HEAVEN AND HELL
What is the object of religion? It is that having the certainty of faith in the existence and perfect attributes of God Almighty, man should attain release from the passions of self and should develop personal love for God. That is the paradise which will be manifested in diverse ways in the hereafter. To remain unaware of the True God and to keep away from Him and not to have true love for Him is the hell which will be manifested in diverse ways in the hereafter (Chashma Masihi, pp. 25-26).
The reality of heaven and hell that has been set forth by the Holy Quran has not been set forth by any other book. It has indicated plainly that this system starts in this very life. It is said: For him who fears to stand before his Lord, there are two Gardens (55:47) One Garden is obtained in this very world. The fear of God restrains a person from vice. To run after vice generates a restlessness and distress in the heart which is a fearful hell. He who fears God avoids vice and escapes the torment which is generated by the slavery of passion and he makes progress towards faithfulness and leaning towards God whereby he is bestowed a delight and joy and thus his heavenly life begins in this very world (Malfoozat, Vol. III, pp. I55- 156).
Of the people there are those who dedicate themselves to seeking the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Most Compassionate towards such devoted servants (2:208). In this verse God Almighty says that it is the one who sells his soul in order to win the pleasure of God who finds deliverance from all suffering. Such a one gives proof by his devotion that he belongs to God and conceives himself to have been created for the obedience of the Creator and the service of His creatures. He performs all good actions that are related to every faculty with such eagerness and sincerity of heart as if he beholds the True Beloved in the mirror of his obedience his will conforms to the will of God Almighty and all his delight is in obedience to Him and righteous action proceeds from him not by way of labour, but on account of its delight and attraction. The paradise that a spiritual person finds immediately and that which will be bestowed upon him in future are a reflection of this life which will be personified physically in the other world by the power of God.
Two Gardens For The Righteous
This is indicated in the verses: For him who fears to stand before his Lord are two Gardens (55:47) Their Lord will give them to drink of a pure beverage (76: 22). The virtuous shall drink of a cup tempered with camphor, from a spring wherefrom the servants of Allah drink. They cause it to gush forth from the earth through their efforts (76: 6- 7). They will be given to drink of a cup that is tempered with ginger, from a spring which is called Salsabil (76:18-19). We have pre- pared for the disbelievers chains and collars and a blazing fire (76: 5) He who is blind in this world shall also be blind in the hereafter and even more astray (17:73). This means that he who fears God Almighty and stands in awe of His Greatness and Glory will have two Gardens, one in this world and the other in the hereafter. Those who are devoted to God are given to drink of a beverage which purifies their hearts and thoughts and designs. The virtuous shall drink of a beverage which is tempered with camphor out of a spring which they dig out themselves.
The root of the word camphor that has been used in this context means suppressing and covering up. This is an indication that they have drunk of the cup of cutting asunder from the world and turning to God with such sincerity that their love of the world has been cooled down. All emotions are generated by the ideas of the heart and when the heart withdraws far away from improper thoughts and has no concern with them, the emotions are subdued till they disappear altogether. In this verse God Almighty desires to convey that those who turn wholly to Him cast aside their passions and their hearts become cool to worldly activities and their emotions are covered up and suppressed as poisonous matter is suppressed by camphor.
After this the virtuous drink of a cup which is tempered with ginger. The word for ginger in Arabic is composed of two roots which mean ascending a mountain. It should be known that after a person recovers from a poisonous disease, his health passes through two stages. The first is a condition when the poisonous matter is subdued and dangerous tendencies are corrected and poisonous conditions are left behind and the fatal storm that had arisen is banked down. But the limbs are still weak and the patient cannot carry out anything that requires strength and moves about like a person who is half dead. The second stage is when health returns and the body gains strength and by the restoration of strength the patient is encouraged to think that he can ascend a mountain and can run about with delight on the heights. With reference to this condition, God Almighty indicates that virtuous people drink of a cup which is tempered with ginger, that is to say, their spiritual condition arrives at full strength so that they can scale the heights and carry out difficult tasks and exhibit wonderful devotion in the cause of God Almighty.
This property of ginger, that it strengthens bodily heat and improves the digestion, and its Arabic name that has been used in the verse is adopted as an indication that it so strengthens a weak person and generates such heat in him as enables him to scale the heights. The purpose of these two verses which refer to camphor and ginger is to indicate that when a person moves away from passion towards virtue, his poisonous tendencies are suppressed and begin to decline as camphor suppresses poisonous matters. That is why it is found useful in cases of cholera and typhoid fever. When poisonous matters are suppressed and a weak health is gained, the next stage is that the patient is strengthened with a drink tempered with ginger. This drink is a manifestation of the beauty of God Almighty which constitutes a nourishment for the soul. When a person is strengthened by this manifestation he is able to ascend great heights and to perform such surprisingly hard tasks in the cause of God Almighty as cannot be performed unless the heart is inspired by the heat of love. To illustrate these two conditions God Almighty has here employed two Arabic words, one camphor which con- notes suppression and the other ginger which connotes ascending the heights. These are two conditions that are encountered by the seekers in their progress.
Then the verses proceed, that for those who are disinclined to accept the truth God has prepared chains and collars and a blazing fire. The meaning of the verse is that those who do not seek God Almighty with a true heart suffer a reaction. They are so occupied with the world as if their feet are chained, and they are so much bent down in secular pursuits as if there are collars around their necks which do not permit them to raise their heads, and their hearts burn with worldly desires that they might acquire so much wealth or property or dominion over a region or victory over an enemy. Finding them unworthy and occupied with evil deeds God Almighty subjects them to these three handicaps. There is an indication here that when a person acts there is a corresponding action by God Almighty. For instance, when a person shuts all the windows of his room the corresponding action of God Almighty is that He makes the room dark. That which has been appointed as a necessary consequence under the Divine law of nature is the action of God Almighty, inasmuch as He is the Cause of causes. In the same way, when a person swallows a fatal dose of poison the reaction of God Almighty would be that he would die. In the same way, if a person acts carelessly so as to attract an infectious disease, the reaction of God Almighty would be that he would suffer from that disease. Thus, as in our physical life there is a necessary consequence of every action and that consequence is an action of God Almighty, the same is the case in spiritual matters. For instance, it is said: We guide along Our paths those who strive after Us (29: 70); and as a contrast it is said: So when they deviated from the right course, Allah made their hearts perverse (61: 6). This means that those who seek God with full effort, their action is followed by Divine action that they are shown the path of God; and those who deviate from the right course, their action is followed by Divine action that their hearts are perverted. This is further illustrated in the verse: He who is blind in this world shall be blind in the hereafter and even more astray (17:73). This is an indication that the righteous behold God in this very world and thus the foundation of heavenly life is laid in this world and the blindness of the hereafter is generated by the foul and blind life of this world. Again it is said: Give glad tidings to those who believe and act righteously that for them there are gardens beneath which rivers flow (2: 26). In this verse God Almighty has described faith as a garden beneath which rivers flow. It is here pointed out that the relationship which streams of water have with gardens is the relationship which subsists between faith and actions. As no garden can flourish without water, no faith can be a living faith without righteous action. If there is faith and there are no actions, that faith is vain, and if there are actions but there is no faith, those actions are mere show. The reality of the Islamic paradise is that it is a reflection of the faith and actions in this life. It is not a new thing which will be bestowed upon a person from outside. A person's paradise is generated from within himself and everyone's paradise are his faith and his righteous action, the delight of which begins in this life. The gardens of faith and actions and the streams that flow through them are seen in a hidden manner in this life, but in the hereafter they will be perceived overtly. The holy teaching of God Almighty tells us that the true and pure and firm and perfect faith in God and His attributes and His designs is a pleasant garden of fruit trees and righteous actions are the streams that irrigate that garden. This is indicated in the verse: Allah sets forth the case of a good word, which is like a good tree whose root is firm and everyone of whose branches reaches into heaven. It brings forth fresh fruit at all times by the command of its Lord (14: 25) . This means that the word of faith which is free from all excess and defect and falsehood and vanity, and is perfect in every way, is like a tree that is free from every defect, its root is firm in the earth and its branches spread into heaven and it brings forth fruit at all times. At no time are its branches without fruit. In this verse God Almighty has likened a word of faith to a tree that bears fruit at all times and has specified three signs of it. The first is that its root, that is to say, its true meaning should be firm in the soil of man's heart. Nature and human conscience should have accepted its truth and reality. The second sign is that its branches should spread into heaven, that is to say, it should be reasonable and should be in accord with the heavenly law of nature which is the action of God. The arguments in support of its correctness and truth should be deducible from the law of nature and should be so perfect as if they are in heaven and cannot be reached by any criticism. The third sign is that its fruit should be eternal and unending. That is to say, its blessings and effects should be perceptible in every age and should not cease after any particular period.
It is then said: The case of an evil word is like that of an evil tree, which is uprooted from the earth and has no stability (14: 27) . This means that human nature does not accept it and it has no firmness. It is not supported by reasonable arguments or by the law of nature or by human conscience and is like a mere tale or story. As the Holy Quran has referred to the good trees of faith as resembling grapes and pomegranates and other nice fruits, and has said that they will be personified like those fruits and resemble them, in the same way, it has called the evil tree of faithlessness in the hereafter by the name of Zaqqum, as it is said: Is this better entertainment or the tree zaqqum? We have made it a trial for the wrong-doers. It is a tree that springs forth in the bottom of hell; its fruit is as though it was the heads of Satans (37:63-66).... The tree of zaqqum is the food of the sinful; like dregs of oil, it will boil in their bellies like the boiling of scalding water (44:44-47).... Now suffer this, thou who didnt hold thyself mighty and noble (44:50) . The wicked will be asked whether the gardens of paradise are better or the tree zaqqum which is a trial for wrong-doers. It is a tree that springs forth from the bottom of hell, that is to say, it is born of arrogance and self-esteem. Its fruit is like the heads of Satan, which means that its eating would be fatal. It is the food of those dwellers of hell who deliberately choose sin. Its eating is like swallowing molten copper which boils up in the belly like scalding water. The one condemned to hell is asked to eat it and is reminded that if he had not been arrogant and had not turned away from the truth out of self-esteem, he would not have had to endure these torments.
Thus as God Almighty has likened the words of faith of this world to the trees of paradise, He has likened the words of faithlessness of this world to the tree of hell and has indicated that the root of heaven or hell begins from this world. At another place hell is referred to as the blazing fire of Allah which mounts upon the hearts (104:8), that is to say, hell is a fire the source of which is the wrath of God. It blazes forth from sin and first overcomes the heart. This is an indication that at the root of this fire are the sorrows and desires and torments that seize the heart, inasmuch as spiritual torment begins with the heart and then comprises the whole body. At another place it is said: Its fuel are men and stones (2:25; 66:7); that is to say, the fuel of the fire of hell which keeps it blazing are first those men who turn aside from God and worship other things, as it is said: You and that which you worship beside Allah are the fuel of hell (21:99). Secondly, the fuel of hell are the idols. The meaning is that if these things had not existed there would have been no hell. Thus in the holy word of God, heaven and hell are not like this physical world. The source of both of them are spiritual matters. It is true that in the other world they will appear as physical, but they will not belong to this physical world (Islami Usul ki Philosophy; Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 10, pp. 7I-79).
The Torment And Comfort Of The Grave
Are Perceived Through The Body
To enter heaven it is necessary to have a body, but that body will not
be compounded of physical elements inasmuch as the fruits of heaven will
not be physical, but will be a new creation. Therefore, the body in heaven
will also be a new creation which will be different from the original body.
It is necessary that after death the believers should have a body. On the
night of his ascension, the Holy Prophet did not see only the souls of
the other Prophets, but saw the bodies of all of them, and Jesus had not
a body different from the others (Zameema Braheen Ahmadiyyah, Part V,
p. 2I3, footnote).
We have also exposed the error of the Christians in that they think that heaven will only be a spiritual experience. We have proved that the nature of man is such that his spiritual faculties need a body for their perfect and complete functioning. For instance, it is our observation that an injury inflicted upon a certain part of the brain destroys memory, and that an injury inflicted upon another part destroys the faculty of thinking, and that a disturbance occasioned to the nervous system affects several spiritual faculties. Such being the case that a minor disturbance of the body occasions a disturbance in the functioning of the soul, how can we expect that after a total separation from the body the soul would be able to maintain its integrity? Therefore, Islam teaches that everyone is bestowed a body in the grave which is needed for the perception of delight and torment. We cannot say from what material that body is prepared except that this mortal body becomes naught and no one observes that it is revived in the grave. Very often it is cremated or is preserved in a museum or is kept outside a grave for long periods. If it were a fact that it is revived, that would have been witnessed, yet it is proved from the Holy Quran that a dead person is revived and we have, therefore, to accept that he is revived with another body which we are not able to see. Very probably that body is made out of the fine qualities of this body and along with it human faculties are revived. As that body is much finer than this body, the door of visions is opened widely to it and the realities of the hereafter are seen as they are. The wrong-doers then suffer a torment of despair in addition to the physical torment. It is thus an agreed principle in Islam that the torment or comfort of the grave is perceived through a body. Reason also demands this as experience has established that the spiritual faculties of man do not manifest themselves without a body (Kitabul Bariyyah (Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1898); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 13., pp. 70 7I).
The Philosophy Of Punishment In The Hereafter
There is a philosophy about punishment in the hereafter which is not set forth perfectly by any religion except Islam. God Almighty says in the Holy Quran: He who is blind in this world shall be blind in the hereafter and even more astray (I7:73). This shows that a person takes with him from this world the eyes with which to behold God Almighty and the senses with which to perceive Him. He who does not acquire these senses in this life will not enjoy them in the hereafter. This is a mystery which is not understood by the common people. If its meaning is not that which we have set forth, then it is entirely wrong that those who are blind in this world shall be blind in the hereafter. The truth is that to recognize God Almighty without any error and to acquire a true understanding of His attributes in this world is the key to all comforts and delights of the future. This verse clearly indicates that we carry a torment with us from this world and that the blind existence and foul actions of this world will appear in the form of the torment of hell in the other world and they will not be anything new. As by shutting the doors of a room a person deprives himself of light and of fresh life-giving air, or by swallowing a poison he puts an end to his life, in the same way, when he moves away from God and commits sin, he falls into a darkness and is involved in torment.
The meaning of the Arabic word for sin is to incline and to move away from the true centre. When a person moves away from God and withdraws from the light which descends upon the hearts from God, he is involved in a darkness which becomes a source of torment for him. Then he suffers the same type of torment of which type is his turning away. If he wishes to revert to the centre and transports himself to the spot where that light falls, he regains the light. As we observe in the world that we enjoy light in a room when we open its windows, in the same way, in the spiritual system to return to the true centre becomes the source of comfort and rescues from the suffering which had resulted from departing from the centre. This is called repentance. The darkness that is produced in this manner is called the misguidance of hell and to revert to the true centre which bestows comfort is called heaven. To move away from sin and to revert to virtue that would please God Almighty, becomes the atonement of the sin and wipes out its consequences. That is why God Almighty has said: Good does away with evil (11:115). As vice contains the poison of destruction and good contains the antidote of life, good alone is the means of overcoming the poison of vice. In other words, torment means the absence of comfort and salvation means the achievement of comfort and Joy.
Torment Is The Result Of Man's Actions
Illness means the condition when the body does not function normally
and health is the condition when all natural matters function in the proper
way. The moving away of a hand or foot or any other limb from its proper
position causes pain and if this condition persists for a time not only
the affected limb becomes useless, but it begins to affect other limbs
also. The same is the case with the soul. When a person moves away from
God, Who is the true source of his life, and departs from the religion
of nature, he is involved in suffering and if his heart is not dead and
retains its feeling, he feels the torment keenly. If this condition is
not reformed, there is an apprehension that all spiritual faculties might
gradually become useless and a severe torment might ensue. Thus no suffering
comes from outside; all suffering is generated within a person. We do not
deny that torment is God's action, but it is the consequence of man's actions
as when a person swallows poison, God kills him. This is indicated by God,
the Glorious, in the verses: It is Allah's kindled fire which rises over
the hearts (104:8). This means that the torment of God is the fire that
God kindles and its flame rises from the heart of man. It is thus clear
that the real seed of torment is the foulness of one's being which assumes
the form of torment.
In the same way, the source of the comfort of heaven are a person's own actions. If he does not depart from the religion of nature and does not move away from the centre and, as a servant, he lies at the threshold of God and partakes of the lights of Godhead, then he is like the healthy limb which has not moved from its position and is performing the function for which God has created it and he suffers no pain and all is comfort.
A Person's Heaven Is Generated Within Him
The Holy Quran says: Convey to those who believe and act righteously the good news that for them are gardens beneath which rivers flow (2:26). In this verse God Almighty has called faith a garden and righteous actions streams of water. This is the relationship between righteous actions and faith. As no garden can flourish and bring forth fruit without water, in the same way, no faith is helpful which is not accompanied by righteous action. Thus heaven is the personification of faith and righteous action. Like hell it is nothing external. A person's heaven is generated within him.
The comforts of heaven are the pure spirit which is developed in the world. Faith is a plant and righteous actions are like streams which irrigate that plant and maintain its greenness and glory. In this world they are perceived as if in a dream, but in the other world they will be felt and observed as realities. That is why it is said that when the dwellers of heaven are bestowed these bounties, they will say: This is what was given us before; and similar gifts will be bestowed upon them (2:26). This does not mean that we will be bestowed in heaven the milk, or honey, or grapes, or pomegranates, etc., that we consume here. They will be entirely different except in name. They are described physically but we are informed that they illumine the soul and create understanding of God. Their source is the soul and righteousness. By what was given us before is not meant that they will be physical bounties of the world. The meaning is that the believers who act righteously make with their own hands a heaven the fruit of which they will enjoy in the other world also. As they will have tasted that fruit spiritually in this world, they will recognize it in the other world and will exclaim: These appear to be the same fruits and spiritual exaltations that we had enjoyed in the world. In this manner they will recognize them. There is a philosophy about heaven and hell which is as I have just set out. It should, however, not be forgotten that the punishments of this world are meant as a warning and a lesson and are part of a system of discipline. There is a relationship between statesmanship and mercy and these punishments are the reflection of that relationship. Human actions are preserved and recorded as sound is recorded in a gramophone. It is only a person who possesses insight who can draw pleasure and benefit from the contemplation of this system (Malfoozat, Vol. III, pp. 25- 30).
Absence of comfort is torment and the recovery of comfort and prosperity is salvation. As darkness means absence of light, suffering means absence of well-being. Illness is the name of the condition when the body does not function properly and health is the name of the condition when all natural functions revert to normal. When the spiritual condition of a person moves away from the normal, this disturbance is called torment. When a limb like a hand or foot moves away from its proper position a pain is felt and the limb becomes unable to perform its allotted function and if it is neglected it gradually becomes useless or becomes infected and falls away. Very often there is apprehension of its neighbouring limbs being affected also. The pain that this limb generates does not come from outside but results naturally from its diseased condition. The same is the case with spiritual torment. When a person departs from the religion of nature and loses steadfastness, spiritual torment begins, though an ignorant heedless one may not feel it. In that condition the affected soul is disabled from performing spiritual service. If this condition lasts for a time the soul becomes useless and becomes dangerous for its neighbours. The torment with which it is afflicted does not come from outside, but is generated by its diseased condition. No doubt it is the act of God, but it is like the case when a person takes a fatal dose of arsenic, God Almighty kills him. Or when a person shuts all the windows of his room, God Almighty makes the room dark, or if a person were to cut off his tongue, God Almighty would deprive him of the power of speech. These are all the acts of God which follow upon the acts of man. In the same way, spiritual torment is the act of God Almighty which follows upon a person's own action. This is indicated in the verse: It is Allah's kindled fire which rises over the hearts (I04:8). This means that the root of the torment is in the heart of man and that the impure thoughts of the heart are the fuel of this hell. As the seed of the torment is the foulness of one's being which becomes personified as torment, it follows that that which removes this torment is righteousness and purity (Kitabul Bariyyah (Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1898); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 13., pp. 8I-82).
The roots of torment are the mistaken beliefs and wrong actions of a person. They will be personified by the wrath of God in the form of fire. As striking a stone hard produces fire, in the same way, Divine wrath striking these false beliefs and wrong actions will produce flames of fire and that fire will consume the disbelievers and the wrong-doers. As you observe that the fire of lightning meets the inner fire of a person and the two consume him, in the same way, the fire of Divine wrath meeting the fire of false beliefs and wrong actions consumes a person. This is indicated in the Holy Quran: It is Allah's kindled fire which rises over the hearts (104:8). This means that the hearts that contain the fire of misconduct and false beliefs will kindle that fire with the fire of Divine wrath and the two together will consume them as a person is consumed by lightning (Tabligh Risalat, Vol. IV, p 55).
It is objected that my beliefs that after death a person who attains salvation will dwell in a mansion where God has planted a garden and where handsome women are provided and streams of wine, etc., are running. In short, all worldly provision will be present and nothing more. Even that which is prohibited here, like wine and multiplicity of women, will be provided there. This is not true. Those who attain salvation shall pass their time happily and independently.
The answer to all this is that according to your principle those who attain salvation will be expelled from the house of salvation after a fixed period and their weeping and crying will attract no mercy and the order of their expulsion will be carried out with great harshness against their will and they will be thrown out of the house of salvation in great disgrace and humiliation. At that time will not that paradise become a hell or even worse for them? In this condition of compulsive misery where will be their independence and what happiness will they feel? You say that those who attain salvation will dwell in great joy and happiness. Can any perfect happiness be enjoyed in a place where one is faced with the prospect of expulsion and enduring misery for millions of years once more, and all the time one is eaten up with the anxiety that after a short while one would have to encounter countless humiliations and would have to pass through incarnations of insects and dogs and cats? . . .
May God save us from your house of salvation. If such is Permeshwar and his house of salvation, then the unfortunate pious people will have only weeping here and weeping there.
Your objection that in the paradise of the Muslims worldly bounties will also be provided has no substance. On the contrary it should put you and your Permeshwar to great shame, inasmuch as the All-Powerful and Self-Sufficient God of the Muslims has out of His limitless treasures permanently and eternally bestowed everything in the hereafter on those who believe in the Holy Quran and has bestowed upon them spiritual as well as physical bounties, inasmuch as He knew that His true worshippers do not obey Him and worship Him in this world only through their souls, but through their souls and their bodies together. Human perfection is not achieved through the soul alone but through a combination of the soul and the body. In order to provide perfect good fortune for those obedient to Him and to recompense them fully, He divided the delight of eternal salvation into two kinds. He bestowed upon them the delights of His Beloved vision and sent down upon them His other bounties like rain. In short, He did that which was worthy of the powers and greatness and limitless mercy of that All-Powerful One. As a contrast, your Permeshwar proved to be poor and bankrupt and could not lead you to any goal nor provide you with any permanent joy on account of his helplessness and indigence and powerlessness. Indeed he could do nothing for you. He could not bestow either spiritual or physical bounties upon you for ever and left you frustrated and unsuccessful and deprived on both sides. He, for whom you were ready to die and to whom you were devoted, proved so unjust and uncomprehending and unaware that he attached no value to your spiritual and physical labours and esteemed your loving fidelity and devotion as paid labour, extending over a few days. Can one entertain increasing love for such a miserly, powerless and ignorant Permeshwar and can any heart turn to him with perfect sincerity? Certainly not. On the other hand, on realizing his lack of power and generosity and appreciation, the souls of his worshippers would be grieved and remorseful that they had laboured uselessly for the sake of such a Permeshwar and for the limited salvation that he promised....
The Nature Of The Bounties Of Heaven
As regards the objection how would wine become lawful in heaven when it is unlawful in this life, the answer is the same that God Almighty has Himself given that the wine of heaven has no relationship with the evil-inciting wines of the world. God Almighty has said: Their Lord shall give them to drink of a pure beverage (76: 22). The virtuous shall drink of a cup tempered with camphor, from a spring whereof the servants of Allah drink. They cause it to gush forth from the earth through their efforts (76:6-7). This means that God will give the dwellers of paradise to drink a wine that will purify them altogether. The virtuous shall drink of a cup which will be tempered with camphor, that is to say, by drinking that wine their hearts will grow cold altogether to the love of that which is beside God. That wine is a spring from which the men of God start drinking in this very world. They cause it to flow easily in wide and broad streams. In other words, through their loving labour all their hindrances are removed and the ups and downs of their humanness are levelled. They cut asunder wholly from the world and turn to God, and their understanding of the Divine is perfected. At another place it is said: Cups filled out of a flowing spring, neither causing headache nor inebriating (56: 19-20). . . . They will not hear therein any vain or sinful talk, but only the salutation: Peace, peace (56: 26- 27).... On that day some faces will be bright looking eagerly towards their Lord (75: 24).... He who is blind in this world shall be blind in the hereafter and even more astray (17:73). These verses show that the wine of paradise has no relationship or resemblance with the wines of this world. Indeed, in all its qualities it is opposed to these wines. Nowhere is it stated in the Holy Quran that like the wines of the world it will be made from grapes or molasses or the bark of acacia or any other physical substance. It is repeatedly said that the essence of that wine is the love and understanding of the Divine which a believer takes with him from this world. It is a Divine mystery that that spiritual condition will appear like wine. To those who possess insight, this mystery is revealed in visions and wise people arrive at its reality through other signs. The personification of spiritual matters in physical forms has been mentioned in the Holy Quran at several places, as, for instance, that the glorification of God will be personified like fruit- bearing trees and good actions will appear as pure and clear streams (Surma Chashm Arya (Qadian, 1886); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 2 (London, 1984), pp. I02-109).
The Wrath Of God Has A Spiritual Philosophy
The Holy Quran does not describe the wrath of God Almighty as it is described in the Vedas. That wrath has spiritual philosophy as, for instance, hell is described as Allah's kindled fire which rises over the hearts (104: 8). When a person develops corrupt ideas in his heart, which are opposed to the perfection for which man has been created, then as one who is hungry and thirsty dies from lack of food and water, in the same way, the one who is occupied with corrupt ideas and is deprived of God's love and of obedience to Him, which are like food and water, also dies. Thus according to the teaching of the Holy Quran, a person himself prepares the means of his destruction and is not in any way forced by God. For instance, when a person shuts all the windows of his room and leaves none of them open, doubtless his room will become dark. The shutting of the windows is his action and making the room dark is God's action according to the law of nature. In the same way, when a person commits a sin God Almighty thereafter manifests His action which becomes the punishment of the sin. Yet God does not shut the door of repentance, as when the occupant of a dark room opens a window God Almighty pours light into the room. Thus according to the Holy Quran, the wrath of God does not mean that He becomes angry by bringing about an undesirable change in His condition. When a person is angry, he falls into distress and feels a sort of pain and loses his happiness, but God is always happy and suffers no distress. His wrath means that as He is Holy, He does not desire that His servants should adopt ways of impurity and demands that impurity should be swept away. If a person persists in impurity, God, the Holy, deprives him of His grace which is the basis of life and joy and comfort and that condition becomes the source of torment for the disobedient one. This might be illustrated as the case of a garden which is irrigated by the water of a stream but when the owners of the garden give up obeying the owner of the stream, the latter dams up the water of the stream and deprives the garden of it so that it dries up (Chashma Maarfat, pp 54-55)
Hell Is Not Everlasting
It is unreasonable and is contrary to the perfect attributes of God, the Glorious, that once a person has been condemned to hell, only the Divine attributes of chastisement should be manifested in his case and the attributes of mercy and forgiveness should be suspended for ever and should not come into operation. From what God Almighty has said in His Book, it appears that those condemned to hell shall dwell therein for a long period which is metaphorically described as for ever, but then the attribute of mercy will be manifested and, as is mentioned in a hadeeth, God will stretch forth His hand into hell and all those who fall into His grip will be taken out of hell. This hadeeth indicates that in the end all will attain salvation as the hand of God is unlimited and no one can be left out of it (Chashma Masihi pp. 47- 48).
He Who Devotes His Life To The Cause
Is A Martyr
There are many verses of the Holy Quran and many ahadeeth, which show that the souls of people who are pure enter paradise as soon as they die. There are several ahadeeth that mention that the martyrs will eat of the fruits of paradise. The Holy Quran also says: Do not account those who are slain in the cause of Allah as dead. Indeed, they are living in the presence of their Lord and are provided for (3: 170) . Previous Books also support this. This proves that the souls of the pure will enter paradise. Now paradise will contain physical bounties of diverse types and fruits of many kinds and entry into paradise means that those bounties should be availed of. In such case the entry of the soul alone into paradise is meaning- less and useless. Will the soul enter paradise and yet not be able to avail itself of its bounties? The verse: Enter into My Garden (89:31); clearly shows that a believer is invested with a body after death. All great Muslim thinkers are agreed that pure believers are invested with a holy and bright body as soon as they die, through which they enjoy the bounties of paradise. To confine paradise at that stage to martyrs alone would amount to disbelief. Can a true believer commit such impertinence as to affirm that the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, under whose grave paradise lies, is outside paradise, but those who acquired faith and righteousness through him and became martyrs are dwelling in paradise and are eating of its fruits? The truth is that he who devotes his life to the cause of God is a martyr and the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, is the first of martyrs (Zameema Braheen Ahmadiyyah, Part V, p. 2I4).
An objection is raised that if every pure believer who is not burdened with sin enters paradise immediately on death, this would mean a rejection of resurrection and all its accompanying conditions, inasmuch as, according to the verse They will not depart therefrom (15: 49), their departing from paradise is not permissible; and, secondly, the whole system of resurrection and the events attendant thereupon would be falsified. The answer is that the Holy Quran teaches that pure believers enter paradise immediately on death and also teaches that there will be resurrection of the body and the dead will be revived and we believe in both. The only difference is that the entry into paradise on death is a general condition and the bodies that are bestowed on the believers immediately on death are imperfect. The day of the resurrection of the bodies is the day of the grand manifestation. On that day perfect bodies will be bestowed, but the connection of the dwellers of paradise with paradise will not be interrupted. From one aspect they will be in paradise, and from another aspect they will face God Almighty (Zameema Braheen Ahmadiyyah, Part V, p. 2I3, footnote).
Three Grades Of Heaven And Hell
Heaven and hell have three grades. The first grade, which is imperfect, begins when a person departing from this world enters his grave. This grade has been metaphorically de- scribed in the ahadeeth in several ways. One way is that for a righteous person a window is opened in the grave towards heaven through which he observes the splendour of heaven and enjoys its breezes. The size of this window corresponds to the grade of the faith or actions of the dead person. It is also recorded that those who leave the world in a condition in which they are wholly lost in God and who lay down their lives in the cause of the Beloved like the martyrs and siddiqs, who are even ahead of the martyrs, for them it is not merely a window that is opened into heaven, but they enter heaven with the whole of their beings and faculties. Nevertheless, they do not enjoy the delights of heaven to a perfect degree before the Day of Judgment.
In the same way, for the dead body of a wicked person a window is opened in the grave towards hell through which a consuming vapour arrives in the grave from hell and that wicked soul burns all the time in its flames. But for those who depart from the world in such condition that, on account of their persistent disobedience, they are wholly lost in Satan and in obedience to him they cut asunder altogether from God, it is not only a window that is opened for them after their death towards hell, they are cast into hell with their whole being and all faculties, as God has said: Because of their sins they were drowned and cast into fire (71:26). Nevertheless, they are not subjected to the full torment of hell before the Day of Judgment. There is a second stage of entry into heaven and hell which should be called the intermediate stage, which is attained after the resurrection, but before entry into the great heaven or the great hell. In this grade the faculties are sharpened and the manifestation of God's mercy or His wrath is observed in a perfect way, and the delights of heaven or the torments of hell are felt more strongly on account of the nearness of the great heaven or the great hell, as God, the Glorious, has said: Heaven shall be brought near to the righteous and hell shall be uncovered for those who have gone astray (26: 91-92) .... On that day some faces will be bright, laughing, joyous; and some faces will be covered with dust and gloom. These will be the disbelieving evil- doers (80:39-43). In this second grade also people are not equal. There are those of a high grade who are accompanied by heavenly lights. They are referred to in the verse: Their light runs in front of them and on their right hands (66: 9). In the same way, there are great disbelievers in whose hearts a fire is kindled before they enter completely into hell, as it is said: It is Allah's kindled fire which rises over the hearts (104: 8).
Above this second grade is a third grade, which is the last of the grades which people will enter after the Day of Judgment and will enjoy or suffer in a complete and perfect manner. In these three grades a person is in a type of heaven or hell, and in none of these grades is he excluded from heaven or hell. From one grade he progresses into another.
One of the ways of such progress is that, for instance, a person dies in a low condition of faith and action and a small hole is made for him towards heaven as his capacity for the manifestation of heaven is limited to that much. Thereafter, if he leaves behind righteous progeny, who supplicate earnestly for his forgiveness and for that purpose give alms to the poor or, if he had love for a man of God who supplicates earnestly for his forgiveness, or he has left behind him some project which is of public benefit, then by the blessing of these good actions that are carried on his behalf, the window that is opened for him towards heaven widens daily and this process is accelerated by the Divine pronouncement: My mercy outruns my wrath; till the window becomes a wide gate and he enters heaven like the martyrs and siddiqs. God Almighty has made so much provision for the widening of this window that it appears clear that His purpose is that if anyone travels towards Him with a particle of faith and action that particle will be constantly nurtured. If by any chance all sources of good that should reach a dead person from this world are unavailable, at least this source remains available that God Almighty has imperatively commanded all believers and pious people and martyrs and siddiqs that they should most sincerely supplicate for the forgiveness of those of their brethren who have passed on from this world. It is thus obvious that a supplication that is made by a host of believers will not be in vain, but will work daily to widen the window that was opened towards heaven for the sinful believers who had died. These supplications have so far widened numberless windows so that countless persons have entered paradise who were bestowed in the early days only a small window for the contemplation of heaven.
In this age some of the Muslims are under the misconception that only the martyrs will enter heaven immediately after death and that all other believers, including Prophets and Messengers, will remain outside heaven till the Day of Judgment and that only a window will be opened for them towards heaven. They have not considered that all Prophets and siddiqs are spiritually superior to martyrs and that being kept away from paradise is a type of torment which cannot be contemplated for those who have been forgiven. Can one concerning whom God Almighty has said: He exalted some of them in ranks (2:254); remain behind the martyrs in good fortune and the achievement of his purpose? It is a pity that through their lack of intelligence, these people have reversed the law. They conceive that the first entrants into heaven will be the martyrs and that the turn of the Prophets and siddiqs would arrive after countless years. These people are guilty of great disrespect and can derive no benefit from vain excuses. Everyone can understand that those who are foremost in faith and action should be the first to enter heaven and not that they should only have a window opened for them like those who are weak of faith, and that the martyrs should have access to all the fruits of heaven as soon as they die. If entry into heaven depends upon perfect faith, perfect sincerity and perfect devotion, then there is no one who is ahead of the Prophets and siddiqs, whose whole life is so devoted to God Almighty that they are like the dead and yearn that they should be martyred in the cause of Allah, and be revived and be martyred again, and be revived and be martyred again. It is thus clear that there is such great provision for entry into heaven that almost all believers will enter it completely before the Day of Judgment and that the Day of Judgment will not expel them from heaven, but will bring it even nearer. From the illustration of the window, it should be realized how heaven is brought near to the grave. This does not mean that heaven is brought physically close to the grave. It is brought spiritually near. In this way, the dwellers of paradise will be spiritually present in the Day of Judgment and will also be in paradise. The Holy Prophet, peace be on him, has said: Heaven is under my grave. This is worth reflecting upon (Izala Auham, pp. 183-187).