In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms.
While the punishment of Hell is not everlasting the rewards of heaven is a gift from Allah God never to end–(Qur’an 11:108; 15:45, 48). And whereas punishment is equal to the crime, the reward for doing good is manifold–(Qur’an 6:161. Bokhari, Vol. 1, # 40).
There is nothing scandalous about having pleasure in paradise. This –having peace and joy– seemingly, is the desire and goal of every religionist. However, heavenly bliss is not a pleasure of the body. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din points out:
“The Muslim Paradise is not, it must be understood, a garden for the voluptuary, where he may sit in the company of maidens under the shade of trees, with goblets of wine circling continually for the enjoyment of the dissipated. We read, it is true, of Hur (Q; 44:54) in the Muslim Paradise…. But we are assured that these damsels of heaven will be possessed of a pure and spotless heart (Q; 56:22), which the very word Hur literally means. Their eyes, fascinating as they may be, will not be the bearers of amorous message… We shall all be free of physical appetites and there will be no further procreation of the species….It may be said that the Hurs are not wanted if they are not to play the role of wife as in our earthly sojourn. But those who say so only betray the hollowness of their own minds. Even in this life bed is not the best part of our happiness. All earthly tastes lose their attractions for us when we pass a certain age. Intellectual or spiritual pleasures alone can captivate us for good. Knowledge, and not the flesh, is our real pleasure.”1 (Much like a ballerina finds pleasure in his/her dancing, and a musician in his/her music.)
What is to be remembered is that the verses of the Qur’an are of literal and allegorical meanings. There are several descriptions of the “Garden(s)” in the Qur’an. These descriptions are not to be taken literally. Allah God says in Qur’an 32:17: “And no soul knows what delights of the eyes is kept hidden for them, as a reward for their (good) deeds.”
The Prophet Mohammad is reported to have said: Allah says, I have prepared for My righteous servants that which no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and which the heart of man cannot conceive–(Bokhari Vol.’s 4:467; 6:302-303; 9:589).
Man can relate to things only in the physical life. To us the ultimate in possessions are gold and precious stones, wealth and carnal pleasure. So Allah relates to us in terms of what we understand. These descriptions of paradise are to let us know that we will receive in paradise the ultimate in bliss. This reward is not a lure for us to do good and to avoid evil, but rather the fruits of our own labor that we have toiled for in this life.
The fact that God gives rewards to His righteous servants in this life may be compared to human behavior. Parents, who have the resources, as encouragement, are liable to reward their obedient and/or industrious children with gifts. This does not mean that these parents abandon their less obedient and/or less Industrious children. Allāh rewards His righteous servants with gifts. Allāh also gives to all His servants–righteous, sinners, and atheists. We have to strive for them.
The righteous who sits all day in the shrine will not have a store-full of grains and herds of cattle; but the atheist who toils the fields and tend the herd will have plenty. This is the “law of nature.”
As sex in marriage is Divinely lawful on the earthly plain there is no difficulty if it should be allowed in the spiritual plain. Carnal pleasure in the conjugal bed is a form of worship of God–(Genesis 1:28. Qur’an 25:54; 16:72; 24:32). The ignorant revile this blessed union as vulgar.
Whereas Jews and Christians do not seem to have any know-ledge about what their heaven is like –and this is not surprising since the Mosaic Law was to become obsolete upon the advent of Mohammad in which case now “spiritually the Jewish religion has no future;” and as Jesus did not give “all truth” which Mo-hammad brought– and whereas the Muslim Paradise is criticized as one of sensuality, Christians depict heaven as a picturesque landscape of people laxing and reading, and the lamb and wolf nesting together (Isaiah11:6-7,“thewolf also shall dwell with the lamb…and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”
This would be a cruel joke on the lions or they would have to be outfitted with dentures of incisors and molars for stripping and grinding hay, and have their systems redesigned to process and evacuate hay. Such a heaven can only be B-O-R-I-N-G. Even from a “mansion” window. “IF” Christ did go to heaven to prepare a place and is not instead, like Moses, lying in a grave on earth as one party compellingly conveys2. (Small wonder the Christian is obsessed with Mohammad’s “particularly active sex life,” and the gardens of “virgins” Muslims will have. The Chris-tian is jealous to boot).
Hindu heaven: As explained by Swami Dayananda one Divine day is 4,320,000,000 years; and the period of the Grand Dissolution of the universe, which is known as the “duration of Emancipation” of the soul, is said to be “3,11,040,000,000,000 years.”3 The Swami quotes the Mundak Upanishad, III, 2, 6, as saying that the soul, after enjoying its emancipation “is again born into this world.”4 And that:
“The emancipated soul roams about in the Infinite All-pervading God as it desires, sees all nature through pure knowledge, meets other emancipated souls, sees all the laws of nature in operation, goes about in all the worlds visible and invisible, sees all objects that it comes across, the more its knowledge increases the happier it feels. Being altogether pure, the soul acquires perfect knowledge of all hidden things in the state of Emancipation. This extreme bliss alone is called Heaven (swarga)”.5
Imagine this soul –this “one ten thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair point in size,”6– ‘roaming’ the vast galaxies for some 3.11 trillion years, and meeting other souls.
As noted, the length of the soul’s “duration of Emancipation” is “3,11,040,000,000,000 years.” So, this eternal soul, being of the same “essence” as God, as the Swami wrote, after spending perhaps one billion years –about quarter the Divine day–dwelling in and feeding on refuse, and other lowly conditions now “roams about” freely in heaven for more than 3.11 trillion years, where it “acquires perfect knowledge of all hidden things” (only to forget it afterwards), and eventually returns to earth to spend 4.32 billion years, perhaps some as sub-humans, to again ‘roam’ in heaven for another 3.11 trillion years, receiving the same knowledge, and forgetting. Repeating this cycle again and again and… Ad infinitum.7
In the Gita 10:28, Krishna declares, “among cows I am the surabhi.” And Swami Prabhupada explains: “In Krsnaloka in the spiritual sky there are cows which can be milked at any time, and they give as much milk as one likes. Of course such cows do not exist in this material world, but there is mention of them in Krsnaloka. The Lord keeps many such cows, which are called surabhi. It is stated that the Lord is engaged in herding the surabhi cows.”
If man should live to be a million years, it is doubtful that he would tire of a life of affluence and would deem it “infinite misery;” when in fact his rat race in this world is, without doubt, driven by his desire for a life of ease and luxury.
It is doubtful that one would honestly prefer a heaven of herding “cows” and to roam the heavens for 3.11 trillion years (and to roam as “one ten thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair point in size”) gathering knowledge (and forgetting it) and to return to earth, possibly as sub-humans, for some four billion years dwelling in lowly conditions; or that one would honestly prefer a heaven of reading past-time stories and watch-ing lions stripping hay.
It is doubtful that one would honestly prefer such heavens over the Muslim heaven of joys beyond comprehension –of mansions; splendorous Gardens with rivers, springs, and fountains; magni-ficent companions; dressed in fine garments of silk and lounging on couches of velvet feeding on luscious fruits and savoring delicious drinks from goblets of gold and silver in an eternity of bliss in the presence of our Lord.
And the Muslim Paradise is for male and female:
-“Surely the owners of the Garden are on that day in a happy occupation. They and their wives are in shades, reclining on raised couches”–(Qur’an 36:56)
-“Enter the garden, you and your wives being made happy”–(Qur’an 43:70;
-“And those who believe and whose off-spring follow them in faith –We unite them with their offspring and We shall deprive them of naught of their work. Every man is pledged for his work”–Qur’an 52:21)
-“And whoever does good deeds, whether male or FEMALE, and he (or she) is a believer –these will enter the Garden, and they will NOT be dealt with a whit unjustly”–Qur’an 4:124)
-“Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women, and the humble men and the humble women, and the alms-giving men and the alms-giving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember –Allah has prepared for THEM FORGIVENESS AND A MIGHTY REWARD”–(Qur’an 33:35).
-“Surely for those who keep their duty is achievement, Gardens and vineyards, And youthful (companions), equals in age, And a pure cup. They hear not therein vain words, nor lying — A reward from thy Lord, a gift sufficient”–(Qur’an 78:31-36)
Any wonder then that even in the face of our adversity and suffering Muslims still laugh and smile: “And you hope from Allāh what they hope not”–(Qur’an 4:104).
~~~ Alhamdo-lillāh! ~~~
1. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Introduction To The Study Of the Holy Qur’an, pp. 109-110.
2. See Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, Jesus in Heaven on Earth: www.muslim. org
3. Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Light Of Truth, pp. 141, 285, respect-ively.
4. Ibid; p. 285.
5. Ibid; p.301.
6. Swami Prabhupada, commentary on Bhagavad-Gita, As It Is, 2:17.
7.The Swami quotes the Mundak Upanishad, III, 2, 6, as saying that the soul, after enjoying its emancipation “is again born into this world.” But this teaching is not of the Vedas. If there was such a teaching in the Vedas it is reasonable that the Swami would have used it for his quote, rather than using the Mundak Upanishad. Also whereas the Mundak says that the soul, after its emancipation “is again born into this world,” it is said that “All other writers teach and all the world believes that the Emanci-pation is that condition from which no soul returns to this world and becomes subject to births and deaths.”* However the Swami disagrees with this view, and gave arguments to support the Mundak Upanishad. But the Swami’s submission is irrelevant. If the Vedas were clear on this issue it is hardly likely that there would be an opposing view. *(Light Of Truth, p. 285. Italics/ emphasis added).
There are no clear expressions in the Veda(s) for the doctrines of karma and reincarnation –their origins seem unknown. Hindus are also divided as to whether Rama, Krishna, and Hanuman are God(s) or not, whether the emancipated soul returns to repeat the cycle of births and deaths or not; whether God incarnates Himself or not; and whether the soul reincarnates in different kingdoms of animals/plants or not. (See Hinduism & women).