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Destination of Righteous Believers

After Allah mentioned the condition of the miserable ones, He then mentioned the condition of the happy ones, saying,

﴿ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ

(But those who believed, and worked righteousness) Their hearts have believed and they performed good deeds with their limbs and senses, as compared to those who disbelieved in the Ayat of Allah and were arrogant with them. Allah also said that embracing faith and implementing it are easy, when He said,

﴿ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ لَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَآ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ أَصۡحَـٰبُ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ‌ۖ هُمۡ فِيہَا خَـٰلِدُونَ وَنَزَعۡنَا مَا فِى صُدُورِهِم مِّنۡ غِلٍّ۬

(But those who believed, and worked righteousness -- We burden not any person beyond his scope -- such are the dwellers of Paradise. They will abide therein. And We shall remove from their breasts any Ghill;) meaning, envy and hatred. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« إِذَا خَلَصَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ مِنَ النَّارِ حُبِسُوا عَلَى قَنْطَرَةٍ بَيْنَ الْجَنَّةِ وَالنَّارِ فَاقْتُصَّ لَهُمْ مَظَالِمَ كَانَتْ بَيْنَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا حَتَّى إِذَا هُذِّبُوا وَنُقُّوا أُذِنَ لَهُمْ فِي دُخُولِ الْجَنَّةِ فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ إِنَّ أَحَدَهُمْ بِمَنْزِلِهِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ أَدَلُّ مِنْهُ بِمَسْكَنِهِ كَانَ فِي الدُّنْيَا »

(After the believers are saved from entering the Fire, they will be kept in wait by a bridge between Paradise and Hellfire. Then, transgression that occurred between them in the life of this world will be judged. Until, when they are purified and cleansed, they will be given permission to enter Paradise. By He in Whose Hand is my soul! One of them will be able to find his dwelling in Paradise more so than he did in the life of this world.) As-Suddi said about Allah's statement,

﴿ وَنَزَعۡنَا مَا فِى صُدُورِهِم مِّنۡ غِلٍّ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہِمُ ٱلۡأَنۡہَـٰرُ‌ۖ

(And We shall remove from their breasts any Ghill; rivers flowing under them,) "When the people of Paradise are taken to it, they will find a tree close to its door, and two springs from under the trunk of that tree. They will drink from one of them, and all hatred will be removed from their hearts, for it is the cleansing drink. They will take a bath in the other, and the brightness of delight will radiate from their faces. Ever after, they will never have messy hair or become dirty.'' An-Nasa'i and Ibn Marduwyah (this being his wording) recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« كُلُّ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ يَرَى مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ، فَيَقُولُ: لَوْلَا أَنَّ اللهَ هَدَانِي، فَيَكُونُ لَهُ شُكْرًا، وَكُلُّ أَهْلِ النَّارِ يَرَى مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ فَيَقُولُ: لَوْ أَنَّ اللهَ هَدَانِي، فَيَكُونُ لَهُ حَسْرَة »

(Each of the people of Paradise will see his seat in the Fire and he will say, `Had not Allah guided me! And this will cause him to be grateful. Each of the people of the Fire will see his seat in Paradise, and he will say, `Might that Allah had guided me!' So it will be a cause of anguish for him.) This is why when the believers are awarded seats in Paradise that belonged to the people of the Fire, they will be told, "This is the Paradise that you inherited because of what you used to do. '' This means, because of your good deeds, you earned Allah's mercy and thus entered Paradise and took your designated dwellings in it, comparable to your deeds. This is the proper meaning here, for it is recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Prophet said,

« وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ لَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ عَمَلُهُ الْجَنَّة »

(And know that the good deeds of one of you will not admit him into Paradise.) They said, "Not even you, O Allah's Messenger'' He said,

« وَلَا أَنَا إِلّا أَنْ يَتَغَمَّدَنِيَ اللهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِنْهُ وَفَضْل »

(Not even I, unless Allah grants it to me out of His mercy and favor.)

﴿ وَنَادَىٰٓ أَصۡحَـٰبُ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ أَصۡحَـٰبَ ٱلنَّارِ أَن قَدۡ وَجَدۡنَا مَا وَعَدَنَا رَبُّنَا حَقًّ۬ا فَهَلۡ وَجَدتُّم مَّا وَعَدَ رَبُّكُمۡ حَقًّ۬ا‌ۖ قَالُواْ نَعَمۡ‌ۚ فَأَذَّنَ مُؤَذِّنُۢ بَيۡنَہُمۡ أَن لَّعۡنَةُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَى ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَيَبۡغُونَہَا عِوَجً۬ا وَهُم بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ كَـٰفِرُونَ

(44. And the dwellers of Paradise will call out to the dwellers of the Fire (saying): "We have indeed found true what our Lord had promised us; have you also found true what your Lord promised (warned)'' They shall say: "Yes.'' Then a crier will proclaim between them: "The curse of Allah is on the wrongdoers.'') (45. Those who hindered (men) from the path of Allah, and would seek to make it crooked, and they were disbelievers in the Hereafter.)

People of Hellfire will feel Anguish upon Anguish

Allah mentioned how the people of the Fire will be addressed, chastised and admonished when they take their places in the Fire,

﴿ قَدۡ وَجَدۡنَا مَا وَعَدَنَا رَبُّنَا حَقًّ۬ا فَهَلۡ وَجَدتُّم مَّا وَعَدَ رَبُّكُمۡ حَقًّ۬ا‌ۖ قَالُواْ نَعَمۡ‌ۚ

("We (dwellers of Paradise) have indeed found true what our Lord had promised us; have you (dwellers of Hell) also found true what your Lord promised (warned)'' They shall say: "Yes.'') In Surat As-Saffat, Allah mentioned the one who had a disbelieving companion,

﴿ فَٱطَّلَعَ فَرَءَاهُ فِى سَوَآءِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ قَالَ تَٱللَّهِ إِن كِدتَّ لَتُرۡدِينِ وَلَوۡلَا نِعۡمَةُ رَبِّى لَكُنتُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُحۡضَرِينَ أَفَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمَيِّتِينَ إِلَّا مَوۡتَتَنَا ٱلۡأُولَىٰ وَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ

(So he looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire. He said: "By Allah! You have nearly ruined me. Had it not been for the grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).'' (The dwellers of Paradise will say!) "Are we then not to die (any more) Except our first death, and we shall not be punished'') (37:55-59). Allah will punish the disbeliever for the claims he used to utter in this life. The angels will also admonish the disbelievers, saying,

﴿ هَـٰذِهِ ٱلنَّارُ ٱلَّتِى كُنتُم بِہَا تُكَذِّبُونَ أَفَسِحۡرٌ هَـٰذَآ أَمۡ أَنتُمۡ لَا تُبۡصِرُونَ ٱصۡلَوۡهَا فَٱصۡبِرُوٓاْ أَوۡ لَا تَصۡبِرُواْ سَوَآءٌ عَلَيۡكُمۡ‌ۖ إِنَّمَا تُجۡزَوۡنَ مَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ

(This is the Fire which you used to belie. Is this magic or do you not see Taste you therein its heat and whether you are patient of it or impatient of it, it is all the same. You are only being requited for what you used to do) (52:14-16). The Messenger of Allah admonished the inhabitants of the well at Badr:

« يَا أَبَا جَهْلِ بْنَ هِشَامٍ وَيَا عُتْبَةَ بْنَ رَبِيعَةَ وَيَا شَيْبَةَ بْنَ رَبِيعَةَ وَسَمَّى رُؤُوسَهُمْ هَلْ وَجَدْتُمْ مَا وَعَدَ رَبُّكُمْ حَقًّا فَإِنِّي وَجَدْتُ مَا وَعَدَنِي رَبِّي حَقًّا »

(O Abu Jahl bin Hisham! O `Utbah bin Rabi`ah! O Shaybah bin Rabi`ah (and he called their leaders by name)! Have you found what your Lord promised to be true (the Fire) I certainly found what my Lord has promised me to be true (victory).) `Umar said, "O Allah's Messenger! Do you address a people who have become rotten carrion'' He said,

« وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ مَا أَنْتُمْ بِأَسْمَعَ لِمَا أَقُولُ مِنْهُمْ وَلَكِنْ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ أَنْ يُجِيبُوا »

(By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You do not hear what I am saying better than they do, but they cannot reply.) Allah's statement,

﴿ فَأَذَّنَ مُؤَذِّنُۢ بَيۡنَہُمۡ

(Then a crier will proclaim between them) will herald and announce,

﴿ أَن لَّعۡنَةُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَى ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(The curse of Allah is on the wrongdoers) meaning, the curse will reside with the wrongdoers. Allah then described them by saying,

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَيَبۡغُونَہَا عِوَجً۬ا

(Those who hindered (men) from the path of Allah, and would seek to make it crooked) meaning, they hindered the people from following Allah's path, His Law, and what the Prophets brought. They sought to make Allah's path appear crooked and winding, so that no one would follow it. Allah said,

﴿ وَهُم بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ كَـٰفِرُونَ

(and they were disbelievers in the Hereafter) They disbelieved in the Meeting with Allah in the Hereafter, They used to deny this will ever occur, not accepting it nor believing in it. This is why they used to discount the seriousness of the evil deeds and statements that they committed, because they did not fear any reckoning or punishment. Therefore, they were and are indeed the worst people in statement and action.

﴿ وَبَيۡنَہُمَا حِجَابٌ۬‌ۚ وَعَلَى ٱلۡأَعۡرَافِ رِجَالٌ۬ يَعۡرِفُونَ كُلاَّۢ بِسِيمَٮٰهُمۡ‌ۚ وَنَادَوۡاْ أَصۡحَـٰبَ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ أَن سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَيۡكُمۡ‌ۚ لَمۡ يَدۡخُلُوهَا وَهُمۡ يَطۡمَعُونَ وَإِذَا صُرِفَتۡ أَبۡصَـٰرُهُمۡ تِلۡقَآءَ أَصۡحَـٰبِ ٱلنَّارِ قَالُواْ رَبَّنَا لَا تَجۡعَلۡنَا مَعَ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(46. And between them will be a (barrier) screen and on Al-A`raf will be men, who would recognize all, by their marks. And they will call out to the dwellers of Paradise, "Peace be on you'' and at that time they will not yet have entered it (Paradise), but they will hope to enter (it).) (47. And when their eyes will be turned towards the dwellers of the Fire, they will say: "Our Lord! Place us not with the people who are wrongdoers.'')

The People of Al-A`raf

After Allah mentioned that the people of Paradise will address the people of the Fire, He stated that there is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, which prevents the people of the Fire from reaching Paradise. Ibn Jarir said, "It is the wall that Allah described,

﴿ فَضُرِبَ بَيۡنَہُم بِسُورٍ۬ لَّهُ ۥ بَابُۢ بَاطِنُهُ ۥ فِيهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَةُ وَظَـٰهِرُهُ ۥ مِن قِبَلِهِ ٱلۡعَذَابُ

(So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.) (57:13) It is also about Al-A`raf that Allah said,

﴿ وَعَلَى ٱلۡأَعۡرَافِ رِجَالٌ۬

(and on Al-A`raf will be men).'' Ibn Jarir recorded that As-Suddi said about Allah's statement,

﴿ وَبَيۡنَہُمَا حِجَابٌ۬‌ۚ

(And between them will be a screen) "It is the wall, it is Al-A`raf.'' Mujahid said, "Al-A`raf is a barrier between Paradise and the Fire, a wall that has a gate.'' Ibn Jarir said, "Al-A`raf is plural for `Urf, where every elevated piece of land is known as `Urf to the Arabs.'' As-Suddi said, "Al-A`raf is so named because its residents recognize (Ya`rifun) the people. Al-A`raf's residents are those whose good and bad deeds are equal, as Hudhayfah, Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud and several of the Salaf and later generations said.'' Ibn Jarir recorded that Hudhayfah was asked about the people of Al-A`raf and he said, "A people whose good and bad deeds are equal. Their evil deeds prevented them from qualifying to enter Paradise, and their good deeds qualified them to avoid the Fire. Therefore, they are stopped there on the wall until Allah judges them.'' Ma`mar said that Al-Hasan recited this Ayah,

﴿ لَمۡ يَدۡخُلُوهَا وَهُمۡ يَطۡمَعُونَ

(and at that time they will not yet have entered it (Paradise), but they will hope to enter (it).) Then he said, "By Allah! Allah did not put this hope in their hearts, except for an honor that He intends to bestow on them.'' Qatadah said; "Those who hope are those among you whom Allah informed of their places.'' Allah said next,

﴿ وَإِذَا صُرِفَتۡ أَبۡصَـٰرُهُمۡ تِلۡقَآءَ أَصۡحَـٰبِ ٱلنَّارِ قَالُواْ رَبَّنَا لَا تَجۡعَلۡنَا مَعَ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(And when their eyes will be turned towards the dwellers of the Fire, they will say: "Our Lord! Place us not with the people who are wrongdoers.'') Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the people of Al-A`raf look at the people of the Fire and recognize them, they will supplicate, `O Lord! Do not place us with the people who are wrongdoers.'''

﴿ وَنَادَىٰٓ أَصۡحَـٰبُ ٱلۡأَعۡرَافِ رِجَالاً۬ يَعۡرِفُونَہُم بِسِيمَٮٰهُمۡ قَالُواْ مَآ أَغۡنَىٰ عَنكُمۡ جَمۡعُكُمۡ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ
﴿ أَهَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ ٱلَّذِينَ أَقۡسَمۡتُمۡ لَا يَنَالُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِرَحۡمَةٍ‌ۚ ٱدۡخُلُواْ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَلَآ أَنتُمۡ تَحۡزَنُونَ

(48. And the men on Al-A`raf will call unto the men whom they would recognize by their marks, saying: "Of what benefit to you was your gathering, and your arrogance'') (49. "Are they those, of whom you swore that Allah would never show them mercy (Behold! It has been said to them): `Enter Paradise, no fear shall be on you, nor shall you grieve.''') Allah states that the people of Al-A`raf will admonish some of the chiefs of the idolators whom they recognize by their marks in the Fire, saying,

﴿ مَآ أَغۡنَىٰ عَنكُمۡ جَمۡعُكُمۡ

("Of what benefit to you was your gathering...'') meaning, your great numbers,

﴿ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ

("...and your arrogance'') This Ayah means, your great numbers and wealth did not save you from Allah's torment. Rather, you are dwelling in His torment and punishment. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas,

﴿ أَهَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ ٱلَّذِينَ أَقۡسَمۡتُمۡ لَا يَنَالُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِرَحۡمَةٍ‌ۚ

(Are they those, of whom you swore that Allah would never show them mercy) refers to the people of Al-A`raf who will be told when Allah decrees:

﴿ ٱدۡخُلُواْ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَلَآ أَنتُمۡ تَحۡزَنُونَ

((Behold! It has been said to them): "Enter Paradise, no fear shall be on you, nor shall you grieve.'')

﴿ وَنَادَىٰٓ أَصۡحَـٰبُ ٱلنَّارِ أَصۡحَـٰبَ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ أَنۡ أَفِيضُواْ عَلَيۡنَا مِنَ ٱلۡمَآءِ أَوۡ مِمَّا رَزَقَڪُمُ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ حَرَّمَهُمَا عَلَى ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّخَذُواْ دِينَهُمۡ لَهۡوً۬ا وَلَعِبً۬ا وَغَرَّتۡهُمُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۚ فَٱلۡيَوۡمَ نَنسَٮٰهُمۡ ڪَمَا نَسُواْ لِقَآءَ يَوۡمِهِمۡ هَـٰذَا وَمَا ڪَانُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يَجۡحَدُونَ

(50. And the dwellers of the Fire will call to the dwellers of Paradise: "Pour on us some water or anything that Allah has provided you with.'' They will say: "Both (water and provision) Allah has forbidden for the disbelievers.) (51. "Who took their religion as amusement and play, and the life of the world deceived them.'' So this Day We shall forget them as they forgot their meeting of this Day, and as they used to reject Our Ayat.)