Differences Between The Levels Of Paradise
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) explained that the people will be in different levels in Paradise according to their status. al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that the Prophet (saw) said, ” The people of Paradise will look at the people dwelling in the chambers above them in the same way that people look at a brilliant star shining far away on the horizon, in the East or West, because of their superiority [in reward] over them.” The people asked, “O Messenger of Allah, are these the dwellings of the Prophets which no one else can attain?” He replied, “No by the One in Whose Hand is my soul, they are for the men who believed in Allah, and also in His Messengers.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab Bid’ al-Khalq, Baab Sifaat al-Jannah wan-Naar, Fath al-Baari, 6/220; Saheeh Muslim Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab tara’i Ahl al-Jannah Ahl al-Ghuraf, 4/2177, no. 2831]
Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah and Ibn Hibbaan reported from Abu Sa’eed that the Prophet (saw) said ,”The people in the higher levels will be seen by those below them as if they were looking at a star rising on the horizon. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar will be among them; what good people they are!” [Saheeh al-Jaami’ as-Sagheer, 2/187, no. 2026]
al-Qurtubee said, “Know that these chambers will differ in height, and appearance according to the deeds of their occupants. Some of them will be higher than others. When the Prophet (saw) said, “No by the One is Whose Hand is my soul, they are for the men who believed in Allah (swt) and also in His Messengers; he did not mention deeds or anything other than faith and belief in the Messengers, with no doubts or questions. Otherwise, how could these chambers be reached through the faith and belief of the ordinary people? If that were the case, then all the Muslims would reach these highest levels, and that is impossible” as Allah says, “Those will be rewarded with the highest place [in Paradise] because of their patience..” [25:75]
This patience often involved self sacrifice and being steadfast for the sake of Allah, focusing on Him, being a true slave to Him. These are the attributes of al-Muqarraboon, as Allah (swt) says:
“And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us, but only he [will please Us] who believes and does righteous deeds; for such there will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will reside in the high dwellings [Paradise] in peace and security“. [34:37]
Here Allah mentioned the highest chambers or dwellings of Paradise and states that they will not be attained by means of wealth and children, but through faith and righteous deeds then they will have a double reward. Their place will be the high dwellings, which tells you that this is faith that gives one tranquillity and certainty, and fills the heart. A person with such faith is content no matter what happens to him, and in all situations and circumstances. If he does a good deed, he does not mix it with the opposite, which are evil deeds. Good deeds that are uncontaminated with evil deeds cannot be achieved except by the one whose imaan is very great and who is content and has no doubts, no matter what his circumstances. The faith and deeds of the one whose good deeds are contaminated are not like that, so his status will be lower” [al-Qurtubee, at-Tadhkirah, p. 464]
The inhabitants of the highest levels of Paradise will enjoy greater pleasures than the people below them. Allah (swt) has promised two gardens to those who fear Him:
“But for him who fears the standing before his Rabb, there will be two gardens” [55:46]
Allah (swt) described these Gardens, then He (swt) said, “And besides these two, there are two other Gardens [ i.e. in Paradise]” [55:62]
These two gardens will be lower in status. Whoever thinks of the characteristics of the two gardens which Allah mentioned second will realize that they are lower than the first two, because the first two are for the muqarraboon [those who are close to Allah], whilst the second two are for ashaab al-yameen [those of the Right Hand] as Ibn ‘Abbaas and Abu Musa al-Ash’ari said [at-Tadhkirah, 440].
“When He described the two pairs of gardens, He referred to the difference between them. Describing the first two, He said “in them [both] will be two springs flowing free” [55:50] whereas in the second two “..will be two springs gushing forth water” [55:66]. Gushing or bubbling water is not the same as flowing water; bubbling is of a lesser degree than flowing.
Allah says that in the first two gardens “..will be every kind of fruit in pairs” [55:52] – all kinds of fruit, well known and rare, moist and dry; this is a general statement. But in the second two gardens “..will be fruits, date palms and pomegranates” [55:68] Allah does not say that there would be every kind of fruit in pairs.
In the first two gardens the people will be ” reclining upon the couches lined with silk brocade” [55:54], while in the second two gardens they will be “reclining on green cushions and rich beautiful mattresses” [55:76] which means embellished or embroidered, and there is no doubt that a couch lined with silk brocade is superior to an embroidered cushion.
The Hoor al-‘Eeyn in the first two gardens are described as “like rubies and coral” [55:58] whilst those in the second two gardens are described as “fair [wives] good and beautiful” [55:70]; not everything that is beautiful is as beautiful as rubies and coral.
The first two gardens are described as “with spreading branches” [55:48] while the second two are “dark green [in colour]” [55:64] so intensely green that it is almost black. The first two clearly have many bushes and trees, whilst the second two are described simply as being green” [at-Tadkhirah, p. 440]
al-Bukhaari and Muslim report from Abu Musa al-Ash’ari that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Two gardens of silver, their vessels and everything in them and two gardens of gold, their vessels and everything in them, and there will be nothing between the people and their seeing Allah, except the garment of pride over His Face in the Paradise of ‘Adn” [Jaami’ al-Usool, 10/498, no. 8029]
Allah (swt) described the drink of the pious in Paradise:
“Verily the Abraar [pious, who fear Allah and avoid evil] will drink a cup [of wine] mixed with water from a spring in Paradise called Kafoor” [76:5]
“And they will be given to drink there a cup [of wine] mixed with Zanjabeel [ginger]” [76:17]
It seems – and Allah Knows Best – that this is for Ahl al-Yameen. Elsewhere Allah (swt) says
“It [that wine] will be mixed with tasneem, A spring whereof drink those nearest to Allah” [83:27-28].
Ahl al-Yameen will drink something mixed with Tasneem, whilst al-Muqarraboon will drink a pure drink of Tasneem. Tasneem is the name of a spring in Paradise.