All the information included in this discussion is derived from the Quran, the book that God describes as the BEST HADITH, 39:23. The book that God calls complete, perfect and fully detailed.
"God has revealed herein the BEST HADITH; a book that is consistent and points out both ways (to heaven and hell). The skins of those who reverence their Lord cringe therefrom, then their skins and their hearts soften up for God's message. Such is God's guidance; he bestows it upon whomever He wills. As for those sent astray by God, nothing can guide them." 39:23
"In their history, there is a lesson for those who possess intelligence. This is not fabricated Hadith; this (Quran) confirms all previous scriptures, provides the DETAILS of EVERYTHING, and is a beacon and mercy for those who BELIEVE." 12:111
These topics were taken from the appendix of the translation of the Quran by Dr. Rashad Khalifa. As Dr. Khalifa always taught, if you cannot verify the information from the Quran you should not accept it. You will find out that every point of discussion in these topics is supported by the Quranic verses.
Despite that we encourage the reader to check these verses him/herself. God told us in the Quran to verify everything ourselves. See 17:36
The descriptions of Heaven and Hell throughout the Quran are allegorical. And the Quran tells us so whenever such descriptions occur as independent statements, not within a general subject. See 2:24-26, 13:35, and 47:15. The word "Mathal" (allegory) is used in these verses. Linguistically, the word "Mathal" in these verses can be removed, and we still have perfect sentences. But it is there because the descriptions of Heaven and Hell are allegorical.
What Heaven and Hell are really like is far beyond our comprehension. Hence the need for allegory. How can one describe, for example, the taste of chocolate to a person who never tasted chocolate? Allegory will have to be used. The person has to wait to actually taste chocolate in order to know what chocolate tastes like. Whatever allegory we use to describe the taste of chocolate can never approximate the real thing.
Heaven already exists, since Adam and Eve were placed in it during their days of innocence (2:35). We learn from Sura 55 that there are two "High Heavens" - one for the humans and one for the jinns - and two "Lower Heavens" - one for the humans and one for the jinns (see Appendix 11 for more details).
Hell is not created yet. It will be created on the Day of Judgment (69:17 & 89:23). More details are given in Appendix 11.
The High Heaven vs. The Lower Heaven
There are profound differences between the High Heaven and the Lower Heaven. Allegorically, water in the High Heaven flows freely (55:50), while the water of the Lower Heaven needs to be pumped out (55:66).
Allegorically, the High Heaven has all kinds of fruit (55:52), while the Lower Heaven has a limited variety of fruits (55:68).
Allegorically, the pure spouses readily join their spouses in the High Heaven (55:56), while the dwellers of the Lower Heaven must go fetch their spouses (55:72).
Yet, even the Lower Heaven is an incredibly fantastic prize for those who are fortunate enough to escape Hell and end up in the Lower Heaven (3:185) - going to the Lower Heaven is a great triumph. People who depart this life before reaching their 40th birthday, and did not sufficiently develop their souls, will go to the Lower Heaven (46:15, Appendices 11 & 32). The High Heaven is reserved for those who believed, led a righteous life, and developed their souls sufficiently.
"Whoever succeeds in barely missing Hell, and is admitted into Heaven, has attained a great triumph." 3:185
Death is a great mystery to most people. Not so for the students of the Quran. We learn that death is exactly like sleeping; complete with dreams (6:60, 40:46). The period between death and resurrection passes like one night of sleep (2:259; 6:60; 10:45; 16:21; 18:11, 19, 25; 30:55).
At the moment of death, everyone knows his or her destiny; Heaven or Hell. For the disbelievers, death is a horrible event; the angels beat them on the faces and rear ends as they snatch away their souls (8:50, 47:27, 79:1).
Consistently, the Quran talks about two deaths, the first death took place when we failed to make a stand with God's absolute authority (Appendix 7). That first death lasted until we were born into this world. The second death terminates our life in this world (2:28, 22:66, 40:11).
Note: The following is a reproduction of the lead article from the February, 1990 issue of the Submitters Perspective, the monthly bulletin of United Submitters International. This was the second to last issue that was written by Dr. Khalifa. It was completed and mailed ahead of time, in December, 1989. Dr. Khalifa was martyred on January 31, 1990 and his soul was taken directly to Paradise.
"Give good news to those who believe and work righteousness that they will have gardens with flowing streams. When provided with provisions of fruits therein, they will say, "This is what was given to us in the past." They will be given similar provisions, and they will have pure spouses therein. They abide therein forever." 2:25
"Do not think that those who are killed in the cause of God are dead; they are alive at their Lord, being provided for." 3:169
"Do NOT say about those who are killed in the cause of God, "They are dead." For they are alive, but you do not perceive." 2:154
"O you who believe, you shall respond to God and the messenger when he invites to what keeps you alive." 8:24
"Those who emigrate in the cause of God, then get killed or die, God will surely provide for them a good provision." 22:58
"They do not taste death, beyond the first death, and God spares them the retribution of Hell." 44:56
"He was told, "Enter Paradise." He said, "I wish my people (on earth) know; that my Lord has forgiven me and honored me." 36:26-27
"The wages of sin is death" [The Bible, Romans 6:23]
As stated in 3:81 and 46:9, God's Messenger of the Covenant does not bring anything new; everything I receive and pass on to you is already in the Quran. However, the Quran is full of information that is kept by Almighty God for revelation at a specific time. Now is the time to look at the verses shown above and learn the great news: THE RIGHTEOUS DO NOT DIE; when their lives on this earth come to the predetermined end, the angel of death simply invites them to leave their earthly bodies and move on to Heaven, the same Paradise where Adam and Eve once lived. Heaven has been in existence since Adam and Eve. We learn from 89:27-30 that God invites the believers' souls: "Enter My Paradise."
MY OWN EXPERIENCE
When God's covenant with the prophets was fulfilled in accordance with 3:81, I was taken to Heaven where the righteous live NOW (4:69). While my body was down here on earth, I was in the same Paradise of Adam & Eve.
As for the disbelievers, they know at the moment of death that they are destined for Hell. The angels beat them up on the faces and rear ends (8:50 & 47:27), order them to evict their souls (6:93), then "snatch their souls" (79:1). The Quran teaches that the disbelievers go through 2 deaths (2:28 & 40:11). They will be put to death - a state of nothingness during which they see Hell day and night in a continuous nightmare that lasts until the Day of Judgment (40:46). Hell is not yet in existence (40:46, 89:23).
Of Course, the Righteous Depart
As far as people are concerned, the righteous "die." People do not realize that the righteous simply leave their bodies, and move on to Paradise. The verses shown above are self explanatory. They tell us that the righteous die only once - the one death we have already experienced as a consequence of the great feud (38:69). In 36:26-27, we see the best evidence that the righteous go to Paradise, while their friends and relatives are still living on earth. Like going to Hawaii and waiting for us there. See also 16:32 & 6:60-62.