taymiyah interpreted the above ayah that Paradise has grades that are widely differentiated. The beloved (auliya’) of Allah who believes and are pious will be placed in those levels according to their iman and taqwa.

Allah (SWT) explained how He gives more of His bounty in this world or the next, as He wills, and His bounty is not withheld (forbidden) from either the righteous or the sinful. Then He, the Exalted, says: “See how We prefer one above another (in this world) and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preference.” (Qur’an 17: 21)

Allah (SWT) clarified that the differences between people in the Hereafter will be greater than the differences between them in this life, and the difference between the levels or ranks of the Hereafter is greater than the differences here in this life. Allah also differentiates between His Prophets as He does between the rest of His believing slaves. Allah (SWT) said: “Those Messengers! We preferred some to others; to some of them Allah spoke (directly); others He raised to degrees of honor.” (Qur’an 2: 253)

The highest position in Paradise will be attained by only one person, called Al-Waseelah. It will be attained, Insha Allah, by the Chosen Prophet, the best of Allah’s creation, our Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Ibnu Katheer said: “There is a mention of the highest position in Paradise, Al-Waseelah. This is the position for the Messenger of Allah (SAW).

Muslim reported that Abdullah ibn Amr’ ibn al-Áas said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘When you hear the muadh-dhin calls, say what he says, then send blessings on me, for whoever sends blessings on me, Allah will return it to him tenfold. Then ask Allah to grant me Al-Waseelah, for whoever asks Allah to grant me Al-Waseelah, intercession will be granted for him.’” The sahabah asked the Prophet (SAW): “What is Al-Waseelah?” He said: “It is the highest grade in Paradise, which only one man will reach, and I hope that I will be the one.

Among those who will occupy the highest levels in Paradise are the Shuhada’(martyrs), the best of whom are those who fight in the front ranks and never turn away until they are killed. Ahmad and Tabrani reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “The best of Shuhada’ are those who fight in the first rank and do not turn their faces away until they are killed. They will have the pleasure of occupying the highest dwellings in Paradise. Your Lord will smile at them, and whenever your Lord smiles upon any of His slaves, that person will not be brought to account.” (Ahmad)

The one who helps widows and the destitute will have the status of a mujahideen in Paradise. Muslim reported from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (SAW) said: “The one who helps widows and the destitute is like one who fights in jihad for the sake of Allah…” (Muslim)

The one who sponsors an orphan will be close to the Prophet (SAW) in Paradise. Muslim reported from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (saw) said: “The one who sponsors an orphan, whether, from his wealth or orphan’s wealth, I and he will be like these two in Paradise.”

(to be continued)

by Umar S. al-Ashqar

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