· What incorrect ideas do some people hold about paradise and hell being experienced in this world?
· Where are Paradise and hell?
· What happens when a person dies?
Allah reveals the existence of angels, satan, Paradise and Hell in the Qur’an. Whether out of ignorance or weakness of faith, some people misinterpret these facts and the manifest existence of Allah (surely Allah is beyond that). In these people’s superstitious eyes, Paradise and Hell exist in this world alone. There is even a widespread belief among such people that everything takes place in this world, and that one can be restored to life in this world, even though this has no place in the Qur’an. The fact is, however, that our Lord has definitively pronounced that the life of this world ends once a person dies and that they will be recreated in the Hereafter. In this verse Allah refers to that recreation:
“We have created them a (new) creation.”(Surat al-Waqi‘a, 35)
Allah Has Created Many Dimensions, and the Life of This World Is Only One of Them
As revealed in the Qur’an in the verse,“All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the Lord of the earth, Lord of all the worlds” (Surat al-Jathiyah, 36), Allah has created many worlds in many different dimensions. The world we are now living in is but one of these worlds and dimensions. The people living on Earth are in the third dimension. Angels, spiritual beings and the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) are in the fourth dimension. But these dimensions are all interconnected. For that reason, by the will of Allah, angels and the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) can come down to a lower dimension, in other words, this world. This may be compared to a person reading a book or watching television because the paper or television are just like a lower dimension for a person looking from the outside. A person looks at these things from a higher dimension. Angels and other spiritual entities watch us from a higher dimension. But since all dimensions are interconnected, angels and spiritual beings can momentarily become visible by descending from the fourth dimension to a lower one.
Angels come to this world when Allah so wishes to do things that He wishes, and this shows that it is possible, by our Lord’s leave, to cross from one dimension to another. It is revealed in the Qur’an that angels come down to Earth, by Allah’s leave, to transmit His revelation to people, to assist and support believers and do other things of which Allah approves:
“In it the angels and the spirit descend by their Lord’s authority with every ordinance.” (Surat al-Qadr, 4)
The fact that by Allah’s leave angels descend to Earth at various times and return back into the presence of Allah does not, of course, mean that they cease to exist according to our conceptions. They merely cross from one dimension to another, and continue living outside our understanding. In the same way, when people who die pass beyond our understanding, or cross to the dimension of the hereafter, in other words, they also continue their lives either in Paradise or Hell.
Allah Has Also Created Various Dimensions for Human Beings
- Our Dreams:The finest evidence of Allah’s creation of various dimensions for human beings is dreams. When a person goes to sleep he enters a different dimension and environment. That new environment is not the world he knows and is familiar with. But it is as real as the phenomena and objects in the world he inhabits. The fact that this world is in fact a dream, and that people wake up in the Hereafter, is revealed in another verse:
“They will say, ‘Alas for us! Who has raised us from our resting-place? This is what the All-Merciful promised us. The Messengers were telling the truth’.”(Surah Ya Sin, 52)
As in the verse Allah notes, the passage from this world to the Hereafter takes place as quickly as that from dreaming to waking, and people are unaware of that transition.
- Trance states:Waking out of a dream is not the only way that people change dimensions. One can pass from the third dimension to another dimension in a state of trance. A trance, bestowed by Allah on rare occasions on people such as messengers, religious scholars and guides, resembles neither sleep nor wakefulness. Our Prophet (saas) spoke to Gabriel (puuh) while in a state of trance. One can meet with Hazrat Khidhir (pbuh) in that state. A trance is an extraordinary dimension that Bediüzzaman Said Nursi often entered.
- The Rank of Martyrdom:Another verse indicating the existence of other states of being outside the one people are familiar with concerns the ranks and position of martyrs. One such verse reads:
“Do not say that those who are killed in the Way of Allah are dead. On the contrary, they are alive but you are not aware of it.”(Surat al-Baqara, 154)
Allah has revealed that although martyrs appear to have died in our terms, we must not refer to them as dead. The verse reveals that martyrs are alive, not dead, but that people cannot fully conceive how this is. The words "... but you are not aware of it..." indicate that we cannot know and understand this situation under the conditions of this world. (Allah alone knows the truth.) Other verses referring to the situation of martyrs reveal that Allah gives them life in a very different dimension in which there is no time and space:
“Do not suppose that those killed in the Way of Allah are dead. No indeed! They are alive and well provided for in the very presence of their Lord, delighting in the favor Allah has bestowed on them, rejoicing over those they left behind who have not yet joined them, feeling no fear and knowing no sorrow, rejoicing in blessings and favor from Allah and that Allah does not let the wage of the believers go to waste.”(Surat al-‘Imran, 169-171)
As we have seen, martyrs live in a dimension unknown to other people. In that dimension they are fed, feel joy and wish to send news of themselves to those who come after them.
The fact that our Lord has created various dimensions and that it is possible to pass between them is revealed in another verse:
“You will mount up stage by stage!” (Surat al-Inshiqaq, 19)
Everything Is Over and Done in a Single Moment with in the Sight of Allah
At the moment of death, a person passes from the dimension of this world to a higher dimension, the Hereafter. Allah reveals in another verse that one’s perception is sharpened at the moment of death and that one then passes on to the Hereafter, which is unending and far more real than the life of this world:
“You were heedless of this so We have stripped you of your covering and today your sight is sharp.” (Surah Qaf, 22)
Another fact revealed by Allah in the Qur’an is the relative nature of time. That relativity is highly variable. A period of time lasting billions of years for us may last only one second in another dimension. Indeed, such a long span of time as from the beginning of the universe to the end may be just a single “moment” in another dimension. Allah reveals this as follows in the Qur’an:
“A day with your Lord is equivalent to a thousand years in the way you count.”(Surat al-Hajj, 47)
Here lies the essence of the reality of the location of Paradise and Hell that most people fail to completely grasp, and that materialists and people whose faith is weak deny out of that lack of comprehension. “Things that have not happened” have not happened for us but Allah is not fettered by time and space. Indeed, it is He Who created them. For Allah, past, present and future are all one, and are all over and done with. For that reason, Paradise, Hell and this world all exist at this moment in the sight of Allah, and eternal life has already begun. It is clear from verses that Paradise, Hell and the Day of Reckoning are already in existence from the way they are described as already being over and done with:
“The Trumpet will be blown and those in the heavens and those in the earth will all lose consciousness,except those Allah wills. Then it will be blown a second time and at once they will be standing upright, looking on.”(Surat az-Zumar, 68)
“Those who are unbelievers will be driven to Hell in companies...” (Surat az-Zumar, 71)
“And those who have piety of their Lord will be driven to the Garden in companies...” (Surat az-Zumar, 73)
“...and will reward them for their steadfastness with a Garden and with silk. Reclining in it on couches, they will experience there neither burning sun nor bitter cold.”(Surat al-Insan, 12-13)
Death Is Not the End for Man
In the Sight of Allah, the birth, life and death of a man takes place and finishes simultaneously. The same reasoning applies to all human beings. All human beings are coming into existence and dying right at this moment. All are being resurrected and being sent to Paradise or Hell. Thus, no one dies and nobody is reduced to insignificance; all individuals are alive for all eternity. Within eternity, man spends only a portion of his time in the world, and during this period where he is doomed to go—either Paradise or Hell—is known. Just at this moment, some of the people currently living in this world are in Paradise while others are in Hell. This fact is stressed in the Qur'an; in many verses relating to Paradise and Hell, the life in the Hereafter is referred to in the simple present or past tense, which draws one's attention to the fact that all these incidents are taking place at a single moment:
The Companions of the Garden are busy enjoying themselves today, they and their wives reclining on couches in the shade. (Surah Ya Sin: 55-56)
Past, Present and Future; They are All the Same
In human life, another important mystery prevails. While mourning for someone who has died, people do not consider that they, themselves, have also died and even been resurrected. The birth and death of a person occurs simultaneously. Even trivial details about all people's lives, deaths, resurrections and eternal lives are retained in the Sight of Allah. In other words, everything is taking place right at this moment. Death and resurrection are truly not incidents occurring at distinct times. People are born in timelessness. Likewise, they die in timelessness, they are resurrected in timelessness and, as a matter of fact, just at this moment, they are alive. At the moment Allah creates man, he becomes an eternal being. To put it another way, he starts his endless life, becoming alive for all eternity. Meanwhile, he also witnesses his own death as a single square. Just as he sees himself alive all through his life, he witnesses his death, but only on one occasion.
In the Qur'an, Allah informs us that sleep is also created as a form of death. Thus, every night one witnesses his death when he goes to sleep and witnesses his resurrection when he wakes up in the morning. This fact is manifested in the following verse:
Allah takes back people's selves when their death arrives and those who have not yet died, while they are asleep. He keeps hold of those whose death has been decreed and sends the others back for a specified term. There are certainly Signs in that for people who reflect. (Surat az-Zumar: 42)
Hence, man unceasingly witnesses his death and resurrection all throughout his life. Similarly, he will also see his real death. Consequently, his birth, death and resurrection as well as his eternal abode are all known, and man is forever alive in the Sight of Allah. All these incidents have taken place and are finished in the Sight of Allah.
Allah shows us that He has created a variety of dimensions. People enter a new world and dimension through sleep. This world is another dimension and form of life. The state of trance, a dimension lying between sleep and this world that spiritual guides, religious scholars and messengers enter from time to time, the dimension inhabited by martyrs, the dimension inhabited by angels, jinn and other spiritual entities, and paradise and hell all exist at this very moment.
In the Sight of Allah, all events, which have occurred on earth so far, take place at a single moment. For example, what our Prophet (saas) went through has never been lost and will remain in the Sight of Allah forever. These events are presented to our perception as if they happened 1400 years ago. However, the truth is, right at this moment, our Prophet Muhammad (saas) is ascending to heaven, right now, he is taking refuge in the cave with his friend. Again, this is the moment our Prophet (saas) is communicating the message of Allah to disbelievers. Actually these are not events which occurred in the past. On the contrary, they are incidents destined to exist for all eternity. The reason why we do not see, witness or experience these events is simply because they are not present in our memory.
What we call "time" is in fact a method by which one moment is compared to another. For example, when a person taps an object, he hears a particular sound. If he taps the same object again five minutes later, he hears another sound. Thinking there is an interval between the two sounds, he calls this interval "time." Yet when he hears the second sound, the first one he heard is no more than a memory in his mind, merely a bit of information in his imagination. A person formulates his perception of time by comparing the moment in which he lives with what he holds in memory. If he doesn't make this comparison, he can have no perception of time either.And this shows that time is not an absolute reality, but merely a form of perception.
Allah Has Created Various Dimensions for Man
ADNAN OKTAR: ... The whole world is now receiving instruction in this. There are those who lose, who are unwilling to receive this instruction. And there are those who pass the course with full honors. Allah immediately sends these to a different dimension. People develop a new perspective and understanding. Allah shows us other dimensions. We sleep, and that is a new world. Sleep is one form of life. A different life. A dimension. We leave that dimension and come to this one. There is the trance state, somewhere between the two. It resembles neither sleep nor wakefulness. That is a separate, third dimension. It is rare in people, but happens in spiritual guides. People have the ability to enter a trance, but are generally reluctant to do so. Allah has taught some people this knowledge. They enter a state of trance. They may sometimes speak with Gabriel (pbuh) in a state of trance, or with Hidhir (pbuh). It is an extraordinary dimension. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi frequently entered a state of trance. There are still other dimensions. There is the dimension of the martyrs. That is another dimension of life. There is a dimension inhabited by the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), a separate dimension. There is the dimension of Paradise. There are many dimensions of Paradise. Allah says, “you will mount up stage by stage!”(Surat al-Inshiqaq, 19). Stages means dimensions, of course. People encounter various dimensions, insha’Allah. So when we learn these lessons well, our lives will be pleasant for all time...
To Grasp Eternity
Allah creates all things on Earth within bounds. That is why all activities or measures have an end. So in order to be able to understand the concept of “eternity”, we need to think deeply and perform a comparison with various known scales.
One always tends to associate the concept of eternity with figures such as a thousand years, one million or a billion years. Such a concept of time seems to suggest an everlasting period. Similarly, what the concept of "infinite distance" evokes in the mind is great distances, like a hundred thousand or a million light years.
Nevertheless, even if you endeavor to think of the greatest figure possible, you are still limited by the intellectual capacity of your mind. An example would contribute to a fuller understanding of the extraordinary extent of eternity: if a quadrillion people (and the population of the world is only 7 billion) spent all their lives, lasting also a quadrillion years, doing nothing but counting numbers, day and night without stopping, they would still fail to arrive at eternity, since eternity as a concept has no beginning and no end.
The promise of such magnitude in the life of the Hereafter is just one example of Almighty Allah’s wise Creation. Since death is what people without faith fear the most, living for a long time, or even forever, is the subject of great desire in the life of this world. This is revealed as follows in the Qur’an:
“Rather you will find them the people greediest for life, along with the idolators. One of them would love to be allowed to live a thousand years. But being allowed to live would not save him from the punishment. Allah sees what they do.” (Surat al-Baqara, 96)
However, although our Lord has created the response to the majority of people’s desires and wishes in the life of this world, He has not created that to the wish for eternity. While someone who is hungry can eat, someone who is tired can sleep and someone who is thirsty can drink, thus satisfying these earthly desires, only the urge for timelessness is left unsatisfied because Allah will only meet the desire for eternity in the Hereafter. We are told that those who live by the moral values that Allah reveals in the Qur’an will be rewarded with the eternal life of Paradise, while those who deny His signs may expect the endless torment of the life of Hell. In verses we are told:
“But as for those who reject Our Signs and are arrogant regarding them, they are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, for ever.” (Surat al-A’raf, 36)
“As for those who faith and do right actions – We impose on no self any more than it can bear – they are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, for ever.” (Surat al-A’raf, 42)