A PARADISE BEYOND THE IMAGINATION
They will have there all that their hearts desire and in which their eyes find delight. You will remain in it timelessly, forever. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 71)
We can get a general idea of what Paradise is like from the fact that the blessings of Paradise are similar to those in this world (Surat al-Baqara, 25) and from the descriptions and comparisons found in the Qur'an. Allah said in the Qur'an that He "will admit them into Paradise, which He has made known to them." (Surah Muhammad, 6)
So we can, with Allah's permission, glean some information while still living this earthly life. However, Allah bestows this knowledge only to give us an idea of what Paradise is like, for in reality its beauty and blessings are beyond our conception. For example, the verse "in it there are rivers of water that will never spoil, and rivers of milk whose taste will never change, and rivers of wine, delightful to all who drink it, and rivers of honey of undiluted purity" (Surah Muhammad, 15) shows us that Paradise contains excellences that cannot be compared with things in this world. A hadith also indicates this unimaginable beauty:
Allah said: "I have prepared for My pious servants things which have never been seen by an eye, nor heard by an ear, or (even) imagined by a human being." (Muslim)
In one verse, Allah says that believers will live in Paradise as His welcome guests:
But those who heed their Lord will have Gardens through which rivers flow, to live in for ever as a welcome from Allah. What is with Allah is better for those who are truly good. (Surah Al 'Imran, 198)
In this verse, Allah describes Paradise as a place of celebration. The end of the world, passing the test, and reaching one's true homeland is certainly a reward worth celebrating. This celebration's duration, dimensions, and content will be too glorious to compare with anything on Earth.
An eternal life full of such never-ending blessings brings a joy that belongs only to Paradise: not to grow tired. Believers in Paradise speak of this excellence as "no weariness or fatigue affects us" (Surah Fatir, 35).
Of course, this includes mental fatigue. People living under this world's prevailing conditions tire easily, because their bodies are created weak. When they get tired, their minds begin to get cloudy, they lose concentration and find it hard to think and conceptualize. But this does not happen in Paradise, for its people's minds are always open, and their consciousness is clear so that they can perceive Allah's blessings perfectly and take pleasure from them. Since this sense of fatigue, which comes from the world's imperfections, is eliminated, believers can have the uninterrupted benefit of endless blessings. People will find perfect joy in Paradise's blessings and go from one blessing to another.
In an environment with no fatigue or boredom, Allah rewards believers by creating "whatever they wish" (Surat ash-Shura, 22; Surat al-Furqan, 16; Surat az-Zumar, 34). There, they have everything that their hearts want. In Surat al-Kahf, 35, Allah says that He will give believers more than they can desire or imagine, and that these blessings will be increased several-fold in Paradise. One hadith paints the beauty of Paradise as follows:
I asked: "O Messenger of Allah! Of what was the creation made?" He replied: "Of water." We asked: "(As for) Paradise, what is its foundation?" He said: "One brick of gold and one brick of silver. Its mortars are of musk of strong scent, its stones are pearls and emeralds, and its soil is of saffron. Whoever enters it will be in bliss and not in want, live in bliss and not die, their clothes will not get old, and their youth will not end." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)
Allah, Who created human beings, certainly knows better than what their hearts desire, and so will create these things for believers as a reward in Paradise. The Qur'an announces some of these blessings; the rest are left to the pleasure and desire of the believers' imagination. Generally speaking, all believers delight in the same things, with only slight differences in details. A person can ask the Lord for blessings that appear impossible under this world's conditions, or for blessings of which they have no knowledge. Another verse describes the incomparable beauty of these things:
Platters and cups of gold will be passed around among them, and they will have there all that their hearts desire and in which their eyes find delight. You will remain in it timelessly, forever. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 71)
From this verse, we can understand that believers expect surprises in Paradise; that they will be pleased with, and derive pleasure from, what they see. They also feel happiness when they see the pleasure and happiness experienced by other believers.
Also, we must not forget that one of the greatest blessings of Paradise is protection from the agonies of Hell (Surat ad-Dukhan, 56). All of these things provide a great means of thanksgiving for believers, who can see Hell when they desire and speak with its inhabitants. The Qur'an describes how believers give thanks to Allah, as follows:
They will say: "Beforehand we used to live in fear among our families. But Allah was gracious to us and safeguarded us from the punishment of the searing wind. Beforehand we certainly used to call upon Him because He is the All-Good, the Most Merciful." (Surat at-Tur, 26-28)
In the Qur'an, Allah uses different names when referring to the gardens of Paradise, such as Gardens of Eden, Gardens of Refuge, Gardens of Firdaws, and Gardens of Delight. These names may express the different sections in which various pleasures are to be experienced. (Allah knows the truth.) It is also possible that Paradise may have various degrees or different sections. We can infer this from the following verse:
But as for those who come to Him as believers, having done right actions, they will have the highest ranks. (Surah Taha, 75)
The Qur'an describes Paradise as: "Wherever you look, you will see pleasure and great dominion." (Surat al-Insan, 20)
The following hadith indicates that every detail found in Paradise holds great beauties and blessings: "There is no tree in Paradise that does not have a trunk of gold" (Tirmidhi). Every corner is furnished with countless blessings, thanks to Allah's incomparable knowledge. These things are prepared only for believers, whom Allah forgives in His mercy and accepts into His Paradise.
In the Qur'an, Allah describes the believers' state in Paradise as follows:
We will strip away any rancor in their hearts - brothers, resting on couches face-to-face. (Surat al-Hijr, 47)
Remaining in them timelessly, forever, with no desire to move away from them. (Surat al-Kahf, 108)