Women’s or Men’s Paradise?

Here we are, after the month of the blessed month of Ramadan. We ask Allah to accept our fasting, prayer and our good deeds.

I ask Allah that this month had softened our hearts and increased us in faith and spirituality. By Allah’s mercy and blessings we need to keep that going for after Ramadan, so we can truly say that we had a month to recharge our faith and desire to increase in good deeds.

In Islam people of all abilities, whether physical, mental, emotional or economical can draw closer to Allah. Perhaps one of the more basic ways is to  remind ourselves of Jannah (paradise) and Jannam (hellfire). This will keep us between hope & fear; hope in entering paradise & fear of even getting close to the hellfire. Interestingly, the more time we are in that delicate place of hope & fear the closer we come to Ihsan (excellence) in what we say and do. That is because we become acutely conscious of how our words and actions could bring Allah’s pleasure or displeasure.

The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When Allah created Paradise, He said to Gabriel: Go and look at it. He went and looked at it, then came and said: O my Lord! By Your might, no one who hears of it will fail to enter it. Allah then surrounded it with disagreeable things, and said: Go and look at it, Gabriel. He went and looked at it, then came and said: O my Lord! By Your might, I am afraid that no one will enter it.

When Allah created Hell, He said: Go and look at it, Gabriel. He went and looked at it, then came and said: O my Lord! By Your might, no one who hears of it will enter it. Allah then surrounded it with desirable things and said: Go and look at it, Gabriel. He went, looked at it, then came and said: O my Lord! By Your might and power, I am afraid that no one will remain who does not enter it.” Narrated by Al-Tirmithi

But there’s always hope in Allah’s mercy when our heart and limbs are acting seeking His obedience.

The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “None of you would get into Paradise because of his good deeds alone and he would not be rescued from Fire, not even I, but because of the Mercy of Allah.” Narrated by Muslim

You know the saying ‘Knowledge is power’. There is another one, ‘Knowledge is light’; a light to see your path and make informed decisions. So let’s go quickly past the hell fire to stand a while in front of paradise. To reflect. To ponder. To find our motivation.

Al-Isra & Miraj was a miraculous night jouney that Allah bestowed on His Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), an affirmation of his prophecy. In that journey he witnessed horrific & heart warming scenes.

As narrated in Bukhari, the Prophet saw a bull exiting a very small outlet, then trying in vain to return through that small outlet. Gabriel told the Prophet, “This is the example of the bad word – once spoken, it cannot be returned.”

The Prophet saw angels smashing some people’s heads with rocks. These heads would return to the shape they had been, and then the angels would smash their heads again – and so on. Gabriel told the Prophet, “These are the ones whose heads felt too heavy to perform prayer – the ones who used to sleep without praying.”

The Prophet saw people scratching their faces and chests with brass finger nails. Gabriel said, “These are the examples of those who gossip and speak about people behind their back”

Subhanaalah all horrific and scary images so how about being there or the great loss: being one of them! Be aware. Allah is all forgiving and has great punishment to those who disobey him.

On this night journey the Prophet also saw people who were planting and harvesting in two days. Gabriel told the Prophet, “These were the people who strive for the sake of Allah”

The Prophet said: “While I was walking in Paradise (on the night of Miraj), I saw a river, on the two banks of which there were tents made of hollow pearls. I asked, “What is this, O Gabriel?’ He said, ‘That is the Kauthar which Your Lord has given to you.’ Behold! Its scent or its mud smelt of musk!”

The Prophet describes one of the trees of Paradise: “Then I was taken up until I reached Sidrat al-Muntaha and I saw its Nabq [fruits] which looked like the clay jugs of Hajar, its leaves were like the ears of elephants, and one of these leaves could cover the whole of this ummah. It was veiled in colours indescribable. Then I entered Paradise, And its lights were pearls and its soil was musk”.

The companions asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the buildings of Paradise and he replied with a wonderful description: “Bricks of gold and silver, and mortar of fragrant musk, pebbles of pearl and sapphire, and soil of saffron. Whoever enters it is filled with joy and will never feel miserable; he will live there forever and never die; their clothes will never wear out and their youth will never fade

The prophet continued: “I stood by the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of those who entered were the poor and wretched. The rich [Muslims] were detained while the people of Hell were ordered to be taken to Hell”

The above hadith has been quoted as a response confirming that women will form the majority of the inhabitants of Hell does not necessarily mean that they will be a minority in Paradise, as Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalâni said.

Some men and women were discussing whether women or women will make the majority in paradise. They consulted the companion Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be please with him), who said that women would form the majority. This is based on the hadith of the Prophet: “The first group to enter Paradise will be as beautiful as the full moon, and the group that follows them will be like the brightest shining stars in the sky: each man of them will have two wives, the marrow of whose leg-bones will be visible through the flesh because of their extreme beauty. There will be no one who is unmarried in Paradise” (narrated by Muslim)

The two hadiths may be reconciled by stating that women will be in the majority in both paradise and hellfire, just as there are more women than men in this world. We could say that the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah indicates that the total number of women in paradise, including women of this world and al-Hoor al-een will outnumber men. The question then is, who will be greater in number in Paradise: the men of this world or the women? Al-Qurtubi reconciled between these two hadiths by suggesting that women will form the majority of the inhabitants of hell before the Shafaah [intercession], when the sinners from amongst the believers will be brought out of Hell. Thereafter women will form the majority of the people of Paradise. [at-Tadhkirah, al-Qurtubî, p. 475]

Ultimately, entering paradise is not based on one’s gender. It is through the mercy and permission of Allah. Each one of us strives be truly obedient and pleasing to Allah to be bestowed that permission and mercy. It is hard enough remaining conscious on staying on the path of good and freeing our hearts from being enslaved to money, status, fame etc without having to also deal with this battle of the sexes.  Let’s support each other in this life and after, there is room for everyone!

{The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.} Quran 9:71

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