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12. " And Allah will reward them for their patience, with a garden and clothes of silk (in Heaven) ."
13. " Reclining therein upon raised thrones, they will see (find) there neither the severe (heat of) the sun nor the hitter cold (of the moon) ."
14. " And the shades of the (Garden) will come low over them, and the bunches (of fruit) , there, will hang low in humility (being easy to pick) ."
15. " And amongst them will be passed vessels of silver and goblets of crystal."
16. " (Bright as) crystal, made of silver; they will determine the appropriate measure."
17. " And they will be given to drink, there, a cup (of pure drink) mixed with Zanjabeel (ginger) ."
18. " (From) a spring, there, named Salsabeel."
19. " And round about them will (serve) youths of perpetual (freshness) : if you saw them, you would think them scattered pearls."
20. " And when you look, you will see a Bliss and a Realm Magnificent."
21. " Upon them will be Green Garments of fine silk and heavy brocade, and they will be adorned with Bracelets of silver and their Lord will give to them to drink of a Drink Pure and Holy."
22. " Verily this is a reward for you, and your endeavor is accepted and appreciated.
Great Rewards in Heaven
The aforementioned verses have a slight hint of the good and the Righteous and show that they are delivered from the evils and painful chastisements on Doomsday and are covered by Allah light of beauty and blissful joy. Now, the following verses refer to at least fifteen blessings in Heaven.
First, some Heavenly clothes and the settlement of the blessed ones, in Heaven, are spoken about. It says: " And Allah will reward them, for their patience, with a garden and clothes of silk (in Heaven) ."
Yes, Allah sets them in special gardens of Heaven and dresses them in the best clothes due to their constancy and their altruism, such as their loyalty to their vow, fasting and donating their food to the indigent, the orphan and the captive, at the time when they were in need of it and were preparing to break their fast.
Not only in this verse, but also in many other verses throughout the Holy Qur'an, this fact is stipulated: all rewards, in the Hereafter, are (paid) in full for Man's patience and constancy, i.e. patience for obedience, patience for avoiding sins, and patience for standing firm against difficulties and hardships.
Sura Ra'd No 13, verse 24 denotes that angels will receive the blessed ones, in Heaven, in the following manner: "Peace unto you for that you persevered in patience...". And in Sura Mo'minin, No 23, verse 111, it says: "I have rewarded them, this day, for their patience and constancy. They are indeed the ones that have achieved bliss.
It goes on to say: "Reclining therein upon raised thrones, they will see (find) there neither the severe (heat of) the sun nor the bitter cold (of the moon) ."
Usually when people want to have a rest they sit somewhere and recline and that is why the verse says: "Reclining therein upon raised thrones...". Then, to portray the complete comfort in the moderate weather, of Heaven, the end of the verse says: there is "...neither the severe (heat of) the sun nor the bitter cold (of the moon) ".
It does not definitely denote that the 'sun and moon' will not exist there, but, regarding the shade of the trees in the gardens of Heaven, the excessive heat of the sun will not exist.
The term /zamhariri/ is based on /zamhar/ which has the following meanings: 1. 'excessive cold' , 2. 'excessive anger' , 3. 'redness of eyes due to anger'; the first meaning, however, is understood here and there is a narration that says there is a place in Hell where the limbs shatter due to the excessive cold. (1)
The term /ara'ik/ 'thrones' is the plural form of /arikah/ 'throne' and originally means: 'a couch for the bride in the bride-chamber', but, here it means 'a seat covered with a canopy and highly decorated'.
Enumerating the blessings of Heaven, the next verse says: "And the shade of the (Garden) will come low over them, and the bunches (of fruit) , there, will hang low in humility (being easy to pick) ".. In the Garden, there will be no hindrance, not a thorn to pierce the fingers, nor a need to lift a finger to pick the fruit.
It is necessary to note, again, that the life in that world is very different from the life in this world. The blessings mentioned in these verses, as well as other verses in the Holy Qur'an, are only some slight, albeit meaningful, hints to the great benefits in Heaven; and according to some narrations, there are blessings there that no eyes have ever seen, no ears have ever heard, and no minds have ever considered.
Ibn-Abbas says that "The blessings the Lord has mentioned, in the Holy Qur'an, are those which their names we are only acquainted with." For instance, He mentions a 'pure drink mixed with Zanjabil (ginger) ' and 'ginger 'is an aromatic root which Arabs like for its smell.(2)
The next verse refers to the feast in Heaven, the furnishings and those who will entertain in those surroundings. It says: "And amongst them will be passed vessels of silver and goblets of crystal".
The vessels are "(Bright as) crystal, made of silver; they will determine the appropriate measure". The mentioned vessels will be full of
(1) Durr-al-Manthur, vol. 6, p. 300.
(2) Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 411.
various Heavenly foods and the crystal goblets will be full of pleasant aromatic drinks. The quantity will be as much as they wish and according to their taste and desires and will be served by Heavenly youths.
The term /aniyah/ is the plural form of /ana/, which means 'dishes of any kind', and the term /akwab/ is the plural form of /kub/ which means 'a water container without a handle,' which is sometimes called 'goblet'. The term /qawarir/ is the plural form of /qaruah/ which means 'containers made of crystal or glass'.
It seems strange that the vessels should be (bright as) crystal , but they are made of silver. In this world no one can find such a thing. Here, in this world, the crystal vessels are made of quartz. The stone is melted and then made into a crystal-type container. The Creator, Who makes it possible for us to change hard, dark stone into a clear, transparent glass, is capable of achieving the same'. results, for the next world, with a metal such as silver.
So, from this description we understand that the vessels, and the containers in Heaven, are both as bright as crystal and as beautiful and splendid as silver, so much so that the liquids contained therein can be clearly seen.
There is a tradition from Imam Sadiq (p.b.u.h.) which says: "Man, in Heaven, can see through silver just as he can see through glass and crystal in this world." (1)
We also know that, today, scientists have found special rays (such as X-ray) which pass through solid matter and show the inner properties, similar to the way we can see through glass or crystal.
Continuing, it says: "And they will be given to drink there, a cup (of pure, drink) mixed with Zanjabeel (ginger) ".
Many commentators have said that Arabs were pleased with drinking wine mixed with ginger, because it made the wine tastier. Now, the Holy Qur'an speaks about 'a cup (of pure drink) ' which is mixed with Zanjabeel (ginger) , but it is obvious that this mixed drink is completely different from that of wine. In other words, the difference between
(1) Majma'-aI-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 410.
these two kinds of drink is as far as the distance between this world and the next world.
It seems that Arabs, of the past, used to drink two kinds of wine in two forms: One of them was warm and stimulating, which was mixed with ginger; and the other one was cool and narcotic, which was mixed with camphor.
Since the other world's facts cannot be stated in worldly language, we are compelled to use our limited human vocabulary for explaining and trying to understand the sublime meanings to the wonderful facts found in the Holy Qur'an.
Commentators have given many different definitions for 'Zanjabeel' (ginger) , but most of them have said that it means: a tropical plant grown for its aromatic root used for flavoring food and drink.
These Heavenly cups of drink are filled "(From) a spring, there, named Salsabeel" and according to Arabic terminology, Salsabeel is a very enjoyable drink which flows easily into the mouth and down the throat; being quite refreshing.
To describe the happy feast, held in Heaven, the next verse speaks about those who entertain, there, and it says: "And round about them will (serve) youths of perpetual freshness) ; if you saw them you would think them scattered pearls".
The youths, themselves, their youthfulness, freshness, vigour, mirth and beauty are immortal, and, therefore, their entertainment would be eternal as well. This idea is understood from the terms /muxalladun/ 'of perpetual' and /yatuf-u-'alayhim/ 'round about them will serve'.
The term 'scattered pearls' shows both the attractive beauty and brightness of the youths, as well as their presence, everywhere, at the Divine feast. It, also, implies that the blessings in the New World cannot be explained exactly.
Then, the next verse is expressed very meaningfully: 'And when you look you will see a Bliss and a Realm Magnificent".
There are many commentaries on the word /na'im/ 'Bliss' and the terms /mul-kan kabi-ra/ 'Realm Magnificent'.
Among them are the following:
1.A narration from Imam Sadiq (p.b.u.h.) cites: "The verse means that it is an Estate (or Realm) that neither fades nor vanishes." (1)
2. The blessings in Heaven are so plentiful and various that no one can explain them.
3. A 'Realm Magnificent' is a place in Heaven where the angels enter by the permission of the Blessed, and greet them upon their arrival.
4. Whatever the Blessed wish for, there, they obtain.
5. The lowest Blessed (from the point of rank) , in Heaven, has so large a domain that when he (she) looks he (she) can see a thousand years' distance.
6. A permanent immortal 'Realm' where the wishes are completely fulfilled.
The word /na'im/ 'Bliss' and the terms /mul-kan kabi-ra/ 'Realm Magnificent', referring to the vast gardens in Heaven, have such vast meanings that they can cover all the above commentaries.
To this end, some Heavenly blessings were pointed out such as: provinces, thrones, shades, fruits, drinks. vessels and those who entertain the Blessed, in Heaven. Then, attention is paid to some Heavenly ornaments of those who had just passed the great Event of Judgment and says: " Upon them will be Green Garments of fine silk and heavy brocade,...".
The term /sundus/ 'garment' means 'a thin silk cloth' while /istabraq/ 'brocade' means 'a thick silk cloth'. Some commentators say the latter is derived from the Persian term /setabr/ 'thick', but some others believe it is derived from the Arabic term /barq/ 'shining'. The verse continues: "...and they will be adorned with bracelets of silver...".
The silver, there, is so bright that it glitters like crystal and it is more beautiful than rubies and pearls.
The term /asawir/ is the plural form /aswarah/ 'bracelet' and is originally derived from /dastvar/ 'a bracelet', a Persian word, with some phonetical changes in Arabic, of course.
(1) Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 411.
'Green' is the color of the Garments mentioned in the verse, because this color is the most refreshing to the eye; like the leaves on the trees, and fits in well with the 'Garden'. There are several kinds of green color, of course, each of which has its own elegance.
In some other verses of the Holy Qur'an, we see that the Blessed are decorated with golden bracelets, as for instance; in Sura Kahf, No. 18, verse 31, it says: "...they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold,...." This does not contrast with the current verse in this Sura, because people may decorate themselves with a variety of ornaments.
The question may arise, "Aren't silver and gold bracelets used by women as ornaments, then, why are they both mentioned for all the Blessed, i.e. men and women?".
The answer is that among many groups of people, it is common for both men and women to use gold and silver for ornamentation, but the kind of bracelet is different (though in Islam using gold as an ornament, by men, is forbidden in this world) .
In Sura Zukhruf No.43, verse 53 ,it says: " Then why are not gold bracelets bestowed on him?..." and it is understood that golden bracelets, used by men, had been a sign of dignity among ancient Egyptian people.
Moreover, as we have frequently said, the facts of the other world cannot be described, exactly, with our very insufficient, limited human vocabulary.
And, finally, at the end of the verse, as to the best and greatest Heavenly Blessing of these kinds, it remarks: "...and their Lord will give to them to drink of a Drink Pure and Holy".(1)
In the preceding verses, among the blessings mentioned were Drinks and Cups; which were filled from the fountain of 'Salsabeel' and quenched the thirst of the Blessed. But, there is a considerable 'difference between those drinks and what is expressed in this verse.
On the one hand, the 'ones who serve' are "youths of perpetual (freshness) "; while, here, the 'one who serves' is Allah, Himself (and what a wonderful expression!) The word 'Lord' is especially stressed.
(1) Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol.5, p. 485. tradition 6.
The Lord Who has constantly cherished man and Who is his owner and trainer; Who has helped him to advance in the course of development until he has reached the last stage. And now, it is time to show the culmination of His Lordship and make the Righteous quenched and cheerful with the cup of Pure Drink, by His own mighty hand.
On the other hand, the word /tahur/ means something which is both pure and purifying. Thus, the Drink purifies both man's body and soul from any taint and impurity.
It gives him such spirituality, brightness, and merriment that it is indescribable with our limited human vocabulary.
It is quoted from Imam Sadiq (p.b.u.h.) that, "(This drink) purifies man's heart and soul from everything except Allah".
It removes any ignorance, unveils any curtain over the truth and makes man worthy of an eternal presence in close proximity to Allah. The pleasure of this pure Drink exceeds any other blessing and is superior to any other gift.
While the filthy wine of this world obliterates Man's reason and takes him far away from Allah the pure Drink, which is given by the hand of 'the ones who serve', alienates him from everything, but Allah and makes him immersed in He Beauty and Glory.
In short, the favor which is included in this verse and in this blessing, is above anything else.
It is concluded from one of the traditions quoted from the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) that the fountain of Pure Drink is at the threshold of Paradise then, with a sip of this Pure Drink, Allah purifies their hearts from envy (and any other vices) . Thus, the verse states: "...and their Lord will give to them to drink of a Drink Pure and Holy".
It is worth considering that the word /tahur/ 'pure' has been mentioned for only two items in the Holy Qur'an.
The first is about the 'rain' (Sura Furqan, No 45, verse 25) which purifies and revives everything. And, the second is in the current verse about the special Divine Drink, which is also purifying and reviving.
In the last verse, of this part, the last point on this subject is presented. It states that these great blessings and unique gifts are a
recompense for your deeds; and your efforts, struggles and diligence are accepted and thanked. ("Verily this is a reward for you, and your endeavor is accepted and appreciated.")
Never should one think that these gifts and great rewards are unduly given. Indeed, all these are a recompense for Man's endeavors and deeds; and they are a reward for man's diligence, self-perfection and abandonment of pleasure in sin.
This point also mentions a particular pleasure that Allah Himself, or His angels address to man and tell him: "Verily this is a reward for you, and your endeavor is accepted and appreciated." And perhaps according to some commentators, this blessing, where Allah thanks Man, is superior to all other blessings.
The verb /kana/ 'was', which is in the past tense, perhaps refers to this point: that these blessings have been prepared for you (the Righteous) in advance. As when one pays careful attention to detail and prepares everything, in advance, for his guest.