The Islamic Paradise and the Bible’s Heaven—are they really the same place.

The Muslim concept of paradise is completely opposed to that of the biblical Christian faith.

For Christians, paradise is a place of perfect communion with God in person, a true fellowship with God (2 Peter 1: 4). On the other hand, in Islam, even in paradise, God remains unknowable, inaccessible to men who can still neither know nor see him.

“But the faithful servants of God will receive certain precious gifts, delicious fruits; And they will be honored in the gardens of delights, resting on seats, and looking at each other face to face. The round, filled with a spring of clear water, and a delicious taste for those who drink it, will be run round. It will not offend their reason and will not intoxicate them. They will have virgins with modest eyes, big black eyes and a radiant complexion, similar to that of a pearl in its shell. “(The Quran, Sura 37: 40-49).

This vision is a frequent concern in the Koran. Those who have won the favour of Allah are:

“Resting on seats adorned with gold and jewels, leaning at their ease and looking at each other face to face. They will be served by children, endowed with eternal youth, who will present to them bowls, ewers and cups filled with exquisite wine. Its steam will not rise to their heads and will not obscure their reason. They will have the fruits they desire, and the flesh of the rarest birds. Near them will be houris with beautiful black eyes, like pearls in their mother-of-pearl. Such will be the reward of their works “(The Quran, Sura 56: 15-24).

Houris in paradise, riding camels. From a 15th-century Persian manuscript.

The houris are those legendary beautiful perpetual virgins, no matter how many times they have known men in a sexual way. Paradise, in Islam, contains all the earthly pleasures that Muslims have deprived themselves on earth: wine in abundance, all kinds of fruits and exquisite food, free available sexual intercourse. There are also in this male-oriented paradise some of the vices of Sodom and Gomorrah, in particular the “boys endowed with eternal youth” described in Sura 56, which according to the Islamic tradition are not only boys on duty.

The Christian could say that this is a carnal. Who is this god who forbids certain iniquitous behaviour on earth, such as drinking alcohol and sexual intercourse outside marriage and then provides them abundantly in paradise? Such a “paradise” can not fulfill the profound aspirations of the heart of man, which are close communion and the knowledge of the God of love. And as St. Augustine said in his Confessions: “… our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.”

What a different Paradise is described in the Injil, not for those who have merited it by their good works making amends for their evil deeds, but by the forgiveness of their evil deeds by their trusting in the perfect goodness of the Messiah and His sacrificial death for them on the cross.

The dying thief next to Jesus could do nothing to make amends for a life of crime. Yet Jesus said, And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

What is that Paradise like?

Revelation 21:4-8

A place without sorrow:
4 ‘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.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
A place without sin
8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Revelation 22
A place where there is no more disaster
3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
A place where there is no more darkness
5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.
A place where there is no more death
And they will reign for ever and ever.
6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
Did you notice what the central focus is? It is not on the sensual pleasure, but the spiritual joy. God’s throne is at the heart of heaven. The Lamb of God, the Messiah in all His glory is there. There ‘drink’ is not never-ending supply of wine, but the ‘water of life’. Their greatest joy is to see the face of their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
What a contrast between the paradise described in Islam and the place to which Christ will take His people.
The apostle Paul described what Christian believers anticipate. It wasn’t wine, women and song. It was this:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:8)
At the heart of it all is not a desire to satisfy fleshly appetites, but to be with their Lord. To be free from sin. To be in the closest and most joyful fellowship with their God, their Creator, Father and Saviour.

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