Ayat no. 53-57
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
There would be naught but a single cry, when lo! they shall all be brought before Us; So this day no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least; and you shall not be rewarded aught but that which you did. Surely the dwellers of the garden shall on that day be in an occupation quite happy. They and their wives shall be in shades, reclining on raised couches. They shall have fruits therein, and they shall have whatever they desire. (36:53-57)
And they say: When will this threat come to pass, if you are truthful?
They say, “Where is that which was promised by the Prophets?” They ask it by way of denial and mockery. The reply to them is, “You will have to face only two blows (or shouts): One calling all to die and another commanding all to rise up.”
Only God knows the interval between these two cries. There are various narrations regarding it. Angel Israfil who is near God will do the blowing. He has a trumpet, one end of which is towards the earth and another towards the sky. When he will blow it, all living creatures on earth will die and so also those who are in the sky.
And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except such as Allah please; then it shall be blown again, then lo! they shall stand up awaiting. (39:68)
Then God shall command Israfil: Die. So he would also die. No one except Only One God will be alive.
In both the worlds, Only One God will remain and that is all. All others will be dead. (Persian Couplet)
Then a voice would call out, “For whom is the Kingdom, today?” That is, “Where are all those who used to say, ‘My wealth, my kingdom’?” There would be none to reply. He Himself replies, “Only for the overpowering and dominant Lord.”
Imam (‘a) says, “During the interval between two blowings nothing would remain alive, the earth will become changed, mountains will turn into dust.”
And they ask you about the mountains. Say: My Lord will carry them away from the roots. (20:105)
There will remain nothing like trees, mountains, vales and hills. Everything will be changed.
On the day when the earth shall be changed into a different earth, and the heavens (as well)…(14:48)
When the blow to become alive will be blown, all those who will become alive will be present for the Divine Judgment in the Mahshar field of grand gathering. Everyone will arrive with two guards “Saiq” and “Shaheed”.
And every soul shall come, with it a driver (Saiq) and a witness (Shaheed). (50:21)
No one will have the ability to disregard the command to arise. This is the day of the manifestation of the true justice of Almighty Allah. In the world of matter, justice does not become manifest, but here, even the tiniest of deed, weighing an atom’s weight would not be disregarded.
This day no injustice would be done to anyone, be he a disbeliever or a believer, a sinner or a worshipper.
So this day no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least; (36:54)
If one has done a bad deed, he would not be punished more than what he is liable for. His good deeds will be taken into consideration and he would be rewarded for them. If he has not sinned, he will not be punished. The punishment of every sin will be on the one who has committed it, not on anyone else.
And a burdened soul cannot bear the burden of another… (35:18)
Whatever chastisement is there, it is due to the deed of the person who has committed it and not because of someone else. If you lied or spoke vulgar words your own mouth would be dirty and foul smelling. Likewise, if you had recited salawat you will enjoy the fragrance of your own tongue.
And you shall not be rewarded except (for) what you did. (37:39)
Thereafter Allah mentions some statements of the people of paradise and some wailings of the people of hell. The believers will indeed hear both. Yearning for reward and fear of chastisement. The aim is that one should yearn for paradise by hearing such verses. Why are you so much afraid of death? It is because we have no yearning for paradise. It is so because we imagined death to be a frightening python.
Surely the dwellers of the garden shall on that day be in an occupation quite happy. (36:55)
This is the first praise in favor of the people of paradise. They are fully engaged in enjoyment. In Arabic, “Shughl” (engagement) means a preoccupation that prevents man from doing anything else. For example if one is engaged in construction work, he spends all of his labor and time in that business and pays no attention to any other job.
It is called “Shughl”. God put the people of paradise in such an enjoyment that they are oblivious to the sounds of Mahshar, shrieks of hell, cries of sinners, quacking of earth, frights and fears. So much so that even if ones own family members are in hell, one would be so much engaged with Divine bounties that one would pay no attention to them.
So unawareness from hell, its painfulness and hardships is such that no attention is paid to the people of hell, but only when God so wishes. Quran tells us that it is the time when a window is opened and they look at the people of paradise and shout out to them, “Have mercy on us. Please give us something from the bounties given to you by God.”
And the inmates of the fire shall call out to the dwellers of the garden, saying: Pour on us some water or of that which Allah has given you. (7:50)
They will reply:
They shall say: Surely Allah has prohibited them both to the unbelievers. (7:50)
That is all those who left this world without Faith cannot get anything from these bounties.
The preoccupation that prevents one from paying attention to any other thing, is sometimes, due to fear and fright and sometimes because of longing. The people of paradise are in joy and happiness due to the bounties. This has made them unmindful of other things.
Some commentators have said that there are two verses after the description of something about the preoccupation of the people of paradise: They and their wives are reclining on pillows under shade. Therein, for them, in this garden, is every kind of fruit and whatever they desire.
Fondness with heavenly wives is the activity of the people of paradise. Now, they are busy with fairies or believing women who belong to men who are admitted to paradise. We have mentioned repeatedly that every woman who has become worthy of paradise will be with her husband if he also is admitted therein or if he is given a place in paradise as a result of someone’s recommendation or intercession.
The real meeting is in paradise. Hoorul-eein is the fairy in praise of whom God has said:
In them are goodly things, beautiful ones. (55:71)
Their eyes never fall on anyone but their husbands. They are husband-lovers and husband-appreciators. They are as bright as rubies and pearls.
As though they were rubies and pearls. (55:57)
Another point is that there is a marked difference between the marriage in paradise and marriage in this world. None should imagine it to be similar. No, it is totally different. The first difference: Copulation in this world, besides carrying uncleanness at the time of gratification, also makes people neglectful.
But, an intercourse in paradise makes one mindful and aware. Singing and music in paradise comprises of glorification and praising of God. People once asked the Holy Prophet (‘s), “Is there any singing in paradise?” “No,”
he replied, “It is of a higher rank.”1 Imam Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said that its example is that the trees of paradise will be singing2. It is also mentioned that if you hear the songs of the heavenly birds in this world you will faint.
You have heard that when Prophet Dawood (‘a) used to recite the Psalms in a melodious voice, birds and animals gathered round him in wilderness. Some of them were swooning and then never rising up. Dawood is a heavenly singer.
Leaves of heavenly trees too sing songs like “Glory be to God” and “Praise be to Allah”. They are indeed spiritual. The doors, windows and everything in paradise is also such, which make all remember God above all and the wife is also like that.
It is likewise in the matter of eating food. In this world first there is labor in earning food, then trouble in digesting it and then is the ejection of waste matter. But in paradise, there are no such troubles. Therefore, some great people have said that the people of paradise do not have anus and hence there is no problem of excreta. The food of paradise has nothing like waste and refuse to be ejected.
According to a narration, the Last Prophet said, “God has created a Hourie that has ‘In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful’ on her lips which of course is Noor (Radiance). Similarly ‘Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah’ is inscribed on her forehead and ‘Ali is the Wali of Allah’ on her chin and ‘Al Hasan and Husain’ on her right and left cheek respectively.”
What a beauty and for whom? It can be known from these sentences and Holy names that they are for the monotheists, and who know God, who understand the meaning of Beneficent and Merciful and who must have acquired all the virtues of piety.
So they asked, “O Messenger of God! For whom are these Houries?” He replied, “For those who recite, ‘In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful’ with due respect and honor.”
This is the first stage of ‘Ba’ of Bismillahirrehmaanirraheem. What to say about the complete meaning of it!
They and their wives shall be in shades, reclining on raised couches.
The people of paradise and their wives (especially if she was his wife in the world also) are promised by God that the believing husbands and wives will join one another. It is also mentioned in some narrations that even if one’s son and wife are in a lower station they will be, as a result of the intercession of a Faithful, be joined with him. They would be reclining under shades or on thrones.
The tents in Paradise would be four farsakh by four farsakh (One farsakh is six kilometers). In them are heavenly thrones, which will be the restful place for the people of paradise and their spouses.
The Holy Prophet (‘s) is reported to have said that a faithful man will enjoy a hundred virgins in a day in paradise and the astonishing fact is that they would again become virgins immediately thereafter.3 As for his food, it is mentioned that he will have a hunger equal to a hundred men in this world and it will be, as mentioned repeatedly, without any of the worldly hardships.
It is mentioned in some traditions that if a Hourie from paradise comes to this world, all the men here will faint because they do not posses the power of looking at such a beauty. For better understanding of this point, just pay attention to what is mentioned in Quran in the story of Prophet Yusuf and the ladies of Egypt.
Though Yusuf (‘a) was a human being, living in this material world, God gave him such elegance that the women cut their fingers instead of the fruit when they saw him. What is more curious is that they were not aware they are cutting their hands. So what can be said of the beauty and elegance of Paradise?
So when she heard of their sly talk she sent for them and prepared for them a repast, and gave each of them a knife, and said (to Yusuf): Come forth to them. So when they saw him, they deemed him great, and cut their hands (in amazement), and said: Remote is Allah (from imperfection); this is not a mortal; this is but a noble angel. (12:31)
So, whatever is there in Paradise it could be achieved only by making efforts. We should make efforts so that we may be able to look at that beauty or even better than that beauty, that is the beauty of Muhammad (‘s) and His progeny.
There will be neither sun nor moon in the land of Mahshar. All the light will be the elegance of Muhammad.
A poet has mentioned in a nice way: Those who are talking bad of me should look at their own faces. Instead of the fruit, they all cut off their own hands!
The following verse says that, for whomsoever God desires to guide He expands the heart of that person for understanding Islam.
Therefore (for) whomsoever Allah intends that He would guide him aright, He expands his breast for Islam, and (for) whomsoever He intends that He should cause him to err, He makes his breast strait and narrow as though he were ascending upwards; thus does Allah lay uncleanness on those who do not believe. (6:125)
Prophet Moosa also supplicated likewise:
O my Lord! Expand my breast for me, (20:26)
What is this expansion of heart? It is the ability to perceive beauty. He grants enough strength whereby one can see the beauty and enjoy it. In paradise, there is beauty inside beauty. But who is there to benefit from it?
It is one whose heart has been expanded. He must have benefited from the splendor of Ali (‘a). That is why I say, “Prepare yourself for paradise. Attain cleanliness and piety so that you may perceive the beauty.” How can one who has not benefited from beauty himself understand the absolute beauty?
It is quoted in the book Bahrul ma Arif from a scholar who says, “They showed me a Hourie. I was astonished and asked, ‘Who are you?’ She replied, ‘God has created me for you.’ When I tried to get near to her, she distanced herself saying, ‘The joining is after death.’ Then I asked her, ‘Please tell me how your cheeks are so radiant?’ She replied, ‘It is due to the tears you shed.’
So, whatever is there is due to Faith and acting according to it (good deeds).
And that man shall have nothing but what he strives for; And that his striving shall soon be seen; (53:39-40)
If you kept your soul healthy (performed good deeds), you are in the abode of safety (Paradise). On the contrary, if you have sickened yourself, you are in the land of disease (Hell).4
Some have also said that ‘Shade’ means honor, that is protection and safety from troubles and pains, just like a shade overhead that saves one from the heat of the sun. Thus whatever protects man from troubles and difficulties is called ‘shade’. Hence we pray, “May God not remove His shade from our heads.” It indicates that He is protecting them from hardships and the people of paradise and their wives are in safety from pains of all kinds.
According to one narration they (people of paradise) are under the Shade of the Throne of the Beneficent. They are under the shade of God’s kindness.
They shall have fruits therein, (36:57)
Another pre-occupation of the people of paradise is enjoying heavenly fruits like apples, pomegranate and fresh dates. But we must know that only similarity is in names. The reality is different and their taste is a hundred thousand fold better.
…and they shall have whatever they desire.
That is whatever they like or desire is readily available to them. Is there any king in this world for whom whatever he wants is at once available? Rather, what is denied to him is more that what is given to him. God brought you in this world. He created the entire universe for you and created you for Himself and for the Hereafter.
He created you for eternity, not for perishing. “You have been created for an everlasting life and not for annihilation.” Deprived is the one who does not avail of these Divine bounties.