Being people of Jannah
The people of Jannah
In Surat al-Dhariyat, where Allah describes the people of Jannah:
‘The mindful will be in the Gardens with flowing fountains, receiving what their Lord gives them. Indeed, before this, they were good in their deeds. [51:15-16]
There are similar descriptions in many surahs, especially towards the end of the Quran. However, getting to Jannah is not that easy, depending on where you are on your journey.
In these ayahs, Allah Almighty tells us how they got to Jannah. First, he calls them the muttaqeen – people of taqwa. Taqwa comes from the word wiqayah, literally meaning protection – i.e. they protected themselves from the wrath of Allah. How did they do this? By following His commands. As simple as that.
The people of ihsan
Allah Almighty says that even before they went to Jannah, they were muhsineen – people of ihsaan, not just people of imaan. We can think of imaan as the normal level and ihsaan as the level above this. In the famous Hadith Jibreel, the Angel Jibreel came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) in the shape of man, and asked him about Islam, imaan, and ihsan. He replied that ihsan is:
‘To worship Allah as if you see Him’ [Bukhari]
Thus ihsan is the core of ibadah. You can think of it as sincerity, carrying out all your actions knowing that Allah is watching and listening to you – not just during salah and siyam, but always. Worshipping Allah as though you can see him: this is what gets us from imaan mode to ihsan mode. This is what lets the people of Jannah enjoy Jannah.
Ihsan can come in different forms. It can also involve doing goodness, or being charitable and kind. We can have ihsan with relation to animals and plants, the planet and the environment. It’s a very broad concept. But anything you do has to be with Allah in mind.
Ramadan helps us improve our ihsan
The beauty of Ramadan is that it is a course in striving for excellence (ihsan). Fasting is worship between you and Allah. You could tell someone you are fasting, but actually have eaten a large meal – they wouldn’t know. Only Allah knows. It is your ihsan that stops you from eating throughout the day. Fasting as though you can see Allah increases ihsan in your life. When you fast, let your limbs, eyes, ears, and tongue fast with you as well, not just your tummy from eating and mouth from drinking. This is how Ramadan can sharpen our ihsan, and inshallah make us among the muhsineen.
Make Allah your target
The last thing Allah mentions in this set of ayahs is that the people of Jannah:
‘Used to sleep only little in the night, and pray for forgiveness before dawn.’ [51:17-18]
The people of Jannah did sleep, but not that much. They would wake up and pray tahajjud, and do istighfar during sahar time. They were concerned about the akhirah, over the enjoyment of the dunya – though that isn’t haram to enjoy yourself as long as it’s within the boundaries of what is permissible. However, the dunya wasn’t their main concern: Allah was their target.
We ask Allah to make us among people of ihsan, the people of Jannah, especially in these last 10 nights inshallah. Let’s roll up our sleeves and increase our ihsaan and taqwa.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Ramadan Night 20
Transcribed by Hana Khan
- Hasbunallahu wa ni’mal wakeel – Allah is Sufficient for us. How to react under pressure
- Knowing Allah through His Beautiful Names: Al Mugheeth
- The punishment for oppression is not very far
- Masjid al Aqsa – why it has a very special place in our hearts
- The last bastion of Islam will be Shaam
December 08, 2023
December 04, 2023
December 01, 2023