Fatwa: # 17710
Category: Beliefs
Country: South Africa
Date: 12th March 2009

Title

1- It has been mentioned in the Quran Shareef that the width of Jannah is according to the heaven and earth,and in hadeeth it mentions that the last person to enter Jannah ... and other questions...

Question

1- It has been mentioned in the Quran Shareef that the width of Jannah is according to the heaven and earth,and in hadeeth it mentions that the last person to enter Jannah will get Jannah ten times bigger then the whole world, could you please explain in detail because a freind was saying that how can a person get Jannah ten times bigger then the whole world when the width of Jannah is only the size of the heaven and the earth?
2-After a person dies does the soul of the pious stay in Illiyeen ,b- what does the souls do there c-Are they returned back to the bodys or do they stay in Illiyeen?
3-The souls of the Shaheed they stay inside a green bird,a-Are the souls of the Shaheed questioned in the grave b-Are the souls put back in the bodies in the grave c-Will the have to give accounts in the here after?
4-The bad souls in Sijjin, a-What is Sijjin b- What happens to the souls in Sijjin c-Are the bad souls returned back to the body?
5-In the here after after raising from the graves which place (Country etc ) will hisab take place,and will every one walk towards that place?

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

1) The verse and hadith referred to in the query are as follow:

سَابِقُوا إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أُعِدَّتْ لِلَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ

Race one with another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord, and towards Paradise, the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty. (Quran 57:21)

عن عبد الله بن مسعود قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إني لأعلم آخر أهل النار خروجا منها وآخر أهل الجنة دخولا الجنة رجل يخرج من النار حبوا فيقول الله تبارك وتعالى له اذهب فادخل الجنة فيأتيها فيخيل إليه أنها ملأى فيرجع فيقول يا رب وجدتها ملأى فيقول الله تبارك وتعالى له اذهب فادخل الجنة قال فيأتيها فيخيل إليه أنها ملأى فيرجع فيقول يا رب وجدتها ملأى فيقول الله له اذهب فادخل الجنة فإن لك مثل الدنيا وعشرة أمثالها أو إن لك عشرة أمثال الدنيا قال فيقول أتسخر بي أو أتضحك بي وأنت الملك قال لقد رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ضحك حتى بدت نواجذه قال فكان يقال ذاك أدنى أهل الجنة منزلة ( متفق عليه كذا في رياض الصالحين ، رقم 1884)

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood (Radiyallaahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “Verily I know the last person to leave Hell and the last one to enter Paradise. He is a man who will leave Hell crawling. Allah Ta’ala will say to him, ‘Go and enter Paradise.’ He will come to it and will think that it is full. So he will return and say, ‘O my Lord I found it full.’ Allah Ta’ala will say to him, ‘Go and enter Paradise.’ He will come to it and will think that it is full. So he will return and say, ‘O my Lord I found it full.’ Allah will say to him, ‘Go and enter Paradise. Indeed, for you is the equivalent of ten worlds.’ He will say, “Oh my Lord are you joking with me while you are the King?’” At this the narrator saw Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) laughing heartily till his premolars were visible and he said, “Such man will be the last dweller of Paradise in its lowest rank.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

As outlined in the query, one may think that the verse and the hadith above seem to contradict each other. However, there is no contradiction. Hereunder are a few explanations:

I- The Quranic verse in reference mentions the width of Paradise to be equal to the distance between the heaven and earth. It does not mention its length. It is common knowledge that the length of an object is more, frequently much more, than its width. So it is possible that although the width of the Paradise is equal to the distance between the heaven and the earth, the length is so much more that the total size of Paradise is much more than ten times the size of this world. Hence, there is no contradiction between the verse and the hadith in question.

قال ابن كثير رحمه الله: وقد قيل إن معنى قوله: { عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالأرْضُ } تنبيها على اتساع طولها، كما قال في صفة فرش الجنة: { بَطَائِنُهَا مِنْ إِسْتَبْرَقٍ } [الرحمن:54] أي: فما ظنك بالظهائر؟ ( تفسير ابن كثير ص 399 دار ابن حزم )

II- The verse refers to the height of Paradise, i.e. the distance between the land of Paradise and its heaven is equal to the distance between the earth and its heaven; it does not refer to the size of the landmass of Paradise. The following enforce this explanation:

§  In the verse in reference, just as the second عرض (width, expanse, vastness) refers to the distance between the earth and the heaven, logically speaking, the first عرض should also refer to the distance between the land of Paradise and its heaven.

  • Ubadah ibn Saamit (R.A.) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alahi Wa Sallam) said, “In Paradise there are a hundred levels The distance between each level is as the distance between the earth and the heaven.” (Tirmidhi, hadith no. 2452) In other words, the distance between the land of Paradise and its heaven is equal to the distance between the earth and its heaven. As far as the size of the landmass of Paradise is concerned, it is obvious that it will be more or less depending on the level of Paradise. Since the verse refers to the height and the hadith in question refers to the landmass, there is no contradiction.

III – Although the word ‘samaa’ (heaven) is singular, it is used in the generic sense. In other words, ‘heaven’ does not refer to the first heaven only; instead, it refers to the other heavens as well i.e. the second heaven, third heaven etc. It could possibly refer to all seven heavens. This view is strengthened by another similar verse of the Quran in which the word ‘heaven’ is in the plural form:

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

Hasten to forgiveness from your Lord, and Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the righteous (Quran 3:133).

Allamah Aloosi writes:

It is narrated: The earth compared to the lowest heaven is like a ring in a desert. The lowest heaven compared to the one above it is like a ring in a desert. Similar are all the heavens compared to the one above it all the way to the seventh heaven. The seventh heaven compared to the ‘Al-Kursi’ is like a ring in a desert and the ‘Al-Kursi’ compared to the ‘Arsh’ is also like that. (Roohul Ma’ani vol.6 pg. 49 Al-Ilmiyyah)

Therefore, compared only to the second heaven, ten times of this world would be like ten rings in a vast desert! And compared to the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh heavens it will not even be equal to a dot in a massive desert! Therefore, since the verse in question refers to heavens in plural, there is no contradiction.

IV- The intent of the verse is to emphasize the vastness of Paradise. We, as humans, do not know of anything more vast than the heaven and the earth, therefore, Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta'ala, in explaining to us according to our level of knowledge, used the phrase‘as wide as the heaven and the earth’ to indicate the vastness of Paradise. Its parallel would be the verse:

خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا مَا دَامَتِ السَّمَوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ

They shall reside in it till eternity, as long as the heavens and the earth endure. (Quran 11:107)

In the verse above Allah said ‘as long as the heavens and the earth endure’ to stress eternity since we, as human beings, do not know of anything more enduring and longer lasting than the heavens and the earth.

2a, 2c, 4a, 4c) In regards to the place where human souls will stay after death, there are a few seemingly contradictory narrations. According to some narrations the righteous souls will stay in Illiyeen whereas the evil souls will stay in Sijjeen. According to other narrations the righteous souls will stay in Paradise whereas the evil souls will stay in Hell. According to yet other narrations the souls will be returned back to their graves. Imam Ibn Abdul Barr (Rahimahullah) has given preference to the view that the soul of everyone remains in the grave. (Tafseer Mazhari vol. 10 pg. 196 Maktaba Hanafiya).

If carefully analyzed, one will realize that there is no contradiction between the first two narrations i.e. the first narration that says that the souls will be in Illiyeen or Sijjeen, and the second narration that says that the souls will be in Paradise or Hell. The reason is that it is established from the ahaadith that the location of Illiyeen is in the seventh heaven under the Arsh, and this is also where Paradise is located. Allah says in the Holy Quran:

عِنْدَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى (14) عِنْدَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوَى (15)

By the Sidratul Muntaha (the lote-tree in the upper realm), near which there is Jannatul Ma’wa (the Paradise of Abode) (Quran 53:14-15)

This verse explicitly mentions that Paradise is near Sidratul Muntaha, and from the ahadith it is established that Sidratul Muntaha is in the seventh heaven. Therefore, the location of the souls of the believers being in Illiyeen means they will be adjacent to Paradise and they will, therefore, as is established from the ahadith, freely roam and stroll in and around the gardens of Paradise (See Tafseer Mazhari vol. 10 pg 195 Maktaba Hanafiya). Hense, it may be said that the souls will be in Paradise.

Similarly, it is established from the ahadith that both Sijjeen and Hell are in the seventh earth and that the souls of the disbelievers in Sijjeen will receive the heat and torture of the Hell. Therefore, it may be said that the souls of disbelievers will be in Hell.

However, the hadith that informs us that the souls of the disbelivers will remain in the graves is apparently contradictory to the preceding two narratives. Qadi Thana’ullah PaniPati, in his Tafsir Mazhari, has reconciled them thus: It is not far-fatched to assume that Illiyeen and Sijjeen are the real abodes of the souls, but they have a special connection with their graves. None, besides Allah, knows the actual nature of the connection. However, there is the sun and the moon in the sky, but their rays fall on the earth and provide to it light and heat. Similarly, the souls of Illiyeen and Sijjeen may have some spiritual connection with the graves (Tafseer Mazhari vol. 10 pg. 196 Maktaba Hanafiya). In Surah Naazi’aat, Qadhi Thana’ullah discusses some aspects of the soul, the total sum of which is as follows: There are two types of soul: The one is a subtle substance that permeates the human body. Despite being a material substance, it is too subtle to be visible, and its other name is nafs. The other soul is abstract and non-material, pure essence. The pure, abstract and non-material soul is the life of the first soul, and therefore it is called the ‘soul of soul’.  Both the categories of souls are connected to human body, but the first type of soul resides in the human body. When the soul leaves the body, death occurs. The second type of soul is connected with the body more closely than the first type, but Allah alone knows the nature of the connection. The first soul, after death, is taken to the heaven, and then returned to the grave. Grave is its abode where it is rewarded and punished. The abstract soul remains in Illiyeen or Sijjeen (Tafseer Mazhari vol. 10 pg. 155).

There is a narration in Saheeh Muslim (hadith no. 3500) to the meaning that the souls of the shuhada (martyrs) will be in green birds in Paradise that will stroll anywhere in Paradise it wishes; however, this is not restricted to the shuhada (martyrs); instead, the (abstract) soul of all believers will be in green birds as is established from other similar narrations in which believers in general is mentioned. (Tafseer Mazhari vol. 10. pg. 195) In other words, the abstract souls of believers, including that of the shuhada, will be in Illiyeen inside green birds that will stroll in and around the gardens of Paradise.

To sum up: The abode of the abstact souls is Illiyeen or Sijjeen, and since Illiyeen and Sijjeen are in the proximity of Paradise and Hell respectively, it may be said that they will be in Paradise or Hell respectively. The souls of the first type, the nafs, or the body, remain in the grave after death. And Allah knows best. (Ma’ariful Quran vol. 8 pg. 697 Idaratul Ma’arif)

2b, 4b) As mentioned above, the souls in Illiyeen will merrily stroll in and around the gardens of Paradise, whereas the souls in Sijjeen will receive the heat and torture of Hell.

3a) The shuhada (martyrs) will not be questioned in the grave.

مطلب المرابط لا يسأل في القبر كالشهيد ( قوله وأمن الفتان ) ضبط أمن بفتح الهمزة وكسر الميم بلا واو وأومن بضم الهمزة وبزيادة واو وضبط الفتان بفتح الفاء أي فتان القبر وفي رواية أبي داود في سننه " { وأمن من فتاني القبر } " وبضمها جمع فاتن قال القرطبي : وتكون للجنس أي كل ذي فتنة قلت : أو المراد فتان القبر من إطلاق صفة الجمع على اثنين أو على أنهم أكثر من اثنين فقد ورد أن فتان القبر ثلاثة أو أربعة وقد استدل غير واحد بهذا الحديث على أن المرابط لا يسأل في قبره كالشهيد علقمي على الجامع الصغير ( رد المحتار ج 6 ص 195 دار المعرفة )

3b) Refer to 2c.

3c) Consider the following hadith:

عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال يغفر للشهيد كل ذنب إلا الدين ( رواه مسلم رقم 3498 )

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-Aas narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “All the sins of a shaheed are forgiven except (the sin of not paying off) debt.” (Muslim, hadith no. 3498)

Based on the hadith above, if the shaheed did not have any unpaid debts, he will not have any sins to account for on the day of judgement. However, if he did have debts that he did not pay off, he will have to account for them on the day of judgement. The hadith sheds light on the importance of fulfilling the rights of others.

According to one opinion, however, the last part of the hadith above has been abrogated, meaning that for a shaheed even the sin of not paying off the debt will be forgiven and Allah Ta’ala himself will recompense the creditor who was not paid back his money.

مطلب في تكفير الشهادة مظالم العباد ثم ذكر أحاديث في أن الشهيد تكفر خطاياه إلا الدين وقال إذا كان محتسبا صابرا مقبلا قال : وفيه بيان شدة الأمر في مظالم العباد ، وقيل كان هذا في الابتداء حين نهى صلى الله عليه وسلم عن الاستدانة لقلة ذات يدهم وعجزهم عن قضائه ، ولهذا كان لا يصلي على مديون لم يخلف مالا ثم نسخ ذلك بقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام " { من ترك مالا فلورثته ومن ترك كلا أو عيالا فهو علي } " وورد نظيره في الحج " { أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم دعا لأمته بعرفات ، فاستجيب له إلا المظالم ثم دعا بالمشعر الحرام فاستجيب له حتى المظالم فنزل جبريل عليه السلام يخبره أنه تعالى يقضي عن بعضهم حق البعض } " فلا يبعد مثل ذلك في حق الشهيد المديون ( رد المحتار ج 6 ص 191 دار المعرفة )

5) In regards to the place of resurrection and hisaab (account) the Quran mentions:

فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ زَجْرَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ (13) فَإِذَا هُمْ بِالسَّاهِرَةِ (14)

It will only be a single shout. And they will all be in ‘Saahira’ (Quran 79:13-14)

What does ‘Saahira’ refer to? In the tafseer of this verse, Imam Ibn Katheer has mentioned a few opinions:

  • the whole of earth
  • the surface of earth
  • flat surface
  • the land of Syria
  • the land of Palestine
  • a mountain on the outskirts of Palestine
  • Hell

According to Imam Ibn Kathir the correct opinion is that ‘Saahir’ refers to the surface of the earth (Tafseer Ibn Kathir: pg. 1957 Dar Ibn Hazm). However, the earth will not be exactly like the earth today. Consider the following hadith:

حدثنا سعيد بن أبي مريم أخبرنا محمد بن جعفر قال حدثني أبو حازم قال سمعت سهل بن سعد قال سمعت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول يحشر الناس يوم القيامة على أرض بيضاء عفراء كقرصة نقي قال سهل أو غيره ليس فيها معلم لأحد ( رواه البخاري رقم 6521 )

Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd: I heard the Prophet saying, "The people will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection on reddish white land like a pure loaf of bread (made of pure fine flour)." Sahl added: That land will have no landmarks for anybody (to make use of). (Bukhari, hadith no. 6521)

The hadith suggests that the earth on the day of judgement will have changed, and that it will be different than the earth of today. Therefore, the cities, countries and continents, as we know them today, will not exist.

وقال عياض : المراد أنها ليس فيها علامة سكنى ولا بناء ولا أثر ولا شيء من العلامات التي يهتدى بها في الطرقات كالجبل والصخرة البارزة وفيه تعريض بأرض الدنيا وأنها ذهبت وانقطعت العلاقة منها ( فتح الباري: ج 14 ص 457 العلمية )

قال ابن كثير رحمه الله: وقوله: { فإذا هم بالساهرة } قال ابن عباس: { بالساهرة } الأرض كلها. وكذا قال سعيد بن جبير، وقتادة، وأبو صالح وقال عكرمة، والحسن، والضحاك، وابن زيد: { بالساهرة } وجه الأرض وقال مجاهد: كانوا بأسفلها فأخرجوا إلى أعلاها. قال: و { بالساهرة } المكان المستوي وقال الثوري: { بالساهرة } أرض الشام، وقال عثمان بن أبي العاتكة: { بالساهرة } أرض بيت المقدس. وقال وهب بن منبه: { الساهرة } جبل إلى جانب بيت المقدس. وقال قتادة أيضا: { بالساهرة } جهنم وهذه أقوال كلها غريبة، والصحيح أنها الأرض وجهها الأعلى وقال ابن أبي حاتم: حدثنا علي بن الحسين، حدثنا خزر بن المبارك الشيخ الصالح، حدثنا بشر بن السري، حدثنا مصعب بن ثابت، عن أبي حازم، عن سهل بن سعد الساعدي: { فإذا هم بالساهرة } قال: أرض بيضاء عفراء خالية كالخبزة النقي وقال الربيع بن أنس: { فإذا هم بالساهرة } ويقول الله عز وجل: { يوم تبدل الأرض غير الأرض والسماوات وبرزوا لله الواحد القهار } [إبراهيم : 48] ، ويقول: { ويسألونك عن الجبال فقل ينسفها ربي نسفا فيذرها قاعا صفصفا لا ترى فيها عوجا ولا أمتا } [طه : 105 ، 106] . وقال: { ويوم نسير الجبال وترى الأرض بارزة } [الكهف : 47] : وبرزت الأرض التي عليها الجبال، وهي لا تعد من هذه الأرض، وهي أرض لم يعمل عليها خطيئة، ولم يهراق عليها دم ( تفسير ابن كثير: ص 1957 دار ابن حزم  )

 

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Wassalamu Alaykum

Ml. Faizal Riza

Correspondence Iftaa Student, Australia

 

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa

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