By Allah, this Paradise is worthy of being labored after and competed for. It is precious for a man [and woman] to spend all his life seeking it while renouncing the inferior world.
If you asked about the deeds one must do in order to obtain it or the path to take in order to reach it, then Allah has indeed clarified it in what He has revealed to His most honorable creature. Allah said:
وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the pious. Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people, and Allah loves the doers of good; And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins, and who can forgive sins except Allah? and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know”(Ali Imran: 133-135)
This is the Description of the People of Paradise:
1) The Pious
They are those who feared their Lord by placing a barrier between them and His punishment, by adhering to His Commandments while hoping for His reward and abstaining from His prohibitions out of obedience to Him and out of fear of His punishment.
2) Those who spend at times of ease and at times of hardship
They spend whatever they are commanded to spend as it is required from them, including the obligatory alms giving, charities, and spending on whomever they are financially responsible for. Likewise they spend in the path of Allah and in all paths of good. They spend at times of ease and hardship. Times of comfort and happiness does not lead them to greed and selfishness. Likewise difficulty and hardship does not cause them to become stingy due to fear of poverty.
3) Those who suppress their anger
These are those who control their anger when they are enraged. As a result they do not envy or hate others due to this anger of theirs.
4) Those who forgive the people
They forgive those who wrong them and transgress upon their rights. They do not seek revenge for themselves even though they have the ability to do so. And in His statement, the Most High:
وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“Allah loves those who are kind.” is an indication that “forgiveness” will be considered praiseworthy if it results in Al-Ihsan [i.e. a positive outcome and reformation]. The forgiveness that increases the transgressor in his transgression, will not be considered praiseworthy and the individual will not be rewarded for it. For indeed Allah said:
فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ
“Whoever forgave and reformed then his reward is with Allah.”(Ash-Shura: 40)
5) “And those who, when they commit a Fahishah (immorality) or wrong themselves [by transgression], they remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins”
The word “Al-Fahishah” refers to sins that are considered to be atrocities and immorality. These are major sins.
Examples of these sins include:
- Committing murder
- Being undutiful to your parents
- Consuming interest
- Consuming the wealth of the ophan
- Running away from the battlefield
- And the likes from among the major sins
Wronging oneself is more general, it includes both the major and minor sins. Whenever the believers commit any of the abovementioned sins they remember the greatness of the One they disobeyed. As a result, they will be afraid of Him, leading them to remember His forgiveness and mercy. Thus, they will hasten to it. They ask forgiveness of their sins by asking Allah to cover their sins and to overlook them and not punish them for it.
In his statement: “None forgives sins but Allah” is an indication that the believers do not seek forgiveness from anyone but Allah, because none forgives sins except Him.
6) “They do not persist on their sins and they acknowledge that it is a sin”
Meaning they do not continue to commit the sin while acknowledging that it is a sin, while knowing the Greatness of the One they disobeyed, and while knowing the closeness of His forgiveness. Rather they hasten to free themselves from sins, repenting from them. This is because persisting upon committing sins, with this awareness, turns the minor sins into major sins. And it leads the sinner to difficult and dangerous situations.
Also, Allah said:
الَّذِينَ يَرِثُونَ الْفِرْدَوْسَ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْوَارِثُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَوَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ فَمَنِ ابْتَغَىٰ وَرَاءَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ إِلَّا عَلَىٰ أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
“Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers, and who shun all that which is vain, and who are prompt and regular in paying the Zakat, and who guard their chastity except from their wives or what their right hands possess, for then they are not to be blamed. But those, who seek anything beyond that are the transgressors. (Successful are the believers who) are watchful of their trusts and their covenants, and who are strict in the observance of their Prayers. These are the heirs, who will inherit Paradise. They will abide therein forever.” (Al-Mu’minun: 1-11)
These noble verses gathered many qualities of the People of Paradise:
A) “The Believers”
They are those who believe in Allah and all the things that are necessary upon them to believe, including:
- Belief in Allah’s Angels,
- His Books,
- His Messengers,
- The Last Day, and
- The belief in the divine decree (The good and bad of it)
They believe in these pillars with the belief that necessitates acceptance and submission with statements and actions.
B) “Those who are humble in their prayers.”
They focus with their hearts while keeping their limbs tranquil. They recall that they are standing before their Lord, addressing Him in their prayer with His speech, and seeking closeness to Him with His remembrance. And they rely on Him with their invocation. They are humble to Him inwardly and outwardly.
C) “Those who shun laghw” (i.e. all that which is vain)
The term “laghw” refers to anything that is void of good or benefit, whether it is a statement or action. So the believers are those who turn away from it because of their strong determination. They only spend their precious time engaged in that which will bring benefit to them. Just as they preserve their prayers with tranquility, they also preserve their time from being wasted. And if turning away from vanity is part of their qualities then it is more deserving of them to turn away from things that are harmful to them.
D) “Those who pay their Zakat”
The term “zakat” could mean the percentage of money that must be paid to the poor, or it could carry the general meaning which is every statement or action that purifies the soul.
E) “Those who preserve their chastity, except from their wives or that which their right hand possesses. They are not to be blamed.”
They preserve their chastity from fornication and homosexuality, because these acts are disobedience to Allah, social deterioration and inferiority in character.
And even more general than the abovementioned, is also the obligation of preserving oneself from touching and looking at that which is not permissible to touch or look at.
As for the statement, “they are not to be blamed,” this is an indication that the origin of this act is blameworthy except if it is done with the wife or the possession of the right hand, because of the need to that in order to fulfill the natural need for the production of babies and other benefits.
The generality of the statement, “But those, who seek anything beyond that are the transgressors,” is a proof for the impermissibility of masturbation, also known as “the secret habit”; that is because masturbation is ejaculation but not by the way of the legal spouse or the possession of the right hand.
F) “And who are watchful of their trusts and their covenants”
“Trusts” includes statements, actions, and items. Therefore if someone informed you of a secret, he has entrusted you. Whoever does an action in your presence but does not want it to be exposed, has entrusted you. And if someone gave you his wealth to preserve it, he has entrusted you.
But “convenant” is whatever an individual imposes on himself to do for someone else. And example of that is to make a vow to Allah to do a particular deed, or even the promises which take place between the epeople. The people of paradise are those who fulfill their trusts and keep their promoses with Allah and with the people. This also includes fulfilling the contracts and the lawful conditions between the people.
G) “Those who establish their prayers.”
They are consistent in preserving their prayers as to not neglect them. They carry them out in a complete manner fulfilling their conditions, pillars, and obligations.
Allah has mentioned in the Qur’an many qualities of the people of Paradise besides what was stated here. Allah the Glorifies mentioned these qualities so that those who want to enter paradise will adorn themselves with these characteristics.
Likewise, many of these qualities are mentioned in a number of hadiths.
[Taken from Sittings During the Blessed Month of Ramadhaan by Shaykh Saalih Al-Uthaymeen].