Traditions of the Prophet which Describe the Beautific Vision
1.1. Abu Musa (ra) says the Prophet (saws) said: “There will be two Gardens of silver in which everything will be made of silver. And there will be two gardens of gold in which everything will be made of gold.1 And there will be nothing between the people and their Lord except a shroud of Greatness2 on His “wajh“3 in the Paradise of Eden.”
(Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmidhi)
- The gold and silver used in this hadith are only word-equivalents of the actual that the four gardens will be made of since the gold and silver of the Hereafter will have nothing in resemblance with the gold and silver of this world. It is only to relate the next world to this that these words are used to describe the next world. Actuals will be very different from the description here.
- The actual word used is ‘Kibriya’ which is an Attribute of our Lord. And, in actual fact, Allah’s Attributes cannot be translated. Nevertheless, the words in English nearest to “kibriya,” is Greatness, Pride, Exaltation, Majesty etc.
- The word “wajh” of Arabic is ordinarily the equivalent of face. But it does not befit to translate it as face when used for God since Allah has no face in the sense of the word we understand. Yes, He has a “wajh” but it cannot be described, qualified or quantified since there is nothing that resembles our Lord.
1.2. Jarir b. Abdullah says: “We were sitting with the Prophet (saws). He looked at the full moon in the sky and said: `You will see your Lord as (clearly) as you see this moon – you will not be in any doubt about sighting Him. So if it is possible that nothing else occupies you at the time of morning and evening Prayers, then do them.’ Then he recited the following verse: `And glorify your Lord before the sunrise and before it sets.'” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The connection between Prayers and the sighting of our Lord is clear and simple. Those who refuse to stand before their Lord in the morning and evening Prayers will lose the right to see Him in the Hereafter.
1.3. Suhaym (ra) says the Prophet (saws) said: “When those of the Paradise would have entered into the Paradise, Allah (swt) will ask them: `Do you think there is something else that I can add (to your pleasure)?’ They will say: `Have you not (O our Lord) brightened our faces? Have you not brought us into the Paradise and saved us from Fire?’ The Prophet continued, “Then the veil will be removed and they will be able to look at the ‘Wajh’ of their Lord and they will find that nothing is dearer to them than looking at their Lord.” Then he recited the following verse: `For those who do good will be good – and more.'” (Muslim)
1.4. Jabir (ra) says the Prophet (saws) said: “While the people will be in the Paradise, suddenly a ‘Nur’ will engulf them. They will raise their eyes and Lo! it will be their Lord looking down at them. He will say, `Peace be upon you, O people of the Paradise.’ The Prophet added, `This is based on Allah’s saying in the Qur’an: `Peace. A word from the Lord the Merciful.’ The Prophet then carried on saying, “Then He will look at them and they will look at Him, and they will not divert their attention towards anything else of the other pleasures (of the Paradise), so long as they are looking at Him, until He will draw the veil and only ‘Nur’ will remain.” (Ibn Majah)
These ahadith are the answers to those of the Jews and Christians who raise the objection that the promises of the Hereafter are entirely of materialistic nature.
HEAVEN AND HELL
2.1. Abu Hurayrah (ra) reports the Prophet (saws): “Every Prophet is given a supplication that is assured of being granted. Every Prophet has already used it. I have kept it in reserve in order to use it for my Ummah. It will reach everyone who will die not associating aught as partner with Allah.” (4307)
And the supplication in question is the Shifa`ah (intercession) that the Prophet (saws) is going to ask for in the Hereafter.
2.2. `Uthman ibn `Affan (ra) says the Prophet (saws) said: “Three kinds of people will intercede on the Day of Judgment: Prophets, scholars and martyrs.” (4313)
We must remind ourselves, however, that all intercessions will take place with the permission of Allah (swt) who will decide about the deserving cases. Also, there is no guarantee that those in whose favor intercession will be accepted will not first pass through the purgation of Hell-fire. Hence, it is not a clever thing to depend on intercession, although one should not rule it out altogether for oneself.
2.3. Abu Hurayrah (ra) reports the Prophet (saws) as having said that Allah says: “I have prepared such (blessings and pleasures) for My dutiful slaves that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and which has not passed through any man’s mind.’
“Read,” continued the Prophet (what the Qur’an says about it), “`No soul knows what has been stored for them (i.e., the dutiful) of that which will cool the eyes.'” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Hence the saying of Ibn `Abbas that all that is in the Qur’an describing the Paradise is only names the like of which do not exist on the earth.