The Number of Gardens in Paradise.

By Ansar Al-‘Adl

The allegation is as follows:

How many gardens are there in paradise? ONE [as stated in 39:73, 41:30, 57:21, 79:41] or MANY [18:31, 22:23, 35:33, 78:32]?

Before we explain this allegation, we will quote a few of the verses in question.

39:73 And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden in crowds: until behold, they arrive there; its gates will be opened; and its keepers will say: “Peace be upon you! well have ye done! enter ye here, to dwell therein.”

18:31 For them will be Gardens of Eternity; beneath them rivers will flow; they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade: They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good the recompense! How beautiful a couch to recline on!

The answer to this may have already become obvious to the reader.

Nevertheless, we shall briefly summarize the explanations on this verse.

  1. Paradise is one large garden offered as a reward for the believers, composed of many individual gardens within it.2. If we look at the way the question is phrased, we note that it says, “How many gardens are there in paradise?” Since the actual arabic word used for ‘garden’ is ‘Jannah‘, which can also be used for ‘paradise’, the question is exactly the same as if one were to ask, “How many gardens are there in the garden?”, thus lending more support to the first explanation.

    3. Jannah is used in the Qur’an as a generic noun, referring to paradise, which is composed of many individual gardens. This is as if one were to say, “The computer is a great invention”. By this we understand that the statement is not referring specifically to any one computer, but is rather a reference to all computers oin general.

The Number of Groups on Judgement Day

The allegation is as follows:

According to Sura 56:7 there will be THREE distinct groups of people at the Last Judgement, but 90:18-19, 99:6-8, etc. mention only TWO groups

The verses in question:

56:7 And ye shall be sorted out into three classes.

90:18-19 Such are the Companions of the Right Hand. 90:19 But those who reject Our Signs, they are the (unhappy) Companions of the Left Hand.

99:6-8 On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they (had done). Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it.

Verse 56:7 describes three groups and the Chapter goes on to mention that they are 1. The elite/closest ones 2. The companions of the right hand and 3. the companions of the left hand.

So there are a few points that can be raised to refute this alleged contradiction.

  1. The only verse which specifies the number of groups is 56:7. Verses 90:18-19 do not mention the number of groups but only describe two of them. How then can this be considered a contradiction? It is as though I told someone that I have three bedrooms in my house and later on I told them that the bedroom on the right is large and the bedroom on the left is small. Does my not mentioning the third bedroom constitute a contradiction?2. The elite are a subgroup of the companions of the right. They are mentioned separately in Chapter 56 to distinguish between those foremost in performing good deeds. This usually occurs when the subset of a group is so distinct from other elements in the group that it can effectively be categorized on its own.

An example is when we commonly differentiate between humans, plants and animals. We often mentions humans separately from animals, because of the great differences between humans and other animal species. But as we know, humans are merely one species of the Kingdom Animalia, which contains many other species of animals. But because humans are so distinct from the other species, we often categorize them separately.

  1. Lastly, it is the style of the Qur’an to mention some groups separately for emphasis.

2:98 Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and apostles, to Gabriel and Michael,- Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject Faith.

This verse mentions Angle Gabriel and Angel Michael separately from the other angels, but we know that they are angels themselves. This is simply the Qur’anic style of emphasis.

Will There be Inquiry in Paradise?

 

The allegation is as follows:

Will there be inquiry in Paradise? “neither will they question one another” [23:101] but nevertheless they will be “engaging in mutual inquiry” [52:25], “and they will … question one another” [37:27].

Verses in question,

23:101 Then, when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another

And 52:25 in context is:

52:21,22,25-28 And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned. And We shall provide them with fruit and meat, such as they desire….And some of them draw near to others, questioning.
Saying: “Aforetime, we were afraid with our families (from the punishment of Allâh). But Allâh has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire. Verily, We used to invoke Him (Alone and none else) before. Verily, He is Al Barr the Most Generous, the Most Merciful.”

And 37:27 in context is:

37:22,23,27-33. (It will be said to the angels): “Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions (from the devils) and what they used to worship, instead of Allâh, and lead them on to the way of flaming Fire (Hell);
And they will turn to one another and question one another.

They will say: “It was you who used to come to us from the right side.”
They will reply: “Nay, you yourselves were not believers. And we had no authority over you. Nay! But you were transgressing people (disobedient, polytheists, and disbelievers). So now the Word of our Lord has been justified against us, that we shall certainly (have to) taste (the torment).So we led you astray because we were ourselves astray.”

Then verily, that Day, they will (all) share in the torment.

  1. The first point that becomes obvious here, once the context is added, is that these verses are not referring to the same event. Verse 23:101 states that on the Day of Judgement, after the trumpet, no one will ask each other for help. They will stand silently before their Lord, to be judged.

Meanwhile, verse 52:25 states that in paradise, the reward for the believers will include anything they desire, and they shall engage in mutual discussion. This obviously is not a reference to the Day of resurrection.

Likewise, verse 37:27 speaks of the disbelievers who will dispute with each other about who is to blame for their terrible fate. This is obvious from the mentioning of assembling those who did wrong, and leading them to Hell-fire. Evidently, this would occur after the Day of Judgement.

2. The second point is that there is a different understanding of what is being asked in each verse. Verse 23:101 refers to the fact that they will not be able to ask each other for help. Here, “ask” is understood to be a request. Verse 52:25 refers to the fact that they will engage in mutual discussion. Here “ask” is understood to be general inquiry and discussion, not a request. And finally, verse 37:27 refers to the disputes that will be held by the people of Hell-fire. here “ask” refers to harsh interrogation and argumentation, not a request. This is supported by the understanding of the arabic verb used, yatasa’aloon.

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