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Interpretation of Sura al-Furqan - Verses 15-16

15. " Say: 'Is that better or the eternal garden which has been promised to the pious ones? That shall be a reward and a resort for them'."

16. " For them there will be therein whatever they desire: they will dwell(there) for aye. It is for your Lord a promise that must be fulfilled."

Commentary

The promise of Paradise is to be fulfilled certainly. The demands of the people of the Paradise are logical and wise as the demands of Allah are so. It means that as "... Allah does what He will" 25, and He does it wisely, the believers have also got wise demands: "For them there will be therein whatever they desire ...". It will not be in a way that they want the people of the Hell to be freed or they want to have the rank of prophets, because such demands are not wise. Therefore, in this verse, the Prophet is addressed to call people to judge. It says:

" Say: 'Is that better or the eternal garden which has been promised to the pious ones? That shall be a reward and a resort for them'."

This is the promised Paradise where they will abide for ever, (khalidin). And the next verse says:

"For them there will be therein whatever they desire: they will dwell (there) for aye. It is for your Lord a promise that must be fulfilled."

This question and asking for judgment is for the sake that about which no one has doubt. It is not for the matter that those painful and terrible punishments can be compared with those matchless blessings and favours, but these kinds of questions are for striking sleeping consciences and wakening people, so that they may be faced with a dilemma.

If they say that these blessings are better and superior (and certainly they must say so), they have condemned themselves since their wouldly deeds are against it. If they say that those punishments are better than these blessings, they have proved that they are insane. This is like giving warning to a truant young man who has left school or university saying that those who escape from intellect and knowledge will go finally to jail, and asking them: "Which is better, going to jail or gaining the high ranks?"

Some points

1. In the above verses, one time it is said that Paradise is perpetual (khuld) as a quality for it, and one time it is said that the people of the Paradise are perpetual (khalidin). This is for stating this fact that both Paradise and its inhabitants are everlasting.

2. The sentence "For them there will be therein whatever they desire ..." is the opposite point of what is said about the people of the Hell in the 54th verse of Sura Saba, which says: "And a gulf is set between them and that which they desire..."

3. Using the Qur'anic word /masir/ (the place of return) occurring after the word /jaza/ (reward), concerning the Paradise is an emphasis on what is found in the concept of /jaza'/ (reward) and all of them are the opposite point of the people of the Hell that have been mentioned in the verses before it: "... they are cast, coupled in fetters, into a narrow place of that Fire ..."

4. The sentence "... It is for your Lord a promise that must be fulfilled." refers to this matter that the believers have prayed Allah for Paradise with all its blessings. They are seekers and Allah is sought of to provide, as we read in verse 194 of Sura 'al-i-'Imran, No. 3: " Our Lord! And give us what You have promised us through Your messengers ..."

All believers ask Allah such a thing mutely, for everyone who obeys His commandment has such a mute appeal. The angels also ask Allah such a thing for the believers; as we read in Sura Al-Mu'min, No. 40, that they say about the believers "Our Lord! And make them enter the Gardens of Eden which you have promised them ..." 26

There is another commentary here indicating that the Qur'anic word /mas'ulan/ is an emphasis on certainty of Allah's promise. It implies that this promise is so bound to be fulfilled that believers can demand it from Allah. It is like the time that we promise a person and we also know his right to have a claim.

But there is no problem that the word /mas'ulan/ includes all these meanings.

5. With the regard to the Qur'anic sentence "For them there will be therein whatever they desire ..." some persons ask this question that if we consider the extensive meaning of this sentence, its result is that if the people of the Paradise ask the rank of prophets and Allah's friends, they will be given what they have asked; or if they want that their sinful friends and relatives to be freed from the Hell (which they deserve), they will be freed. And there are things the like of them.

Regarding a matter its answer will be made clear there will be no curtains before the eyes of the Paradise inhabitants, they (curtains) will be put away. They perceive the truths very well and see all proportions well. Such a thought that is to ask Allah such demands does never come to their mind. This is just like the time that in this life we ask a school boy to become a professor of university, or a criminal thief to become judge of court. Do such thoughts come to the mind of a wise person here? In the Paradise it is so. Moreover, all their demands are overshadowed by Allah's will, and they desire what Allah desires.

Some traditions about the Paradise

1. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says: "Everyone who dies while he believes that Allah is true, he enters Paradise." 27

2. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says; "In the Paradise there are blessings (and favours) which no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no mind has ever imagined." 28

3. Imam Ali (a.s.) says: "Your price and value is nothing but the Paradise. Do not sell yourself but for the Paradise." 29

4. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) says: "Only Muslim will enter the Paradise." 30

Notes:

25. Sura 'Al-i-'Imran, No. 3, verse 40

26. Sura Al-Mu'min, No. 40, verse 8

27. TauHud by Saduq, p. 29

28. Kanz-ul-'Ummal, Vol. 14, p. 455

29. Kanz-ul-'Ummal, Vol. 14, p. 645

30. Kanz-ul-'Ummal, Vol. 1, p. 79

Adapted from the book: "Interpretation of Sura al-Furqan" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Scholars"

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