Kifah MustaphaHeaven (Part 1)
 
Understanding Heaven
 
Heaven is the residence of luxury where Allah (SW) from His mercy rewards His servants on the Day of Judgment.  Many names were mentioned in the Quran about Heaven, including the following: Al Husna; Allah (SW) said, “And to each, God has promised great goodness” 4:95. Al Ghurfa; Allah (SW) said: “Such as these shall be rewarded with the (high) Chamber (of Heaven)” 25:75. Al Firdaws; Allah (SW) said: “as for those who believe and do righteous deeds, for them there are the Gardens of Paradise (awaiting) as an (everlasting) hospitality” 18:107.
 
Who Grants Heaven?
 
It is our core belief as Muslims that entering heaven is a gift from Allah (SW) not that we offered a price for it. Any good deeds we do are by origin a gift from Allah (SW) for He (SW) said: {though you have not even a (single) blessing, but that it is from God} 16:53. Allah (SW) also said: {they would bestow a favor upon you, (O Prophet,) by embracing Islam, say (to them): Do not regard your submission (to God) as a favor bestowed on me. Rather, it is God who bestows a favor upon you by guiding you to faith, if, indeed, you are truthful} 49:17. This is how we understand the famous words by Omar (RAA), when he said: “if one of my legs is inside Heaven and the other is outside I would not feel safe from the (supreme) plans of Allah.”[1] Omar is not mistrusting Allah’s plans; rather he is aware that his deeds would not be worthy to have him enter Heaven.
 
At the same time, Allah (SW) recognizes our efforts and accepts it from us, and He (SW) relates that as a reason He (SW) bestows His mercy on us and grants us Heaven. Allah (SW) said: {and they shall be hailed (to Paradise at the Day of Judgment): This is the Garden you are given to inherit for what you have done (in life)} 7:43. This is in harmony of His Just rule where He (SW) says: {and thus for each (group), there shall be ranks in accordance with all that they have done (in life), in order that He may fully recompense them for their deeds} 46:19. In simple words, He (SW) accepts our deeds even if they don’t rise to the price of Heaven but then through His mercy, He (SW) grants us Heaven.
 
What to expect in Heaven?
 
See Your Lord
 
The most honorable thing that a person would look forward to in Heaven is to see his Lord. This is the highest level of pleasure that someone could achieve; Allah (SW) said: {faces, on that Day, shall be radiant. To their Lord (alone) shall they be looking} 75:22. In another verse, Allah (SW) spoke about people who are evil and that part of the punishment for them is that they will miss the ability to see their Lord. Allah (SW) said: {no, indeed! (The Day of Judgment is true!) Most surely, on that Day, they shall be veiled from (seeing) their Lord} 83:15.
 
The Company of Mohammad (PBUH)
 
The honor of the company of the Prophet (PBUH) is another pleasure that people look forward to enjoy in Heaven. Sahabah who had a chance to see him in life could not imagine Heaven without his company (PBUH.) Rabee’ah Ibn Ka’b Al Aslami (RAA) said: I would sleep by the Prophet (PBUH), and I brought him his ablution (wudu) when he needed water (to clean himself), and he said: “Ask!” I said: “I ask for your company in Heaven!” He (PBUH) said: “Anything else?” I said: “That is all.” He (PBUH) said: “Help me by (controlling whims of) yourself through much prostration.”[2]
 
The ones who did not have a chance to see him during his life (PBUH) but have all the dreams to be granted this wish were remembered by the Prophet himself (PBUH) in this narration: “Ones who (carry the) most love (for) me among my nation (are) people that will come after me, one of them would wish to see me (sacrificing) his family and money.”[3] It is through loving the Prophet (PBUH) that such a wish will be true, insha Allah.
 
Perfect (never experienced) Pleasure
 
When trying to imagine pleasure we can only relate to familiar things in our surroundings and experiences. Many verses describe the lands, rivers, wells, castles, trees, gardens, fruits, sexual fulfillments and other pleasures in Heaven, and it brings a tiny preview of what one would expect to enjoy in Heaven.  But even when descriptions are mentioned, it is only in relation to language to aid our understanding but not in the true essence of what is in store for the believers since we lack the tools to comprehend such pleasures. That is why the Prophet (PBUH) said in the Holy Hadith that Allah (SW) said when describing Heaven: “I have prepared for my righteous servants what no eye has seen and no ear has heard or heart ever thought of.” Abu Hurayrah said: “Read if you wish: {thus not a soul (in the world) can (now) comprehend (the joys) that have been concealed (by God) for every one of them for all (the good) that they used to do (in life)} 32:17. 
 
Eternity
 
Two things frighten humans a lot: illness and death. Muslims believe that humans were created to live forever but they just move from one phase to another. When humans die during this life they don’t vanish, rather they transform into a world of a (grave) barrier (barzakh) waiting to be called up again on the Day of Judgment for eternity to be experienced either in Heaven or Hell.
 
Eternity in Heaven is the utmost of pleasures to be enjoyed. Allah (SW) said: {(it shall be said to them:) Enter in peace! This is the Day of Eternity} 50:34.  Allah (SW) also said: {and they shall be hailed (to Paradise on the Day of Judgment): This is the Garden you are given to inherit for what you have done (in life)} 7:43.
 
No worries
 
Allah (SW) described the life on earth as full of travail, labor and responsibilities. He (SW) said: {O humankind- (for), indeed, you are (all) laboring to your Lord, most laboriously- then shall you meet Him} 84:6. Allah (SW) also said: {very truly, We created man in (a life of) travail} 90:4. In Heaven none of that will be experienced at all. Allah (SW) called heaven: “Dar El Salam” which means the residence of purity from any defects; {for them is the Abode of Peace, (in paradise) with their Lord} 61:27. In heaven, no grudges or illnesses of the hearts toward each other; {moreover, We shall strip away any malice that is within their breast. (Thus), as brethren, they shall be (reposed) on settees, (in the Garden of Paradise,) facing one another} 15:47. Heaven will be free from all words or actions of evil; Allah (SW) said: {moreover, therein they will pass to one another a chalice (of wine, stirring) no obscene talk or sinfulness therein} 52:23.
 
In the Hadith the Prophet (PBUH) also mentioned a person who was most tested in trials during life but will be dipped once in Heaven and asked: “Have you ever experienced hardships before?” he will say: “Never.”[4] This means that the pleasure he experienced in one dip made him forget all the troubles he faced during his life.
 
Sh. Kifah Mustapha
 
To Be Continued…
 
 
[1] Quote by Imam Al Subki “Tabaqat Al Shafeiah Al Kubra”
 
[2] Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim
 
[3] Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim
 
[4] Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim