“A Person is With Whom He Loves, Friends Will Be Together in Paradise”
According to the meaning of the Narration, “A person is with whom he loves, friends will be together in Paradise.” This requires that a simple Bedouin who feels a deep love for God’s Messenger in one minute’s companionship with him should be together with God’s Messenger in Paradise. But how can illumination and reward of a simple nomad cause him to share the same place with God’s Messenger, whose illumination and reward are limitless?
Answer: I shall point to this elevated truth by a comparison. For example, in an extremely beautiful and splendid garden, a magnificent person prepared a vast banquet and richly-adorned spectacle in such a way that it included all the delicious foods that the sense of taste can experience, and all the beautiful things that please the sense of sight, and all the wonders that amuse the faculty of imagination, and so on; he included in it everything that would gratify and please all the external and inner senses. Two friends went together to that banquet, and sat at a table in the same pavilion. But the sense of taste of one of them was very limited, he received little pleasure. His power of sight was weak, and he had no sense of smell, and therefore he could not understand the wonderful arts nor comprehend the marvels. Proportionally to his capacity, he could only benefit from and take pleasure at that beautiful place of recreation to the degree of a thousandth or millionth. As for the other man, since all his external and inner senses, his intellect, heart, and all his faculties and feelings, had been developed to the utmost degree, he could perceive and experience all the subtleties and beauties, and marvels and fine things in that exquisite garden, and derive all varieties of pleasure from them.
Since it is so in this confused, painful and narrow world, and there is as great difference as from the ground to the Pleiades between the greatest and the least who exist side by side, for sure, in Paradise, which is the abode of happiness and eternity, while friends are together, it is more fitting for them that each will receive his share from the table of the Most Merciful of the Merciful in accordance with the degree of his abilities. Besides, even though they are in different Paradises or different ‘floors’ of Paradise, it will not prevent them from coming together. For although the eight levels of Paradise are one above the other, the roof of all of them is the Supreme Throne of God. Suppose there are walled circles round a conical mountain, one within the other and one above the other from its foot to the summit, the circles are one over the other, concentric with, and look to, one another, but do not prevent each other seeing the sun. (Indeed, there are various narrations indicating that the levels or floors of Paradise are in a manner like this.)
By M. Fethullah Gulen