Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Heaven vs Jannah: Assessing the Dilemma

Keith Thompson

Both the Christian and the Muslim were promised an afterlife as a reward for accomplishing their objectives as a human being. A paradise, described by Jesus, and within the other Biblical records; as well as a paradise described by Muhammad in the Quran and Hadith literature. However, there are major and fundamental differences between the two conceptions of paradise. Jannah, the Islamic paradise, is nothing like the established Biblical Heaven that was promised. This is very significant because if one can prove that the there are promises unique to the Quran, as well as demonstrate that Muhammad believed that the Bible was the word of God in the 7th century, we can conclude that because the two concepts of paradise are polar opposite, and that the Bible of the 7th century is true, according to Muhammad, then Islam is false and Allah is not the God of the Bible. We prove that the Christian conception of Heaven is the original and the Islamic conception of Jannah is a later distortion. Indeed if Allah was the same God of the Gospels (Injil), we would expect the same details regarding the established Heaven. The Gospels and Quran/Hadith should have similar promises of an afterlife if Allah was responsible for both revelations. However, this is not the case.

Let us first examine some of the major differences, and then we will prove that Muhammad granted the Bible of today as genuine. Thus proving the Biblical Heaven is the original established Heaven and that the Islamic conception of Jannah must be abandoned as a later type of imposing forgery. According to the 1st century record as well as the ancient prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was to have profound glory and authority in the after life. In Mark 14 Jesus confirms that Daniel 7:13-14 is a prophecy about him. By confirming this he is also acknowledging that his rule in Heaven is eternal.

"Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" Mark 14:60-63

The prophecy Jesus was attributing to himself is the following:

"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14

So according to both the ancient Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament as well as the ancient 1st century New Testament documents, Jesus Christ occupies God's thrown, as the right hand, and is given an everlasting kingdom with everlasting dominion and worship. The Islamic documents, however, did not affirm that Jesus Christ is a co-occupant of God's throne. Nor did they affirm that Jesus Christ will have this kind of rule and dominion of Heaven, while receiving worship. Instead Allah is the eternal occupant of the throne. Christ (Isa) will return, defeat the dajjal, teach Islam, get married, have children, live for about 40-45 years then die and get buried near Mohammad's grave in al-Madinah; as opposed to the Biblical account.

"... Certainly, the time of prayer shall come and then Jesus (peace be upon him) son of Mary would descend and would lead them in prayer. When the enemy of Allah would see him, it would (disappear) just as the salt dissolves itself in water and if he (Jesus) were not to confront them at all, even then it would dissolve completely, but Allah would kill them by his hand and he would show them their blood on his lance..." (Sahih Muslim, Book 041, Number 6924)

"He (Jesus) will live for forty years during which he will marry, have children, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage)." (Wali ad-Din, Miskat Al-Masabih, (tr. James Robson), Vol.II, p.1159; Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, p.92).

"Jesus (pbuh) will descend and will practice our Prophet's (may God bless him and grant him peace) law." (Imam Rabbani, Letters of Rabbani, vol. 2, p. 1309)

"Jesus will marry and have a child after he returns. After he dies, the Muslims will perform his funeral prayer and bury him at the Rauza-i-Aqdas." (Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi `Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, 65)

"Jesus will die after living for 40 years. After he dies, the Muslims will perform his funeral prayer and bury him." (Mukhtasar Tazkirah Qurtubi, 498-499)

"After his dissension on earth, Hadhrat Isa (A.S.) will marry. He will have children, and he will remain on earth 19 years after marriage. He will pass away and Muslims will perform his Janaza Salaat and bury him next to Rasulullah." (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). (Tirmidhi)

As you can see there is no room for harmonization between the two accounts of what will happen. What does this mean? It means someone is in serious error and one of the revelations is false. One of the religions is false and not from God. Another major difference with respect to Heaven and Jannah is that the 1st century New Testament documents say there will be no marriage and sexual activity in paradise. Jesus answers the Sadducee's on the topic of marriage in heaven. Mark 12:23-25 states:

"At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?" Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven."

It is clear that Jesus Christ in the 1st century record repudiated the idea that there would be marriage in God's Holy Kingdom. However, in the Islamic documents, namely Quran, and Hadith, Men will have wives and sex partners. The description of the Islamic Janneh is extremely graphic as opposed to the established Heaven that Jesus taught.

"Enter the Garden, ye and your wives, to be made glad." S. 43:70 Pickthall

"They and their wives, in pleasant shade, on thrones reclining;" S. 36:56 Pickthall

"...they shall have Azwâjun Mutahharatun [purified mates or wives] and We shall admit them to shades wide and ever deepening." S. 4:57 Dr. Mohsin

 "And near them [shall lie the virgins of paradise], refraining their looks ... having large black eyes," S. 37:48 Sale

"Wherein both will be those (maidens) restraining their glances upon their husbands, whom no man or jinn yatmithhunna (has opened their hymens with sexual intercourse) before them. Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny? (In beauty) they are like rubies and coral." S. 55:56-58 Hilali-Khan

With respect to 55:55,69-71, Ibn Kathir, in his commentary (Tafsir), states,

"Verily, the first group that will enter Paradise will look like the moon when it is full, and the next batch will be as radiant as the radiant star in the sky. Each one of them will marry two wives. The marrow of the bones of their shins will be seen through the flesh. None will be unmarried in Paradise.) This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs ... "Verily, in Paradise, the believer will have a tent from a hollow pearl, the width thereof is sixty miles. In each corner of it there are wives for the believer that do not see the other wives, and the believer will visit them all.) In another narration the Prophet said that this tent is thirty miles wide. Muslim recorded this Hadith and in his narration, the Prophet said," (Source)

At-Tirmizi, vol. 2, states on page 138:

The Prophet Muhammad said "Every man who enters paradise shall be given 72 (seventy-two) houris; no matter at what age he had died, when he is admitted into paradise, he will become a thirty-year-old, and shall not age any further. A man in paradise shall be given virility equal to that of one hundred men".

"gardens and vineyards; and girls with swelling breasts of the same age as themselves, and a brimming cup;" S. 78:32-34 Palmer

And al-Bukhari reports:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "The first group of people who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like the full moon and those who will follow them, will glitter like the most brilliant star in the sky. They will not urinate, relieve nature, spit, or have any nasal secretions. Their combs will be of gold, and their sweat will smell like musk. The aloes-wood will be used in their >s. Their wives will be houris. All of them will look alike and will resemble their father Adam (in statute), sixty cubits tall." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 544)

In fact Osama Abdullah, the Muslim "apologist," even admitted that the Muslim will receive around 70 virgins, as sex objects. He stated:

"Note: The exact number of 70 Houris is not mentioned in the Noble Quran. It is only mentioned in the Hadith's (collections of the Sayings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him). But Houris were mentioned in the Noble Quran. So the number is most likely true, even though the Hadiths were collected centuries after the natural death of the Prophet. In other words, the possibility of the Hadith being corrupt... is slim because the Noble Quran supports the narration by mentioning the Houris as shown at the end of the article." (Source)

There are many more sources and much more graphic material within the Islamic sources regarding Jannah. However I think we have seen enough for now. What a degrading view for the women. Being a sex object for a man along side 70 other women. Sex slaves indeed! Interestingly the Bible says nothing of the sort. Instead we read that there will be no marriage. Thus no sex. We also read that Heaven is not fully conceivable in its greatness.

"However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

Thus the peak of the Islamic Jannah (women, sex, virgins, swelling breasts) is described in great detail. However the Bible doesn't even try to attempt to communicate what God has prepared for us fully. If it were merely orgies and sex, the Bible would have documented that. However the few things it does tell us about Heaven relate to its Holiness and how incomprehensible it is. We read that:

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

"Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat." Revelation 7:16

Another difference in the two conceptions of paradise is the fact that the Bible says there will be no night in Heaven. Instead it will always be day.

"On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there." Revelation 21:25

In 19:61-63 of the Quran, and in some Hadith literature, it indicates that there is a night in Jannah (although some Tafsirs give interpretations to suggest that there will be no night). It speaks of morning and evening. In order for there to be a morning there has to be a night. If there is no night then there is no point in even mentioning morning.

"Gardens of Eden, which the Beneficent hath promised to His slaves in the unseen. Lo! His promise is ever sure of fulfilment. They hear therein no idle talk, but only Peace; and therein they have food for morn and evening. Such is the Garden which We cause the devout among Our bondmen to inherit." S. 19:61-63

In point of fact instead of translating verse 62 as morning and evening, the Khalifa translation says the following:

"They will not hear any nonsense therein; only peace. They receive their provisions therein, day and night." 19:62

This is a disputable issue and has troubled the Tafsirs. There are ways to interpret this to mean there is no night. Ibn Kathir held to the belief that there is no night. However in his Tafsir he provides sources that support a night in Jannah. Ibn Kathir stated:

"Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Hurayrah, who said that the Messenger of Allah said, (...They will glorify Allah in the morning and evening.) Al-Bukhari and Muslim both recorded this narration in the Two Sahihs. Imam Ahmad also recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said, The martyrs will be upon the banks of a river by the gates of Paradise. Over them will be a green dome. Their sustenance will be brought out to them from Paradise, morning and evening.) Ahmad is the only one who collected this narration." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir on S.19:62; source)

I think more work has to be done in this issue. The data seems to support a night in Jannah which would directly contradict the Biblical teaching. If it turns out that I am incorrect then there are still many other points to go on. Now that we have established how different the two versions of paradise are, it is essential to realize the dilemma this causes for the Muslim. For Muhammad, in numerous places, claimed that the Christian texts of the 7th century were the word of God. Now, if we can establish that Muhammad claimed that Allah took responsibility for the New Testament that Christians read today, we prove that Allah is not the God of Moses, Abraham, and the apostles. For if Allah passed down the previous revelations, one would expect to see the same promises of an established afterlife. We wouldn't expect the previous revelations to negate and forfit the possibility of the Quranic promises. Just as the Bible denies marriage in heaven and thus sex and wives. And just as the Bible says nothing of virgins, sex and carnal desires in Heaven. Muhamamd refuted his own religion and exposed his own god as false by claiming that the Christian Scriptures of the 7th century was genuine and from God. For we know what Christians and Jews were reading in the 7th century. It was the Bible that we have today. This is a fact of History which I will seek to demonstrate.

In 7:157 of the Quran Muhammad stated:

"Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them..." S. 7:157 Pickthall

This verse is very crucial. Muhammad claimed that Allah said you can find Muhammad in the Torah and Gospel that is with them. Meaning people in the 7th century had records from God in their hands that were good enough to salvage prophecy from. For how could prophecy be in any book that was not from God? The Gospel that was with the Christians in the 7th century was the New Testament.

In fact, the Muslim translators of the Quran, Al-Hilali and Khan, realized this to be true when they added the following parenthetical remark in their translation of this verse:

"Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad SAW) whom they find written with them in the Taurat (Torah) (Deut. xviii, 15) and the Injil (Gospel) (John xiv, 16)"

Hilali-Khan even says it is the Gospel of John of the 7th century! That's the same Gospel of John that Christians have today. According to our full Bibles of the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, the Bible that we have today is the same one as then. The same John, the same Matthew, Mark, Luke etc... These early full Bibles prove that since Muhammad granted that the 7th century scriptures are good enough to contain prophecies, he does the same for the Bible of today. The 4th century full Bibles are the same as the 7th century Bibles. In response to this Muslims often say, 'It can't be the four Gospels because "Injil" just means Gospel in the singular and not Gospels.' This demonstrates a basic error on the part of the Muslim. As the Arabic "Injil" derived from the Greek then Syriac language. Although the word "Injil" is not plural but singular, the Syriac Christians called the four Gospels the Gospel(Injil) of Christ. In studying the etymology of the word "Injil", I discovered that the Encyclopaedia of Islam by M. Mukarram Ahmed and Muzaffar Husain Syed has some interesting insight. They say:

"For the study of the prophet 'Isa's life and works the four books of the New Testament, called in the Quran Gospels or Evangel (Injil) are the books of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John." (M. Mukarram Ahmed, Muzaffar Husain Syed, Encyclopaedia of Islam [Anmol Publications PVT. LTD., 2005], p. 193)

They noted that the New Testament books are the Injil that contain the details of Jesus' life. As Abbas Sundiata remarks:

"Similarly, the word "Injil" is not Qur'anic or Arabic. It was borrowed from the word which early Syrian Christians used to describe the New Testament. Consequently only Christians can define the word. The Qur'anic references to these words can therefor only be in their Jewish or Christian contexts-rather than references to some to some phantom books which no longer exist." (Abbas Sundiata, Look Behind the Facade [Xulon Press, 2006], p. 70)

Thus when Muhammad says the Injil of the 7th century is with them (Christians) and that it contains prophecies about him, he is referring to the New Testament and admitting the Gospels are reliable. The same Gospels we have today. Muslims might say, 'the New Testament is corrupt.' However this view is harmful to the Muslim. For how can a corrupt text that is not from God contain prophecies of Muhammad? The Muslim might say, 'only the prophecies of Muhammad and things that agree with the Quran are accurate in the text of the New Testament and the rest is corrupt.' However merely asserting something like that is inadequate in scholarly dialogue or writings. If the Muslim is going to assert that the only thing that isn't corrupt in the entire New Testament are the prophecies of Muhammad and the things that agree with the Quran, they must demonstrate that by investigating the manuscript tradition. Indeed it is a tough task to try and demonstrate that everything that contradicts the Quran is not in the earliest manuscripts. Realistically only God can do prophecy. The Christian and the Muslim ought to know this. And since the New Testament is not some corrupt texts with only a few accurate lines about some awaited Arabian prophet, or things that agree with the Quran, the Gospels must be from God based on Muhammad's own admissions regarding the Injil. We have already seen that S. 7:157 shows that the Injil of the 7th century was good enough to contain prophecies of Muhammad. The fact that the term Injil came from the name of the Syriac New Testament. This means that it is likely Muhammad was referencing the 7th century New Testament as God's word. Muhammad even commanded Christians to follow the Injil that was with them in the 7th century. This assumes that Christians had the original Injil from God in the 7th century. However we know from history what Christians used and still use as scripture: The New Testament.

Say: "People of the Book, you do not stand on anything, until you perform the Torah and the Gospel [Injil], and what was sent down to you from your Lord." ... S. 5:68 Arberry

[Say (O Muhammad SAW)] "Shall I seek a judge other than Allah while it is He Who has sent down unto you the Book (The Qur'an), explained in detail." Those unto whom We gave the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] know that it is revealed from your Lord in truth. So be not you of those who doubt. S. 6:114 Al-Hilali & Khan

For a full discussion of the Injil and what Islam says about the Jewish and Christian scriptures see the following articles:

In fact here is proof that 7th century Christians read the multiple Gospel accounts in Arabia. As opposed to some lost document that Allah gave Jesus:

Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet returned to Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa bin Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospels in Arabic Waraqa asked (the Prophet), "What do you see?" When he told him, Waraqa said, "That is the same angel whom Allah sent to the Prophet) Moses. Should I live till you receive the Divine Message, I will support you strongly." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 605)

This is most likely the Injil that Muhammad was referencing. The New Testament books. If you reject the testimony of Waraqa having multiple Gospels in the time of Muhammad that would account for the Christian injil, as opposed to some lone Gospel that was lost, then you also have to reject his testimony of who the being was that approached Muhammad. Since the Gospels are from God according to Muhammad and since they negate the possibility of marriage and sex in Heaven, as well as contradict the Quran on issues such as Jesus' status in heaven, night in Heaven, and, frankly, pornography in Heaven, the Quran must be rejected and abandoned as a later incoherent, inconsistent, incompatible, forgery. Thus Allah of the Quran is not the God of Christians.

My contention is that if Allah was the same God of the New Testament, we should see the same heaven since its details were established in the 1st century. We should at least see some sexual references involving virgins and sex in Biblical heaven if Allah was responsible for the Injil. Since there is not one single reference to sex or carnal desire in Biblical heaven, the reader is forced to conclude that Allah is not the same God. He was not responsible and he had nothing to do with the Injil (New Testament).

How can one imagine a Holy and righteous omniscient and Omnipotent God wanting to watch his creation have sex in his Holy kingdom of absolute glory. People should have more respect for God Almighty. Why would you want to disrespect him by following a religion that contains such things, and even making them important factors to motivate believers to fight and die in the cause of Allah? Heaven is about fellowship and worship of God, our creator. It is about love, real love, not carnal sexual desire. Christ has risen and he is Lord. Amen.