“Expectation of Paradise in Islam,” Orientdienst, downloaded 12 July 2005, http://www.orientdienst.de/muslime/minikurs/minicourse_islam.shtml.
During his lifetime, Mohammed studied the topics of paradise and hell again and again. In many a Koran-sura, like-minded people are encouraged to expect the pleasures of paradise. Opponents, hypocrites or half-hearted people were warned of the horrible agonies of hell. Until today, young suicide assassins and violent fighters can be encouraged with certain promises of paradise to risk their lives. Will their hopes be fulfilled?
The Garden of Paradise and who is allowed in
The Arab idiom for paradise in the Koran “jannaâ€ means “gardenâ€. The related Turkish word “cennetâ€ also stands for paradise, old for garden. Paradise consists of several gardens (55,46ff.) and is guarded by watchmen (39,73). Even before entering paradise, the believers are promised houses or chambers (39,20; 29,58). They will live there eternally and consequently be eternally spared from hellfire (44,56). In the traditional scriptures (Hadith), the incredible size of paradise is depicted: “There is a tree in the shadow of which a horseman can ride along for one hundred years without ever reaching the outer range of the shadowâ€ (al-Buchari). All those will be rewarded who “believe and do what is rightâ€ (2,25), the “Godfearingâ€ (52,17). The image of the scales plays an important part in the judgment. “Who (as a result of his good deeds) has heavy scale pansâ€ (101,6ff) is promised to escape the blazing fire. Even though the good deeds are important, the right faith is the main criteria for the acceptance by God. The true believers may enter paradise, the “gardens of delightâ€ (56,26) or the “gardens of Edenâ€ (19,61) for good.
What does it look like?
“There will be merry faces who excel in satisfaction with the same enthusiasm they showed in their (good) deeds and who are situated in a higher garden where they do not hear (empty) talk and where there is a (constantly) flowing fountain and thickly upholstered (maybe raised) pillows of rest, ready mugs, pillows one next to the other, and rugs which are spread here and there (across the floor)â€(88,8-16).
“On gold-weaved rest beds they lie (those who are close to God) opposite each other, while eternally young lads pass among them with mugs and jugs (full of wine?) and a cup (full) of fountain water (to mix in?), of which they will neither receive a headache nor become drunk and (with plenty of) fruit whatever they desire, and meat of poultry whatever they indulge in. And large-eyed Huris (are at their disposal) (in their beauty) they can be compared to pearls well-cared for (56,15-23). “We give them large-eyed Huris for spousesâ€ (52,20).
From these quotations it can be clearly seen that Allah promises plenty of the best food and drinks for his believers. The quality of the dishes and mugs also plays an important part: silver (76, 15-16) or gold (43,71). Moreover, he gives them large-eyed Huris for spouses. “Huriâ€ is derived from the Arab word “hurâ€ and means: “those in whose eyes the white and the black is protrudingâ€ (assumption by Horovitz). This expression points out these womens` immense beauty. (In Europe, the word “huriâ€ makes you think of the expression “Hureâ€ without knowing the proper meaning of the word). The question is whether these are the believers’ spouses (cleansed spouses, 2,25; 3,15; 4,57) which went to paradise with them or whether they are non-terrestrial beings who God specifically created as virgins. Various aspects suggest that these are not spouses: “Virgins …. of passionate love and of the same ageâ€ (56, 36-37), “with swelling breastsâ€ (78,33), “comparable to hyacinths and coralsâ€ (55,58), “which, before, have not been deflowered neither by man nor jin (ghosts)â€ (55,56).