August 1996: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 3

More Than a Garden With Flowing Streams

Most of us are very familiar with the physical descriptions of Heaven in the Quran.

“Gardens with flowing streams...” “Bracelets of gold and pearls...” “Garments of silk...” “On furnishings close to one another....With them will be wonderful companions.” “Fragrant fruits, extended shade, abundant water...”

The descriptions are lavish and very beautiful. We know they are allegorical descriptions, yet God has used the things that He knows please us in this world to help us understand minutely the Hereafter.

God tells us in verse 32:17

“You have no idea how much joy and happiness are waiting for you as a reward for your (righteous) works.”

And to help us try to understand that joy and happiness, God goes beyond describing Paradise in objective terms; He also gives us subjective descriptions. Again, these are allegorical, but we are familiar with the emotional roller coaster we are all on in this world. And we can understand deep down inside ourselves what these emotions are.

God makes Heaven very appealing simply with His promise in verse 35:34 that He will remove all our worries. Can you imagine going through a whole week without worrying about something? Are the kids okay? Can I make the mortgage payment? Will I get into college? Did I remember to turn off the stove? Small or large, worries tend to occupy a lot of our time. Even for Submitters who know that God is in full control, our minds still get bogged down in day to day concerns. Well, God is not just promising us a day or a week or even a month without worries. For those who dwell in Paradise, it’s eternity.

“They will say, “Praise God for removing all our worries. Our Lord Is Forgiving, Appreciative.” [35:34]

And based on our day to day lives in this world, can you imagine a week without having to listen to lies and nonsense? At work, people gossip and backstab and lie to get ahead. Go to buy a car, and you're assaulted by unscrupulous sales people who will say anything to make the sale. On TV, it’s a constant barrage of blather and foolishness. So think of the peace and quiet when God promises that those in Paradise will never hear any nonsense or lies. [19:62, 78:35, 88:11] In Sura 56, God says: “Rewards for their works. They never hear any nonsense therein, nor sinful utterances. Only the utterance: ‘Peace, peace.’ ” [56:24-26]

One very strong human emotion that impacts negatively on our lives with great regularity is jealousy. It's a tool that Satan frequently uses in driving wedges between us. We are jealous of someone else’s looks or wealth or success. We are jealous in our relationships— husbands and wives, parents and children, even friends. We recognize how horrible it is, but sometimes we seem powerless to stop those jealous feelings. God tells us that He will stop them for those who make it to Heaven.

“Enter therein, peaceful and secure. We remove all jealousy from their hearts.” [15:46-7]

After it’s repeated in verse 7:43 that God will remove all jealousy, the response of those who are in Paradise is:

“God be praised for guiding us. We could not possibly be guided, if it were not that God has guided us.”

God makes Heaven sound pretty terrific—no nonsense, no lies, no

jealousy. In several places, the Quran tells us that those in Paradise will relax. Sometimes in our busy schedules, we can’t seem to find any time to just relax, and it's very appealing. But too much relaxation can lead to boredom and fatigue. God reassures us that

“The dwellers of Paradise will be, on that day, happily busy.” [36:55]

We will never get bored or tired therein—this is God’s promise. Heaven, then, is the perfect balance of not doing too much and not doing too little—“happily busy.”

To help us understand how truly wonderful Heaven will be, God appeals to our hearts. When we think of a garden with a gentle waterfall and bright colored flowers and trees, this is generally a more positive image than a description of metropolitan Los Angeles. Equally stirring are the positive emotional descriptions God provides.

“Some faces on that day will be happy. Laughing and joyful.” [80:38-9] “God...rewards them with joy and contentment.” [76:11] “You recognize in their faces the joy of bliss.” [83:24] “If he is one of those close to Me, then joy, flowers, and gardens of bliss. And if he is one of the right, peace is the lot of those on the right.” [56:88-91]

Contrast this with some of the emotional descriptions of Hell. That the people of Hell will feud with one another for all eternity, constantly blaming and arguing.

“Humiliation is their lot.” [10:27]

They neither die, nor stay alive. Though they will beg to be permitted to die,

“they are never finished by death....” [35:36]

Continued on page 4