Being together in paradise

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How can a simple one be together with God's messenger in paradise?

According to the meaning of the hadith, A person is with whom he loves, friends will be together in Paradise. This requires that a simple Bedouin who feels a deep love for God’s Messenger in one minute’s companionship with him should be together with God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, in Paradise. But how can illumination and reward of a simple nomad cause him to share the same place with God’s Messenger, whose illumination and reward are limitless?

I shall point to this elevated truth by a comparison. For example, in an extremely beautiful and splendid garden, a magnificent person prepared a vast banquet and richly-adorned spectacle in such a way that it included all the delicious foods that the sense of taste can experience, and all the beautiful things that please the sense of sight, and all the wonders that amuse the faculty of imagination, and so on; he included in it everything that would gratify and please all the external and inner senses. Two friends went together to that banquet, and sat at a table in the same pavilion. But the sense of taste of one of them was very limited, he received little pleasure. His power of sight was weak, and he had no sense of smell, and therefore he could not understand the wonderful arts nor comprehend the marvels. Proportionally to his capacity, he could only benefit from and take pleasure at that beautiful place of recreation to the degree of a thousandth or millionth. As for the other man, since all his external and inner senses, his intellect, heart, and all his faculties and feelings, had been developed to the utmost degree, he could perceive and experience all the subtleties and beauties, and marvels and fine things in that exquisite garden, and derive all varieties of pleasure from them.

Since it is so in this confused, painful and narrow world, and there is as great difference as from the ground to the Pleiades between the greatest and the least who exist side by side, for sure, in Paradise, which is the abode of happiness and eternity, while friends are together, it is more fit-ting for them that each will receive his share from the table of the Most Merciful of the Merciful in accordance with the degree of his abilities. Besides, even though they are in different Paradises or different floors’ of Paradise, it will not prevent them from coming together. For although the eight levels of Paradise are one above the other, the roof of all of them is the Supreme Throne of God. Suppose there are walled circles round a conical mountain, one within the other and one above the other from its foot to the summit, the circles are one over the other, concentric with, and look to, one another, but do not prevent each other seeing the sun. (Indeed, there are various narrations or hadiths indicating that the levels or floors of Paradise are in a manner like this.)

Some Prophetic traditions say: ‘Some of the people of Paradise will be given a place as large as the world.’ What is the reason for this and why and how does a single man need this? What does this mean?

If man was only a solid object, or was only a vegetable creature consisting of a stomach, or consisted only of a limited, heavy, simple, and transient corporal or animal body, he would not own, nor deserve, so many palaces. But man is such a comprehensive miracle of the Divine Power that even in this transient world and brief life, if he is given the rule of the whole of the world with all its wealth and pleasures, to gratify the need of some of his undeveloped senses and faculties, it will not be possible to satisfy his greed. Whereas, a man with an infinite capacity in an eternal abode of happiness, who will knock on the door of infinite Mercy in the tongue of infinite needs, will of a certainty and most reasonably receive the Divine bounties described in hadiths. We shall try to see this elevated truth through the telescope of a comparison, which is as follows.

Although, like this valley garden, each of the vineyards and gardens of Barla has a different owner, each bird, each sparrow, each honey-bee in Barla, which possesses with regard to food only a handful of grain, may say: ‘All the vineyards and gardens of Barla are my places of recreation.’ Each may take possession of Barla and include it in its property. Others sharing it does not limit its rule. A man who is truly human may say: ‘My Creator has made the world home for me, with the sun as its chief lamp and the stars, its electric lights. The earth is my cradle spread with flowered carpets.’ He offers thanks to God. The other creatures sharing it does not negate this conclusion of his. On the contrary, the creatures adorn his home and are like its decorations.

If on account of being human, a man in this narrow brief world--even a bird--claims a power of disposal over such a vast area and receives such a vast bounty, how can it be deemed unlikely that he will be given the ownership of a property stretching a distance of five hundred years of walk in a broad and eternal abode of happiness?

Just as in this dense, narrow world the sun is present at the same moment in numerous mirrors, so too, as is argued in The Sixteenth Word, a spiritually enlightened being may be present in many places at the same moment. For example, the Archangel Gabriel, upon him be peace, being present on a thousand stars at the same moment he is at the Supreme Throne of God, and in the presence of the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, and in the Divine Presence; and the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, meeting with most of the devoted, God-fearing members of his community in the Place of Gathering after the Resurrection at the same moment and appearing in this world in countless places at the same moment; and a strange group of the saints known as abdal (the substitutes), appearing at the same moment in many places; and ordinary people sometimes doing as much as a year’s work in one minute in a dream or having vision of it; and everyone being in contact with and concerned in many places at the same time in heart, in spirit, and in imagination—all these are well-known and witnessed. So, most certainly in Paradise, which is of light, unrestricted, broad, and eternal, the people of Paradise, who will have bodies of the strength and lightness of the spirit and of the swiftness of imagination, being in hundreds of thousands of places at the same time, and conversing with hundreds of thousands of people, and receiving pleasure in hundreds of thousands of ways, is fitting for that eternal Paradise, that infinite Mercy, and as reported by the Truthful Reporter, upon him be peace and blessings, is reality and the truth. Nevertheless, these vast truths cannot be weighed on the scales of our tiny minds.

Question

What is the use of such a vast and empty garden of Paradise?

Answer: If you were able to travel throughout the world and most of the stars with the speed of imagination, you could assert that the whole of the world belonged to you. The fact that the angels, other people and animals share this space with you would not negate your assertion.

 

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