Janna

Paradise, the abode of the righteous in the hereafter, is called in the Koran, al-janna, meaning the garden. It occurs under this name over hundred times. In addition to this figure, the Koran uses the same word janna in the sense of an earthy garden for 26 times and six times for the original garden in which Adam and Eve lived before the fall.

The basic meaning of janna is a garden with trees, rivers and fruits. Another basic element is the shade provided by the numerous luxuriant luscious trees. It is also meant the concealing of a thing, so that it is not perceived by the senses. Generally, janna is taken to mean a garden, because trees cover its ground. But the use of this name for the abode of bliss has a deeper significance, since of paradise it is plainly stated that its blessings are such as cannot be perceived by the physical senses. The garden, with its vitality, abundance and comfort, provides a fitting home for those who believe and do good works, especially as it always contrasts in the Koran with hell, the abode of evildoers.

Janna, in the eschatological sense, occurs in the Koran 35 times in the singular, in the dual (jannatan) twice and in the plural (jannat) 69 times. In the singular it refers to one entity, the entire abode of the righteous, in contrast to hell as the abode of the wicked. The seven different names of paradise used in the Koran: dar al-salam (abode of peace), occurs twice; dar al-khuld (peaceful place), occurs once; dar al-qarar (house of peace), occurs once; jannat-i eden (entertaining abode), occurs six times; jannat-i na’im (place of mercy or delight), occurs seventeen times; jannat-i mawwa (resting place), occurs once, and jannat-i firdaus (the garden), occurs once in the Koran.

“The 56th chapter of the Koran, Sura Waqia describes the three groups of people as the future dwellers of paradise: (1) “the people of the right hand” (ashab al-maymana, 56:8) , who are more commonly referred to as ashab al-yamin (56:27, 38, 90, 91), (2) “the foremost in the race” (al-sabiqun, 56:10), and (3) “those brought near” (al-muqarrabin, 56:11). The ashab al-yamin and ashab al-maymana give a picturesque description of the rewards awaiting the ashab al-yamin: “Mid thornless lote-trees and serried acacias, and spreading shade and outpoured waters, and fruits abounding unfailing, unforbidden, and unpraised couches, perfectly We formed them, perfect, and We made them spotless virgins, chastely amorous, like of age for the companions of the right hand” (56:28-38). The commentators explain their name in three ways: those who, on the day of judgment, will receive the record of their deeds in their right hand, those who are strong and those whose belief is illuminated by the Light of God, vide Razi’s Tafsir al-Kabir, 29:143, 163.

Al-sabiqun (9:100) reads: “And the outstrippers (sabiqun), the first of the emigrants and the helpers, and those who followed them in good doing, God will be well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him; and He has prepared for them gardens underneath which rivers flow therein to dwell forever and ever.”

Muqarrabin, Jesus is considered one of the muqarrabin (3:45). In 4:172, the angels are the muqarrabin, while in 56:10-26, the muqarrabin are identified as sabiqun, and the description of the rewards bestowed upon them in the Koran: “In the garden of delight