The Natural Beauty of Paradise
"What is the example [i.e., description] of Paradise promised to the righteous like? It has rivers flowing under it, and its foodstuffs and cool shade never fail. That is the final fate of those who have done their duty. But the final fate of the disbelievers is the Fire." (Surat ar-Ra'd, 35)
Natural beauty and greenery are among Paradise's wonderful blessings. Mansions built in gardens, right next to springs, are another beauty. Paradise, in which there is "neither burning sun nor bitter cold" (Surat al-Insan, 13), has such a pleasant climate that no one is made uncomfortable. It contains no exhausting sweaty heat or freezing cold. In Paradise, Allah will admit believers into "cool, refreshing shade" (Surat an-Nisa', 57)
The expression "refreshing shade," along with revealing that the climate will be comfortable and just as a person would want it, points out that Paradise's environment and conditions have been designed to give the human spirit true satiety and comfort. Every thing and condition in Paradise will be just as a believer desires.
One of the natural beauties most mentioned by Allah in the Qur'an is that of "outpouring water" (Surat al-Waqi'a, 31).
As we observe in this earthly life, the human spirit derives great pleasure from water, especially flowing water. Lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and streams flowing in a forest all speak to the human spirit. All artificial pools and fountains in mansions, residences, estates, and villa gardens, as well as artificial and natural streams, arise from this longing for the spiritual aesthetic.
The main reason why these esthetic views are so pleasurable is because the human spirit has been created for Paradise. These beauties are described elsewhere, as follows:
In them [two other Gardens] are two gushing springs. (Surat ar-Rahman, 66)
The sight and sound of flowing water comfort and gladden the human heart. The sight and sound of water falling from above give pleasure and are a means whereby people can give thanks to Allah and praise His name. Especially if the water flows in the hills, among trees and greenery or runs over stones, it is a really impressive sight. It either collects in the place where it falls, or forms pools and flows from one place to another. Continually flowing water is a sign of endless and inexhaustible plenty.
As we learn in Surat al-Hijr, 45: "The heedful will be amid Gardens and Springs." Another verse reads: "The heedful will be in shady nooks by springs" (Surat al-Mursalat, 41)
The "shady nooks" may be special spaces created so that believers can sit and observe all of this beauty. (Allah knows best) As with mansions, these shady nooks also are placed in high places so that the people in Paradise can view the beauty below and see its many details. Shady nooks offer special pleasure to believers. For example, people are served various kinds of food and fruits there, come together there and hold pleasurable conversations, and enjoy themselves there. Their being placed next to springs, spaces that give pleasure to the human soul, adds to their attractiveness. From these springs flow delicious waters.
Another natural beauty is the gardens. For example, the "lush Meadows of the Gardens" mentioned Surat ash-Shura, 22 have been prepared only for believers. One of their particular features is the harmony of natural beauty contained therein. Within them grow a never-ending variety of plants, similar to the most delicate and sweet-smelling ones on Earth, and several species of animals, both known and unknown to us.
The gardens are adorned with various fruit and other types of trees, plains of "deep viridian green" (Surat ar-Rahman, 64) plants and flowers, and, in some places, pools and fountains. Surat al-Waqi'a also mentions "fruit-laden lote-trees with thorns removed" and "[banana] trees layered [with fruit]" (28-29).
By reflecting upon all of these things, we can form a general view of Paradise. Some of its characteristics remind us of things in this world; others are unique blessings and beauties of Paradise that no one has ever seen or known, and that our minds cannot imagine or express. We must be aware that beautiful things and surprises are waiting for believers in Paradise, things and surprises prepared by Allah's infinite knowledge and beyond our imagination. As Surat ash-Shura, 22 tells us: "They will have whatever they wish for with their Lord. That is the great favor," everything in Paradise, including all of its natural beauties, are brought into being in accordance with a believer's own desire and pleasure. In other words, Allah allows a believer's imagination a role in forming Paradise's environment as a favor from Him.