Heaven and Hell (3) 76

Islam’s Paradise is a free brothel, with luxurious accommodation, full continuous restaurant and bar service, and outdoor leisure facilities maintained to a high standard.

When Muslims die, they pass over as-Siraat, the Bridge of Hell, whether they are going to Heaven or Hell itself. Those destined for Heaven, or Paradise, remain on the bridge while they are purified by the setting right of any wrongs that existed between them and others in this world. (The bridge idea is reminiscent of the Zoroastrian belief in the bridge that the dead have to cross to get to their afterlife destination, and on which they are confronted with their earthly record.)

It is not clear (as it is also not clear in Zoroastrianism and Christianity) whether the destination of Heaven or Hell will be attained only after the Day of Judgment or immediately after death. Some authorities say that at least the ash-Shuhadaa (the martyrs) will enter Heaven without having to wait for the Day of Judgment. ‘Their souls are in the bellies of green birds, and they have lights suspended from the Throne.’  Whether as pilots of the green birds or in some sort of bodily existence, they ‘wander about Paradise wherever they wish’, and are granted anything they want.

Some authorities say that Heaven has a hundred levels. Others say there are two Heavens, each having two rivers. In the first, better Heaven the water of the rivers flows. In the second, lesser Heaven, it gushes and bubbles.

One hadith says that the first three to enter Paradise are: The shaheed (the martyr); the chaste and proud; and the slave who worships Allah by carrying out his duties and is faithful to his master.

Heaven, Iannah, is a garden with two rivers flowing through it. The garden is called Adn (Eden). It is very green. The trees have gold trunks. There is one tree so vast that it takes a hundred years to cross its shadow. There are tents and houses of gold, studded with pearls. The highest dwellings [highly placed, or built high?] are reserved for martyrs. If they need coal for anything [?], it will be ‘from aloe-wood’.

Every happy male resident, whatever his stature, appearance, and age were on earth when he died, is here six cubits tall (the ideal height, which was that of Adam, the first man, after whom ‘people shrank’), thirty-three years old, and in perfect shape aesthetically and organically, his eyes surrounded by black as though outlined with kohl, and with no body hair.

He reclines on green cushions, on couches of silk brocade, and is served drinks in gold and silver cups on a gold tray by pretty young boys with long eyelashes. They are as beautiful as pearls. Maidens also attend him. They too are forever young, and as beautiful as rubies, coral, and pearls, with breasts firm and full, and with large slanting eyes, of which the whites are very white, and the pupils very black. They are virgins forever, even though enjoyed on the silk couch and green cushions, for their virginity is renewed every morning. While there is no night and day as such, the light from the Throne is adjusted to create the look and feel of evening and morning by the opening and closing of curtains. ‘The people of Paradise do not sleep.’

Are the eternal virgins the happy men’s wives?  There are different and contradictory teachings on wives in Heaven. While it is said that a woman who goes to Heaven will there be the wife of her last husband, husbands are said to be unencumbered by their earthly wives. Apart from the permanent staff of stripling lads and maidens, Heaven’s population consists mostly of men. Authorities speak of them as having wives but not the women they were married to in their earthly existence, and the smallest number of wives that any man will have in Paradise is seventy-two. The shaheed will have seventy-two young virgins ‘from among the al-Hoor al-Eeyn’ – the houris with the ‘wide, lovely eyes’.  They will be so finely beautiful as to be transparent; ‘the marrow of their leg-bones will be visible through the flesh’.  They will not menstruate, they will have no post-natal bleeding [does this imply that they will or will not give birth?], and have no spittle, mucous, urine or feces. They will be ‘purified mates’, creatures made by Allah especially for Paradise.

The drinks are pure water, milk, honey, and wine, watered wine, and wine with ginger. The wine will not intoxicate or cause a hangover. There are ‘seas’ of water, wine, milk, and honey.

Food is also on continuous offer, fruit and chicken specified, but anything can be ordered according to the heart’s desire. On entering Paradise the new arrival will be given the extra, or ‘caudate’, lobe of a fish liver, and a bull, and any fruit he yearns for.

The happy one will never again excrete, or spit, or need to blow his nose. Substances that necessarily pass out of his transformed body will do so as a gentle sweat that will smell of musk. If he burps, that will smell of musk too.

The fabric for clothes in Paradise comes from a huge tree called ’Tooba’. The happy one’s clothing never wears out and he may deck himself in whatever and as much jewellery as he likes.

When the company are not reclining on couches, they loll on thrones, rank on rank facing each other. It’s not known what they talk about, if they talk. Perhaps they reminisce about their lives on earth. If so, there would inevitably be much repetition through the unending ages. But new arrivals would bring fresh stories, and new ears.  The ranks will multiply forever, but Heaven can never become overcrowded.

Jillian Becker  December 17, 2009

Posted under Articles, Islam, Miscellaneous, Muslims, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 17, 2009

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