Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Then He mentioned the favours enjoyed by the believers in Paradise, saying: (And give glad tidings unto those who believe) in Muhammad (pbuh) and in the Qur'an (and do good works) of obedience that bind to their Lord; and it is also that this refers to doing any righteous deeds; (that theirs are Gardens beneath which), trees and habitations, (rivers flow) rivers of wine, milk, honey and water; (as often as they are provided with food), whenever they are fed in Paradise (of the fruit thereof) with different kinds of fruit, (they say: This is what was given us before), this is what we ate before, (and it is given to them) i.e. the food (in resemblance) as far as the colour is concerned but not the taste which is different. (There for them) in Paradise (are pure spouses), pure from menses or any kind of filth, (therein), in Paradise, (forever they abide) dwelling forever: never to die or be banished from it.
This verse is a caress for the friends, giving them hope for everlasting largesse and bliss, and an encouragement to the faithful, inciting them to obey and to seek increase of blessings. The previous verse warns the strangers against confusion in the heart and associationism on the tongue, and it threatens with the fire of punishment and the harshness of being cut off from the Real. The person of faith is he who becomes frightened and without ease when he hears the first verse and thinks about the chastisement of hell. He becomes happy when he hears the second verse, he makes his heart fast and his hope strong, and he brings ease into his heart. The Lord of the Worlds praises both the frightened and the one at ease. Concerning the frightened He says, “The faithful are only those whose hearts quake when God is remembered” [8:2]. Concerning the one at ease He says, “Those who have faith and whose hearts are serene in the remembrance of God” [13:28]. The custom of the Generous Lord is that whenever He sends a verse of fear with which He frightens the servants, after it He sends down a verse of hope and mercy to give ease to their hearts so that they will not despair.
And give good news to those who have faith. Let there be good news for all those who are today in the playing field of service, for tomorrow they will be in the assembly of repose and ease [56:89]. Not everyone who reaches the paradise of approval will reach the generous gift of repose and ease. The paradise of approval is the furthest limit of the pleasure of the worshipful servants,
and repose and ease is the kiblah of the spirits of the lovers. The paradise of approval is the High Chambers and the Abode of Peace. Repose and ease in the Presence of At-ness is the gift for the spirit of the passionate. Everyone who watches over his actions will reach the paradise of approval; everyone who watches over his breaths will reach repose and ease.
Who can explain this repose and ease and how can it be given expression!? When something does not come to the tongue, how can it be explained? A wind begins to blow from the World of the Unseen that is called “the wind of bounty.
” Clouds begin to gather that are called “the clouds of kindness.” A rain begins to fall that is called “the rain of gentleness.” The rain brings forth a flood that is called “the flood of love.”
A flood must take away both worlds
so that no one again may suffer the world's grief.
The flood of love that is appointed for this makeup of water and dust leaves no mark of water, no news of dust. No name of mortal nature remains, no trace of human nature. Put aside every preoccupation that arises from water and clay and every confusion that comes from mortal and human nature so that you may reach nonbeing. Then pass beyond nonbeing to reach repose and ease.
I saw in secret the world and the root of the universe, I passed beyond defect and repute with ease.
And that black light-know that it is beyond the non-pointedthat too I passed; neither this nor that remained.
And give good tidings to, inform, those who believe, who have faith in God, and perform righteous deeds, such as the obligatory and supererogatory [rituals], that theirs shall be Gardens, of trees, and habitations, underneath which, that is, underneath these trees and palaces, rivers run (tajrī min tahtihā’l-anhāru), that is, there are waters in it (al-nahr is the place in which water flows [and is so called] because the water carves [yanhar] its way through it; the reference to it as ‘running’ is figurative); whensoever they are provided with fruits therefrom, that is, whenever they are given to eat from these gardens, they shall say, ‘This is what, that is, the like of what we were provided with before’, that is, before this, in Paradise, since its fruits are similar (and this is evidenced by [the following statement]): they shall be given it, the provision, in perfect semblance, that is, resembling one another in colour, but different in taste; and there for them shall be spouses, of houris and others, purified, from menstruation and impurities; therein they shall abide: dwelling therein forever, neither perishing nor departing therefrom. And when the Jews said, ‘Why does God strike a similitude about flies, where He says, And if a fly should rob them of anything [Q. 22:73] and about a spider, where He says, As the likeness of the spider [Q. 29:41]: what does God want with these vile creatures? God then revealed the following:
And give good tidings to those who believe, in the Maker and who have performed deeds that make them good for Paradise in accordance with their knowledge of the unity of [God's] acts, [give them good tidings] that they shall have what they want and desire over and above what they imagined and longed for, because of the indefinite form of 'Gardens'. Gardens underneath which rivers run are the most splendid and delightful that a place can be and the most pleasurable and sweetest that a desired thing can be for the people of this world, for these [gardens] for their souls are of the same kind as the gardens of this world but purer than them, commensurate with the physicality of the final return, which is real as you shall see;
[and perform righteous deeds, that theirs shall be Gardens underneath which rivers run]
whensoever they are provided with fruits therefrom, they shall say, 'This is what we were provided with before', in this world as they are familiar with them; and they shall be given it, [this] provision, in perfect semblance, being stations for their hearts, such as [the station of] reliance, for example, and the lushest gardens of the world of the Holy every rank of which produces rivers of knowledge that profit the wayfarers and benefit the malady of those spiritually thirsty who are yearning, while the fruits are the wisdoms and the gnostic sciences. As for their saying This is what we were provided with before, this is an allusion to the fact that such sciences and wisdoms are fixed for the heart in its state of disengagement, but become veiled from it when it is preoccupied with matters of the physical world upon its attachement to it, forgetting them as a result and only remembering them upon its being disengaged from its vestments. For the Prophet said: 'Wisdom is the believer's ultimate goal'; [and there for them shall be spouses purified]: [these are] spouses for their souls, black-eyed houris pure of any lewdness and untouched, and for their hearts [the spouses are] the holy souls pure of the blemishes of physical nature and the impurity of the elements, but there is no Paradise for their spirits because these are veiled from the witnessing; [therein they shall abide].
After mentioning the torment that Allah has prepared for His miserable enemies who disbelieve in Him and in His Messengers, He mentions the condition of His happy, loyal friends who believe in Him and in His Messengers, adhere to the faith and perform the good deeds. This is the reason why the Qur'an was called Mathani, based on the correct opinion of the scholars. We will elaborate upon this subject later. Mathani means to mention faith and then disbelief, or vice versa. Or, Allah mentions the miserable and then the happy, or vice versa. As for mentioning similar things, it is called Tashabbuh, as we will come to know, Allah willing. Allah said,
(And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)). Consequently, Allah stated that Paradise has rivers that run beneath it, meaning, underneath its trees and rooms. From Hadiths it is learned that the rivers of Paradise do not run in valleys, and that the banks of Al-Kawthar (the Prophet's lake in Paradise) are made of domes of hollow pearls, the sand of Paradise is made of scented musk while its stones are made from pearls and jewels. We ask Allah to grant Paradise to us, for verily, He is the Most Beneficent, Most Gracious.
Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Every time they will be provided with a fruit therefrom, they will say: "This is what we were provided with before'').
Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Yahya bin Abi Kathir said, "The grass of Paradise is made of saffron, its hills from musk and the boys of everlasting youth will serve the believers with fruits which they will eat. They will then be brought similar fruits, and the people of Paradise will comment, `This is the same as what you have just brought us.' The boys will say to them, `Eat, for the color is the same, but the taste is different. Hence Allah's statement,
وَأُتُواْ بِهِ مُتَشَـبِهاً
(and they will be given things in resemblance). Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi narrated that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that Abu Al-`Aliyah said that,
وَأُتُواْ بِهِ مُتَشَـبِهاً
(and they will be given things in resemblance) means, "They look like each other, but the taste is different.'' Also, `Ikrimah said,
وَأُتُواْ بِهِ مُتَشَـبِهاً
(and they will be given things in resemblance) "They are similar to the fruits of this life, but the fruits of Paradise taste better. '' Sufyan Ath-Thawri reported from Al-A`mash, from Abu Thubyan, that Ibn `Abbas said, "Nothing in Paradise resembles anything in the life of this world, except in name.'' In another narration, Ibn `Abbas said, "Only the names are similar between what is in this life and what is in Paradise.''
The Wives of the People of Paradise are Pure
وَلَهُمْ فِيهَآ أَزْوَجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ
(and they shall have therein Azwajun Mutahharatun). Ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Purified from filth and impurity.'' Also, Mujahid said, "From menstruation, relieving the call of nature, urine, spit, semen and pregnancies.'' Also, Qatadah said, "Purified from impurity and sin.'' In another narration, he said, "From menstruation and pregnancies.'' Further, `Ata', Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Salih, `Atiyah and As-Suddi were reported to have said similarly.
وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَـلِدُونَ
(and they will abide therein forever) meaning ultimate happiness, for the believers will enjoy everlasting delight, safe from death and disruption of their bliss, for it never ends or ceases. We ask Allah to make us among these believers, for He is the Most Generous, Most Kind and Most merciful.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
It will be a pleasant surprise for the dwellers of Paradise to have fruits just like the ones with which they were familiar on the earth. Of course, they will be much more delicious. For instance, they will be like mangoes, pomegranates, oranges, etc., in shape and colour and the dwellers of Paradise will at once recognize them as such but they will be infinitely more delicious than the mangoes, pomegranates and oranges of the world.
The word azwaj (sing. zauj) as used in the original is used both for the husband and for the wife: the wife is zauj for the husband, and the husband zauj for the wife. In Paradise the spouses will be joined on the basis of piety. For instance, if a certain man lived a pious life in this world, but his wife did not, their marriage will be dissolved in the Hereafter, and the pious man will be united with another pious woman whose marriage had similarly been dissolved and so on. But if both the husband and the wife led pious lives here, they will continue to live as husband and wife for ever in Paradise.
And give glad tidings to those who believe and perform righteous deeds that theirs shall be gardens underneath which rivers run The glad tidings of the gardens are included to inform [us] of the blessings that await the general body of believers according to the description which is explained in the tafsīr literature. In addition to these blessings [the verse] alludes to the glad tidings for the elite-immediate blessings that God has granted to them specifically. That which is to come is the gardens of the reward mathwaba while these are the gardens of nearness qurba. Those [for believers] are the meadows of recreation nuzha while these [for the elite] are the meadows of intimacy zulfa. Those are the gardens of favors afḌāl while these are the gardens of communion wiṣāl. Those are the raising of degrees darajāt while these are the refreshment of intimate conversation munājāt. That is the matter of His generosity jūd while this is independence through His existence wujūd. That is the refreshment of mortal beings abshār while this is the promenade of the innermost selves asrār. That is the kindness of giving to the external forms ẓawāhir while this is the unveiling of the covering from the innermost secrets of hearts sarāÌir. That is the kindness of His gifts and favors wa-tilka luṬfu nawālihi wa-afḌalihi while this is the unveiling of His Beauty and Majesty wa-hadhihi kashfu jamālihi wa-jalālihi. whensoever they are provided with fruits therefrom they shall say " This is what we were provided with before " ; they shall be given it in perfect semblance; and there for them shall be spouses purified; therein they shall abide. The blessings of the people of the garden will be renewed for them in every moment. They will think that the second [blessings] will be like the first but when they taste it they will find it beyond what came first. Similarly the states of the innermost consciousnesses of the people of realities are forever rising. When one of them has risen from one place he imagines that what he will meet in this [new] breath will be like what came previously. When he tastes it he finds it more than that many times over just as the one who spoke for them said: From your love I kept stopping at a waystation. The bewilderment of the deepest hearts does not stop.
…They shall be given it [the fruits] in perfect semblance; …and there for them shall be spouses, purified…,He replied:In Paradise there are no carpets, vessels, clothes, perfume, birds or plants, nor any fruits [as we know them]. Thus the semblance that the things of this world bear to those [mentioned in the verse] is no more than a coincidence in their names. So the pomegranate of this world does not in the least resemble the pomegranate in Paradise, except in name. The same is the case with resemblance of the date, the jujube and other such fruits [to those of Paradise]. What is intended in His saying in [perfect] semblance is only a likeness in colour, for there is a differencein taste. When in Paradise the angels bring an apple to the friends of God (awliyāʾ) during the day, and then they bring them another during the night, and they ask, ‘Is this one [like the other]?’ They are told, ‘Taste it’, and on tasting it they experience a different taste to that of the first one. It should not be discounted from God’s ability, Exalted is He, that He could make an apple taste like a pomegranate, almond or quince.’Sahl continued:Indeed I know one of the friends of God (awliyāʾ) who saw on the seashore a man who had before him the biggest pomegranate that there ever was. The friend of God (walī) asked him what he had before him, to which he replied, ‘It is a pomegranate that I saw in Paradise. I desired it so God granted it to me, but when He placed it before me I regretted my haste for having it while still in this world.’ That man [the walī] asked, ‘May I eat some of it?’ and the man responded, ‘If you have the capacity to eat it, then do so’; upon which he grabbed the fruit from him and ate most of it. When the man saw him eating the fruit he it was astounded and said, ‘Receive glad tidings of Paradise, for I did not know your [spiritual] rank before you ate it; no one eats of the food of Paradise in this life except the people of Paradise.’Then Abū Bakr asked Sahl if the one who had eaten the pomegranate had informed him of its taste, to which he replied:He did, and its taste brings together the tastes of all fruits, and in addition it has a smoothness and coolness which is unlike any of the tastes [experienced] in this world.Then Abū Bakr commented, ‘I have no doubt, nor does anyone who heard this story from Sahl, that he himself was in fact both the possessor of that pomegranate and the one who ate it.’Sahl was asked about His words: