The level and ranks of Jannah

Fatwa ID: 02354

Answered by: Maulana Mujahid Hussain

Question:

If it's ok shaykhna, I had a question regarding a couple of ahadith: 1. Different ahadith specify each x action as raising the doer one rank in Jannah. Are these all the same in the degree of raising? So when someone walks to the masjid after having made wudhu, do they raise one rank in Jannah for each step just as a person who memorises an ayah of the Quran? Or are they different? Jazak'Allah.

Answer

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

This is a question which requires a bit of detail.

Firstly we need to answer how many levels (  درجات ) of  Jannah are there before we can properly answer your question.

There are three opinions regarding the levels of Jannah.

The levels of jannah  are 100 .
This is based upon the following ahadith

قال الإمام البخاري حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ الْمُنْذِرِ، حَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ فُلَيْحٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي، حَدَّثَنِي هِلاَلٌ، عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ، وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاَةَ، وَصَامَ رَمَضَانَ، كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ هَاجَرَ، فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ، أَوْ جَلَسَ فِي أَرْضِهِ الَّتِي وُلِدَ فِيهَا ‏"‏‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَفَلاَ نُنَبِّئُ النَّاسَ بِذَلِكَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏ إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ مِائَةَ دَرَجَةٍ أَعَدَّهَا اللَّهُ لِلْمُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ، كُلُّ دَرَجَتَيْنِ مَا بَيْنَهُمَا كَمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ، فَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ فَسَلُوهُ الْفِرْدَوْسَ، فَإِنَّهُ أَوْسَطُ الْجَنَّةِ وَأَعْلَى الْجَنَّةِ، وَفَوْقَهُ عَرْشُ الرَّحْمَنِ، وَمِنْهُ تَفَجَّرُ أَنْهَارُ الْجَنَّةِ ‏

Narrated by Abu Huraira:

The Prophetﷺ said, "Whoever believes in Allah and His Apostle offers prayers perfectly and fasts (the month of) Ramadan then it is incumbent upon Allah to admit him into Paradise, whether he emigrates for Allah's cause or stays in the land where he was born." They (the companions of the Prophet) said, "O Allah's Messenger (Should we not inform the people of that?" He said, "There are one-hundred levels in Paradise which Allah has prepared for those who carry on Jihad in His Cause. The distance between every two levels  is like the distance between the sky and the Earth, so if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for the Firdaus, for it is the last part of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise."[1]

Also the following hadith in Sunan Tirmidhi

قال الإمام الترمذي حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، أَخْبَرَنَا يَزِيدُ بْنُ هَارُونَ، أَخْبَرَنَا هَمَّامٌ، حَدَّثَنَا زَيْدُ بْنُ أَسْلَمَ، عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ، عَنْ عُبَادَةَ بْنِ الصَّامِتِ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ "‏ فِي الْجَنَّةِ مِائَةُ دَرَجَةٍ مَا بَيْنَ كُلِّ دَرَجَتَيْنِ كَمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ وَالْفِرْدَوْسُ أَعْلاَهَا دَرَجَةً وَمِنْهَا تُفَجَّرُ أَنْهَارُ الْجَنَّةِ الأَرْبَعَةُ وَمِنْ فَوْقِهَا يَكُونُ الْعَرْشُ فَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ فَسَلُوهُ الْفِرْدَوْسَ

'Ubadah bin As-Samit narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said:"In Paradise, there are a hundred levels, what is between every two levels is like what is between the heavens and the earth. Al-Firdaus is the highest level, and from it the four rivers of Paradise are made to flow forth. So when you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaus."[2]

The levels of Jannah are according to the number of Ayahs of the Quran
This is based upon the following hadith.

قال الإمام الترمذي حَدَّثَنَا مَحْمُودُ بْنُ غَيْلاَنَ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو دَاوُدَ الْحَفَرِيُّ، وَأَبُو نُعَيْمٍ عَنْ سُفْيَانَ، عَنْ عَاصِمِ بْنِ أَبِي النَّجُودِ، عَنْ زِرٍّ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ يُقَالُ لِصَاحِبِ الْقُرْآنِ اقْرَأْ وَارْتَقِ وَرَتِّلْ كَمَا كُنْتَ تُرَتِّلُ فِي الدُّنْيَا فَإِنَّ مَنْزِلَتَكَ عِنْدَ آخِرِ آيَةٍ تَقْرَأُ بِهَا ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr: that the Prophet said: "It shall be said – meaning to the one who memorized the Qur'an – 'Recite, and rise up, recite (melodiously) as you would recite in the world. For indeed your rank shall be at the last Ayah you recited.'"[3]

Amongst the scholars to hold this view was Al-Khattabi.

The levels of Jannah are unknown to us in the absence of a clear proof.
As for the evidences of the first group , their evidence is questionable for multiple reasons

Because the first  hadith mentions these 100 levels are prepared for the mujahideen. That does not mean there may be other levels for other people. We know the ranks of the Siddeqeen and Anbiyaa are higher in the eyes of Allah ( سبحانه و تعالى )  .
The commentators of hadith also explain this hadith does not excluded other levels.
Ibn-Hajar says the following in Fatul-Bari

وأما قوله " مائة درجة " فليس في سياقه التصريح بأن العدد المذكور هو جميع درج الجنة من غير زيادة إذ ليس فيه ما ينفيها ويؤيد ذلك أن في حديث أبي سعيدالمرفوع الذي أخرجه أبو داود وصححه الترمذي وابن حبان ، ويقال لصاحب القرآن اقرأ وارق ورتل كما كنت ترتل في الدنيا فإن منزلك عند آخر آية تقرؤها وعدد آي القرآن أكثر من ستة آلاف ومائتين

“As for the statement “ 100” Ranks its context does not mean that the number mentioned are all the levels of Jannah without extra levels, as there is nothing explicit mentioned to exclude any extra levels and this is supported by the hadith about the person ( hafiz ) of the Quran who will be told to recite….”[4]

Likewise Mullah Ali Qari in Mishkaat quoted Ibn Malik  as saying the following
إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ مِائَةَ دَرَجَةٍ» ) ، قَالَ ابْنُ الْمَلَكِ: الْمُرَادُ بِالْمِائَةِ هَاهُنَا الْكَثْرَةُ )
“Ibn Malik said the 100 levels only indicates there are many (not that it is fixed to hundred )”[5]
Imam Bukhari and Imam tirmidhi both report this hadith from Abu Hurairah  ( رضي الله عنه ) and fix the levels to the Mujahideen
Imam Tirmidhi and Imam Nasaaie both report this hadith from Abu Saeed Al-Khudri  ( رضي الله عنه )  and fix it to the Mujahideen.
Imam Tirmidhi reports this from Muaaz  ( رضي الله عنه ) and the narration indicates these levels are for the Mujahideen.
Imam Nasaaie reports from Abu Dardaa  ( رضي الله عنه )and the narration fixes the levels for the Mujahideen(  رحمة الله على الجميع )
All of these reports are counted as ( الزيادة من الثقات   ) and hence it's very clear that these level seem to be for the mujahideen.
As for the second opinion , again the hadith does not in any way indicate how many levels of Jannah  there are, it only tells us that the reciter of the Quran may reach such and such level.
Also  some of the people of knowledge have pointed out this hadith mentions manzila ( منزلة  )  which is different from Darajah ( درجة ) . So we cannot fix the level of Jannah using this hadith.
In summary the levels of Jannah is something not explicitly mentioned in the Quran or Hadith. Also this is a matter of the unseen (  علم الغيب  ) regarding which we should not say anything unless we have clear proof.
Coming on to your questions, again we have to say this is a matter of the unseen (  علم الغيب  ) regarding which we should not say anything unless we have clear proof and there is no clear proof in this matter so in summary Allah  ( سبحانه و تعالى )  knows best .
However I will mention a few possibilities which the people of knowledge have mentioned .
1. Yes the levels are different for each good deed.  Just like there are different doors of Jannah for different good deeds , there are different levels of Jannah for the various good deeds . So the hadith about the Mujahideen talks about the levels of jannah for the Mujahideen and the hadiths about the Hafiz talks about the levels of Jannah for a Hafiz and the hadiths about walking to the Masjid talks about levels specific for such a good deed.
2. There are two sets of levels. Major and minor and between each major level there are many minor levels. So the Hafiz of the Quran or the one walking to the masjids may raise many minor levels due to their actions and as a result they may raise a few major levels.

Only Allah Knows Best

Written by Maulana Mujahid Hussain

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah 

Darul Hadith Birmingham

[1]Hadith number 7423. Saheeh Bukhari. The Imam reports  this Hadeesmultiple times in his book. Darussalam print.

[2] Tirmizi 2531. The Imam reported a few hadiths in this chapter  with different chains. This chain is Saheeh. Amongst the scholars to classify it as Saheeh include . Hakim , Zubair Ali Zaie  and Shuaab Ar Arnaoot. ( رحمهم الله )

[3]Tirmizi Hadees number 2914 darussalm print. This Hadees is Classified Saheeh by Tirmizi , Ibn Hibban , Zahabi  Also Zubail ali Zaie said its Hasan and Shuaaib Al Arnaoot said its Saheeh le gharihee صحيح لغيره  )  )

[4]Fathul  Bari . Chapter of Tawheed . commentry under Hadees 6987. Darur Rayyan print.

[5]Mirqaat-Mafaateeh volume 9 page 3588 hadees number  5632 Darul Fikar print.

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