[Al-Quran 50:6-8] Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and how it has no rifts? And the earth - We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bliss & Realm Magnificent

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Many verses throughout the Qur’an describe various aspects of the Garden promised to those who believe and do good deeds. Surah 76 of the Qur’an begins with evolutionary insignificance (76:1), origin and purpose of the human (76:2), divine guidance (76:3), punishment for rejection (76:4), and then goes on to describe some very specific features of the promised reward, which represent the best of the best of those found on Earth. Then, verse 22 states that: 

76:22 إِنَّ هَـٰذَا كَانَ لَكُمْ جَزَاءً وَكَانَ سَعْيُكُم مَّشْكُورًا
[Al-Qur’an 76:22, translator: Sahih International] [And it will be said], "Indeed, this is for you a reward, and your effort has been appreciated.”  

Verses 7-10 define the efforts of these people: 
[Al-Qur’an 76:7-10, translator: Sahih International] They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows and fear a Day whose evil will be widespread. And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, [Saying], "We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful.”

Thus, according to the above: 
1) they keep their word 
2) fear the evil of the austere and distressful Day  
3) fulfil the most basic need of others: i.e. hunger 

In turn, verses 5,6 and 11-21 mention the rewards:
1) implying that Allah will keep His word
2) protect and deliver from the evil of the austere and distressful Day 
3) fulfil the most basic needs with excellent rewards

Properties of the rewards mentioned

It appears to me that there are two stages of rewards mentioned: the first which will protect from the evil and horrific consequences of the Day [of Resurrection, Judgement, Sorting and Retribution], and the second stage begins upon entering the promised Garden. It is interesting to note the specific properties of the rewards and to wonder about their relevance and significance.  

Cup mixed with Kafur 

إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ يَشْرَبُونَ مِن كَأْسٍ كَانَ مِزَاجُهَا كَافُورًا
عَيْنًا يَشْرَبُ بِهَا عِبَادُ اللَّهِ يُفَجِّرُونَهَا تَفْجِيرًا
[Al-Qur’an 76:5-6, translator: Yusuf Ali] As to the Righteous, they shall drink of a Cup mixed with Kafur,- A Fountain where the Devotees of Allah do drink, making it flow in unstinted abundance. 

According to Lane’s Lexicon, Kafur may mean 
1) the spathe or envelope or upper covering thereof of a palm tree 
2) the leaves which cover what is within the raceme of the grapevine or the calyx of the grapes before the blossom comes forth 
3) the envelope [or calyx] of any plant 
4) camphor; a kind of perfume, well known from certain trees… 
5) a mixture of perfume, composed of the spathe [kafur] of the spadix of the palm tree 
6) a certain spring, or fountain, in paradise 

Camphor & Calyx Health Benefits
Camphor is a white crystalline substance, obtained from the tree C. camphora. Camphor has been used for many centuries as a culinary spice, a component of incense, and as a medicine. It is also an insect repellent and a flea-killing substance.’ 

The health benefits of camphor essential oil include it properties as a stimulant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, decongestant, anesthetic, sedative and nervous pacifier, antineuralgic, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and insecticide substance.’ 

Camphor is UNSAFE when taken by mouth by adults or children. Ingesting camphor can cause severe side effects, including death.’ 

Calyx of certain plants, such as Hibiscus and Persimmon, are used for their health benefits in traditional medicine. 

Cup Mythology
‘The Rose and the Grail share many spiritual resonances. The word ‘chalice’ comes from the Latin word, calyx, which means cup, and is the name given to the cup-like sepals of a flower which support the petals. Both these symbols suggest the receptive vessel of the soul, opening to receive the in-pouring of Divine influence… Not surprisingly, the rose has long been recognised as the western equivalent of the eastern lotus as a symbol of the unfolding of higher consciousness.’

‘A krater (in Greek: κρατήρ, kratēr, from the verb κεράννυμι, keránnymi, "to mix") is a large vase used to mix wine and water in Ancient Greece. Calyx krater are among the largest of the kraters, the lower body of which is shaped like the calyx of a flower.’ 

Verse 76:5 states that ‘As to the Righteous, they shall drink of a Cup mixed with Kafur,’ and the  following verse 76:6 states that ‘A Fountain where the Devotees of Allah do drink, making it flow in unstinted abundance.’ As camphor is unsafe for consumption by our mortal bodies, perhaps the resurrected bodies will have the ability to utilize camphor internally. If not, then perhaps, either the kafur (camphor) is in the material of the cup, not the drink, or kafur is the edible calyx of other plants. However, verses 76:17-18 also speak of a Cup mixed with another substance, and also mention the name of that fountain. Hence, it appears more likely that the substance is mixed in the drink which has beneficial effects, rather than the cup. 

All of the above considered, be it camphor, calyx or holy grail, the drink is mentioned because of its significant soothing, healing and protective effect on the person who drinks it, protecting physically and mentally from the terror and anguish all around.  

Light of Beauty and Joy

فَوَقَاهُمُ اللَّهُ شَرَّ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ الْيَوْمِ وَلَقَّاهُمْ نَضْرَةً وَسُرُورًا
[Al-Qur’an 76:11, translator: Yusuf Ali] But Allah will deliver them from the evil of that Day, and will shed over them a Light of Beauty and (blissful) Joy. 
[Al-Qur’an 76:11, translator: Pickthal] Therefor Allah hath warded off from them the evil of that day, and hath made them find brightness and joy; 

Deliver from the Evil 
About the Day, it is mentioned in Surah Al-Maryam: 
[Al-Qur’an 19:68-72, translator: Sahih International] So by your Lord, We will surely gather them and the devils; then We will bring them to be present around Hell upon their knees. Then We will surely extract from every sect those of them who were worst against the Most Merciful in insolence. Then, surely it is We who are most knowing of those most worthy of burning therein. And there is none of you except he will come to it. This is upon your Lord an inevitability decreed. Then We will save those who feared Allah and leave the wrongdoers within it, on their knees. 

Grant a Light and Joy 
[Al-Qur’an 66:8, translator: Sahih International] O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, "Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.” 

[Al-Qur’an 57:12-13, translator: Sahih International] On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], "Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally." That is what is the great attainment. On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, "Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light." It will be said, "Go back behind you and seek light." And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment. 

The ‘abraar’ relieved/healed, after drinking from a Cup mixed with kafur, will be given the light (noor) and a safe corridor which they need to travel towards the promised garden. 

Garden & Silk 

وَجَزَاهُم بِمَا صَبَرُوا جَنَّةً وَحَرِيرًا
[Al-Qur’an 76:12, translator: Yusuf Ali] And because they were patient and constant, He will reward them with a Garden and (garments of) silk. 

The word garden indicates a planned, cultivated and fertile land.  

Silk is a natural fibre, and the textile woven from it is well known for its luxury, beauty and comfort. It is cool in summers and warm in winters. Silk is also known for its tensile strength.

Garden and silk indicate a detailed planning for luxurious comfort and delight. They also indicate diverse flora and fauna, an ecosystem

In the above verse, it is described as the reward; at other places in the Quran, it is stated that the Garden will be given as inheritance (7:4321:10523:1139:7443:72). That implies ownership, and consequently a much greater role and responsibility than simply being guests in the Garden. 

Recliners, Shades and Fruits within Reach 

مُّتَّكِئِينَ فِيهَا عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ ۖ لَا يَرَوْنَ فِيهَا شَمْسًا وَلَا زَمْهَرِيرًا
وَدَانِيَةً عَلَيْهِمْ ظِلَالُهَا وَذُلِّلَتْ قُطُوفُهَا تَذْلِيلًا
[Al-Qur’an 76:13-14, translator: Arberry] therein they shall recline upon couches, therein they shall see neither sun nor bitter cold; And the shade thereof is close upon them, and the bunches of fruit thereof will hang low within their reach.

The verse speaks not of absence of a sun (source of heat and light), but rather it states that they will not be able to see the sun. It takes many years to grow tall trees which provide extensive shades. This again indicates the lengthy preparation involved in preparing the exotic shade garden. Planned spaces such as gardens have many delightful features and include vantage points to sit and enjoy the beauty. Trees laden with fruits also indicate long-term planning, preparation and effort. The world is already sampling miniature trees and exotic designer fruit

Also, noteworthy is the fact that science links direct sunlight with ageing. The Gardens of Eternity hold the promise of a wonderful immortal life, free of any suffering. The absence of direct sunlight should then be an essential condition for well-being in the Gardens.  

Goblets of Transparent Silver

وَيُطَافُ عَلَيْهِم بِآنِيَةٍ مِّن فِضَّةٍ وَأَكْوَابٍ كَانَتْ قَوَارِيرَا
قَوَارِيرَ مِن فِضَّةٍ قَدَّرُوهَا تَقْدِيرًا

[Al-Qur’an 76:15-16, translator: Shakir] And there shall be made to go round about them vessels of silver and goblets which are of glass, (Transparent as) glass, made of silver; they have measured them according to a measure. 

Silver has been traditionally used since antiquity as crockery and cutlery. Royalty used it for security against poisoned food, as silver tarnishes upon contact with some poisons. Modern research has established the potency of silver as the only agent known to destroy all bacteria, viruses and fungi. Research is ongoing, and safety of silver usage in food and as medicine is being debated. Transparent silver nano wires are being used in electronic devices. Silver is being advocated as the ideal material for a range of applications. Transparent silver crockery may not be far behind.    

Mixed with Zanjabil 

وَيُسْقَوْنَ فِيهَا كَأْسًا كَانَ مِزَاجُهَا زَنجَبِيلًا
عَيْنًا فِيهَا تُسَمَّىٰ سَلْسَبِيلًا 
[Al-Qur’an 76:17-18, translator: Mohsin Khan] And they will be given to drink there of a cup (of wine) mixed with Zanjabil (ginger), A spring there, called Salsabil. 

Ginger is used both as a spice as well as for treatment of a wide range of diseases. Historic usage and modern research about the therapeutic effects of ginger are well-established. 

The above verse, read together with 76:21, informs us that the drink will be pure and cleansing (see below). Quran 56:19 describes the drink as non-intoxicating. 

Perpetually Youthful

وَيَطُوفُ عَلَيْهِمْ وِلْدَانٌ مُّخَلَّدُونَ إِذَا رَأَيْتَهُمْ حَسِبْتَهُمْ لُؤْلُؤًا مَّنثُورًا
[Al-Qur’an 76:19, translator: Yusuf Ali] And round about them will (serve) youths of perpetual (freshness): If thou seest them, thou wouldst think them scattered Pearls. 
[Al-Qur’an 76:19, translator: Pickthal] There wait on them immortal youths, whom, when thou seest, thou wouldst take for scattered pearls. 
[Al-Qur’an 76:19, translator: A Monotheist Translation] And they are encircled with eternal children. If you see them you will think they are pearls which have been scattered about.

Most translators seem to favour the role of the perpetual youths to that of serving drinks to the inheritors of the Gardens. I think it completes the picture of a royal banquet. 

If the Monotheist Translation’s interpretation is considered, then the following seems more plausible: Children add joy and merriment to life. A family’s joy is incomplete without children. As there is much emphasis on the family, with repeated mention of  the righteous being re-united with the righteous members of their family in the Hereafter, and these verses are mentioning the joys and delights of the garden, Perhaps it’ll be children who’ll be completing the picture of a joyous and delightful ‘picnic in the garden’.  

Bliss & Realm Magnificent 

وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ ثَمَّ رَأَيْتَ نَعِيمًا وَمُلْكًا كَبِيرًا
[Al-Qur’an 76:20, translator: Yusuf Ali] And when thou lookest, it is there thou wilt see a Bliss and a Realm Magnificent. 
[Al-Qur’an 76:20, translator: A Monotheist Translation] And if you look, then you will see a blessing and a great dominion

Fine Green Silk and Heavy Brocade; Silver bracelets; Purifying Drink

عَالِيَهُمْ ثِيَابُ سُندُسٍ خُضْرٌ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٌ ۖ وَحُلُّوا أَسَاوِرَ مِن فِضَّةٍ وَسَقَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ شَرَابًا طَهُورًا
[Al-Qur’an 76:21, translator: Pickthal] Their raiment will be fine green silk and gold embroidery. Bracelets of silver will they wear. Their Lord will slake their thirst with a pure drink.  
[Al-Qur’an 76:21, translator: A Monotheist Translation] They will have garments of fine green silk, and necklaces and bracelets from silver, and their Lord will give them a cleansing drink. 


The reward comprises of the finest and most delightful of what we can imagine or comprehend. The best on Earth for health, comfort and delight are mentioned, and more, as stated in the following verse: 
[Al-Qur’an 32:17, translator: Sahih International] And no soul knows what has been hidden for them of comfort for eyes as reward for what they used to do.

Last updated on: November 7, 2016

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