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What does Islam believe about the End?


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                                              What Islam believes about the End

When reading the Quran, or the Hadith(s), the reader cannot help but understand the end is firmly in view by the Muslim.  Muslims do not view this life as the end, but only as the start of the next life. The role of the current life is to determine the next life.  The result of the Muslim’s restoration and relationship with Allah through Mohammad.

The subject of the end times is known as eschatology and covers both what happens after death and the events at the end of time.  Christianity and Islam share some similar beliefs, with much different outcomes.  For one, in Christianity and Islam, Jesus Christ plays a central role in the timing of end; Islam believes the return of Jesus will occur at the end, like Christians.  Muslims also believe in the resurrection of both the wicked and the righteous and the final judgment.  Islam and Christianity both proclaim an eternal dwelling of the lost and saved, in either Hell or Heaven (Paradise).  Therefore, in many ways, the structure of the end (eschatology) is similar to Christianity.

However, Christians and Muslims have two different views of what the final matter is.  Both views of the end, however, cannot be true since they are diametrically opposed to each other.  The Muslim Jesus descends and converts the world to Islam, kills the Jews, breaks crosses, declares himself a Muslim and gets married.  He dies after 40-years. 

Therefore, in the Muslim view, the end has a much different outcome compared to the Christian or the Jewish view.  All Muslims do not agree on every aspect of Muslim eschatology.  Sunnis and Shiites have a different view on the role of Muslim end time figure, known as the Mahdi, who will arrive before the return of Jesus.  The Shiites view this person as someone who will establish order in the world and turn people to Islam before the return of Jesus.  Even the particular events of the end are not completely spelled out in the Quran.  The Hadith supplements what the Quran does not say. 

Belief in the end-times or the last days is mandatory in Islam.  It is listed as the fifth article of faith.   

The Five articles of faith in Islam 

1. God: He is One; his nature and qualities are chiefly revealed in his ninety-nine 'Most Beautiful Names'.

2. His angels: these include four archangels (e.g. Gabriel) and an indefinite number of ordinary
angels. There are also creatures between angels and men called jinn, some of which are good and
some evil.

3. His books: Scriptures were revealed to Adam, Seth, Enoch and Abraham, but these have now been lost. These are the main Scriptures:                              a. The Pentateuch (tawrat)
b. The Psalms (zabur)
(Both of these are said by Muslims to have been corrupted or misinterpreted by the
c. The Gospel (injil)
said by Muslims to have been corrupted or misinterpreted by the Christians)
d. The Quran, revealed to Muhammad

4. His apostles: The Quran names twenty-eight apostles, most of whom are biblical characters.
The six greatest are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, (Jesus) and Muhammad.

5. The Last Day: the day of judgment, when all will be judged according to their deeds, and
admitted to Paradise or to hell.  Some summaries add the following two doctrines:

6. The predestination of good and evil by God.

7. The bodily resurrection of all people at the last day. 

After death, What? 

What happens after someone dies?  According to the Quran, is not entirely clear.  For this reason we need to examine the Hadith (traditions) to shed additional light on the matter.  The event of death is something every human being will experience according to Islam.  On the Day of Judgment, people will be paid full recompense. The experience for the faithful Muslim is different than the non-Muslim. 

185. Every soul will taste of death. And ye will be paid on the Day of Resurrection only that which ye have fairly earned. Whoso is removed from the Fire and is made to enter Paradise, he indeed is triumphant. The life of this world is but comfort of illusion. Surah 3;185 (Pickthall) 

The exact process of death is not clear, but the events at death are peppered throughout the Quran. First, the soul of a dying person comes to his throat, 

      “Why, then, when (the soul) cometh up to the throat (of the dying) Surah 56:83”.  

This is then followed by the angels, who come and remove the soul from the body.  The soul of the non-Muslim is violently removed; angels smite the soul in the process. 

when the wrong doers reach the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out, saying: Deliver up your souls.
 Surah 6;93 

If thou couldst see how the anguish receive those who disbelieve, smiting their faces and their backs and (saying): Taste the punishment of burning!
Surah 8:50

 According to the Hadith, what happens to a believer (Muslim) and a non-Muslim is vastly different. 
Geisler summarizes these events, 

“The soul of the faithful person, which is easily removed from the body, is clothed in a heavenly and sweet smelling garment by radiant and smiling angels. The soul is taken through the seven heavens, entering the presence of God who then orders the angels to return the soul to its earthly body until the day of judgment.  On the other hand, the soul of the unbelieving person is removed from its body with a great deal of struggle.  The angel of death clothes the soul with a foul smelling garment.  The angel responsible for the wicked soul also tries to take the soul through the various levels of heaven but he gates of heaven are not opened to them (7:40), and the soul is then returned to the body”[1] 

All these events take place while the body is being washed, demonstrating how quick the above events take place. 

1. Life in the Grave (Barzakh) 

According to Islam, life continues in the grave after the body is buried.  Life in the grave is known as Barzakh.  According to Islamic tradition, while in the grave, two angels question the newly dead.  Their names are Munkar and Nakir.  They ask the person three questions:

1. Who is your God?

2. Who is your prophet?

3. What is your faith? 

If the person answers correctly -- Allah, Islam and Muhammad -- the angels will make the grave more comfortable.  They open a window where the view and orders of paradise can be enjoyed.  For those who do not answer correctly, a window to hell will be opened, their grave will narrow, their ribs are crushed as they feel the heat and hot winds of hell. This will continue while the person awaits judgment.  Only those who die in Jihad will go directly to Paradise.  

Torment in the grave is clearly taught in Islam, especially in the traditions of the prophet.  In the Bukhari we read the following.

Narrated Anas bin Malik
:Allah's Apostle said, "When (Allah's) slave is put in his grave and his companions return and he even hears their footsteps, two angels come to him and make him sit and ask, 'What did you use to say about this man (i.e. Muhammad)?' The faithful Believer will say, 'I testify that he is Allah's slave and His Apostle.' Then they will say to him, 'Look at your place in the Hell Fire; Allah has given you a place in Paradise instead of it.' So he will see both his places." (Qatada said, "We were informed that his grave would be made spacious." Then Qatada went back to the narration of Anas who said;) Whereas a hypocrite or a non-believer will be asked, "What did you use to say about this man." He will reply, "I do not know; but I used to say what the people used to say." So they will say to him, "Neither did you know nor did you take the guidance (by reciting the Quran)." Then he will be hit with iron hammers once, that he will send such a cry as everything near to him will hear, except Jinns and human beings. (See Hadith No. 422). Volume 2, Book 23, number 456 Bukhari

Aisha, Mohammad’s favorite wife, relates Mohammad’s comments about punishment in the grave.  She states how Mohammad feared punishment in grave and prayed that he would be kept from it.

Narrated Masruq: 'Aisha said that a Jewess came to her and mentioned the punishment in the grave, saying to her, "May Allah protect you from the punishment of the grave." 'Aisha then asked Allah's Apostle about the punishment of the grave. He said, "Yes, (there is) punishment in the grave." 'Aisha added, "After that I never saw Allah's Apostle but seeking refuge with Allah from the punishment in the grave in every prayer he prayed." Volume 2, Book 23, Number 454:Bukhari

There is, however, an exception for the believer who dies in Jihad.  He goes directly to Paradise, foregoing life in the grave, as others who die.  He is guaranteed by Allah to go right to Paradise. 

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "Allah guarantees him who strives in His Cause and whose motivation for going out is nothing but Jihad in His Cause and belief in His Word, that He will admit him into Paradise (if martyred) or bring him back to his dwelling place, whence he has come out, with what he gains of reward and booty."      Volume 4, Book 53, Number 352: Bukhari

Regarding the rest of the believers (Muslims) there is speculation.  The Quran does not go into detail about life after death.  According to Al-Ghazzali, a famous Muslim theologian, the condition of the believer can vary between four categories.  Some will wander the earth; some God allows to slumber; martyrs are flown up to heaven after a few months in the grave; and the prophets can choose to remain on earth or go to heaven.[2]  All of this continues until the Final Hour, when history is concluded.

The End Times  

Like both Christianity and Judaism, Islam has a point when history is brought to a conclusion -- the final hour or the end times.  In Islam, Christianity and Judaism, this end time is a conflict between nations and God’s Messiah.  Both Christianity and Islam, see Jesus as the Messiah, while Judaism rejects Jesus as Messiah. Judaism however, looks to the coming of their Messiah at the end of days.

All three faiths see the coming of an antichrist.  Although the term used might differ in each, they see an end times world leader who opposes God and his rule.  The Muslims call him, Dajjal; in Judaism he is called Armilus;[3] while in Christianity he is known as the Antichrist or the Beast[4]In all three faiths, the Messiah defeats this end times world leader, who opposes God’s law.  God's law for the Muslims is the Quran.

Also, playing a prominent role in end times events for all three faiths, is the appearance of Gog and Magog.  These nations are mentioned in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 38 & 39), in the book of Revelation (Chapter 20) and in the Quran (Surah 18:94,97, 21:96). Gog and Magog head a group of nations opposed to God in the end of days.

Another character playing a prominent role in Islam, especially in the Shia sect is the Mahdi.  Mahdi comes either before or with the return of Jesus, to set things in order.  There is dispute within Islam regarding his nature and function.  The Shia sect views this individual as the 12th Imam, hidden until the time when he should appear.   

The time of the end 

According to the Quran, the end times is hidden by Allah, who will reveal the time when it is at hand. 

15. Lo! the Hour is surely coming. But I will to keep it hidden, that every soul may be rewarded for that which it striveth (to achieve)
Surah 20:15

63. Men ask you of the Hour. Say: The knowledge of it is with Allah only. What can convey (the knowledge) unto thee? It may be that the Hour is nigh.
Surah 30:63

Even though the time is hidden, according to the Quran, there are signs, which Muslims are told to watch for.   These signs are recorded in the 81st and 82nd Surahs.  They list environmental events which effect the whole earth.  

1. When the heaven is cleft asunder, 2. When the planets are dispersed,
3. When the seas are poured forth, 4. And the sepulchres are overturned,
5. A soul will know what it hath sent before (it) and what left behind
Surah 82:1-5. Al-Infitar 

1. When the sun is overthrown, 2. And when the stars fall,
3. And when the hills are moved,
6. And when the seas rise,
10. And when the pages are laid open,
11. And when the sky is torn away, 
Surah 81:1-3, 6, 10-11

In addition to the Quran, the Hadith (or traditions) also focuses on end-times.  The Hadith refers to the end times as the Last Hour.   In fact, the 41st book of the Sahih Muslim Hadith deals entirely with the Last Hour. In the Last Hour, Muslims view events leading to the return of Jesus, son of Mary.  Sahih Muslim lists ten signs leading to the return of Jesus.

Hudhaifa b. Usaid Ghifari reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) came to us all of a sudden as we were (busy in a discussion). He said: What do you discuss about? They (the Companions) said. We are discussing about the Last Hour. Thereupon he said: It will not cone until you see ten signs before and (in this connection) he made a mention of the smoke, Dajjal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of Jesus son of Mary (Allah be pleased with him), the Gog and Magog, and land-slidings in three places, one in the east, one in the west and one in Arabia at the end of which fire would burn forth from the Yemen, and would drive people to the place of their assembly. Sahih Muslim Book 041, Number 6931

The Dajjal (The Imposter) 

According to Islamic tradition, the person of the Dajjal or Antichrist plays a prominent role.  Many Hadith repeat information; some Hadiths conflict with others; one Hadith has him linked to the fall of Constantinople[5] in 1453 A.D.; another links him to a contemporary of Mohammad[6], Ibn Sayyad, indicating Mohammad expected his day to be the Last Hour.

In Islam, the Antichrist is described in several ways, one of the more common understandings is he will be a Jew who will have one eye, with the word Kafir on his forehead. He will lead the armies against Islam, only to be defeated by Jesus Christ, at the second coming. 

He is a Jew … (Book 041, Number 6995: Sahih Muslim)

Anas b. Malik reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Dajjal is blind of one eye and there is written between his eyes the word" Kafir". He then spelled the word as k. f. r., which every Muslim would be able to read. ( Book 041, Number 7009 Sahih Muslim)

The Second Coming of Jesus, who is referred to as the Son of Mary, has several descriptions in the Hadith.  The description below describes a coming confrontation between the "Muslim" Jesus and the Dajjal (Antichrist). Here the Dajjal turns people to the wrong religion, causes rainfall and draught and does signs and wonders.

An-Nawwas b. Sam'an reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) made a mention of the Dajjal one day in the morning……. If he comes forth while I am among on, I (Muhammad) shall contend with him on your behalf, but if he comes forth while I am not amongst you, a man must contend on his own behalf and Allah would take care of every Muslim on my behalf …... He (Dajjal) would be a young man with twisted, contracted hair, and a blind eye. I compare him to 'Abd-ul-'Uzza b. Qatan. He who amongst you would survive to see him should recite over him the opening verses of Sura Kahf (xviii.). He would appear on the way between Syria and Iraq and would spread mischief right and left. O servant of Allah! adhere (to the path of Truth). We said: Allah's Messenger, how long would he stay on the earth? He said.. For forty days, one day like a year and one day like a month and one day like a week and the rest of the days would be like your days. ……..He would come to the people and invite them (to a wrong religion) and they would affirm their faith in him and respond to him. He would then give command to the sky and there would be rainfall upon the earth and it would grow crops. …..He (Dajjal) would then walk through the waste, land and say to it: Bring forth your treasures, and the treasures would come out and collect (themselves) before him like the swarm of bees. He would then call a person brimming with youth and strike him with the sword and cut him into two pieces and (make these pieces lie at a distance which is generally) between the archer and his target. He would then call (that young man) and he will come forward laughing with his face gleaming (with happiness) and it would at this very time that Allah would send Christ, son of Mary, and he will descend at the white minaret in the eastern side of Damscus wearing two garments lightly dyed with saffron and placing his hands on the wings of two Angels. When he would lower his head, there would fall beads of perspiration from his head, and when he would raise it up, beads like pearls would scatter from it. Every non-believer who would smell the odour of his self would die and his breath would reach as far as he would be able to see. He would then search for him (Dajjal) until he would catch hold of him at the gate of Ludd and would kill him. Book 041, Number 7015 Sahih Muslim

These descriptions in the Quran and the Hadith do not always match - several conflict with others.  The main point is that Jesus returns in the end and kills the Dajjal, the Antichrist.   Another person who plays a part in the Muslim perspective, is the Mahdi. 

The Mahdi (the guided one) and the Muslim Jesus

The Mahdi will lead the armies of Islam in the end times struggle against the enemies of Islam.  The Shia sect of Islam puts a greater emphasis on the Mahdi as opposed to the Sunni sect of Islam.  The Mahdi is not mentioned in the Quran, so almost all understanding of his role comes from Islamic tradition and history.  Regarding the Hadiths, he (the Mahdi) is not in the most reliable hadiths such as Bakhari or Sahih Muslim.  However, his coming is also sought in the Sunni part of Islam as well. 

Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The Mahdi will be of my stock, and will have a broad forehead a prominent nose. He will fill the earth will equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, and he will rule for seven years.        Abu Dawud Book 36, Number 4272:

Encyclopedia Britannica writes regarding the Muslim belief in the Mahdi,

(Arabic: “divinely guided one”), in Islāmic eschatology, a messianic deliverer who will fill the Earth with justice and equity, restore true religion, and usher in a short golden age lasting seven, eight, or nine years before the end of the world. The Qurʾān (Islāmic sacred scriptures) does not mention him, and almost no reliable adīth (saying attributed to the Prophet Muammad) concerning the mahdī can be adduced. Many orthodox Sunnī theologians accordingly question Mahdist beliefs, but such beliefs form a necessary part of Shīʿī doctrine……………..The doctrine of the mahdī seems to have gained currency during the confusion and insecurity of the religious and political upheavals of early Islām (7th and 8th centuries). In 686, al-Mukhtār ibn Abū ʿUbayd at-Thaqafī, leader of a revolt of non-Arab Muslims in Iraq, seems to have first used the doctrine by maintaining his allegiance to a son of ʿAlī (Muammad's son-in-law and fourth caliph), Muammad ibn al-anafīyah, even after al-anafīyah's death. Abū ʿUbayd taught that, as mahdī, al-anafīyah remained alive in his tomb in a state of occultation (ghaybah) and would reappear to vanquish his enemies. In 750 the ʿAbbāsid revolution made use of eschatological prophecies current at the time that the mahdī would rise in Khorāsān in the east, carrying a black banner……………Belief in the mahdī has tended to receive new emphasis in every time of crisis. Thus, after the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), when most of Spain was lost for Islām, Spanish Muslims circulated traditions ascribed to the Prophet foretelling a reconquest of Spain by the mahdī. During the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt, a person claiming to be the mahdī appeared briefly in Lower Egypt. 

According to the Shia sect, the Mahdi is the 12th Imam, Muammad Al-muntazar, the Hidden Imam, who disappeared in 878 A.D. They believe he is alive and will reappear at the end of time to lead the Muslim armies.  Jesus and the armies of Mahdi conquer the world and force everyone to become Muslims.  The Dajjal, the Antichrist, and his force of 70,000 Jews will be destroyed.  In the process, Jesus will kill the pigs, break the crosses and kills the Jews.  After this, Jesus will get married, live fourty-years, and have children.  He will die and be buried next to Mohammad in Medina.

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.  Book 041, Number 6985: Sahih Muslim:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs, and abolish the Jizya tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable gifts).                                  Volume 3, Book 43, Number 656  Bukahri

Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace_be_upon_him). He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him. Book 37, Number 4310: Abu Dawud

The Resurrection

Following the death and burial of Jesus, will be the resurrection of all, according to Islam.  This event will be preceded by the trumpet blast, which crushes the mountains.  In Islam all will be gathered and submit to Allah. 

13. And when the trumpet shall sound one blast
14. And the earth with the mountains shall be lifted up and crushed with one crash,
15. Then, on that day will the Event befall.
16. And the heaven will split asunder, for that day it will be frail.
Surah 69:13-16

Every living creature will die, even the angels, causing all to submit to the oneness of God, tawhid. (Surah 55:26-27, 28:88)  Then all will be resurrected, including the angel who blows the trumpet to the resurrection.  All will be gathered before the throne of God to be judged for their deeds.  On this day, two groups will be separated.  The believers will have joy and the disbelievers will face doom. 

33. But when the Shout cometh  34. On the day when a man fleeth from his brother 
35. And his mother and his father  36. And his wife and his children, 
37. Every man that day will have concern enough to make him heedless (of others). 
38. On that day faces will be bright as dawn,       
 39. Laughing, rejoicing at good news;  
40. And other faces, on that day, with dust upon them, 
41. Veiled in darkness, 
42. Those are the disbelievers, the wicked.
Surah 80:33-42

The Day of Accounting 

With the masses of humanity and jinn assembled before the throne, the time comes for them to be divided, according to judgment.  The sins and actions of humanity recorded in the book of deeds will be placed before them, according to the Quran. 

49. And the Book is placed, and thou seest the guilty fearful of that which is therein, and they say: What Kind of a book is this that leaveth not a small thing nor a great thing but hath counted it! And they find all that they did confronting them, and thy Lord wrongeth no one. Surah 18:49 

Individuals whose good deeds outweigh their bad deeds will attain “Success”.  Those whose scales are light will loose their souls. (Surah 7:8-9)   The people will be gathered to the right and the left of the throne of God, which is upheld by eight angels. 

Those on the right will enter the Gardens of Paradise, those on the left will get chains for hell.  Both groups will then be forced to cross over the bridge of “Hell”, called sirat (seerat).   

18. On that day ye will be exposed; not a secret of you will be hidden.  19. Then, as for him who is given his record in his right hand, he will say: Take, read my book!   20. Surely I knew that I should have to meet my reckoning.  21. Then he will be in blissful state  22. In a high Garden  23. Whereof the clusters are in easy reach.  24. (And it will be said unto those therein): Eat and drink at ease for that which ye sent on before you in past days.   25. But as for him who is given his record in his left hand, he will say: Oh, would that I had not been given my book  26. And knew not what my reckoning!  27. Oh, would that it had been death!  28. My wealth hath not availed me,  29. My power hath gone from me.  30. (It will be said): Take him and fetter him   31. And then expose him to hell fire  32. And then insert him in a chain whereof the length is seventy cubits. 
Surah 69:18-31 

The believers will be successful in their crossing, but those on the left will fall into Hell when they try to cross.  The Hadith, and not the Quran, sheds the most light on this event.  Muslims will also face Hell, to pay for their sins, but eventually, the Mercy of Allah will free them. 

Narrated 'Ata' bin Yazid Al-Laithi:……….Then a bridge will be laid across Hell (Fire)' I and my followers will be the first ones to go across it and none will speak on that Day except the Apostles. And the invocation of the Apostles on that Day will be, 'O Allah, save! Save!' In Hell (or over The Bridge) there will be hooks like the thorns of As-Sa'dan (thorny plant)…… Those hooks will snap the people away according to their deeds. Some of the people will stay in Hell (be destroyed) because of their (evil) deeds, and some will be cut or torn by the hooks (and fall into Hell) and some will be punished and then relieved. When Allah has finished His Judgments among the people, He will take whomever He will out of Hell through His Mercy. He will then order the angels to take out of the Fire all those who used to worship none but Allah from among those whom Allah wanted to be merciful to and those who testified (in the world) that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah.  Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532c: Bukhari 

Mohammed as Intercessor 

            Muslims are dependent on their works to save them from the fires of Hell.  If their bad deeds outweigh the good, they are destined to burn in Hell fire.  Unlike Islam, Christianity has a Messiah who paid for the sins of those who are lost, by dying on the cross.  Islam has no such savior in the Quran.  However, in the Hadith, Mohammad takes on the role as intercessor for the Muslim.  Even Jesus and Abraham cannot equal the intercession of Mohammad.  So Muslims, on the day of judgment, put their ultimate hope on Muhammad and his ability to intercede.  

"Muhammad talked to us saying, 'On the Day of Resurrection the people will surge with each other like waves, and then they will come to Adam and say, 'Please intercede for us with your Lord.' He will say, 'I am not fit for that but you'd better go to Abraham as he is the Khalil of the Beneficent.' They will go to Abraham and he will say, 'I am not fit for that, but you'd better go to Moses as he is the one to whom Allah spoke directly.' So they will go to Moses and he will say, 'I am not fit for that, but you'd better go to Jesus as he is a soul created by Allah and His Word.' (Be: And it was) they will go to Jesus and he will say, 'I am not fit for that, but you'd better go to Muhammad.' ……………

They would come to me and I would say, 'I am for that.' Then I will ask for my Lord's permission, and it will be given, and then He will inspire me to praise Him with such praises as I do not know now. So I will praise Him with those praises and will fall down, prostrate before Him. Then it will be said, 'O Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be listened to; and ask, for your will be granted (your request); and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.' I will say, 'O Lord, my followers! My followers!' And then it will be said, 'Go and take out of Hell (Fire) all those who have faith in their hearts, equal to the weight of a barley grain.' I will go and do so and return to praise Him with the same praises, and fall down (prostrate) before Him. Then it will be said, 'O Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be listened to, and ask, for you will be granted (your request); and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.' I will say, 'O Lord, my followers! My followers!' It will be said, 'Go and take out of it all those who have faith in their hearts equal to the weight of a small ant or a mustard seed.' I will go and do so and return to praise Him with the same praises, and fall down in prostration before Him. It will be said, 'O, Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be listened to, and ask, for you will be granted (your request); and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.' I will say, 'O Lord, my followers!' Then He will say, 'Go and take out (all those) in whose hearts there is faith even to the lightest, lightest mustard seed. (Take them) out of the Fire.' I will go and do so… Volume 9, Book 93, Number 601: Bukhari 

Heaven and Hell 

The description of Heaven and Hell as the final destination are presented in both the Quran and the Hadith.  Like the rest of Islam, the more detailed presentation is made in the Hadith as opposed to the Quran.  The Quran describes Hell in graphic terms, a place of torment and burning. 

62. Is this better as a welcome, or the tree of Zaqqam?
63. Lo! We have appointed it a torment for wrong doers.
64. Lo! it is a tree that springeth in the heart of hell
65. Its crop is as it were the heads of devils
66. And lo! they verily must eat thereof, and fill (their) bellies therewith.
67. And afterward, lo! thereupon they have a drink of boiling water
68. And afterward, lo! their return is surely unto hell. Surah 37:62-68 

35. On the day when it will (all) be heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads and their flanks and their backs will be branded therewith (and it will be said unto them): Here is that which ye hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what ye used to hoard. Surah 9:35 

While Heaven (Paradise) is described as a place where one enjoys his wives, drinks non-intoxicating wine, and lives in bliss in the shade.  The Bukhari Hadith describes heaven (Paradise) as having a pearl sixty miles wide, where one set of wives do not see the others.  This allows the believer (Muslim) to visit his many wives in Paradise, without having the other wives know. 

43. In the Gardens of delight, 44. On couches facing one another 45. A cup from a gushing spring is brought round for them,
46. White, delicious to the drinkers, 47. Wherein there is no headache nor are they made mad thereby.
48. And with them are those of modest gaze, with lovely eyes, Surah 37:43-48 

55. Lo! those who merit paradise this day are happily employed, 56. They and their wives, in pleasant shade, on thrones reclining;  57. Theirs the fruit (of their good deeds) and theirs (all) that they ask;  58. The word from a Merciful Lord (for them) is: Peace!
Surah 36:55-58

Narrated Abdullah bin Qais: Allah's Apostle said, "In Paradise there is a pavilion made of a single hollow pearl sixty miles wide, in each corner of which there are wives who will not see those in the other corners; and the believers will visit and enjoy them. And there are two gardens, the utensils and contents of which are made of silver; and two other gardens, the utensils and contents of which are made of so-and-so (i.e. gold) and nothing will prevent the people staying in the Garden of Eden from seeing their Lord except the curtain of Majesty over His Face.”    Volume 6, Book 60, Number 402: Bukhari

In contrast to the rest of those in Paradise, the martyr or the person who dies in Jihad, receives 72 wives in Paradise and has the right to intercede for seventy relatives.

Al-Miqdam ibn madikarib Ma'dikarib (Hadith)
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "The martyr receives six good things from Allah: he is forgiven at the first shedding of his blood; he is shown his abode in Paradise; he is preserved from the punishment in the grave; he is kept safe from the greatest terror; he has placed on his head the crown of honour, a ruby of which is better than the world and what it contains; he is married to seventy-two wives of the maidens with large dark eyes; and is made intercessor for seventy of his relatives."
Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah transmitted it


[1] Answering Islam, Norman Geisler  Abdul Saleeb, Baker Books,  1993 Pg. 109

[2] Ibid, pg. 111


[4] Revelation 13:4-6, 19:19-20, Daniel 7:8

[5] Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Book 041, Number 6924: