Eternal Life and Youth in the Garden
In this world human life may last 6-7 decades on average, which is a very short time. Allah tells us in the Qur’an the kinds of things people will say about their earthly lives on the Last Day:
He will say, “How many years did you tarry on the earth?” They will say, “We tarried there for a day or part of a day. Ask those able to count!” (Surat al-Muminun: 112-113)
However, in the Garden life is limitless. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that the believers will be immortal and that their blessings will be eternal; “They will not taste any death there – except for the first one…” (Surat ad-Dukhan: 56). We must consider carefully the idea of eternity, about which we speak so easily, because it does not refer to a thousand or a million years, but to timelessness. Therefore, people in the Garden will not think about time or calculate it as in this world. Life will not end with the passing of years. Allah revealed this to us in the Qur’an:
As for those who are glad, they will be in the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, for ever, as long as the heavens and earth endure, except as your Lord wills: an uninterrupted gift. (Surah Hud: 108)
Again in the Qur’an, Allah tells us that the service of ageless youths will be one of the blessings enjoyed in the Garden:
There will circulate among them, ageless youths.(Surat al-Waqi‘a: 17)
The hadith also tell us about the endless life of the Garden:
Allah will admit the inmates of the Garden into the Garden and the inmates of the Fire into the Fire. Then the announcer will stand between them and say: “O inmates of the Garden, there is no death for you, O inmates of the Fire, there is no death for you. You will live forever therein.” (Sahih Muslim, vol. 4)
Whoever enters the Garden will be in bliss and suffer no distress; his clothes will not wear out nor will his youth end. (Ahmad, Musnad; at-Tirmidhi; Narrated by Abu Hurayra, Sahih Muslim)
No matter how beautiful, wealthy or healthy a person is, he cannot escape death. Therefore, even if a person is wealthier than others, the conditions of this world determine that this wealth can come to an end and he may even be left destitute. One reason why worldly blessings are transitory is because we desire the real and original blessings of the Garden. All the beautiful things we see and the pleasures we enjoy in this world are imperfect and transitory. However, these blessings in the Garden have been created without being subject to time or causality. For this reason the blessings of the Garden will last forever. In the Qur’an, Allah announces the glad tidings of this eternity that will be enjoyed in the Garden:
Their Lord gives them the good news of His mercy and good pleasure and Gardens where they will enjoy everlasting delight, remaining in them timelessly, for ever and ever. Truly there is an immense reward with Allah. (Surat at-Tawba: 21-22)
[Those who have iman will be] remaining in them timelessly, for ever, with no desire to move away from them. (Surat al-Kahf: 108)
Eternal Youth in the Garden:
Those who are remote from the teachings of the Qur’an are even afraid of growing old while young. They think about the sickness and helplessness that old age brings and are worried about whether or not there will be someone to look after them when they get to that point. There are many people who have such anxieties, who look pessimistically towards old age.
Beginning in our 20’s cell renewal in our bodies slows down and our skin starts to lose its former elasticity. With the passing years the effects of ageing become visible. This worries people. They sorrow as they watch their youth slip away. Of course, this scenario applies to people who have no iman. Believers submit to Allah in all the illnesses and weaknesses they may encounter in this transitory world; as an act of worship they accept everything that happens to them and, unlike those who have no deen, they live their lives without regret or fear and anxiety. Moreover, they realise that the good things of this world are intrinsically flawed and that the real life is the timeless life of the world to come. And they make every effort hoping to attain the Garden.
Life in this world is fleeting and temporary. Allah has already created all the real blessings of the Garden, just as He has already created the torments of the Fire. On the Last Day He will grant the blessings to His faithful slaves. People in the Garden will always be young, attractive, healthy and robust.
No matter how long an individual may live within the limitations of this life, no matter how late the signs of ageing appear, and no matter how healthy he is, his life will certainly come to an end one day. However, Allah points out in the Qur’an as does the Prophet that eternal youth will be one of the blessings of the Garden:
The people of the Garden will enter the Garden hairless on their bodies, beardless and dark-eyed, aged thirty or thirty-three years old. (Narrated by Mu’adh ibn Jabal, at-Tirmidhi)
The thirties are the best time of life when the personality matures and facial features, and the manner of speaking and acting become established. But we must not forget that youthful vigour in the Garden is not the same as it is in this world. That is because under earthly conditions even a young person can live in great helplessness.
Allah has made a new creation in the Hereafter for the inmates of the Garden without any flaw or imperfection. In the Qur’an, Allah tells us about this and in particular how the people of the Garden will be served by eternally young people:
Ageless youths will circulate among them, serving them. Seeing them, you would think them scattered pearls. (Surat al- Insan: 19)
The People of the Garden are the Same Age:
The fact that the people of the Garden are the same age is a great blessing from Allah. Among people without deen, difference in age often leads to discord and lack of communication. People often form groups of persons of the same age in order to feel more relaxed among themselves. Of course, this ought not to apply to Muslims. No matter what age they may be, Muslims should understand one another very well and form friendships with people of any age, older or younger than themselves. The fact that Muslims in the Garden are created the same age as one another is another wonderful blessing from Allah. The Messenger of Allah said that the age of the people of the Garden will never change throughout eternity:
Whoever of the People of the Garden die, whether while young or old, will be turned into young people of thirty years of age in the Garden, never growing older than that. And thus will be the inmates of the Fire… (Narrated by Abu Sa’id, Sunan Ibn Majah; at-Tirmidhi)
Another verse of the Qur’an points out that in the Garden the believers’ wives will be the same age as them:
We have brought maidens into being and made them purest virgins, devoted, passionate, of like age. (Surat al-Waqi‘a: 35-37)