Guest Author - Linda Heywood
Whoever succeeds in barely missing Hell and is admitted into Heaven has attained a great triumph (3:185)
The purpose of our lives on this planet is to obtain forgiveness for the original sin that resulted in our being here on earth. We are here to nourish our souls enough for them to return to God. Our destinies are already predetermined; God knows who the believers are and who the disbelievers are. Any description of Heaven and Hell in the Quran is allegorical as we cannot imagine what they are really like, just as we cannot imagine what God looks like.
The chapter in the Quran entitled ‘Most Gracious’ describes a higher Heaven and a lower Heaven and tells us that the jinn will also be called to account on Judgement Day.
Chapter 55, verse 31
We will call you to account, O humans and jinns.
In chapter 55, God asks the humans and the jinns in 31 verses, ‘Which of your Lord’s marvels can you deny?’ Yet many of God’s creations deny that God is the creator of everything we can see and that which we cannot see.
On Judgement Day when the sky is ripped asunder and turns rose coloured, no human, nor jinn, will be asked about his sins because the guilty will be recognised by their looks. They will be shown Hell, which they used to deny (55:37-44). Hell does not yet exist but will become the eighth dominion on Judgement Day (69:17). God tells us that Hell will be filled with humans and jinns (32:13).
God describes four gardens, two for the righteous humans and two for the righteous jinn. These gardens represent the two Heavens. A little work has to be done in lower Heaven to find the rewards but in higher Heaven everything awaits those who achieve this status. In higher Heaven our mates are already with us, ‘side by side’ (55:64) but in lower Heaven they are confined to tents (55:72) and have to be found.
Chapter 56, verse 7
You will be sorted into three kinds.
Those who reside in higher Heaven are the elite of the elite and are closest to God (56:10), many from the first generations and few from the later generations (56:13-14). Those who reside in lower Heaven are on the right side of God (56:27), many from the early generations and many from the later generations (56:39-40). Those on the left will be on the left in misery and inferno (56:41-42) from the early and the later generations (56:49).
God tells us in the Quran that because of wishful thinking some people do not enter Paradise immediately (7:46-49). They become the dwellers of Purgatory. They call out to the dwellers of Paradise, ‘Peace be upon you’, but when they see the dwellers in Hell they beg God not to send them with the wicked (7:47). Those in Purgatory realise that their great numbers and their arrogance did not save them as they swore God would not be merciful to them. But they are finally told, “Enter Paradise, you have nothing to fear nor will you grieve.”
The dwellers of Paradise will call out to the dwellers of Hell telling them that they have found their Lord’s word to be true, but a barrier separates them. The dwellers of Hell will call out to those in Paradise and ask to be given water and other provisions but they are told, “God has forbidden them for the disbelievers.”