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Fatwas: Part Eighteen
Quranic Terminology: Door(s)

 

Quranic Terminology: Door(s)

 

Published in November 10, 2019

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

Introduction:

 The term door(s) is employed in the literal and figurative senses in the Arabic tongue; in the Quranic text, the metaphorical or figurative usage is found very little; in most Quranic verses, the literal meaning is intended. Let us provide details of this topic in the points below.

Firstly: door(s) in the figurative/metaphorical sense in the Quranic text in relation to this transient world:  

1- This is about the Lord God's mercy and torment in this transient world.

1/1: This torment was inflicted on Qorayish: "Until, when We have opened before them a door of intense torment, at once they will despair." (23:77).

1/2: This is about ancient nations smitten/destroyed by the Lord God: "Then, when they disregarded what they were reminded of, We opened for them the doors of all things. Until, when they delighted in what they were given, We seized them suddenly; and at once, they were in despair." (6:44).

2- This is about the impossibility of allowing the disbelievers to enter into Paradise; they will be deprived of the Lord God's mercy: "Those who reject Our Verses and are too arrogant to uphold them - the doors of Heaven will not be opened for them, nor will they enter Paradise, until the camel passes through the eye of the needle. Thus We repay the criminals." (7:40).

3- This is about the Hour and its explosion when the entire universe, including the sky, will be destroyed: "And the sky is opened up and becomes doors." (78:19). This means the sky will be broken into pieces; this is expressed figuratively using the term (doors).

4- This is about the torrential rain within the deluge/flood of Noah: "So We opened the doors of heaven with water pouring down." (54:11).

5- The (door) of heaven is employed figuratively here to indicate passing through it; the Arab disbelievers demanded a miracle from Muhammad; namely, he would ascend into heaven and they would be able to ascend into heaven as well; this never happened; even if this would have been allowed by the Lord God, they would never have believed in the Quran anyway: "Even if We opened for them a door into the heaven, and they began to ascend through it. They would still say, “Our eyes are hallucinating; in fact, we are people bewitched.”" (15:14-15).

Secondly: door(s) in the literal sense in the Quranic text in relation to this transient world:

 The literal doors (or gates) of cities/towns or at the borders of any State are mentioned here within the context of the Quranic story of the Israelites:

1- "And recall that We said, “Enter this town, and eat plentifully from it whatever you wish; but enter through the door humbly, and say, 'Pardon.' We will forgive your sins, and give increase to the charitable ones.”" (2:58).

2- "And it was said to them, “Settle this town, and eat therein whatever you wish, and speak modestly, and enter through the door in humility - We will forgive your sins, and will give increase to the charitable ones.”" (7:161).

3- "And We raised the Mount above them in accordance with their covenant, and We said to them, “Enter through the door humbly”, and We said to them, “Do not violate the Sabbath”..." (4:154).

4- The doors or gates at the borders of the Egyptian State are mentioned in the story of Jacob as he talked to his sons before their journey to Egypt: "And he said, “O my sons, do not enter by one door, but enter by different doors. I cannot avail you anything against God. The decision rests only with God. On Him I rely, and on Him let the reliant rely.”" (12:67). This means Jacob knew that security was very tight at the Egyptian eastern borders in Sinai and he told his son to enter from several doors/gates so as not to arouse any suspicions. Within the story of Moses, the Israelites were commanded by the Lord to enter into the Holy Land; they refrained, out of fear of tyrants who lived there, to enter through the doors/gates of the borders of the Promised Land; two pious, courageous men among the Israelites interposed with their piece of advice: "Two men of those who feared the Lord, but whom God had blessed, said, “Go at them by the door; and when you have passed through it, you will prevail. And put your trust in God, if you are believers.”" (5:23).

 The outside door or gate of a house:

1- The Meccan polytheists of Qorayish were haughty and invented a bad custom during pilgrimage to distinguish themselves, as pilgrims, from the rest of Arabs; namely, to enter into their houses from the backdoors instead of the main doors/gates; they assume that their doing so were part of pilgrimage rituals. The Lord God refutes them here: "...It is not virtuous that you approach homes from their backdoors, but virtue is to be pious. So approach homes from their doors, and observe God, that you may succeed." (2:189).

2- In ancient Egypt during the era of Joseph, palaces had many doors/gates which were opened from the inside and the outside as well; this is inferred from the story of Joseph, the Potiphar of Egypt, and the Potiphar' wife: "She in whose house he was living tried to seduce him. She shut the doors, and said, “I am yours.” He said, “God forbid! He is my Lord. He has given me a good home. Sinners never succeed.”" (12:23); "As they raced towards the door, she tore his shirt from behind. At the door, they ran into her husband..." (12:25).

Thirdly: door(s) in the literal sense in the Quranic text in relation to the Hereafter (Hell and Paradise):

The doors or gates of Paradise:

1-  The number of the doors of Paradise is not mentioned in the Quran; yet, angels will receive the Paradise-dwellers as they enter through these doors for the first and last time as they will never be driven out of Paradise: "And those who feared their Lord within piety will be led to Paradise in throngs. Until, when they have reached it, and its doors are opened, its keepers will say to them, “Peace be upon you, you have been good, so enter it, to abide therein eternally.”" (39:73).

2- The Eternal Paradise will be very spacious beyond measure: "And race towards forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the righteous." (3:133); "Race towards forgiveness from your Lord; and a Garden as vast as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who believe in God and His messengers. That is the grace of God; He bestows it on whomever He wills. God is the Possessor of Immense Grace." (57:21)

3- Within such vastness of Paradise, its dwellers can see and talk to the Hell-dwellers and their torment without being harmed even if such sinners are in the innermost bottoms/depths of Hell: "Then they will approach one another, questioning. One of them will say, “I used to have a friend. Who used to say, “Are you of those who believe? That after we die and become dust and bones, we will be called to account?” He will say, “Will you have a look?” He will look, and will see him in the lowest pit of Hell. He will say, “By God, you almost ruined me. Were it not for the grace of my Lord, I would have been among the arraigned.”" (37:50-57).

4- This means that the doors of Paradise will not be closed; they will be open all the time: "The Gardens of Eden, with their doors wide-open for them." (38:50).

5- There will be mansions/chambers or palaces inside Paradise; their doors are implied; i.e., they are not mentioned explicitly here: "God promises the believers, men and women, gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever, and fine homes in the Gardens of Eden. But approval from God is even greater. That is the supreme achievement." (9:72); "He will forgive you your sins; and will admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, and into beautiful mansions in the Gardens of Eden. That is the supreme success." (61:12).

6- The mansions/chambers or palaces inside Paradise will have doors and beds/couches/furnishings: "Those will be awarded the Chamber for their patience, and will be greeted therein with greetings and peace." (25:75); "Those who believe and work righteousness - We will settle them in Paradise, in mansions under which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever..." (29:58); "...and they will reside in the Chambers, in peace and security." (34:37); "But those who feared their Lord within piety will have mansions upon mansions, built high, with streams flowing beneath them..." (39:20); "...on couches facing one another." (15:47); "On furnishings, facing one another." (37:44); "Relaxing on luxurious furnishings..." (52:20); "On luxurious furnishings." (56:15); "In it are raised beds." (88:13); "And doors to their mansions, and furnishings on which they recline." (43:34).

7- The mansions of Paradise will have doors through which angels will enter to greet the Paradise dwellers: "Everlasting Gardens, which they will enter...And the angels will enter upon them from every door. “Peace be upon you, because you endured patiently. How excellent is the Final Home.”" (13:23-24).

The doors or gates of Hell:

 They are juxtaposed and contrasted with those of Paradise. Let us explain this further in the points below.

1- The doors of Hell are seven for seven different categories of Hell-dwellers: "“It has seven doors; for each door is an assigned category.”" (15:44); of course, the number (seven) is part of the numerical miracles of the Quranic text.

2- Throngs of sinners will be herded by force into enter into the doors of Hell which will be opened suddenly (and closed forever once they enter); angels will rebuke them severely; this is part of their torment: "Those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in throngs. Until, when they have reached it, and its doors are opened, its keepers will say to them, “Did not messengers from among you come to you, reading to you the Verses of your Lord, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?” They will say, “Yes, but the verdict of torment is justified against the disbelievers.”" (39:71).

3- This rebuke will be repeated as they pass through the doors of Hell therein they will dwell forever: "It will be said, “Enter through the doors of Hell, to abide therein eternally.” How wretched is the destination of the arrogant." (39:72); "Enter through the doors of Hell, to dwell therein forever. Miserable is the residence of the arrogant." (16:29); "Enter through the doors of Hell, to remain therein forever. What a terrible dwelling for the arrogant." (40:76).

4- Hence, the doors of Hell will be for the entry of sinners and never for any exit; no Hell-dwellers will get out of Hell; they will remain inside Hell for eternity: "...and they will not come out of the Hell-Fire." (2:167); "They will want to leave the Hell-Fire, but they will not leave it. For them is a lasting torment." (5:37).

5- Hence, the doors of Hell will be closed forever once all sinners enter through them: "But as for those who disbelieve in Our Verses - these are the people of misery. Upon them is a padlocked Fire." (90:19-20); "God's kindled Fire. That laps to the hearts. It closes in on them. In extended columns." (104:6-9).

6- Hell-dwellers will never be able to run away or exit through closed doors of Hell: "...As for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be tailored for them, and scalding water will be poured over their heads. Melting their insides and their skins. And they will have maces of iron. Whenever they try to escape the gloom, they will be driven back to it: “Taste the torment of burning.”" (22:19-22); "But as for those who transgressed, their shelter is the Fire. Every time they try to get out of it, they will be brought back into it, and it will be said to them, “Taste the suffering of the Fire which you used to deny.”" (32:20).

7- Hell-torment will never abates and no Hell-dwellers will get out of Hell; they will never die: "As for those who disbelieve, for them is the Fire of Hell, wherein they will never be finished off and die, nor will its torment be lightened for them. Thus We will repay every disbeliever. And they will scream therein, “Our Lord, let us out, and we will act righteously, differently from the way we used to act.” Did We not give you a life long enough, in which anyone who wanted to understand would have understood? And the warner did come to you. So taste. The evildoers will have no supporter." (35:36-37).

8- The hypocrites will enter into the lower depths of Hell; a wall with a door will separate them (as they experience the Hell-torment) from true believers (who will enjoy mercy inside Paradise): "On the Day when the hypocritical men and hypocritical women will say to those who believed, “Wait for us; let us absorb some of your light.” It will be said, “Go back behind you, and seek light.” A wall will be raised between them, in which is a door; within it is mercy, and outside it is torment." (57:13); "The hypocrites will be in the lowest level of the Fire, and you will find no supporter for them." (4:145).

Lastly:

 All pleasures of this transient world will never be equal to a second spent inside the bliss of the Eternal Paradise; all possible torment in this transient world will never be equal to a second spent inside the torments of Hell-Fire.


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