Heavenly City/ Gardens of Paradise

Both the Qur’an and the Bible hold out the prospect of a reward for the righteous faithful and the righteous which they will receive when they are raised from death. The images used to describe this afterlife differ. The Hebrew Bible offers the image of the new Jerusalem, coupled to a new heaven and a new earth. In Revelation, this beautiful city has twelve pearly gates. In it a river flows bordered by a tree of life.

The New Testament sometimes speaks of paradise, which in the Qur’an is the main focus. The everlasting gardens or Jannah to which the good and the faithful may aspire imply a return to the Gardens of Eden. Such gardens are mentioned countless times, usually together with Jahannam, the fires of hell. The word paradise comes from the Persian and originally meant ‘walled garden’. On judgment day the walls open up like wide portals The paradise gardens are verdant and shady, provided with abundant water and filled with plenty, fowls and fruit. Wine is served by pearly young men with beautiful eyes, wine which does not intoxicate, and milk which does not sour, and honey reminiscent of the Bible’s promised land.

The sparkling city and verdant gardens are intended for the faithful and the righteous; the men and women on the right. The New Testament uses the word sheep, as opposed to the sinister goats that proceed to hell. In this chapter the virtues which make someone eligible for heaven are lightly touched upon. In a separate chapter a more extensive description of virtues is found. Suffice it to say that ‘martyrs’, those who suffered for their faith are given special treatment in both books. As shown in the chapter on last chapter, suicide bombers killing innocent life are explicitly excluded.

A question hotly discussed is whether members of the other religion are allowed in. The Qur’an mocks the idea that only Jews and Christians will go to heaven. It broadens the rule to allow Muslims in, who may relate there peacefully with monotheistic Christians and Jews faithful to their own scriptures. Jesus also gives a broad and charitable view, explicitly admitting sinners and criminals to heaven.

In the Qur’an Paradise is promised to both men and women who are just and fear God. It is characterized by peaceful human relations, also between the sexes. Just as on earth, there are couples in heaven, but they remain forever young. According to tradition, they become as tall as Adam, as beautiful as Joseph, as melodious as David, and of the same age (33) Jesus was when he was taken up on high by God, – and finally as wise as Muhammad. In the Biblical image of heaven there are no sexual differences. People exist as shining angels, free from troubling erotic desires. Words such as bride and groom take on a spiritual meaning, as in the image of the bride Jerusalem.

Paradise and the Kingdom of Heaven, New Jerusalem is filled with radiantly happy people, living forever in the close presence of God.


Heavenly Kingdom, Holy City

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth…I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. Isaiah 65: 17-18

I saw a new heaven and a new earth…Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls: And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. Revelation 21:1-2, 21

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

…and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne… and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Matthew 4: 17,Revelation 4: 2-3

And he ( an angel) showed my (John) a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God… on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits…the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22:1-2

..to him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ‘ Revelation 2:7

…today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23: 43

The sheep on the right

When the Son of Man comes to His glory …He will sit on the throne…and He will set the sheep on his right hand…Matthew 25:31,33

…the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever. Daniel 7:18

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3,10

I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God… they lived and reigned with Christ…Revelation 20:4

Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
…whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

A sinner in paradise

Jesus said to… the chief priests and the elders of the people…, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.”

Matthew 21:21, 23,31

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying,

“If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying,

“… this Man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said to Jesus,

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

And Jesus said to him,

“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Luke 23: 39, 40-43

As Angels

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. Matthew 22:30

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21: 2

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. And at midnight a cry was heard: “Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!”

And… the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Matthew 25: 1, 6, 10

God with the people
…God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21: 3-4

I (God ed.) will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying. Isaiah 65:19

Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:3


The Gardens of Eternity

But those who repent…and do what is right shall enter paradise…the gardens of Eden, which the Merciful has promised…19 Mary, 61 (Dawood)
…for the righteous, is a beautiful Place of (Final) Return – Gardens of Eternity, whose doors will (ever) be open to them; 38 Saad, 49-50

…a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth… 3 Al-‘Imran, 133
In a Garden on high…Therein will be a bubbling spring: Therein will be Thrones (of dignity), raised on high, goblets placed (ready), and cushions set in rows, and rich carpets (all) spread out. 88 The Overwhelming Event: 10-16

They will be) on Thrones encrusted (with gold and precious stones), reclining on them, facing each other. Round about them will (serve) youths of perpetual (freshness), with goblets, (shining) beakers, and cups (filled) out of clear-flowing fountains: no after-ache will they do not receive therefrom, nor will they suffer intoxication: And with fruits, any that they may select: and the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire. 56 The Inevitable Event, 15-21
In it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and Grace from their Lord. 47 The Prophet,15

Adorned in green garments

Those who are given their record in their right hand will read it (with pleasure), and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least.

17 The Israelites, 71

Upon them will be green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade, and they will be adorned with Bracelets of silver; “Verily this is a Reward for you, and your Endeavour is accepted and recognised.”

76 Time; or Man 21-22

If you (but) establish regular Prayers (Salat ed.), practise regular Charity (Zakat ed.) believe in My Messengers…and loan to Allah a beautiful loan…

verily I will admit you to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath;

5 The Table Spread, 12
Those who have…suffered harm in My Cause, or fought or been slain – verily, I will admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath; 3 Al-‘Imran,195

Jews /Christians in paradise?

And they say: “None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” Those are their (vain) desires. Nay–whoever submits his whole self to Allah and is a doer of good– he will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. 2 The Heifer, 111-112
If only the People of the Book had believed and been righteous, We should indeed have… admitted them to Gardens of Bliss. If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. 5 The Table Spread, 65-66

Men and women together
If any do deeds of righteousness – be they male or female – and have faith, they will enter Heaven…

4 The Women,124
You enter the Garden, you and your wives, in (beauty and) rejoicing. 43 Gold Adornments, 70
And (there will be) Companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes – like unto Pearls well-guarded. 56 The Inevitable Event, 22-23

…and they have therein companions pure (and holy); and they abide therein (for ever).

2 The Heifer, 25
We have created (their Com-panions) of special creation. And made them virgin-pure (and un-defiled), beloved (by nature), equal in age, for the Companions of the Right Hand56 The Inevitable Event, 35-38

The brightness of bliss
For them will be a Home of Peace in the presence of their Lord: He will be their Friend, because they practiced (righteousness).

6 The Cattle, 127

Their salutation on the Day they meet Him will be “Peace!”; and He has prepared for them a generous Reward. 33 The Confederates, 44

You will recognize in their faces the beaming brightness of Bliss.

83 The Dealers in Fraud, 24
Now no person knows what delights of the eye are kept hidden (in reserve) for them – as a reward for their (good) deeds.

32 The Adoration: 17

Some faces that Day will be beaming, (bright) Laughing, rejoicing.

80 He Frowned, 38-39

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