18. "Nay, verily the Record of the Righteous is (preserved) In 'Illiyin',"
19. "And what explains to thee what 'Illiyin' is?"
20 "(It is) a written record,"
21. "(Which is) witnessed by the ones Nearest (to Allah)."
22. "Surely the Righteous will be in Bliss:"
23. "(Sitting) on thrones (of Dignity), they will command a sight (of all things):"
24. "You will recognize in their faces the radiance of Bliss"
25. "Their thirst will be slaked with pure drink sealed"
26. "Whose seal is musk, and for that let (all) those strive who strive (fo Bliss)"
27. "And whose mixture is of 'Tasnim' "
28. "A spring from which drink the ones Nearest (to Allah)."
'Illiyin is Anticipating the Righteous.
In contrast to the destiny of the Record of the Wicked, which was described in the previous verses, the following verses talk about the Righteous, whose honour and merits, compared with those of the Wicked, will make the situations of them, both, more clear. At first, to negate their false thoughts about the resurrection, it says:
"Nay, verily the Record of the Righteous is (preserved) in 'Illiyin'."
The term / 'illiyin / is the plural form of / 'ulayy / which basically means 'properly, High places or the persons who sit in high places, or the dwellers of high parts of the mountains'. Some commentators have rendered it, here, to mean 'a name of the upper part of the skies or upper part of Heaven'.
Some have also said that the term is mentioned in the plural form for emphasis where it means 'highness over highness'.
Furthermore, similar to the two commentaries we had about 'Sijjin', in the former verses, we have the same about ''Illiyin', as well.
The first commentary says that / kitab-al-abrar / means 'the Record of the Righteous'. They intend to say that the record of their deeds is registered in a ledger, (a complete work), which shows the whole deeds of all believers, and is in a very high and honourable position.
Or, it means that their record is preserved in the highest and the most honourable abode in Heaven over their places, all of which illustrate that their own rank is extremely high. A tradition from the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says that ' 'Illiyin' is the seventh sky and is below the throne of Allah'. And this is just contrary to the record of the Wicked, which is in the lowest part of Hell.
The second commentary says that / kitab /, here, means 'destiny' and 'the definite end' that Allah has defined for the Righteous in the highest levels of Heaven.
Of course, these two commentaries can also both come together, i.e. their Record is registered in a ledger and the ledger resides totally in heaven. Meanwhile, the Divine command governs high over them concerning the position of the Righteous, themselves, and considers them to be in the highest levels of Heaven.
* * * *
Then, to make the greatness and the highness of ' 'Illiyin' clear, it goes on to say:
"And what explains to thee what ' 'Illiyin' is?"
This means that it is a position beyond the imagination and comprehension, so high that no one, not even the Prophet (p.b.u.h), can know the peak of its highness.
Then, the Qur'an, itself, explains it further and says:
"(lt is) a written record".
This idea is according to the commentary that means: ' 'Illiyin' is a ledger for the righteous deeds, while according to the second commentary the verse means that this is a decisive destiny that Allah has written for the Righteous that their position is in the highest stages of Heaven. (Note> Therefore, 'a written record' is an interpretation for 'the Record of the Righteous' not for ' 'Illiyin'.).
"(Which is) witnessed by the ones Nearest (to Allah)".
Some of the commentators have interpreted the meaning of 'the ones Nearest (to Allah) ' mentioned in this verse, as being 'the angels that are close to the throne of Allah', the guardians for the record or the destiny of the Righteous.
The next verses express clearly, that a special group of the elected believers are 'the ones Nearest (to Allah)' who possess a very high rank and are witnesses to the records of the others from the Righteous. As Sura Waqi'ah, No. 56, verses 10-11, with the names of the following two groups: 'The Companions of the Right Hand' and 'The Companions of the Left Hand', say: "And those foremost (in faith) will be foremost (in the Hereafter)", "These will be those Nearest (to Allah)".
And Sura Nahll, No. 16, verse 89, which says: "One day We shall raise from all peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against them...".
Then, concerning a part of the rewards of the Righteous, it says:
"Surely the Righteous will be in Bliss."
The basic meaning of the term / na'im /, as Raqib says, is 'immense blessing'. Besides that, it is mentioned in an 'indefinite form' which, here, denotes to its greatness and importance. That is, they possess the blessings and comforts that are indescribable. And this is a complete and hidden definition referring to the whole material and spiritual blessings of Heaven.
Then, to describe some of them, it says:
"(Sitting) on thrones (of Dignity), they will command a sight (of all things)".
The term /ara 'ik/ is the plural form of /arikah/ 'throne'. Basically, it is used with the meaning of 'a beautiful royal throne', or 'a couch for the bride in the nuptial chamber', but, here, it means 'highly decorated seats in
Heaven where the Righteous sit'.
The term / yanzurun / 'they look' is mentioned, here, without any object or objects and is to be meant in a broad sense: i.e. they look at Allah's Mercy, His unique essence, the variety of Divine blessings and the surprising beauties in Heaven. 'They look', because one of Man's pleasures is 'the pleasure of sight'.
Thereafter it says:
"You will recognize in their faces the radiance of Bliss."
It means that a special refreshment and delight is seen on their faces, so that you need not question them. On the contrary, when you look at the Wicked, you can see grief and sorrow together with pain and misery on their faces.
The term / nadrah /, as it was mentioned before, means a special refreshment and happiness resulting from the abundance of blessing and comfort seen on the faces of well-off people.
* * * *
After discussing about the blessings of 'throne', 'look', and 'ease with happiness', it refers to another blessing: The pure drink of the Righteous. It says: "Their thirst will be slaked with pure drink sealed".
The pure drink of the Next World is not like the devilish drink of this world. It does not bring alcoholism and madness, for committing sin in them, hut, it increases their wisdom and intelligence safely and with complete joy.
Most of the commentators have interpreted the term /rahiq/ in the sense of 'pure drink', a drink that is not obscene and is not of a polluted mixture; it is flawless. And the term / maxyum / 'sealed' is used as an emphasis for its pureness, soundness, and a state of being intact.
Moreover, the use of such complete containers is a high honor and respect to the guests; a sealed container whose lid will be opened only by the guests.
* * * *
"Whose seal is musk ...."
The pure drink of Heaven is not the same as the sealed wine bottles of this world which are closed tightly sometimes with a wafer of molten wax (or clay) into which is pressed the distinctive seal of the sender or the company, that may make the hands dirty when opening them, but it is sealed with musk and, when it is being opened, it smells like the perfume of musk. At the end of the same verse it says: "...and for that let (all) those strive who strive (for Bliss)."
Tabarsi, the great commentator, says in Majma' - al - Bayan that the term, /tanafas/, means that two persons long for a worthy thing, each of which tries to obtain the same precious thing that the other one has.
In Majma'-al-Bahrain the term, / tanafas /, is defined in the sense of 'proceeding the other, or friendly competition'. Each of them wishes and tries to own the precious thing that the other has.
Raqib in Mufradat says: / munafasah / means 'a man's attempt to be associated with the outstanding people and joining them without causing harm to others'.
In fact, the meaning of this verse is similar to that of Sura Hadid. No. 57, verse 21, which says: "Be you foremost (in seeking) forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden (of Bliss), the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth...".
Or, it is similar to the meaning of Sura ali - 'Imran - . No. 3. Verse 133, which says: "Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that of the heavens and the earth...".
However, the meaning of the verse is the nicest one that can be considered for the encouragement of men, to send them forth for receiving these unmatched blessings by the way of true faith and good deeds. It is a very wonderful evidence to show the eloquence of the Holy Qur'an.
"And whose mixture is of 'Tasnim' "
"A spring from which drink the ones Nearest (to Allah)".
It is understood from these verses that / tasnim / is the highest drink, among the heavenly pure drinks, which the ones Nearest to Allah drink, only, but the Righteous drink some of / tasnim /, which is mixed with / rahiq /, 'the pure drink sealed', which is another kind of pure drink in Heaven.
Some commentators believe that this pure drink is called / tasnim / because this spring flows down from Heaven, while some others say that it is a special drink which falls from the sky of Heaven.
The heavenly drinks are different, indeed. Some of them flow in rivers, as many verses of the Qur'an point out, such as is found in Sura Mohammad, No. 47, Verse 15: "...rivers of milk...rivers of wine...rivers of honey...".
And some of them are in sealed containers, like the one mentioned in the former verses. The most important one is the drink which falls from Heaven whose name is 'Tasnim', the one that none of the other drinks, in Heaven, can be compared with. Then, the effect that it has on the soul of the Righteous is, consequently, the deepest and the most attractive, whose spiritual pleasure is indescribable.
It is necessary to make note of this truth, again, that these are only some hints to those heavenly facts, indeed, because our human vocabulary cannot describe the unique blessings of Heavens completely. And even more than that, no one can imagine them, as Sura Sajdah. No. 32, verse 17 says: "Now no person knows what delights of the eye are kept hidden (in reserve) for them...".
* * * *
Who are 'the Righteous' and 'the Ones Nearest to Allah'?
The names of / abrar / 'the righteous' and / muqarrabun / 'the ones Nearest to Allah' are frequently highly mentioned in the Holy Qur'an along with their rank and their rewards. They are so high that as Sura a1i - 'Imran , No. 3, verse 193 says that 'The men of Understanding' ask Allah that their souls be taken to Himself in the company of the Righteous.
And there are many great rewards mentioned, for them, in the Qur'an including Sura Insan, No. 7s6, verses 5-22 and, also, Sura Infitar, No. 82, verse 13 and some other verses in Sura Mutaffifin talk about Allah's Grace, to them, as well.
The term /abrar/ 'the Righteous' is the plural form of /birr/ and they are the believers who have a great soul and a firm belief and do good deeds. 'The ones Nearest to Allah', / muqarrabun /, are those who have a close position to Allah. Then, it seems that all 'the ones Nearest to Allah' are among the Righteous, / abrar /, but all of the latter, Righteous /abrar /, are not among 'The ones Nearest to Allah'.
There is a narration, from Imam Hassan Mujtaba (the second Imam) which says: "By Allah, everywhere in the Qur'an where Allah says / inn-al-abrar / (surely the Righteous), He means no one save Ali - ibn - Abu Talib, Fatimah, me, and Hosain" (p.b.u.th.). 
Undoubtedly, the five holy ones, i.e. Mohammad, Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hosain (p.b.u.th.) are the most clear examples of the Righteous and 'the ones Nearest to Allah'; and, as it was mentioned in the commentary of Sura Insan, No. 76, the very Sura is mainly about Amir-al-Mo'mineen Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hosain. Eighteen verses of Sura Insan are especially about their achievements, though the revelation of the verses about them does not hinder the broadness and generality of the meaning of those verses.
It is clearly understood, from many of the verses of the Holy Qur'an, that there are numerous kinds of pure drink with many names and various qualities, in Heaven, that are entirely different from the worldly impure beverages; which are the origins of enmity, murder, and corruption. They are offensive, distasteful, and impure. But, the drinks of Heaven are sweet-smelling, perfumed, and purified, so that they increase wisdom, pleasure, and love. Those who drink of them will languor in a kind of spiritual joy and delight that cannot be described.
Two varieties of the drinks of Heaven are named in these verses:
/ tasnim / and / rahiq - i - maxtum/, while some other varieties are mentioned in Sura Insan, No. 76, and even other Suras of the Qur'an, each of which are appropriately explained.
It is interesting to note that the Divine drinks are also the reward for those who avoid drinking the worldly alcoholic drinks, as well as those who quench the needs of the deprived and extinguish the fire of sadness in the hearts of the believers.
Once the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) told Hazrat Ali (p.h.u.h.): "O Ali! the person who leaves drinking wine, Allah will make him a drink from ' the pure drink sealed,".
And, it is even more interesting to find that another tradition from him (p.b.u.h.) says that if a person leaves off drinking wine even for the sake of anything besides Allah, He will make him drink from the pure drink. Hazrat Ali (p.b.u.h.) says: "I questioned him 'the sake of anything save Allah? ", and he answered: "Yes, the person who avoids drinking wine for the sake of protecting his life, Allah will make him a drink from the pure drink sealed' ". 
Verily, those who avoid drinking wine for the sake of their health are in fact from 'the men of Understanding'. And, as it is understood in Sura ali - 'Imran, No. 3, verse 193 that 'the men of Understanding' are also among the Righteous, who drink from the pure drinks of Heaven.
A narration from Ali-ibn-Hosain says: "The person who quenches the thirst of a believer, Allah will make him a drink from 'the pure drink sealed". 
And, another narration says: "The person who fasts on a hot day in summer for the sake of Allah, He will make him a drink from 'the pure drink sealed'." 
 Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 533 (Tradition 33).
 Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 534 (Tradition 35).
Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 456.