Jannah is the ultimate eternal abode that Allah rewards the believers with, in the Hereafter. Heaven is the special place in which believers will reside forever in a state of complete bliss and happiness. There will be no sadness or negativity, no evil or sin, and no hardship or suffering therein. Every righteous Muslim yearns for Paradise, which is the eternal dwelling place for believers in the afterlife. Heaven is a place of never-ending joy.
Paradise is something that is beyond the imagination of any human. According to a hadith in Sahih Muslim, Heaven will contain what no human has ever seen, heard, or imagined. There are numerous vivid descriptions of Heaven in Islam. These provide believers with immense hope and motivation to succeed in the Hereafter. These descriptions of Paradise only give us a small idea of the sublime eternal reward Allah will bestow upon believers.
In reality, nobody can truly comprehend how glorious Paradise will be. Regardless, the descriptions of Jannah in Islam are ample reason for us to strive for success in the afterlife. Similarly, the horrors of Hell are sufficient reason for believers to be terrified of entering the Hellfire. Hence, the goal of every believer in this life should be to exert maximum effort to please Allah. Moreover, we should always aim to avoid displeasing Allah. This approach is essential for those who wish to attain Paradise and escape the terrifying punishment of Hell.
Sinful believers will be taken out of Hell
No one who believes in Allah without associating any partners in worship with him will stay in Hell forever. Muhammad (PBUH) stated in a hadith in Sahih Muslim that one who dies as a believer will enter Jannah. Hence, even the sinners among the believers will not experience eternal punishment in the Hellfire.
Sinful believers may suffer in Hell for a certain amount of time. However, Allah will eventually take every believer out of Hell and admit him into Heaven. Such is the Mercy of Allah that even the most sinful of believers will ultimately enter Paradise. Only those who die as disbelievers will receive eternal punishment in the blazing Hellfire.
The story of the last person to enter Jannah – Part 1
The Prophet (PBUH) relates the story of the last person to enter Jannah in a hadith in Sahih Muslim. After the man leaves the fire of Hell, he will turn to it and praise Allah for saving him from Hell. He will also say that God has granted him something that he hasn’t given to anyone before or after him. After that, a tree will be put in place for him. He will request Allah to take him near the tree to allow him to shade himself and drink its water.
Allah will say that maybe if He gives the man what he asked for, he will ask Allah again for something. The man will reply by vow not to ask Allah for anything else. Allah will grant him his wish and take him next to the tree, where the man will be able to shade himself and drink water. After this, Allah will put another, more beautiful tree in place for the man, and he will again seek Allah’s favor and ask for the tree’s shade and water, saying that he will not ask for anything after that.
Allah will reply by reminding him of his earlier promise and saying that maybe if He grants his request, the man will ask him for something again. The man will again pledge not to ask Allah for anything else. Allah will again grant him what he asked for and take him beside the tree. The man will once again be able to shade himself and drink water.
The story of the last person to enter Jannah – Part 2
Then, a third tree, which is more beautiful than the first two, will be placed before the man. He will repeat his request, again stating that he will not ask any further for things. Allah will yet again remind the man of his vow, and the man will once again insist that he will not ask for anything else.
Allah will grant the man’s third request just as He granted the first two. He will take the man near the tree, where he will hear the sound of the voices of believers in Heaven. Thus, he will ask Allah to let him enter Jannah. Allah will ask the man what will persuade him to stop asking. He will ask if the man would be happy if Allah gave him the world and as much again. The man will, therefore, ask if Allah is making fun of him. Allah will smile at the man’s words and tell him that He is not making fun of him, but He is Able to do anything He wishes.
The story shows us the nature of humans
Initially, the man who had emerged from the blazing fire of Hell was thankful for no longer being in Hell. He blessed Allah for His Mercy when he was in between Heaven and Hell. Over time, however, he noticed the tree and desired to benefit from it. With each development in the story, the man does not stay satisfied. He keeps asking for Allah for one thing after another, getting what he asks for each time.
The man’s persistent requests show the dissatisfied nature of human beings. Even though he kept saying that he won’t ask for anything else, he could not stop. Hence, the story of the last person to enter Heaven shows us that humans are rarely satisfied and almost always want more than what they already have. Allah, as our All-Knowing Creator, knows His creation all too well. Allah is aware of all our inner thoughts and desires, our intentions, our good and bad deeds, and everything about us, be it visible or concealed. We cannot hide anything from Allah.
Paradise will erase the suffering a sinful believer experiences in Hell
Sinful believers who get punished in Hell before entering Paradise, such as the last man to enter Heaven, will not retain the pain and torment they experienced while in Hell. On the contrary, all feelings of sadness and pain will disappear when one enters Jannah. Heaven is a residence where all believers will dwell in eternal bliss. Hence, nothing negative will linger with a person once Allah grants him entry to Paradise.
As the story of the man who was the last to enter Jannah shows, he already seemed to be happy and thankful as soon as he left Hell. Moreover, there are narrations from the Prophet (PBUH) that prove that such people will not live with regrets, bitterness, or sorrow in Heaven. In a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, we learn that the most well-off of the people on earth from among those destined for Hell will on the Day of Judgment be dipped in Hell once. Then, he will be asked if he ever saw anything good or experienced any pleasure. His reply will be to say that he did not.
Meanwhile, the neediest of the believers will be dipped in Heaven once. After that, he will be asked if he ever saw anything bad or had any difficulty. His reply will be that he never witnessed anything bad or experienced any difficulty. The Prophet (PBUH) also said in a hadith in Sahih Muslim that those who go to Heaven will not be gloomy, and they will enjoy delight. Therefore, just as those who go to Hell will be devoid of any goodness or pleasure, those who are taken out of Hell and admitted into Paradise will have everything negative they experienced in the past erased.
The Mercy of Allah
The Mercy of Allah is evident when we consider that he will eventually pardon even the most sinful of believers and grant them entry into Paradise for having faith alone. Allah’s Mercy is apparent in the story of the last person to enter Paradise. His kindness and continued lenience towards the man who keeps making request after request after coming out of Hell show us how perfect His Mercy is.
Time after time, the man asks Allah for something despite promising not to do so. Ar-Raheem – the Most Merciful, shows kindness, love, and forgiveness to the man repeatedly. Ultimately, he grants the man the ultimate reward out of His infinite Mercy, which is Paradise after extracting him from the fire of Hell.
The mercy that people witness on earth can be tremendous at times. However, it will always pale in comparison to the Mercy of Allah. A hadith in Sahih Muslim informs us that Allah has a hundred parts of mercy. One of these parts of mercy was sent down for human beings, jinn, animals, and insects. This single part of mercy is the source of all mercy and compassion among living beings. Meanwhile, Allah retained 99 parts of mercy for the purpose of being merciful to His servants on the Day of Reckoning.
In the profound story of the last person to enter Paradise, we witness the boundless Mercy of Allah. Despite human flaws, His forgiveness and compassion know no bounds. The tale emphasizes our constant need for Allah’s guidance and mercy, reminding us of the profound patience and kindness inherent in His divine nature. Allah’s mercy surpasses all, offering hope and redemption to every believer.