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In Islam, Jannah (Arabic: جنّةJannah; plural: Jannat Turkish: Cennet), lit. "paradise, garden", is the final abode of the righteous[1] and the Islamic believers, but also the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Hawa dwelt is called Jannah. Firdaus (Arabic: فردوس) is the literal term meaning paradise which was borrowed from Persian پردیس, but the Quran generally uses the term Jannah symbolically referring to paradise. However "Firdaus" also designates the highest layer of heaven.[2]

In contrast to Jannah, the words Jahannam and Nār are used to refer to the concept of hell. There are many words in the Arabic language for both Heaven and Hell and those words also appear in the Quran and hadith. Most of them have become part of the Islamic traditions.[3]

Heaven and Jannah[edit]

While Jannah in the Quran is often translated as "Heaven" in the sense of an abode where believers are rewarded in afterlife, سماء samāʾ (usually pl. samāwāt) is the word for heaven in the sense of firmament or celestial sphere,[4] as "seven heavens"[4] (2:29, 78:12).[5][6]

Some sources connect the two in some way. According to Sufi cosmology, Paradise is often depicted as being above the seven heavens[7] or between the sixth and seventh heaven. In some modern interpretations, based on Surah 21:30 and 67:5, the lowest heaven is also interpreted as the observable universe, with the other six beyond, once were a mess together[clarification needed] with the earths and later expanded.[8][7]

Images and descriptions[edit]

A Persian miniature depicting paradise from The History of Mohammed, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

The Paradise is described as surrounded by eight principal gates, each level generally being divided into a hundred degrees guarded by angels (in some traditions Ridwan). The highest level is known as firdaws (sometimes called Eden) or Illiyin. Entrants will be greeted by angels with salutations of peace or As-Salamu Alaykum.[9] Furthermore, paradise is considered to be "as vast as the heavens and the earth".[10]

Diagram of "Plain of Assembly"(Ard al-Hashr) on the Day of Judgment, from autograph manuscript of Futuhat al-Makkiyya by Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi, ca. 1238. Shown are the 'Arsh (Throne of God), pulpits for the righteous (al-Aminun), seven rows of angels, Gabriel (al-Ruh), A'raf (the Barrier), the Pond of Abundance, al-Maqam al-Mahmud (the Praiseworthy Station; where the prophet Muhammad will stand to intercede for the faithful), Mizan (the Scale), As-Sirāt (the Bridge), Jahannam (Hell) and Marj al-Jannat (Meadow of Paradise).[11]

In the classical interpretation of the Quran, "the Garden" is described with material delights, such as beautiful maidens for men and young men for women, precious stones, delicious foods, and constantly flowing water—the latter especially appealing to the desert dwelling Arabs, who spend most of their life in arid lands. The Islamic texts describes life for its immortal inhabitants as: one that is happy—without hurt, sorrow, fear or shame—where every wish is fulfilled. Traditions relate that inhabitants will be of the same age (33 years), and of the same standing. Their life is one of bliss including wearing sumptuous robes, bracelets and perfumes as they partake in exquisite banquets served in priceless vessels by immortal youths (Houri), as they recline on couches inlaid with gold or precious stones.

According to Muslim belief, everything one longs for in this world will be there in Paradise.[12] Inhabitants will rejoice in the company of their parents, spouses, and children (provided they were admitted to paradise)—conversing and recalling the past.[13]

One day in paradise is considered equal to a thousand years on earth. Palaces are made from bricks of gold, silver, pearls, among other things. Traditions also note the presence of horses and camels of "dazzling whiteness", along with other creatures. Large trees whose shades are ever deepening, mountains made of musk, between which rivers flow in valleys of pearl and ruby.[9][attribution needed]

The names of four rivers[according to whom?] are Saihan (Syr Darya), Jaihan (Amu Darya), Furat (Euphrates) and Nil (Nile).[14] Salsabil is the name of a spring that is the source of the rivers of Rahma (mercy) and Al-Kawthar (abundance).[15] Sidrat al-Muntaha is a Lote tree that marks the end of the seventh heaven, the boundary where no angel or human can pass.[16][further explanation needed]

In spite of the goodly dwellings given to the inhabitants of paradise, the approval of God and nearness to Him is considered greater. According to the Quran, God will bring the elect near to his throne (‘arsh), a day on which "some faces shall be shining in contemplating their Lord." The vision of God is regarded as the greatest of all rewards, surpassing all other joys.[9] The true beauty of paradise is also understood as the joy of beholding God, the Creator.[17][18]

Besides the material notion of the paradise, those descriptions are also interpreted as allegories, explaining the state of joy people will get. For some theologians, seeing God is not a question of sight, but of awareness of God's presence.[19] Although early Sufis, such as Hallaj, took the descriptions of Paradise literal, later Sufi traditions usually stressed out the allegorical meaning.[20] The Sunni Persian theologian Al-Ghazali said:

This life belongs to the world of earth and the world of visibility; the hereafter belongs to the world of transcendental and the world of beings. By this life I understand your state before death, by hereafter I understand your state after death ... However, it is impossible to explain the world of beings in this life by any other means than allegories.[citation needed]

Houris, who live in paradise, are described as women who will accompany faithful Muslims in Paradise.[21] Muslim scholars differ as to whether they refer to the believing women of this world or a separate creation, with the majority opting for the latter.[22]



According to the Quran, the basic criterion for salvation in the afterlife is the belief in the oneness of God (tawḥīd), angels of God, revealed books of God, all messengers of God, as well as repentance to God, and doing good deeds. Though one must do good deeds and believe in God, salvation can only be attained through God's judgment.[23]

Regarding salvation from hell, according to hadith literature, Muhammad said, “Surely a time will come over hell when its gates shall be blown by wind, there shall be none in it, and this shall be after they have remained therein for many years.”[24] Still in the Hadith literature, Muhammad is reported to have said, "Allah will bring out people from the Fire and admit them into Paradise."[25] Otherwise some hadiths indicate, that the majority of mankind will not access heaven.[26] According to Islam, a Muslim, even if condemned to hell, will eventually enter Heaven.[27]

As in life there are many trials which one must face. This is also a condition individuals must encounter in order to enter Jannah.

Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: "When (will come) the help of Allah?" Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near!

— Qur'an, sura 2 (al-Baqarah), ayah 214[28]

Did ye think that ye would enter Heaven without Allah testing those of you who fought hard (In His Cause) and remained steadfast?

— Qur'an, sura 3 (Al-i-Imran), ayah 142[29]

Numbers of people[edit]

Several precise numbers are mentioned in the hadith literature regarding the extremely high standards required to qualify for Jannah. Initially, a select elite group of 70,000 people from the followers of Muhammad will enter Jannah without any accountability of their sins.[26]

After the above group, only 1 out of 1000 people from the rest of humanity (Muslim) would qualify for Jannah. It is understood that despite this small percentage, the actual number of people who would make it to Jannah would be higher, as Allah would forgive the sins of many people, allowing them to enter Jannah as well.[30] Furthermore, it is understood that the 1 out of 1000 who will enter Jannah would be from among the Muslims, and the remaining 999 would be from Non Muslim - sunnah.com|website=sunnah.com|language=en}}</ref>


A shahid (witness or martyr) is considered one whose place in Jannah is promised. Sunni sources such as Ibn Kathir, as well as Shia sources cite Quran At-Tawbah 9:111[31] in support of this view.[32][33]


There are different opinions among scholars in regard whether non-Muslims could enter Jannah. Some Muslims and Islamic scholars argued Surah 2:62 indicates Jannah is not exclusively for Muslims.

Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans—those who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness—will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.2:62

On the other hand, other scholars hold this verse is abrogated by Surah 3:85 and just applied until the arrival of Muhammad.[34][35] For example, before Jesus was born, Jewish people will enter Jannah and so will Christians who lived before Muhammad, but every religious group must accept the newest prophet.[36]

And whoever desires other than Islam as religion—never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.3:85

Scholars like Ibn Arabi did not hold the first to be abrogated by the latter, since "Islam" in this context, does not apply to Islam as a religious tradition, but to "submission".[37][38] Modernist scholars Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida are also rejecting the notion that the People of the Book are excluded from Jannah, with reference to Quran 4:123-124.[39] In Iran, People of the Book who fell for the Iranian side during the Iran–Iraq War are even regarded as martyrs, which is why the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei regularly visits the families of fallen Christian soldiers at Christmas.[40] Ghazali distinguished between the "saved" and "those who will attain success". Therefore, righteous non-Muslims will neither enter hell nor Jannah, but will stay in Araf.[41] The Fate of the unlearned is also a matter of dispute within Islamic theology.

Further those who regard Jannah as exclusively for Muslims argue, that Islam is the "completed" and "perfected" religion and it is necessary to believe in the whole teaching of God, the prophets and the angels that just can be done by a Muslim.[42]

Islam theologian Süleyman Ateş argues, Muslims had made the same mistake Jews and Christians made before by claiming Jannah is exclusive to Muslims only. Further he states, that those who believes in God without associating any partners with Him, believes in the hereafter without any doubt and do good and useful deeds can enter paradise, conditions several religions offer. He also refers to the Quran 5:66 that there are good and bad people among any religion, and even not all Muslims may enter paradise.[43]

Finally, most scholars agree that non-Muslims who did not hear the message of Islam and non-Muslims who died in childhood are eligible for Jannah as well, based on the following verse:[44]

… And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning).17:15

Supernatural creatures[edit]

Islamic scholars debated whether or not, the jinn can enter Jannah. It is clear from the Quran, that the jinn might be thrown into Jahannam (hell), but does not mention explicitly the presence of jinn in Jannah. Houris are explicitly described as "untouched by human and jinn" indicates, that jinn could enter Jannah, too. Others however, deny the possibility for jinn to enter Jannah, they could merely try to avoid hell. Accordingly, in the afterlife the fires of hell will be brought forth to the jinn. While the infidel jinn will suffer in the flames, the pious jinn will turn to dust before they touch the flames. Other traditions explain, in more detail, the nature of jinn in paradise, such as inverting the invisibility of jinn, thus the jinn will turn into fixed forms, while they can not see humans anymore.[45]

According to Abu Hanifa, founder of the Hanafi schools jurisprudence of Sunnism, the jinn might enter jannah, but, just like angels, they will receive no reward. Impossibility to enter jannah only applies to the demons (shayatin) and unbelieving angels.[46]

Quranic names[edit]

Layers of Jannah[edit]

Doors of Jannah[edit]

According to hadith, there are eight doors of Jannah. Their names are as following:

  1. Bāb al-Ṣalāh: For those who were punctual in prayer
  2. Bāb al-Jihād: For those who took part in jihad
  3. Bāb al-Ṣadaqah: For those who gave charity more often
  4. Bāb al-Rayyān: For those who fasted (siyam)
  5. Bāb al-Ḥajj: For those participated in the annual pilgrimage
  6. Bāb al-Kāẓimīn al-Ghayẓ wa-al-‘Āfīn ‘an al-Nās: For those who withheld their anger and forgave others
  7. Bāb al-Aymān: For those who by virtue of their faith are saved from reckoning and chastisement
  8. Bāb al-Dhikr: For those who showed zeal in remembering Allah

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Joseph Hell Die Religion des Islam Motilal Banarsidass Publishe 1915
  2. ^ Asad, Muhammad (1984). The Message of the Qu'rán (PDF). Gibraltar, Spain: Dar al-Andalus Limited. pp. 712–713. ISBN 1904510000.
  3. ^ Asad, Muhammad (1984). The Message of the Qu'rán (PDF). Gibraltar, Spain: Dar al-Andalus Limited. p. 531. ISBN 1904510000.
  4. ^ a b Saalih al-Munajjid, General Supervisor, Muhammad (3 May 2015). "70217: Which was created first, the heavens or the earth?". Islam Question and Answer. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Surah Nabaa, Chapter 78". al-Islam. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  6. ^ "english tafsir. Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an. 78. Surah An Naba (The News)". englishtafsir.com. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b Sachiko Murata The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought SUNY Press 1992 ISBN 978-0-791-40913-8 page 127
  8. ^ Muzaffar Iqbal Contemporary Issues in Islam and Science, Band 2 Routledge 2017 ISBN 978-1-351-94915-6
  9. ^ a b c "Jannah", Encyclopaedia of Islam Online
  10. ^ "Quran". Quran.com. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  11. ^ Begley, Wayne E. The Garden of the Taj Mahal: A Case Study of Mughal Architectural Planning and Symbolism, in: Wescoat, James L.; Wolschke-Bulmahn, Joachim (1996). Mughal Gardens: Sources, Places, Representations, and Prospects Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C., ISBN 0884022358. pp. 229-231.
  12. ^ Annemarie Schimmel. Islam and The Wonders of Creation: The Animal Kingdom. Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, 2003. Page 46
  13. ^ Quran 55:56-58, 56:15-25
  14. ^ Hughes, Patrick (1995). "EDEN". A Dictionary of Islam. New Delhi, India: Asian Educational Services. p. 106. ISBN 9788120606722. ISBN 81-206-0672-8.
  15. ^ Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi (2004). Divine sayings (Mishkat al-Anwar). Oxford, UK: Anqa Publishing. pp. 105, note 7. ISBN 0-9534513-5-6.
  16. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān Volume 1 Georgetown University, Washington DC p.32
  17. ^ Mouhanad Khorchide, Sarah Hartmann Islam is Mercy: Essential Features of a Modern Religion Verlag Herder GmbH ISBN 978-3-451-80286-7 chapter 2.4
  18. ^ Farnáz Maʻsúmián Life After Death: A Study of the Afterlife in World Religions Kalimat Press 1995 page 81
  19. ^ Cyril Glassé, Huston Smith The New Encyclopedia of Islam Rowman Altamira 2003 ISBN 978-0-759-10190-6 page 237
  20. ^ Jane Dammen McAuliffe Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān Volume 2 Georgetown University, Washington DC p. 268
  21. ^ "Houri". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  22. ^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr; Caner K. Dagli; Maria Massi Dakake; Joseph E.B. Lumbard; Mohammed Rustom, eds. (2015). The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-112586-7.
  23. ^ Moiz Amjad. "Will Christians enter Paradise or go to Hell? Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine". Renaissance - Monthly Islamic journal 11(6), June, 2001.
  24. ^ Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in Mujma Al Kabir
  25. ^ "Allah will bring out people from the Fire and admit them into Paradise". sunnah.com. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  26. ^ a b "4203: How many will enter Paradise? - islamqa.info". islamqa.info. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  27. ^ A F Klein Religion Of Islam Routledge 2013 ISBN 978-1-136-09954-0 page 92
  28. ^ Quran 2:214
  29. ^ Quran 3:142
  30. ^ "22836: The ratio of people of Paradise to people of Hell - islamqa.info". islamqa.info. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  31. ^ https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/9/111/
  32. ^ Ibn Kathir. "Tafsir Ibn Kathir (English): Surah Al Tawbah". Quran 4 U. Retrieved 9 April 2020. "this indicates that whether they were killed or they kill the enemy, or both, then Paradise will be theirs"
  33. ^ "An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur'an vol. 5". Al Islam.org. p. 278. Retrieved 9 April 2020."these believers fight in the way of Allah where they slay and are slain. Whether they defeat the enemy or they suffer martyrdom . . . there is no price for your bodies save Paradise"
  34. ^ David Marshall Communicating the Word: Revelation, Translation, and Interpretation in Christianity and Islam Georgetown University Press 2011 ISBN 978-1-589-01803-7 p. 8
  35. ^ Lloyd Ridgeon Islamic Interpretations of Christianity Routledge 2013 ISBN 978-1-136-84020-3
  36. ^ "Who are the Jews and Christians who will enter Paradise? - islamqa.info". islamqa.info. Retrieved 2018-04-04. As far as the Jews are concerned, their faith meant believing in the Tawraat (original Torah) and following the way of Moosa (peace be upon him) until ‘Eesa came, after which whoever continued to follow the Torah and the way of Moosa, and did not leave this and follow ‘Eesa, was doomed. As far as the Christians are concerned, their faith meant believing in the Injeel (original Gospel) and following the laws of ‘Eesa; whoever did this was a believer whose faith was acceptable to Allah, until Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came, after which whoever did not follow Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and leave the way of ‘Eesa and the Injeel that he had been following before, was doomed.
  37. ^ Robert McKim Religious Perspectives on Religious Diversity Philosophy of Religion - World Religions BRILL 2016 ISBN 978-9-004-33043-6 page 155
  38. ^ William C. Chittick The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al-Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination SUNY Press 1989 ISBN 978-088-706885-0 page 197
  39. ^ Der Koran, ed. and transl. by Adel Theodor Khoury, Gütersloh 2004, p. 67 (footnote).
  40. ^ Christ in the Night of Glory. The story of Supreme Leader’s presence at the homes of Armenian and Assyrian martyrs in the years 1984 to 2015, 2016, p. 9.
  41. ^ Mohammad Hassan Khalil Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question Oxford University Press, USA 2012 ISBN 978-0-199-79666-3 page 45-46
  42. ^ Sinasi Gündüz, Sinasi Gunduz, Cafer S. Yaran Change and Essence: Dialectical Relations Between Change and Continuity in the Turkish Intellectual Tradition CRVP 2005 ISBN 978-1-565-18222-6 p. 12
  43. ^ Sinasi Gündüz, Sinasi Gunduz, Cafer S. Yaran Change and Essence: Dialectical Relations Between Change and Continuity in the Turkish Intellectual Tradition CRVP 2005 ISBN 978-1-565-18222-6 p. 9
  44. ^ "The fate of kuffaar who did not hear the message of Islam - islamqa.info". islamqa.info. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  45. ^ Tobias Nünlist Dämonenglaube im Islam Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2015 ISBN 978-3-110-33168-4 p. 97-99 (German)
  46. ^ Masood Ali Khan, Shaikh Azhar Iqbal Encyclopaedia of Islam: Religious doctrine of Islam Commonwealth, 2005 ISBN 9788131100523 p. 153
  47. ^ Quran 18:107
  48. ^ Quran 23:11
  49. ^ Quran 35:35
  50. ^ Quran 10:25
  51. ^ Quran 6:127
  52. ^ Quran 29:64
  53. ^ Quran 2:35
  54. ^ Quran 3:133
  55. ^ Quran 5:72
  56. ^ Quran 3:72
  57. ^ Quran 13:23
  58. ^ Quran 25:15
  59. ^ Quran 53:15
  60. ^ Quran 5:65
  61. ^ Quran 10:9
  62. ^ Quran 22:56
  63. ^ Quran 54:55
  64. ^ Quran 44:51