What Is Paradise in Islam?

Not all Muslim sects agree on the details of paradise.

Not all Muslim sects agree on the details of paradise.

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by Contributing Writer

According to the Islamic faith, all humans live forever, even after death. Life on Earth tests people to determine how they will spend their eternal life, either in a plane of pleasure or one of suffering. To Muslims, paradise is one level of a heavenly plane that they believe they go to after death.

The Day of Judgment

Islam teaches that all people are responsible for their own actions. Unlike adherents to the Christian faith, Muslims do not believe in an original sin, but instead in personal responsibility. All people will be called to account for how they lived their lives. On the day of judgment, Muslims believe Allah will judge everyone to determine how well they adhered to the Quran. Those who lived without sin, or atoned for whatever wrongs they committed, will be rewarded with entrance to one of the heavenly planes, while those who have sin, or those who belong to other faiths, will suffer eternal torture. Muslims believe Allah to be merciful; people can atone for their sins.

Levels of Paradise

Muslims believe the faithful and the moral will be allowed to live in a different level of heaven, depending on how they lived their life, and how devout they were as Muslims. Islamic sects differ on the number of levels; some scholars and religious leaders say humans cannot know how many levels exist, while others say there are seven. All sects agree that the higher the level of heaven, the closer people will be to Allah, and the more knowledge and understanding they will receive about him.

Descriptions of Paradise

Many Islamic scholars believe the concept of paradise is ineffable because people on Earth have no means of knowing it; it must be something they experience once this life is over. Some sects describe paradise as a place free from earthly troubles, with no pain or suffering, and no death. Some view it as a new and improved version of the world, without unhappiness and more beautiful than this one. Others believe paradise offers true and intense pleasure, of both the physical and spiritual varieties. Some Quranic descriptions of heaven describe luxurious furniture, the finest wine and sexual pleasures.

Arriving in Paradise

Muslims believe children who die go to paradise no matter what religion their parents practiced. However, once they reach puberty, all their actions begin to be logged in paradise, and these actions determine their station in the afterlife. Allah allows for repentance, and people can work off their sins if they are both truly contrite and have been sufficiently punished for their actions. However, some Muslims believe some acts to be unforgivable; worshiping any god other than Allah, an act called shirk, will prevent a person from ever entering paradise.

About the Author

A resident of Riverside, California, Timothy Peckinpaugh began writing in 2006 for U.S. History Publishers, based in Temecula, California. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Riverside, with a bachelor's degree in English.

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