Our human nature is one that acts based on pain and pleasure. Everything we do is either to avoid some kind of pain or attain a pleasure. Knowing this, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has encouraged humans to make the right decisions with the promise that we will be rewarded for them. Throughout the entire Quraan, there is a complete balance between the mention of Jannah (Paradise) and Jahannum (Hell). Each time one is mentioned, the other is mentioned alongside.
The Unveiling of Jannah (Paradise)
When there is a new product that is about to be revealed there is usually a hype that accompanies it. People talk about it, imagine what it might be, and speculate about all of its potential features. However, once it is revealed, people are often disappointed and their initial hype and excitement wither away. They move to the next thing seeking to find that happiness. Jannah is full of surprises, but the surprises of Jannah do not disappoint because the one giving the gift and unveiling its pleasures is none other than Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) Himself.
The Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: Allah has said: I have prepared for My righteous servants what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no heart has conceived. (at-Tirmizi)
The Quraan also states:
فَلَا تَعۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ مَّآ أُخۡفِيَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعۡيُنٖ جَزَآءَۢ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ (17)
“So, no one knows the delight of eyes that has been reserved for them in secret, as a reward of what they used to do.” (As-Sajdah 32:17)
The pleasures of Jannah are so great and pure that no heart or mind has even thought of them. The billions of humans who walked this earth each had an imagination, wishes, creativity, and desire. However, there is not a single person who has merely imagined anything similar to what is in Jannah. There are things that the eye and ear have never seen.
Think of this, if someone were blind, there is no possible way to accurately describe what color is. They simply have nothing to compare it to. Similarly, there are things in Jannah that we are yet to experience and have nothing to reference them to in this world. They may be colors, sounds, food, homes, entertainment or anything else. This is why, despite the Quraan being full of descriptions of Jannah, the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) noted that what we do not know about Jannah is much greater than what we know: Never mind what Allah has told you; what He has not told you is even greater. (Muslim)
Although the Quraan attempts to describe Jannah, the reality is that it is beyond imagination. All descriptions of it are merely meant to provide an idea of what it might be like. The Quraan describes Jannah as being the opposite of this world. The nature of Jannah is that it is completely different than this world in terms of its pleasure, length, and purpose. And if you looked around, you would see ˹indescribable˺ bliss and a vast kingdom as has referred in Quraan:
وَإِذَا رَأَيۡتَ ثَمَّ رَأَيۡتَ نَعِيمٗا وَمُلۡكٗا كَبِيرًا (20)
“When you will look around there, you will see the Bliss and a magnificent realm.” (Al-Insaan 76:20)
The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was asked about the buildings of Jannah and he said: Bricks of gold and silver, and mortar of fragrant musk, pebbles of pearl and sapphire, and soil of saffron. Whoever enters it is filled with joy and will never feel miserable; he will live there forever and never die; their clothes will never wear out and their youth will never fade. (at-Tirmizi)
Painless Pleasure in Jannah
The pleasures of this world are always accompanied by some kind of pain or discomfort. For instance, if one wants to go on vacation, there is the discomfort of travelling, the pain of spending money, and also the pain that one feels when they return back to their day to day life. If one wants to enjoy food, there is the pain and discomfort of preparing or purchasing it and then digesting it. The wine of this world results in both pleasure and pain. However, the Quraan describes the liquid referred as wine of Jannah only contains the pleasure and removes the pain of headache and intoxication that is associated with the wine of this world:
يُطَافُ عَلَيۡهِم بِكَأۡسٖ مِّن مَّعِينِۢ (45) بَيۡضَآءَ لَذَّةٖ لِّلشَّٰرِبِينَ (46) لَا فِيهَا غَوۡلٌ وَلَا هُمۡ عَنۡهَا يُنزَفُونَ (47)
“They will be served with a cup from a flowing drink, (that will be) white (and) delicious for those who drink. There will be no headache therein, nor will they be intoxicated with it….” Saaffaat 37: 45-47)
The drinks of Jannah also never go bad or become distasteful and the spouses of Jannah are pure, free of any ill looks, odor, or behavior:
مَّثَلُ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ ٱلَّتِي وُعِدَ ٱلۡمُتَّقُونَۖ فِيهَآ أَنۡهَٰرٌ مِّن مَّآءٍ غَيۡرِ ءَاسِنٖ وَأَنۡهَٰرٌ مِّن لَّبَنٖ لَّمۡ يَتَغَيَّرۡ طَعۡمُهُۥ وَأَنۡهَٰرٌ مِّنۡ خَمۡرٖ لَّذَّةٖ لِّلشَّٰرِبِينَ وَأَنۡهَٰرٌ مِّنۡ عَسَلٖ مُّصَفّٗىۖ وَلَهُمۡ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ وَمَغۡفِرَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمۡۖ كَمَنۡ هُوَ خَٰلِدٌ فِي ٱلنَّارِ وَسُقُواْ مَآءً حَمِيمٗا فَقَطَّعَ أَمۡعَآءَهُمۡ (15)
“(Here is) a description of the Jannah that is promised for the Allah-fearing! In it there are rivers of water, never spoiling, and rivers of milk the taste of which would not go bad, and rivers of wine, delicious to the drinkers, and rivers of honey, fully purified. And for them there are all sorts of fruits, and forgiveness from their Lord. Are they like those who will live in Fire forever, and will be given boiling water to drink, and it will tear their bowels into pieces?” (Muhammad 47:15)
وَبَشِّرِ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتِ أَنَّ لَهُمۡ جَنَّٰتٖ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُۖ كُلَّمَا رُزِقُواْ مِنۡهَا مِن ثَمَرَةٖ رِّزۡقٗا قَالُواْ هَٰذَا ٱلَّذِي رُزِقۡنَا مِن قَبۡلُۖ وَأُتُواْ بِهِۦ مُتَشَٰبِهٗاۖ وَلَهُمۡ فِيهَآ أَزۡوَٰجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ وَهُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ (25)
“And give good news to those who believe and do righteous deeds that for them there are gardens beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are given a fruit from there to eat, they will say: ‘This is what we have been given before’; and they will be given (fruits) resembling one another. And for them there shall be wives purified; and there they will live forever.” (Al-Baqarah 2:25)
The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was asked how people relieve themselves in the Aakhirah (Hereafter). He responded: They relieve themselves by perspiring through their skins, and its fragrance will be that of musk, and all stomachs will have become lean (Ibn Hibbaan)
In Jannah, there is no sleep. Sleep and fatigue are pains of this world: In this world, even if one is on vacation or in a beautiful environment, that could be ruined by physical tiredness, sadness, or stress of the mind. People in Jannah will never get tired or stressed. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: Sleep is the brother of death; the people of Jannah will not sleep. (Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah) Describing Jannah, the Quraan states:
وَقَالُواْ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَذۡهَبَ عَنَّا ٱلۡحَزَنَۖ إِنَّ رَبَّنَا لَغَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ (34) ٱلَّذِيٓ أَحَلَّنَا دَارَ ٱلۡمُقَامَةِ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ لَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيهَا نَصَبٌ وَلَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيهَا لُغُوبٌ (35)
“And they will say: ‘Praise be to Allah who has removed all sorrow from us. Surely our Lord is Most-Forgiving, Very-Appreciative, who, out of His grace, has made us land at a home of eternal living where we are neither touched by weariness, nor are we touched by boredom’.” (Faatir 35: 34-35)
Everlasting Nature of Jannah
Even if one were to experience pure pleasure in this world, there is still the pain of separation from the things we love. We all fear death because it takes us away from the things we love, our family, wealth, homes, and comforts. So even if we lived a life full of enjoyment, that enjoyment is ruined by death. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) described death as the destroyer of pleasures. On the other hand, Jannah is eternal and people in it will never die, nor will it ever end. Throughout the Quraan, the life of this world is compared to the temporary life of fruits and vegetation:
وَٱضۡرِبۡ لَهُم مَّثَلَ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا كَمَآءٍ أَنزَلۡنَٰهُ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَٱخۡتَلَطَ بِهِۦ نَبَاتُ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَأَصۡبَحَ هَشِيمٗا تَذۡرُوهُ ٱلرِّيَٰحُۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ مُّقۡتَدِرًا (45) ٱلۡمَالُ وَٱلۡبَنُونَ زِينَةُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَاۖ وَٱلۡبَٰقِيَٰتُ ٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتُ خَيۡرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابٗا وَخَيۡرٌ أَمَلٗا (46)
“Give them the example of the worldly life; it is like water We sent down from the sky, then the vegetation of the earth was mingled with it, and then it turned into chaff that is blown by the winds, and Allah is powerful over everything. Wealth and children are the embellishment of the worldly life, and the everlasting virtues are better with your Lord, both in rewards and in creating good hopes.” (Al-Kahf 18: 45-46)
The Quraan compares this life to the rain because it causes plants and vegetation to grow, but after a short lifespan these plants wither away. This is identical to the pleasures of this life. Youth, beauty, children, wealth, property, cars etc. Each of these things fades away and are replaced with their opposite. Youth is replaced with old age, health with sickness, newness with oldness, wealth with poverty, and life with death. However, in Jannah, there is no death. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: Death will be brought forth in the form of a black and white speckled ram, and a caller will cry out, ‘O people of Paradise!’ They will crane their necks and look, and he will say, ‘Do you recognize this?’ They will say, ‘Yes, it is death,’ and all of them will have seen it. Then he will cry out, ‘O people of Hell!’ They will crane their necks and look, and he will say, ‘Do you recognize this?’ They will say, ‘Yes, it is death,’ and all of them will have seen it. Then the ram will be slaughtered, and he (the caller) will say, ‘O people of Paradise, it is eternal and there will be no death; O people of Hell, it is eternal and there will be no death.’”
Then he recited (Aayah 39 of Soorah Maryam i.e. Chapter 19 of Holy Quraan):
وَأَنذِرْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْحَسْرَةِ إِذْ قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ وَهُمْ فِي غَفْلَةٍ وَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
“Warn them of The Day of Remorse when the whole thing will be settled, while they are heedless and do not believe.” (Bukhari)
The Quraan documents a beautiful reflection of the inhabitants of Jannah will have upon entering it: Then he will ask his fellow believers:
أَفَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمَيِّتِينَ (58) إِلَّا مَوۡتَتَنَا ٱلۡأُولَىٰ وَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ (59) إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ (60)
“(Then the speaker will address other people of Jannah in delight and wonder, saying,) ‘Are we not then to die anymore, beyond our first death, nor are we going to be punished? This is, indeed, the great achievement.” (As-Saaffaat 37:58-60)
The Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said that when people enter Jannah, a caller will call out: “Indeed may you be healthy and never be sick again, may you live and never die again, may you be young and never grow feeble again, may you enjoy, and never feel sorrow and regret again.” (Muslim)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) said in Quraan:
قُلۡ مَتَٰعُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا قَلِيلٌ وَٱلۡأٓخِرَةُ خَيۡرٌ لِّمَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰ
“….Say: ‘The enjoyment of the world is but a little, and the Aakhirah is far better for the one who fears Allah….” (An-Nisaa 4:77).
At another place He said:
مَّثَلُ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ ٱلَّتِي وُعِدَ ٱلۡمُتَّقُونَۖ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُۖ أُكُلُهَا دَآئِمٞ وَظِلُّهَاۚ تِلۡكَ عُقۡبَى ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَواْۚ وَّعُقۡبَى ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ ٱلنَّارُ (35)
“Here is the description of the Jannah promised to the Allah-fearing: underneath it the rivers flow; its food is everlasting and (so is) its shade. This is the ultimate abode of the Allah-fearing while the ultimate abode of the disbelievers is Fire.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:35).
Also it is told:
مَا عِندَكُمْ يَنفَدُ وَمَا عِندَ اللَّهِ بَاقٍ
“What is with you shall perish and what is with Allah shall last.” (Al-Nahl 16:96).
Further it is revealed:
هَٰذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِيَوۡمِ ٱلۡحِسَابِ (53) إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَرِزۡقُنَا مَا لَهُۥ مِن نَّفَادٍ (54)
“This is what you are being promised for the Day of Reckoning. Surely, that is provision provided by Us, to which there is no end.” (Saad 38:53-54).
And it is added:
جَنَّٰتُ عَدۡنٖ يَدۡخُلُونَهَا وَمَن صَلَحَ مِنۡ ءَابَآئِهِمۡ وَأَزۡوَٰجِهِمۡ وَذُرِّيَّٰتِهِمۡۖ وَٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ يَدۡخُلُونَ عَلَيۡهِم مِّن كُلِّ بَابٖ (23) سَلَٰمٌ عَلَيۡكُم بِمَا صَبَرۡتُمۡۚ فَنِعۡمَ عُقۡبَى ٱلدَّارِ (24)
“the eternal gardens they enter, and those as well who are righteous from their fathers, spouses, and progeny. The angels will enter onto them from every gate (saying) ‘Peace on you for the patience you observed’. So, how excellent is the ultimate abode.” (Ar-Ra’d 13: 23-24)
Clothing and Jewelry
Quraan describes the following:
يُحَلَّوۡنَ فِيهَا مِنۡ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٖ وَيَلۡبَسُونَ ثِيَابًا خُضۡرٗا مِّن سُندُسٖ وَإِسۡتَبۡرَقٖ
“They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will be dressed in green garments, made of fine silk and thick silk…..”
They will be adorned with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine and thick silk. (Al-Kahf 18:31)
يُحَلَّوۡنَ فِيهَا مِنۡ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٖ وَلُؤۡلُؤٗاۖ وَلِبَاسُهُمۡ فِيهَا حَرِيرٌ (23)
“….. they will be ornamented with bracelets of gold, and with pearls, and their garment therein will be of silk.” (Al-Hajj 22:23)
يَلۡبَسُونَ مِن سُندُسٖ وَإِسۡتَبۡرَقٖ مُّتَقَٰبِلِينَ (53)
“They will be dressed in fine silk and thick silk, facing each other.” (Ad-Dukhaan 44:53)
عَٰلِيَهُمۡ ثِيَابُ سُندُسٍ خُضۡرٌ وَإِسۡتَبۡرَقٌ وَحُلُّوٓاْ أَسَاوِرَ مِن فِضَّةٖ وَسَقَىٰهُمۡ رَبُّهُمۡ شَرَابٗا طَهُورًا (21)
“Upon them will be garments of green ‘sundus’ (a kind of fine silk), and of ‘istabraq’ (a kind of thick silk), and they will be adorned by bracelets of silver. Their Lord will give them a pure beverage to drink.” (Al-Insaan: 76:21).
The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: Tooba is a tree in Jannah, as wide as what would require a hundred years journey; the clothes of the people of Jannah come from the outer parts of its flowers (Silsilat al-Hadith As-Saheehah).
No Ill Feelings
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says in Quraan:
لَا يَسۡمَعُونَ فِيهَا لَغۡوٗا وَلَا تَأۡثِيمًا (25) إِلَّا قِيلٗا سَلَٰمٗا سَلَٰمٗا (26)
“They will hear neither an absurd talk in it, nor something leading to sin, but (they will hear) the words of Salam, Salam i.e. Peace, Peace. (as greetings).” (Al-Waaq’ah 56:25-26)
وَنَزَعۡنَا مَا فِي صُدُورِهِم مِّنۡ غِلٍّ إِخۡوَٰنًا عَلَىٰ سُرُرٖ مُّتَقَٰبِلِينَ (47)
“We shall have removed whatever grudge they had in their hearts, (thus making them) brothers, sitting on couches, face to face.” (Al-Hijr 15:47).
The Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: There will be no hatred or resentment among them, their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify God, morning and evening (Bukhari).
Ultimately, the life of this world is not meant to be a place of complete and everlasting happiness. We are all temporary residents in this world, we will die and go to one of two places in the Aakhirah. It is foolish to get so connected and engrossed in this world while purposefully forgetting that we will soon leave it. This article only highlighted some of what Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said about Jannah. These descriptions are meant to inspire us to work hard, forgive, be patient, and look forward to stepping foot into the eternal bliss of Jannah. Laziness, cowardliness, fear, and procrastination are all obstacles that can prevent us from entering the abode of never ending joy and pleasure. It is essentially to step back and reflect on the nature of this world, the nature of our life and death, and our ultimate destiny.
It is reminded in Quraan:
كُلُّ نَفۡسٖ ذَآئِقَةُ ٱلۡمَوۡتِۗ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوۡنَ أُجُورَكُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِۖ فَمَن زُحۡزِحَ عَنِ ٱلنَّارِ وَأُدۡخِلَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ فَقَدۡ فَازَۗ وَمَا ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَآ إِلَّا مَتَٰعُ ٱلۡغُرُورِ (185)
“Every soul has to taste death. It is on the Day of Judgement that you shall be paid your rewards in full. So, whoever has been kept away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has really succeeded. The worldly life is nothing but an illusionary enjoyment.” (Aale ‘Imraan 3:185)