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The Width of the Gates of Paradise

We ask Allah to make us among its people. In the Two Sahihs, it is reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) in the lengthy Hadith about intercession (that the Prophet said):

« فَيَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى: يَا مُحَمَّدُ، أَدْخِلْ مَنْ لَا حِسَابَ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أُمَّتِكَ مِنَ الْبَابِ الْأَيْمَنِ، وَهُمْ شُرَكَاءُ النَّاسِ فِي الْأَبْوَابِ الأُخَرِ، وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ إِنَّ مَا بَيْنَ الْمِصْرَاعَيْنِ مِنْ مَصَارِيعِ الْجَنَّةِ مَا بَيْنَ عِضَادَتَيِ الْبَابِ لَكَمَا بَيْنَ مَكَّةَ وَهَجَرٍ أَوْ هَجَرٍ وَمَكَّةَ وفي رواية مَكَّةَ وَبُصْرَى »

(Allah will say: "O Muhammad, admit those of your Ummah who are not to be brought to account, through the right-hand gate, and they will be counted among those who will enter from other gates as well.'' By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the distance between the two gateposts of the gates of Paradise is like the distance between Makkah and Hajar -- or Hajar and Makkah.)'' According to another report: (between Makkah and Busra.) It was recorded in Sahih Muslim from `Utbah bin Ghazwan that (the Prophet ) gave them a speech in which he told them that the distance between the two gateposts of Paradise was the distance of a forty-year journey, but there would come a day when they would be packed with crowds of people. Allah says,

﴿ وَقَالَ لَهُمۡ خَزَنَتُہَا سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ طِبۡتُمۡ

(and its keepers will say: "Salam `Alaykum (peace be upon you)! You have done well,'') meaning, `your deeds and words were good, and your efforts were good, and your reward is good.' The Messenger of Allah issued commands during some of his military campaigns that it should be shouted out to the Muslims:

« إِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ لَا يَدْخُلُهَا إِلَّا نَفْسٌ مُسْلِمَةٌ وفي رواية مُؤْمِنَة »

(No one enters Paradise except a Muslim soul) or, according to one report, (A believing soul.)'' Allah says,

﴿ فَٱدۡخُلُوهَا خَـٰلِدِينَ

(so enter here to abide therein forever.) means, to dwell therein, never seeking any change.

﴿ وَقَالُواْ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى صَدَقَنَا وَعۡدَهُ ۥ

(And they will say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah Who has fulfilled His promise to us...'') means, when the believers see the great reward and splendors, blessing and grand generosity, they will say,

﴿ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى صَدَقَنَا وَعۡدَهُ ۥ

(All the praises and thanks be to Allah Who has fulfilled His promise to us) meaning, `the promise which He made to us through His Messengers who called us to this in the world.'

﴿ رَبَّنَا وَءَاتِنَا مَا وَعَدتَّنَا عَلَىٰ رُسُلِكَ وَلَا تُخۡزِنَا يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ‌ۗ إِنَّكَ لَا تُخۡلِفُ ٱلۡمِيعَادَ

(Our Lord! Grant us what You promised unto us through Your Messengers and disgrace us not on the Day of Resurrection, for You never break (Your) promise) (3:194),

﴿ وَقَالُواْ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى هَدَٮٰنَا لِهَـٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِنَہۡتَدِىَ لَوۡلَآ أَنۡ هَدَٮٰنَا ٱللَّهُ‌ۖ لَقَدۡ جَآءَتۡ رُسُلُ رَبِّنَا بِٱلۡحَقِّ‌ۖ

(and they will say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has guided us to this, and never could we have found guidance, were it not that Allah had guided us! Indeed, the Messengers of our Lord came with the truth.'') (7:43), and

﴿ وَقَالُواْ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَذۡهَبَ عَنَّا ٱلۡحَزَنَۖ إِنَّ رَبَّنَا لَغَفُورٌ۬ شَكُورٌ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَحَلَّنَا دَارَ ٱلۡمُقَامَةِ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ لَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيہَا نَصَبٌ۬ وَلَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيہَا لُغُوبٌ۬

(And they will say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah Who has removed from us (all) grief. Verily, our Lord is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate (good deeds). Who, out of His grace, has lodged us in a home that will last forever, where toil will touch us not nor weariness will touch us.'') (35:34-35)

﴿ وَأَوۡرَثَنَا ٱلۡأَرۡضَ نَتَبَوَّأُ مِنَ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ حَيۡثُ نَشَآءُ‌ۖ فَنِعۡمَ أَجۡرُ ٱلۡعَـٰمِلِينَ

(and has made us inherit (this) land. We can dwell in Paradise where we will; how excellent a reward for the (pious) workers!) Abu Al-Aliyah, Abu Salih, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd said, "This means the land of Paradise.'' This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ ڪَتَبۡنَا فِى ٱلزَّبُورِ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ٱلذِّكۡرِ أَنَّ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ يَرِثُهَا عِبَادِىَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحُونَ

(And indeed We have written in Az-Zabur after Adh-Dhikr that My righteous servants shall inherit the land.) (21:105) they will say:

﴿ نَتَبَوَّأُ مِنَ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ حَيۡثُ نَشَآءُ‌ۖ

(We can dwell in Paradise where we will) meaning, `wherever we want, we can settle; how excellent a reward for our efforts.' In the Two Sahihs, it was reported in the story of the Mi`raj which was narrated by Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet said:

« أُدْخِلْتُ الْجَنَّةَ، فَإِذَا فِيهَا جَنَابِذُ اللُّؤْلُؤِ، وَإِذَا تُرَابُهَا الْمِسْك »

(I was admitted into Paradise where I saw that its domes were pearls and its soil was musk.)''

﴿ وَتَرَى ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةَ حَآفِّينَ مِنۡ حَوۡلِ ٱلۡعَرۡشِ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمۡدِ رَبِّہِمۡ‌ۖ وَقُضِىَ بَيۡنَہُم بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَقِيلَ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(75. And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne from all round, glorifying the praises of their Lord. And they will be judged with truth. And it will be said, "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exits.'') Allah tells us how He will pass judgment on the people of Paradise and Hell, and put each of them in the place fitting for him and for which he is suited; this is justice from Him and He is never unjust. Then He tells us of His angels who surround His majestic Throne, glorifying the praises of their Lord, extolling and magnifying Him, and declaring Him to be above any shortcomings or injustice whatsoever, for He has passed judgment in the fairest and most just manner. He says:

﴿ وَقُضِىَ بَيۡنَهُم

(And they will be judged) meaning, all of creation.

﴿ بِٱلۡحَقِّ

(with truth.) Then He says:

﴿ وَقِيلَ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(And it will be said, "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exits.'') meaning, all of creation, whether animate or inanimate, will speak words of praise to Allah, the Lord of all that exists, for His wisdom and justice. These words are not attributed to any specific speaker, which indicates that the whole of creation will testify to His praise. Qatadah said, "Allah began His creation with praise, as He said,

﴿ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ

(All praises and thanks be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth) (6:1). and He ended it with praise, as He says:

﴿ وَقُضِىَ بَيۡنَہُم بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَقِيلَ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(And they will be judged with truth. And it will be said, "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.'').''

The Virtues of the Surahs that begin with Ha Mim

Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Everything has an essence and the essence of the Qur'an is the family of Ha Mim,'' or he said, "the Ha Mims.'' Mis`ar bin Kidam said, "They used to be called `the brides'.'' All of this was recorded by the the Imam, great scholar, Abu `Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Sallam (may Allah have mercy upon him) in his book Fada'il Al-Qur'an. Humayd bin Zanjuyah narrated that `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The parable of the Qur'an is that of a man who sets out to find a place for his family to stay, and he comes to a place where there is evidence of rainfall. While he is walking about, admiring it, he suddenly comes upon beautiful gardens. He says, `I liked the first traces of rainfall, but this is far better.' It was said to him, `The first place is like the Qur'an, and these beautiful gardens are like the splendor of family of Ha Mim in relation to the rest of the Qur'an'.'' This was recorded by Al-Baghawi. Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "When I reach the family of Ha Mim, it is like reaching a beautiful garden, so I take my time.''

﴿ بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

﴿ حمٓ تَنزِيلُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلۡعَلِيمِ غَافِرِ ٱلذَّنۢبِ وَقَابِلِ ٱلتَّوۡبِ شَدِيدِ ٱلۡعِقَابِ ذِى ٱلطَّوۡلِۖ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ إِلَيۡهِ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ

(1. Ha Mim.) (2. The revelation of the Book is from Allah, the Almighty, the All-Knower.) (3. The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance, the Severe in punishment, the Bestower. La ilaha illa Huwa, to Him is the final return.) We have already discussed the individual letters at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah, and there is no need to repeat the discussion here. In a Hadith recorded by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi from one who heard it from the Messenger of Allah, it says:

« إِنْ بُيِّتُّمُ اللَّيْلَةَ فَقُولُوا: حم لَا يُنْصَرُون »

(When you go to bed tonight, recite Ha Mim, La Yunsarun.)'' Its chain of narrators is Sahih.

﴿ تَنزِيلُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلۡعَلِيمِ

(The revelation of the Book is from Allah, the Almighty, the All-Knower.) means, this book -- the Qur'an -- is from Allah, the Owner of might and knowledge, Who cannot be overtaken and from Whom nothing is hidden, not even an ant concealed beneath many layers.

﴿ غَافِرِ ٱلذَّنۢبِ وَقَابِلِ ٱلتَّوۡبِ

(The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance,) means, He forgives sins that have been committed in the past, and He accepts repentance for sins that may be committed in the future, from the one who repents and submits to Him.

﴿ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ

(the Severe in punishment,) means, to the one who persists in transgression and prefers the life of this world, who stubbornly turns away from the commands of Allah and commits sin. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ نَبِّئۡ عِبَادِىٓ أَنِّىٓ أَنَا ٱلۡغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ وَأَنَّ عَذَابِى هُوَ ٱلۡعَذَابُ ٱلۡأَلِيمُ

(Declare unto My servants that truly I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful. And that My torment is indeed the most painful torment.) (15:49-50). These two attributes (mercy and punishment) are often mentioned together in the Qur'an, so that people will remain in a state of both hope and fear.

﴿ ذِى ٱلطَّوۡلِۖ

(the Bestower.) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "This means He is Generous and Rich (Independent of means).'' The meaning is that He is Most Generous to His servants, granting ongoing blessings for which they can never sufficiently thank Him.

﴿ وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعۡمَةَ ٱللَّهِ لَا تُحۡصُوهَآ‌ۗ

(And if you would count the favors of Allah, never could you be able to count them...) (16:18).

﴿ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۖ

(La ilaha illa Huwa) means, there is none that is equal to Him in all His attributes; there is no God or Lord besides Him.

﴿ إِلَيۡهِ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ

(to Him is the final return.) means, all things will come back to Him and He will reward or punish each person according to his deeds.

﴿ وَهُوَ سَرِيعُ ٱلۡحِسَابِ

(and He is Swift at reckoning) (13:41).

﴿ مَا يُجَـٰدِلُ فِىٓ ءَايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فَلَا يَغۡرُرۡكَ تَقَلُّبُہُمۡ فِى ٱلۡبِلَـٰدِ ڪَذَّبَتۡ قَبۡلَهُمۡ قَوۡمُ نُوحٍ۬ وَٱلۡأَحۡزَابُ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡۖ وَهَمَّتۡ ڪُلُّ أُمَّةِۭ بِرَسُولِهِمۡ لِيَأۡخُذُوهُۖ وَجَـٰدَلُواْ بِٱلۡبَـٰطِلِ لِيُدۡحِضُواْ بِهِ ٱلۡحَقَّ فَأَخَذۡتُہُمۡۖ فَكَيۡفَ كَانَ عِقَابِ وَكَذَٲلِكَ حَقَّتۡ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَنَّہُمۡ أَصۡحَـٰبُ ٱلنَّارِ

(4. None disputes in the Ayat of Allah but those who disbelieve. So let not their ability of going about here and there through the land (for their purposes) deceive you!) (5. The people of Nuh and the groups after them denied before these; and every nation plotted against their Messenger to seize him, and disputed by means of falsehood to refute therewith the truth. So I seized them, and how was My punishment!) (6. Thus has the Word of your Lord been justified against those who disbelieved, that they will be the dwellers of the Fire.)

One of the Attributes of the Disbelievers is That they dispute the Ayat of Allah - and The Consequences of that Allah tells us that no one rejects or disputes His signs after clear proof has come,
﴿ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ

(but those who disbelieve), i.e., those who reject the signs of Allah and His proof and evidence.

﴿ فَلَا يَغۡرُرۡكَ تَقَلُّبُہُمۡ فِى ٱلۡبِلَـٰدِ

(So let not their ability of going about here and there through the land deceive you!) means, their wealth and luxurious life. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ لَا يَغُرَّنَّكَ تَقَلُّبُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فِى ٱلۡبِلَـٰدِ مَتَـٰعٌ۬ قَلِيلٌ۬ ثُمَّ مَأۡوَٮٰهُمۡ جَهَنَّمُ‌ۚ وَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡمِهَادُ

(Let not the free disposal (and affluence) of the disbelievers throughout the land deceive you. A brief enjoyment; then, their ultimate abode is Hell; and worst indeed is that place for rest.) (3:196-197)

﴿ نُمَتِّعُهُمۡ قَلِيلاً۬ ثُمَّ نَضۡطَرُّهُمۡ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٍ۬

(We let them enjoy for a little while, then in the end We shall oblige them to (enter) a great torment.) (31:24). Then Allah consoles His Prophet Muhammad for the rejection of his people. He tells him that he has an example in the Prophets who came before him, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon them all, for their nations disbelieved them and opposed them, and only a few believed in them.

﴿ ڪَذَّبَتۡ قَبۡلَهُمۡ قَوۡمُ نُوحٍ۬

(The people of Nuh denied before these;) Nuh was the first Messenger whom Allah sent to denounce and forbid idol worship.

﴿ وَٱلۡأَحۡزَابُ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡۖ

(and the groups after them) means, from every nation.

﴿ وَهَمَّتۡ ڪُلُّ أُمَّةِۭ بِرَسُولِهِمۡ لِيَأۡخُذُوهُۖ

(and every (disbelieving) nation plotted against their Messenger to seize him,) means, they wanted to kill him by any means possible, and some of them did kill their Messenger.

﴿ وَجَـٰدَلُواْ بِٱلۡبَـٰطِلِ لِيُدۡحِضُواْ بِهِ ٱلۡحَقَّ

(and disputed by means of falsehood to refute therewith the truth.) means, they came up with specious arguments with which to dispute the truth which was so plain and clear.

﴿ فَأَخَذۡتُہُمۡۖ

(So I seized them) means, `I destroyed them, because of the sins they committed.'

﴿ فَكَيۡفَ كَانَ عِقَابِ

(and how was My punishment!) means, `how have you heard that My punishment and vengeance was so severe and painful.' Qatadah said, "It was terrible, by Allah.''

﴿ وَكَذَٲلِكَ حَقَّتۡ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَنَّہُمۡ أَصۡحَـٰبُ ٱلنَّارِ

(Thus has the Word of your Lord been justified against those who disbelieved, that they will be the dwellers of the Fire.) means, `just as the Word of punishment was justified against those of the past nations who disbelieved, so too is it justified against these disbelievers who have rejected you and gone against you, O Muhammad, and it is even more justified against them, because if they have disbelieved in you, there is no certainty that they will believe in any other Prophet.' And Allah knows best.

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ يَحۡمِلُونَ ٱلۡعَرۡشَ وَمَنۡ حَوۡلَهُ ۥ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمۡدِ رَبِّہِمۡ وَيُؤۡمِنُونَ بِهِۦ وَيَسۡتَغۡفِرُونَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ رَبَّنَا وَسِعۡتَ ڪُلَّ شَىۡءٍ۬ رَّحۡمَةً۬ وَعِلۡمً۬ا فَٱغۡفِرۡ لِلَّذِينَ تَابُواْ وَٱتَّبَعُواْ سَبِيلَكَ وَقِهِمۡ عَذَابَ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ رَبَّنَا وَأَدۡخِلۡهُمۡ جَنَّـٰتِ عَدۡنٍ ٱلَّتِى وَعَدتَّهُمۡ وَمَن صَلَحَ مِنۡ ءَابَآٮِٕهِمۡ وَأَزۡوَٲجِهِمۡ وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِهِمۡۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ وَقِهِمُ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِۚ وَمَن تَقِ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ يَوۡمَٮِٕذٍ۬ فَقَدۡ رَحِمۡتَهُ ۥۚ وَذَٲلِكَ هُوَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ

(7. Those (angels) who bear the Throne (of Allah) and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (saying): "Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire!) (8. Our Lord! And make them enter the `Adn (Eternal) Gardens which you have promised them -- and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the Almighty, the All-Wise.) (9. And save them from the sins, and whomsoever You save from the sins that Day, him verily, You have taken into mercy.'' And that is the supreme success.)