The Golden Age's Paradise-like Environment

In the Qur'an, Allah informs us that the believers' real abode is Paradise. Consequently, the aesthetic understanding of a person who lives by the Qur'an's morality is also shaped according to Paradise's standards. As their real home is Paradise, the way for the believers to beautify this world is to turn it into a place that reminds them of Paradise.

The believers' longing for Paradise urges them to transform their surroundings into Paradise-like places. Paradise, no doubt, abounds with works of art beyond our imagination. It is a place of images and beauties of such perfection that they are unlikely to be attained in this world. Still, the Qur'an's outlook urges us to use all of Earth's available resources to turn our planet into an image of Paradise.

First of all, the believers manifest the Qur'anic understanding of cleanliness in their immediate surroundings. In the Golden Age, all places (e.g., highways, places of worship, recreational places, workplaces, and houses) will be very clean. In one verse, Allah commands them to "purify your clothes. Shun all filth." (Surat al-Muddathtir: 4-5) In compliance with this verse, their clothes will be perfectly clean and the necessary cleansers will be available to everyone so that cleaning one's clothes will become an easy task.

Keeping the environment clean also will be a very important issue. Environmental and air pollution will no longer be a threat to city dwellers. Public places will provide all forms of comfort to people. For example, both hot and cold water will be available in places of worship and everyone will have easy access to public transportation. People will no longer have unpleasant experiences in crowded, airless public places, for innovative systems and technology will make such places only a distant memory.

People will have vivid social lives. Recreational places will be designed to provide comfort and will be very clean. Places where young people gather will be free of harmful foods and drinks, and human health will be the primary concern.

People will be encouraged to love animals, there will be parks in which people can see all sorts of animals. Furthermore, such wild animals as cheetahs, lions, and leopards will be domesticated. Dangerous animals, such as scorpions or snakes, will no longer pose a threat to humanity, for their poisons will be eliminated through biological methods. In one of his sayings, our Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) called attention to this favorable environment:

A person will let his sheep and animals out to pasture. They will go and, being in the midst of crops, will not bite a single ear of corn. Snakes and scorpions will harm no one, and wild animals will be on the doorway, causing no harm.( Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rasul Barzanji , Al-Isha‘ah li-ashrat al-sa‘ah, p. 245)

People will long for Paradise and hope for Allah's good pleasure, which will enable them to enter Paradise. Consequently, they will do their best to produce works of art similar to those in Paradise or to imitate the beauty and aesthetics of Paradise. Allah depicts Paradise's environment as follows:

And [He] will reward them for their steadfastness with a garden [in Paradise] and with silk. Reclining in it on couches, they will experience there neither burning sun nor bitter cold. Its shading branches will droop down over them, its ripe fruit hanging ready to be picked. Vessels of silver and goblets of pure crystal will be passed round among them, crystalline silver—they have measured them very exactly. They will be given there a cup to drink mixed with the warmth of ginger. In it there is a flowing spring called Salsabil. Ageless youths will circulate among them, serving them. Seeing them, you would think them scattered pearls. And when you look, it is there that you will see a Bliss and a Realm Magnificent. (Surat al-Insan: 12-20)

Allah will present countless blessings and beauties to the believers in Paradise. In return for their moral excellence and efforts to spread the Qur'an's morality, they will be rewarded with a blissful and glorious life. With the verse, "And when you look, it is that there you will see a Bliss and a Realm Magnificent" (Surat al-Insan: 20), Allah informs Muslims about the magnificence of Paradise.

Allah provides a detailed account of Paradise's blessings, such as mansions built in gardens, food, shade, clothes of striking colors, jewels, and thousands of other things of which the believers are unaware. This world's blessings are only imitations of those in Paradise. However, in this world Allah may well present blessings beyond one's imagination. Indeed, Allah informs us that Paradise's blessings are similar to those in this world:

Give the good news to those who believe and do right actions that they will have gardens [in Paradise] with rivers flowing under them. When they are given fruit there as provision, they will say: "This is what we were given before." But they were only given a simulation of it. They will have there spouses of perfect purity and will remain there timelessly, forever. (Surat al-Baqara: 25)

The Golden Age will be the time when Allah will grant the most glorious beauties and blessings to people. To form an accurate image of this period, look at the verses that depict Paradise.

Artistry in Paradise

An image of Paradise that is promised to the righteous: In it there are rivers of water that will never spoil, rivers of milk whose taste will never change, and rivers of wine that are delightful to all who drink it, and rivers of honey of undiluted purity. In it they will have fruit of every kind and forgiveness from their Lord. Is that like those who will be in the Fire timelessly, forever, with boiling water to drink, which lacerates their bowels? (Surah Muhammad: 15)

In them [two other gardens] are two gushing springs. (Surat ar-Rahman: 66)

But those who heed their Lord will have high-ceilinged halls, and more such halls built one above the other, and rivers flowing under them. That is Allah's promise. Allah does not break His promise. (Surat az-Zumar: 20)

Allah has promised male and female believers gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever, and fine dwellings in the Gardens of Eden. And Allah's good pleasure is even greater. That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba: 72)

Such people will be repaid for their steadfastness with the Highest Paradise, where they will meet with welcome and "Peace." (Surat al-Furqan: 75)

We place in it gardens of dates and grapes, and cause springs to gush out in it, so they may eat its fruits—they did not do it themselves. So will they not be thankful? (Surah Ya Sin: 34-35)

Dark-eyed (women), secluded in cool pavilions. (Surat ar-Rahman: 72)

Reclining in it on couches, they will experience there neither burning sun nor bitter cold. (Surat al-Insan: 13)

The Companions of Paradise are busy enjoying themselves today, they and their wives reclining on couches in the shade. They will have fruits there and whatever they request. (Surah Ya Sin: 55-57)

They will recline on couches ranged in rows, and We will marry them to dark-eyed maidens. (Surat at-Tur: 20)

We will strip away any rancor in their hearts—brothers [and sisters], resting on couches face-to-face. (Surat al-Hijr: 47)

They will have Gardens of Eden with rivers flowing under them. They will be adorned in them with bracelets made of gold and wear green garments made of the finest silk and rich brocade, reclining there on couches under canopies. What an excellent reward! What a wonderful repose! (Surat al-Kahf: 31)

Those are the Ones Brought Near in Gardens of Delight. A large group of the earlier people but few of the later ones. On sumptuous woven couches, reclining on them face to face. (Surat al-Waqi'a: 11-16)

Sweet fruits and high honor in Gardens of Delight on couches face-to-face; a cup from a flowing spring passing round among them, as white as driven snow, delicious to those who drink, which has no headache in it and does not leave them stupefied. (Surat as-Saffat: 42-47)

Platters and cups of gold will be passed around among them, and they will have there all that their hearts desire and all in which their eyes find delight. You will remain in it timelessly, forever. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 71)

Carrying goblets and decanters and a cup from a flowing spring. (Surat al-Waqi'a: 18-19)

Were it not that mankind might all become one community, We would have given those who reject the All-Merciful silver roofs to their houses, silver stairways and silver doors to their houses, silver couches on which to recline, and gold ornaments. All that is merely the trappings of the life of the world. But the Hereafter, with your Lord, is for those who do their duty. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 33-35)

[In them are sweet, lovely maidens] reclining on green quilts and exquisite rugs. (Surat ar-Rahman: 76)

[In them they will] wear green garments made of the finest silk and rich brocade, reclining there on couches under canopies. What an excellent reward! What a wonderful repose! (Surat al-Kahf: 31)

A large group of the earlier people, but few of the later ones. On sumptuous woven couches, reclining on them face-to-face. There will circulate among them ageless youths carrying goblets and decanters and a cup from a flowing spring—it does not give them any headache nor does it leave them stupefied. And any fruit they specify and any bird-meat they desire. And dark-eyed maidens like hidden pearls. As recompense for what they did. They will hear no prattling in it nor any word of wrong. All that is said is: "Peace. Peace." And the Companions of the Right: what of the Companions of the Right? Amid thornless lote-trees, fruit-laden acacias, wide-spreading shade, outpouring water, and fruits in abundance never failing, unrestricted. And on elevated couches. (Surat al-Waqi'a: 13-34)

Wearing fine silk and rich brocade, face-to-face with one another. (Surat ad-Dukhan: 53)

They will enter Gardens of Eden, where they will be adorned with gold bracelets and pearls, and where their clothing will be of silk. (Surah Fatir: 33)

They will wear green garments of fine silk and rich brocade. They will be adorned with silver bracelets. And their Lord will give them a pure draught to drink. (Surat al-Insan: 21)


2010-05-15 19:59:55

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