source: Shaykh Albanee – alkhawf wa rrajaa – fear and hope (of Allaah) – tape no. 1
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shaykh al-albaani (rahimahullaah) discusses and clarifies a very important point about the believers entering, inheriting and enjoying jannah, a concept which the general muslimoon cannot immediately comprehend save with the clarification of the people of knowledge, wa lillaah ilhamd.

the shaykh‘s explanation particularly revolves around the two aayaat from the qur’aan and the hadeeth below:

“…Enter you Paradise because of that (the good) which you used to do (in the world).” (Surat ul-Nahl – 16:32)
“…This is the Paradise which you have inherited for what you used to do.” (Surat ul-A’raaf – 7:43)
The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:  “‘None of you will enter Paradise by his good deeds, but rather by the Favor of Allaah and His Mercy.’ They said, ‘Not even you O Messenger of Allaah?’. He [sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam] said, ‘Not even myself, unless Allaah encompasses me with His Favor and His Mercy.’”
[this is exactly the way in which shaykh al-albaani relates it in the tape in terms of the wording, and he refers it to the saheehayn, i.e., saheeh al-bukhaari and saheeh muslim]

the shaykh then clarifies:

“Hence, for Paradise there is a price [that one must pay] and the two previous aayaat indicates that the price of Paradise is righteous deeds, and there is no doubt that good deeds do not benefit its owner at all except if he [or she] is a true believer in Allaah and His Messenger [sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam]. So therefore, the price of Paradise is eemaan (faith) and righteous deeds. Then how do we reconcile between…the two previous aayaat…and between that hadeeth: ‘None of you will enter Paradise by his good deeds, but rather by the Favor of Allaah and His Mercy’?

The reconciliation between this and this [the two aayaat and the hadeeth] is that…”

here the shaykh maa shaa Allaah gets into an elaborate discussion about the difference between the implications of letter “baa” in the two aayaat versus that in the hadeeth. it is very difficult to break down this portion of the talk as a plain translation will still require some clarification, so i have left it out; but the main point of the shaykh is still illustrated alhamdulillaah as he continues:

“…So that which is negated in the last hadeeth, ‘None of you will enter Paradise by his good deeds’ is one thing and that which is established in the aayah ‘Enter you Paradise because of that which you used to do’  is another thing. That which is established in the aayah and so forth is merely the entrance (into Paradise), i.e., the key of Paradise, as comes in some of the narrations…in Saheeh al-Bukhaari: For everything there is a key, and the key of Paradise is ‘laa ilaaha illAllaah.’ So the key of Paradise is this eemaan (faith) and righteous deeds. But, if this muslim enters Paradise and he enjoys in it, as comes in some authentic narrations, that which ‘no eye has ever seen, and no ear has ever heard and no human heart can ever perceive/think of’ [Saheeh al-Bukhaari/Muslim], so this type of enjoyment is not due to the price that he presented, this enjoyer, but rather this is from the Favor of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and His Mercy.

So merely the entrance (into Paradise), its price is eemaan (faith) and righteous deeds. As for the types of enjoyment in Paradise, which includes that which we pointed to earlier [that] in it is what ‘no eye has ever seen, and no ear has ever heard and no human heart can ever perceive/think of eye,’ then there is no price for this, it is not possible to assign for it a price [i.e., it is priceless].”

next, the shaykh relates the story of the last man to be admitted to jannah as narrated by ibn mas’ood (radi Allaahu ‘anhu) from saheeh muslim. there are some extra details that the shaykh mentions as he narrates it, but it is the same hadeeth:

Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Indeed I know the last man to exit from the Fire and the last man to enter Paradise. A man will come out of the Fire crawling {here Shaykh al-Albaani comments: ‘the meaning of this is that he will exit from the Fire being the most punished in it from the muslimeen, and he exits (from the Fire) perished…, thus he is not able to walk upright as Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, created him’}…Then a tree would be raised up for him and he will say: O my Lord! Bring me near this tree so that I may take shelter in its shade and drink of its water. Allaah, the Exalted and Great, would say: O son of Adam, if I grant you this, you will ask Me for something else. He will say: No my Lord. And he would promise Him that he would not ask for anything else. His Lord…would bring him near it, and (the man) would take shelter in its shade and drink of its water.  Afterwards a tree more beautiful than the first would be raised up before him and he would say: O my Lord! Bring me near this tree in order that I may drink of its water and take shelter in its shade and I shall not ask You for anything else. (Allaah) would say: O son of Adam, if I bring you near it you may ask me for something else. He would promise Him that he would not ask for anything else. His Lord…would bring him near it and he would enjoy its shade and drink its water. Then a tree would be raised up for him at the gate of Paradise, more beautiful than the first two. He would say: O my Lord! Bring me near this (tree) so that I may enjoy its shade and drink from its water. I shall not ask You for anything else. (Allaah) would say: O son of Adam! Did you not promise Me that you would not ask Me anything else? (The man) would say: Yes, my Lord, but I shall not ask You for anything else. His Lord…would bring him near to it, and…(the man) would hear the voices of the inhabitants of Paradise. He would say: O my Lord! Admit me to it… Allaah would say to him: Go and enter Paradise, for there is for you the like of the world and ten times like it. The man will say {because of, as Shaykh al-Albaani explains, his barely being able to believe that this favor is being bestowed upon him} : O my Lord! Are You mocking at me, though You are the Lord of the worlds?. (Here, the narrator) Ibn Mas’ood (radi Allaahu ‘anhu) laughed and asked (those who were listening to him): Why don’t you ask me what I am laughing at. They said: Why do you laugh? He said: It is in this way that the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) laughed. They (the sahaaba) asked: Why do you laugh, Messenger of Allaah? He (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: On account of the laugh of the Lord of the universe, when (the man) said: Are you mocking at me, though You are the Lord of the worlds?…”

*the translation of the above hadeeth, for the most part, was taken directly from the already translated text of saheeh muslim*

the shaykh continues:

“This is the last person who will exit from the fire and the last person who will enter Paradise, [and] for him is the likes of the world and ten times like it. So does this perished person, who was the last person to exit the fire, does he deserve this vast dominion in Paradise because of his deeds? No, this is from the Favor of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and His Mercy…

[In conclusion], if we regard this explanation, the contradiction disappears between this hadeeth and between the two aayaat [mentioned in the beginning]. And this is [just] one example from many instances [in which] some contradiction between some texts [such as] the Qur’aan and Sunnah…appears to some people, even the sincere ones amongst them. So, the muslim must not be hasty and must reflect on both texts, and if he did not find the way to reconcile between the two, he should ask who is above him, as our Lord, the Blessed and Most High, said: ‘So ask the people of the Reminder (the people of knowledge) if you do not know’ [Surat ul-Ambiyaa - 21:7].”

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asaheeha translations