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It has come in the reports that tomorrow at the gathering place of the resurrection and the assembly of harshness when the folk of the seven heavens and the seven earths are mustered, everyone’s feet will be stuck in his own deeds, his head thrown down, helpless in his own work, confounded and bewildered, falling and getting up, thirsty and naked. All at once a fragrant and perfumed person will stroll out from the hiding places of the Unseen and disclose himself. The breeze of that fragrance will reach the nostrils of the folk of felicity. Everyone will become sweet-smelling and will rejoice. They will say, “Lord God, what fragrance and comfort is this? What beauty and perfection is this?” “This is the face of the beauty of Our Messenger’s Sunnah. Whoever was a follower of the Sunnah in the house of the decree, I give him permission to set the foot of security in the pavilion of his exaltedness. Whoever was a stranger to the Sunnah in that house—I will send him down to the Fire. I will give him over to hell, for today also he is stranger and rejected.”

O Lord, do not make us be among those whom You have turned over to themselves so that they have been wounded by the sword of separation and fastened by the nail of rejection. Indeed, what burden can be pulled by a broken rope? What use is the striving of an unworthy servant, living in estrangement? Today he has fallen from the road and fancied the crooked road to be straight. Tomorrow the tree of despair will give fruit and disowned individuals will appear. The call of justice will let out the call of disowning: “Their effort was misguided in the life of this world, and they were reckoning that they were doing beautiful artisanry” [18:104].

The gates of paradise are eight, and the opening of each door is specific to one sort of knowledge from the Qur’an. Unless you learn these eight sorts and unless you believe in them, the doors will not be opened to you.

The Surah of Praise comprises those eight sorts that are the keys of paradise. First is the mention of the Lord’s Essence: Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds. Second is the mention of the attributes: the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. The third is the mention of the acts: Thee alone we worship. Fourth is the mention of the Return: And Thee alone we ask for help. Fifth is the mention of the purification of the soul from blights: Guide us on the Straight Path, and sixth is the adornment of the soul with good deeds. Both this adornment and that purification are clarifications of the Straight Path. Seventh is the mention of the states of the friends and God’s approval of them: The path of those whom Thou hast blessed. Eighth is the mention of the states of the estranged and the Lord’s wrath toward them: Not of those who incur wrath, nor of the misguided.

Each of these eight sorts of knowledge, by reason of the reports and traditions, is one of the doors of paradise, and all are found in this surah. Hence, if someone recites this surah with self-purification, the doors of the eight paradises will be opened to him—today the paradise of recognition, and tomorrow the paradise of approval in the neighborhood of the All-Merciful. “There will be nothing between them and gazing upon their Lord except the mantle of magnificence on His face in the Garden of Eden.” This is a sound report from the Prophet.

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