Ar: al-janna, "the garden", pl. jannat. The term al-Firdaus has been used to mean a specific region in Paradise. The Qur'an gives eight different names, which Muslim theologians take to be eight different levels or stages of Paradise:

s/no Name Reference Pickthall Yusuf Ali Shakir Sher Ali Rashad Khilafa
1 Jannatu al-Khuld (al-Furqan 25:15) The Garden of Immortality Eternal Garden Abiding Garden Garden of Eternity Eternal Paradise
2 Darul as-Salam al-An`am 6:127 The Abode of Peace The Home of Peace The Abode of Peace The Abode of Peace The Abode of Peace
3 Darul al-Qarar al-Mu`min 40:42 The Garden The Garden (of Bliss) The Garden The Garden Paradise
4 Jannatu al-`Adn al-Bara`ah 9:72-73 The Gardens of Eden The Gardens of Everlasting Bliss The Gardens of Perpetual Abode The Gardens of Eternity The Gardens of Eden
5 Jannatu al-Ma`wa as-Sajdah 32:19 The Gardens of Retreat The Gardens as hospitable homes The Gardens (of) abiding place The Gardens of Eternal Abode Eternal Paradise
6 Jannatu an-Na`im al-Ma'idah 5:70 Paradise The Garden The Garden Heaven Paradise
7 `Illiyin at-Tatfif 83:18 `Illiyin `Illiyin `Illiyin `Illiyyin `Elleyeen
8 Jannatu al-Firdaus al-Kahf 18:107 The Gardens of Paradise The Gardens of Paradise The Gardens of Paradise The Gardens of Paradise Blissful Paradise

The eight stages are spoken of as eight doors in the Mishkat, book 2, ch 1.

In the Qur'an (and the Hadith), Paradise is a very physical place with many physical delights, including food, shade and fair maidens, all of which evoke many fond imageries to the Arab living in the harsh desert, and influenced many a Muslim to fight for Islam. Many Muslims have been adamant about the physical pleasures of Paradise.

The Bible also describe some physical aspects: no more hunger, thirst, scorching heat, tears, death, mourning, crying or pain (Revelation 7:16,17, 21:4). But the overwhelming amount of description focus on :

  1. worship (Revelation 4:8-11, 5, 7:10-12, 15:2-4, 19:1-7)
  2. praising God's holiness, glory, justice (Revelation 4:8, 7:12, 15:3-4, 16:5, 21:11,23-27)
  3. prayer (Revelation 8:3)
  4. serving God (Revelation 5:10, 7:15)
  5. salvation and righteousness (Revelation 7:10,14, 14:3-5, 19:8)
  6. relationship with God (Revelation 7:17, 21:3, 21:22, 22:1-5 )
  7. renewal of all things (Revelation 21), food for healing of nations (Revelation 22:2),
The description of Heaven in the Bible also has an interesting symmetry. In the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22:2-3, it describes the tree of life before the throne of God. Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden for disobeying God by taking the fruit from the tree of knowledge (which when eaten cause death -- separation from God). Thus, heaven represents not just eternal bliss, nor does it represent mere physical pleasure. It is the restoration and renewal of the original plan God has for all creation and man. Man is restored to his original vocation of being a worshipper and a steward of God's creation (Luke 19:11-27).

Go Back to Main Index