Description of Paradise

Ibn al-Qayyim said, in regards to the description of the Paradise and the delights that it contains:

“And if you ask about its ground and its soil, then it is of musk and saffron.

And if you ask about its roof, then it is the Throne of the Most Merciful.

And if you ask about its rocks, then they are pearls and jewels.

And if you ask about its buildings, then they are made of bricks of gold and silver.

And if you ask about its trees, then it does not contain a single tree except that its trunk is made of gold and silver.

And if you ask about its fruits, then they are softer than butter and sweeter than honey.

And if you ask about its leaves, then they are softer than the softest cloth.

And if you ask about its rivers, then there are rivers of milk who’s taste does not change, and rivers of wine that is delicious to those who drink it, and rivers of honey that is pure, and rivers of water that is fresh.

And if you ask about their food, then it is fruits from whatever they will choose, and the meat of whatever birds they desire.

And if you ask about their drink, then it is Tasneem, ginger, and Kaafoor.

And if you ask about their drinking cups, then they are crystal-clear and made of gold and silver.

And if you ask about its shade, then a fast rider would ride in the shade of one of its trees for a hundred years and not escape it.

And if you ask about its vastness, then the lowest of its people would have within his kingdom and walls and palaces and gardens the distance that would be travelled in a thousand years.

And if you ask about its tents and encampments, then one tent is like a concealed pearl that is sixty miles long.

And if you ask about its towers, then they are rooms above rooms in buildings that have rivers running underneath them.

And if you ask about how far it reaches into the sky, then look at the shining star that is visible, as well as those that are far in the heavens that the eyesight cannot possibly reach.

And if you ask about the clothing of its inhabitants, then they are of silk and gold.

And if you ask about its beds, then its blankets are of the finest silk laid out in the highest of its levels.

And if you ask about the faces of its inhabitants and their beauty, then they are like the image of the Moon.

And if you ask about their age, then they are young ones of 33 years in the image of Adam, the father of humanity.

And if you ask about what they will be hearing, then it is the singing of their wives from among the Hoor al-‘Ayn, and better than that are the voices of the Angels and the Prophets, and better than that is the Speech of the Lord of the Worlds.

And if you ask about their servants, then they are young boys of everlasting youth who resemble scattered pearls.

And if you ask about their brides and wives, then they are young and full-breasted and have had the liquid of youth flow through their limbs; the Sun runs along the beauty of her face if she shows it, light shines from between her teeth if she smiles; if you meet her love, then say whatever you want regarding the joining of two lights; he sees his face in the roundness of her cheek as if he is looking into a polished mirror, and he sees the brightness from behind her muscles and bones; if she were to be unleashed upon the World, she would fill what is between the Heavens and the Earth with a beautiful wind, and the mouths of the creation would glorifiy, praise, and exclaim greatness, and everything between the East and the West would be adorned for her, and every eye would be shut from everthing but her, and the light of the Sun would be outshone just as the light of the Sun outshines the light of the stars, and everyone on the face of the Earth would believe in the Ever-Living, the One who Sustains and Protects all the exists.

And the covering on her head is better than the World and all that is in it, and she does not increase with age except in beauty; free from an umbilical cord, childbirth and menses, and pure of mucous, saliva, urine and other filthy things; her youth never fades, her clothing is never worn out, no garment can be created that matches her beauty, and no one who is with her can ever become bored; her attention is restricted to her husband, so she desires none but him, just as his attention is restricted to her so she is the sole object of his desire, and he is with her in utmost safety and security, as none has touched her before of either humans or Jinn.

And if you ask about the Day of Increase (in reward) and the visit of the all-Mighty, all-Wise, and the sight of His Face – free from any resemblance or likeness to anything – as you see the Sun in the middle of the day and the full Moon on a cloudless night, then listen on the day that the caller will call: ‘O People of Paradise! Your Lord – Blessed and Exalted – requests you to visit Him, so come to visit Him!’ So they will say: ‘We hear and obey!’

Until, when they finally reach the wide valley where they will all meet – and none of them will turn down the request of the caller – the Lord – Blessed and Exalted – will order His Chair to be brought there. Then, pulpits of light will emerge, as well as pulpits of pearls, gemstone, gold, and silver. The lowest of them in rank will sit on sheets of musk, and will not see what those who are on the chairs above them are given. When they are comfortable where they are sitting and are secure in their places, and the caller calls: ‘O People of Paradise! You have an appointment with Allaah in which He wishes to reward you!’ So they will say: ‘And what is that reward? Has He not already made our faces bright, made our scales heavy, entered us into Paradise, and pushed us away from the Fire?’

And when they are like that, all of a sudden a light shines that encompasses all of Paradise. So, they raise their heads, and, behold: the Compeller – Exalted is He, and Holy are His Names – has come to them from above them and majestified them and said: ‘O People of Paradise! Peace be upon you!’ So, this greeting will not be responded to with anything better than: ‘O Allaah! You are Peace, and from You is Peace! Blessed are You, O possessor of Majesty and Honor!’ So the Lord – Blessed and Exalted – will laugh to them and say: ‘O People of Paradise! Where are those who used to obey Me without having ever seen Me? This is the Day of Increase!’

So, they will all give the same response: ‘We are pleased, so be pleased with us!’ So, He will say: ‘O People of Paradise! If I were not pleased with you, I would not have made you inhabitants of My Paradise! So, ask of Me!’ So, they will all give the same response: ‘Show us your Face so that we may look at it!’ So, the Lord – Mighty and Majestic – will remove his covering and will majestify them and will cover them with His Light, which, if Allaah – the Exalted – had not Willed not to burn them, would have burned them.

And there will not remain a single person in this gathering except that his Lord – the Exalted – will speak to him and say: ‘Do you remember the day that you did this and that?’ and He will remind him of some of his bad deeds in the Worldy life, so he will say: ‘O Lord! Will you not forgive me?’ So, He will say: ‘Of course! You have not reached this position of yours (in Paradise) except by my forgiveness.’

So, how sweet is this speech to the ears, and how cooled are the righteous eyes by the glance at His Noble Face in the Afterlife…

{Some faces that Day will be shining and radiant, looking at their Lord…} (al-Qiyaamah:22-3)

“Anyone who possesses a speck of Pride in his heart will not enter Paradise“

Explanation of the Hadith: “Anyone who possesses a speck of Pride in his heart will not enter Paradise”

Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah
Majmoo‘-ul Fataawaa (vol. 7, pg. 677-679)

Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (ra) was asked:
Regarding the Prophet’s statement: “Anyone who possesses a speck of pride (kibr) in his heart will not enter Paradise” – Is this Hadith specific only to the believers or (is it specific only to the) unbelievers? If we were to say that it is specific for the Believers then (is not) our statement trivial considering (the fact that) the believers shall enter Paradise due to their Eemaan. If, on the other hand, we were to say that the Hadith is specific for the unbelievers then what is the relevance of the statement (since it is already known that the unbelievers shall not gain admission to Paradise?

He (ra) answered:
(Another) authentically reported wording of (this particular version of the) Hadith is, “Anyone who possesses half a mustard seed of Pride (kibr) in his heart will not be granted admission to Paradise. And anyone who possesses half a mustard seed of Eemaan will not enter the (Eternal) Fire.” [1]

Kibr that openly opposes and negates Eemaan results in the banishment of the one who holds it from entering al-Jannah as is found in Allah’s statement:

“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn (yastakbiroon – Have kibr) My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” [Surah Ghaafir: 60]

This is the Kibr of Iblis (the Devil), Pharaoh and all the others who possessed the Kibr, which invalidated Eemaan. This is also the Kibr that the Jews possess and those whom Allah has described to us by saying:

“Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant? Some, you disbelieved and some, you killed.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 87]

Al-Kibr, in its entirety, openly opposes the essentials of al-Eemaan. As such he who has an atom’s weight of Kibr in his heart will not act upon that which Allah has prescribed, nor will he abstain from that which Allah has prohibited. Instead his Kibr shall result in his disavowal and rejection of the truth and instill in him contempt of others. This, precisely, is the explanatory definition of al-Kibr provide by the Prophet as is found in the complete version of the initial Hadith [“The one who possesses an atom’s weight of Kibr in his heart shall not be granted admission to Paradise.”]

He (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was asked: “[But] O Messenger of Allah! A man likes to have fine clothing and footwear. Is this included in Kibr?” He responded, “No. Allah is Beauty and loves Beauty. Kibr is the rejection of truth (Batrul-Haqq) and condescension of others (waa ghaamtun-naas).” [2]

The statement “Batarul-Haqq” denotes distain and rejection of the Truth, while “ghaamtun-naas” implies contempt and condescension of others from amongst mankind.

Therefore the one who possesses half a mustard seed of it (Kibr) rejects the Truth that he was ordered to accept and act upon. At the same time, the Kibr instills in him a sense of condescension that inculcates in the individual an oppressive demeanor producing transgression over the rights of others.

The one who neglects his obligations (due to his rejection of them) and is oppressive to others from amongst the creation is not to be amongst the people of Jannah (while in this state), or deserving of it. On the contrary, such an individual is to be counted amongst the people who are threatened with punishment!

His (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement: “Anyone who possesses a speck of Kibr in his heart will not be granted admission to Paradise” implies that the individual is not from the people of Jannah and is not deserving of it. But if he repents, or he possesses Hasaanaat (righteous deeds) that expiate his sins, or Allah has given him Ibtillaah (trials and tests) in the form of calamities that have expunged his sins, or similar things; then for that individual the recompense of Kibr – which originally was a barrier for him to enter Jannah – is eliminated and he gains admission (to it). Similarly Allah, due to Divine Grace, may forgive the individual (the sin of) Kibr. [3] None shall gain admission (to Paradise) while possessing an atom’s weight of Kibr. As a result, those (scholars) discussing this Hadith, and other Hadith that have a similar theme, have stated:

“Unconditional admission (to Paradise) – that is not in conjunction with punishment (for the sin of Kibr) – is what is being negated in this Hadith; not the admission to Jannah that is granted to those who have entered the Fire (to be purified and cleansed) and then are allowed admission to Paradise thereafter. (On the other hand) if a Hadith explicitly declares that a particular person is in Jannah or that a particular person is from the People of Jannah, it would then be understood that he would enter the Jannah and not enter the fire (beforehand).”

After this clarification we come to understand the true meaning of these narrations as being that the one who possesses an atom’s weight of Kibr in his heart is not from the people of Paradise (up to that point) and shall not gain admission into it without punishment (for his sin). Surely he deserves punishment – due to the enormity of the sin – similar to those who perform the Major (Kabaa’ir) sins. Allah may punish him in the Fire as long as He wishes, but none from amongst the people of tawhid shall remain in the Fire eternally.

This is to be the way we understand all the Hadith that have a similar meaning. This understanding is to be used when seeking the meaning of his (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement: “The one who severs the ties of the womb shall not enter Jannah”[4] or “You shall not enter Jannah until you believe. And you shall not believe until you love one another. Shall I inform you of something that if you do you shall (truly) love each other? Spread the greetings of Salaam amongst yourselves.”

This is the understanding that we are to have when pondering over the ahaadeeth that contain threats of Punishment. In this way we understand that the Hadith is general and can be attributed to both the unbelievers and the Muslims.

If one was to say: “All the Muslims enter Jannah due to their Islam.” The response is that not all Muslims enter Jannah without punishment. Surely the people who have been threatened (with punishment in the Hereafter due to their sins) shall enter into the Fire to remain in it for the period that Allah so wills even though they are not unbelievers. The individual who has some Eemaan coinciding with major sins may enter into the Fire and exit from it as a result of the Shafaa‘ah (Intercession) of the Prophet or by other reported means as articulated by the Prophet when he (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“My Shafaa‘ah is for the people who commit Majors Sins from amongst my Ummah.” [5]

And he (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said as is reported in the sahih: “I shall bring out of the Fire the one who possesses half a mustard seed of Eemaan.” [6]

In this way we understand what is in store for those whom Allah has threatened with punishment – the murderer, fornicator/adulterer, the one who consumes intoxicants, and the one who misappropriates the wealth of the orphans, the one who witnesses falsehood and others who perform the deeds of the people of major sins. They – even if they are not unbelievers – are not deserving of the Jannah that they are promised (as Muslims) without first being (cleansed and purged through) punishment.

The madh-hab (way and belief) of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa‘ah is that the Foosaaq (deviant sinners) from amongst the general body of Muslims are not going to be eternally punished in the Fire as held by the Khawaarij[7] and the Mu‘tazilah.[8] They are not complete in their religion (Deen), Eemaan and obedience to Allah.[9] They have good and bad deeds that necessitate a measure of punishment and reward. This is a concise dissertation regarding the issue.


[1] Translator’s Note: Reported by Imam Muslim, Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi on the authority of Ibn Mas‘ood. See Islaah al-Masaajid, checked by Al-Albaanee.

[2] Translator’s Note: Reported by Imam Muslim (54), Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Sa‘d on the authority of Ibn Mas‘ood. Tabarani reports it on the authority of ‘Abdullah bin Salaam

[3] Translator’s Note: Allah the Most High says in Surah an-Nisaa’ (4:48): “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives what is besides that to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.”

[4] Translator’s Note: Reported by Imam Muslim (1765 – Abridged) al-Haakim, al-Bayhaqee, Abu Dawud, and Tirmidhi on the authority of Jubayr bin Mut‘aam.

[5] Translator’s Note: Turn to the Chapter “Shafaa‘ah for the People of Major Sins” (Pg. 61-108) in the highly beneficial book of the world-renowned Muqbil bin Haadee al-Waadi‘ee ) titled: “Ash-Shafaa‘ah.” In the chapter the Shaykh reports seventy-six (76) ahaadeeth showing that those who perform Major sins are not excluded from the Shafaa‘ah of Allah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). This particular Hadith can be found in the book on page 85, Hadith number 56. Shaykh Abu ‘Abdir-Rahmaan Muqbil bin Haadee reports that the Hadith is collected by Tirmidhi (v. 4, pg. 45) on the authority of Anas and Jaabir. He then states: “And this Hadith is Hasan sahih Ghareeb (good and authentic yet scarce in this mode). The Hadith is reported by Ibn Khuzaymah (pg. 270), Ibn Hibbaan as is stated in the Mawrid (pg. 640), and al-Haakim (vol. 1, pg. 69) said: ‘This Hadith is authentic and meets the requirements set by Bukhari and Muslim even though they did not narrate it.’” Later on  Muqbil wrote: “Al-Haafidh Ibn Kathir said in his Tafsir (vol. 1, pg. 487) that its chain of narration is sahih and meets the requirements set by Bukhari and Muslim.” Muqbil then takes us step by step through the chain of narration and proves convincingly that the Hadith does not meet the requirements of Bukhari and Muslim due to the presence of Mu‘aamar reporting from Thaabit

[6] Translator’s Note: This is a segment of the famous Hadith of Shafaa‘ah collected by Bukhari (vol. 13, pg. 472)

[7] Translator’s Note: Khawaarij is the plural of Kharijee – They are those who declared that a Muslim becomes a disbeliever due to committing a major sin alone.

[8] Translator’s Note: The Mu‘tazilah deem the one who does not agree with their understanding of tawhid (7 false principles) is deemed a Mushrik. They believe that the sinners who are Muslim shall be in a place between Jannah and the Fire. Their beliefs are built on false logical deductions that led them to negate many of the Names and Attributes of Allah. They were the deviant group who opposed the Imam of Ahlus-Sunnah, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal by falsely claiming that the Qur’an is created and not the Speech of Allah.

[9] Translator’s Note: The Murji’ah believe that sins, major or minor, do not affect faith and that Eemaan neither increases nor decreases. They claim that actions are not part of faith and that people do not vary in faith.