The greatest joy a believer will enjoy in the hereafter will be the joy of seeing Allah and meeting Him. There are no words which can describe how phenomenal this experience will be.
When the people of Jannah will see Allah (ʿazza wa jall) with their very own eyes, they will forget all the previous blessings given to them in Paradise. The Prophet ﷺ said, “When the people of Paradise enter it, Allah – Blessed and Exalted is He – will say, ‘Would you like anything more?’ They will say, ‘Have You not brightened our faces? Have You not admitted us into Paradise and saved us from Hell-fire?’ Then, He (ʿazza wa jall) will lift the Veil. Nothing they are given will be more beloved to them than looking at their Lord – Majestic and Exalted is He.” Then, he ﷺ recited the verse, “Those who do good will have the finest reward and more!” (10:26). The ‘more’ refers to the gift of seeing Allah.
The believers will see Allah as clearly as the moon can be seen on a cloudless night. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) says,
وُجُوْهٌ يَّوْمَٮِٕذٍ نَّاضِرَةٌ ۙ اِلٰى رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ
“On that Day there will be radiant faces, looking towards their Lord” (75:22-3).
“They will look at their Lord and their faces will become radiant with His Light.” – al-Ḥasan (raḥimahullāh)
Imagine Meeting Allah
Meeting Allah and seeing His Magnificent Face will be the ultimate meeting. No words can describe the bliss and joy a servant will feel when he finally gets to see Allah.
Imagine finally meeting the One whom we loved and worshipped in the world! The One who we always talked to, the One who loved us more than we loved ourselves. Imagine how phenomenal it will be to see Allah as He receives us with forgiveness, immense grace and love.
In the world, we read about Allah, al-Jamīl, The Most Beautiful. We may have gasped at a beautiful sight or were left speechless by a stunning scene. Imagine finally seeing The Source of all that beauty!
In the world, we experienced the deep love of Allah, al-Wadūd, The Most Loving. We enjoyed the endless gifts bestowed upon us by Allah, al-Wahhāb, The Ever-Giving. Imagine being able to finally see The Source of all goodness!
In the world we always called out to Allah, al-Ṣamad, The Perfect Master. We craved perfection and pursued it relentlessly. But we never found it, as Allah is The Only One who is Completely Perfect. Imagine now finally seeing The Most Perfect – Exalted and Majestic is He!
Longing to Meet Allah
Eagerness to meet Allah, longing for Him (known as shawq in Arabic) and to be close to Him has always remained a hallmark of His special servants. When our beloved Prophet ﷺ was given a choice to either remain in the world or meet Allah, he chose the latter.
Similarly, we see the enthusiasm to meet Allah in the example of Mūsā (ʿalayhis-salām) who left his people and rushed to meet Allah. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) asked him,
وَمَآ اَعْجَلَكَ عَنْ قَوْمِكَ يٰمُوْسٰى
“Why have you come with such haste ahead of your people, O Mūsā?” (20:83)
قَالَ هُمْ اُولَآءِ عَلٰٓى اَثَرِىْ وَ عَجِلْتُ اِلَيْكَ رَبِّ لِتَرْضٰى
He replied: “They are following in my footsteps. And I have hastened to You, my Lord, so You will be pleased” (20:84).
We see a similar expression of love and longing to meet Allah in the duʿā’ of Āsiyā (ʿalayhas-salām), the wife of Pharaoh. She asked Allah (ʿazza wa jall):
رَبِّ ابْنِ لِىْ عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِى الْجَـنَّةِ
My Lord, build for me, near You, a house in Paradise (66:11).
The scholars mentioned that by mentioning ‘near You’ before ‘a house’, she chose her neighbour before the house: what was more important to her was that she enjoys the proximity and closeness to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) than the house itself. This brief, yet powerful duʿā’ speaks volumes of her deep awareness, love and longing for Him.
“The longing for meeting Allah is a breeze that blows across the heart, removing from it the glittering illusions of the worldly life.” – Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh)
Allah is Eager to See You
Just as believers are eager to meet and see Allah, Allah is also looking forward to meeting them. In the world, Allah (subḥānahū wa taʿālā) eagerly welcomes the believer who is regular in attending the masājid for ṣalāh and dhikr, just as people welcome their loved ones happily upon their return from a journey” (Ibn Mājah).
Imagine then how happy He will be to meet these same servants in Paradise! Our beloved Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him. Whoever dislikes to meet with Allah, Allah also dislikes to meet Him” (Bukhārī).
How Can We Increase Our Longing for Allah?
To increase our longing for Allah, we have to recognise who Allah is (maʿrifah). Once we realise who He is (the Magnificent Lord), and who we are (i.e. His weak servants), this should lead us to increase in worshipping Him. The more we worship Him, the more acquainted we will become with Him. Our love for Him will then increase, and subsequently, this will increase our longing for Him. The more you love someone, the more eager you are to meet them.
Reciting His words, talking to Him intimately in duʿā’, crying to Him with desperation in sajdah, remembering Him and praising Him with a heart full of love and gratitude — all of these should increase our longing for Him.
“The greatest blessing and joy of the hereafter is seeing the Face of Allah – Exalted is He –, hearing His speech and being close to Him…The best means to achieve this is by attaining the greatest joy of the world i.e. the joy of knowing Him and loving Him.” – Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh)
The Best Day
Once the People of Paradise settle into it and begin to enjoy its unlimited blessings, they will be summoned for a special meeting. A caller will announce, “O People of Paradise! Your Lord – Blessed and Exalted is He – requests you to visit Him, so come to visit Him!” So, they will reply, “We hear and we obey!”
They will eagerly rush to visit Him until they will reach a wide valley. They will all gather there and none of them will turn down the request of the caller. Allah will order His Kursī to be placed there. Then, pulpits of light, pearls, gemstones, gold, and silver will be brought for them. The lowest of them in rank (whose status will be glorious in his own right) will sit on heaps of musk; and they will not see what will be given to those who are superior to them in ranks i.e. they will not feel inferior to them.
When they settle into their seats and become comfortable, the caller will call out, “O People of Paradise! You have an appointment with Allah in which He wishes to reward you!” So they will say, “And what is that reward? Has He not already made our faces bright, made our scales heavy, entered us into Paradise, and saved us from the Fire?”
Suddenly, a light will shine which will encompass all of Paradise. So, they will raise their heads, and, behold: the Compeller – Exalted is He, and Pure are His Names – will appear from above them. He will proclaim, “O People of Paradise! Peace be upon you!” And they will respond to this greeting with the best response: “O Allah, You are The Source of Peace, and from You comes peace. Blessed are You, full of Majesty and Honour.” So, the Lord – Blessed and Exalted is He – will manifest Himself, laugh, and say, “O People of Paradise! Where are My servants who obeyed Me without having ever seen Me? This is the Day of Increase!”
So, they will all give the same response: “We are pleased, so be pleased with us!” So, He will say, “O People of Paradise! If I was not pleased with you, I would not have made you inhabitants of My Paradise! This is the Day of Increase, So, ask Me!” So, they will all give the same response: “Show us your Face so that we may look at it!” So, the Lord – Mighty and Majestic – will remove His Veil and will reveal Himself to them. He will cover them with His Light, which would have burned them, if Allah had not willed otherwise.
Upon seeing Allah, they will forget every blessing they had previously seen.
And there will not remain a single person in this gathering except that his Lord – the Exalted – will speak to him directly. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) will say, “O so and so! Do you remember the day that you did this and that?” He will remind him of some of his bad deeds in the world. The person will say, “O Lord! Did you not forgive me?” So, He will say, “Of course! It is only through My forgiveness that you obtained this position of yours.”
(Adapted from Ḥādī al-Arwāh ilā Bilād al-Afrāḥ, wherein Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) combined the ḥadīths about seeing Allah.)
“By Allah, the world is only sweet with His remembrance; the Next Life is only sweet with His forgiveness; and Paradise is only sweet with seeing His Noble Face.” (Dhū al-Nūn raḥimahullāh)
In Paradise, the believers will get to see Allah (ʿazza wa jall) once a week, on Jumuʿah. As for the elite of Paradise, they will get to see Allah twice daily: once in the morning and once in the evening. These are the people who especially preserved the two prayers of these times in the world (i.e. Fajr and ʿAṣr) and journeyed to Allah by remembering Him, supplicating to Him and reciting His words in these two times.
O Allah, we beg you as Your beloved ﷺ used to beg you:
وَأَسْأَلُكَ لَذَّةَ النَّظَرِ إِلَىٰ وَجْهِكَ ، وَالشَّوْقَ إِلَىٰ لِقَائِكَ
“…I ask You for the pleasure of seeing Your face, and for the longing to meet You….” (Nasā’ī)