Describing Paradise by Limited Human Imaginations

From WikiPasokh

Why is everything that Arabs imagined 1400 years ago as a utopia or their aspirations introduced in the Qur'an as Paradise? If, nowadays, these descriptions of Paradise in Islam are given to the inhabitants of the beautiful regions of the world, what will they say? Do not they say that we have many of these paradises in our country and we do not need the Paradise of Islam?

True Paradise is beyond human imagination, and the Qur'an and hadiths have had to use perceivable examples for people so that they can understand. The Qur'an, however, provides a general criterion that whatever you wish will be available to you in Paradise. More importantly, the Qur'an does not consider the blessings in Heaven as the ultimate goal of human beings; rather the main goal is to achieve the pleasure of God.

Heaven or Hell is regarded as the material embodiment of human actions. Every person will face his deeds in the Hereafter. So it is possible to tell all human beings about the Paradise of Islam and invite them to Islam; without any contradiction between the earthly gardens and landscapes and the Divine Paradise.

Impossibility of Describing the Hereafter

Humans live in a limited world, and all their imaginations are confined to this framework; thus, understanding the truth of Heaven is beyond their comprehension. Therefore, the phrases describing Paradise in the Qur'an and hadiths are tailored to our understanding and the true Paradise is beyond what we can imagine. Some scholars have drawn an analogy of a fetus in the mother's womb. The fetus, which lives in its mother's womb, cannot realize the beauties of this world as that fetus has seen nothing but its mother's womb and has no idea of the outside of the womb, and even if all this is described to it, it cannot have any idea about it.

Eternity of the Hereafter

Human being's view should not be the short-sighted view of worldly life; rather it should consider his eternity. According to Islam, a person does not perish after death; rather, he is only transferred from this world to another. Thus, if one is after welfare and comfort, it is not a wise decision to obtain them in this world; because no matter how beautiful and pleasant his life is in this world, it is only for the limited years of this world, but the Qur'anic Paradise last for the eternity.

Higher Blessings of Heaven

The Qur'an has mentioned some characteristics of Paradise and its blessings: "… you will have in it whatever your souls desire, and you will have in it whatever you ask for, (31) as a hospitality from One all-forgiving, all-merciful." (41:31-32) "Allah has promised the faithful, men and women, gardens with streams running in them, to remain in them [forever], and good dwellings in the Gardens of Eden. Yet Allah's pleasure is greater [than all these]; that is the great success." (9:72) In addition to all these blessings, it is God's pleasure and satisfaction that is higher than all the other blessings and is incomparable with any worldly blessings.

Embodiment of Deeds

Paradise is not a reward for the good deeds of God's servants; rather, Heaven or Hell is the embodiment of our own deeds (embodiment of deeds). Everyone will eventually face the reality of his own deeds in the Hereafter. "… Today you will be requited what you used to do." (45:28) this verse clearly states that one will receive what he has done, not a reward for it. The conclusion that can be drawn from this Qur'anic expression is that Heaven or Hell in the Hereafter is our very action.

So one may live in the most beautiful region on the earth, but he is so bored with this life that he seems to be living in hell. On the other hand, one may live in a scorching desert, but because his heart and deeds are with God and he knows the great purpose that he lives for, his life is so sweet for him as if he lives in paradise; because he knows that if all the calamities and misfortunes are to achieve that main goal, which is to be close to God, this suffering is not painful at all, but pure beauty.

Therefore, it is possible to talk about Paradise, which introduced in Islam, to all human beings and consequently invite them to Islam; without any contradiction between the earthly gardens and landscapes and the Divine Paradise. As we see, Muslims live in these countries and do not see a contradiction between earthly paradise and the Divine Paradise.


  • This article is mainly taken from "توصیف بهشت با تصورات محدود انسانی" on Persian Wikipasokh.