Imagine yourself in Jannah, just one level above your friend, yet the distance between the two of you is of that between the heavens and the earth. Yes! That is the difference between each level!
“In Paradise… what is between every two levels is like what is between the heavens and the earth. Al-Firdaus is its highest level, and from it the four rivers of Paradise are made to flow forth…” 1
Without a doubt, Jannah in its entirety, including the lowest level, is tremendously beautiful, so beautiful that with the limited capacity of our minds, we are unable to imagine what it would be like to be there. SubhanAllah, it is unfathomable! However, one does not enter it without paying its price.
Therefore, we must never be satisfied with our level of worship; rather, we must strive to better ourselves tirelessly, as it is our struggle in this life that will determine our final abode, and our endeavor that will determine our ranks in the Hereafter. For this, we must aim higher and work harder in order to deserve the highest of levels and greatest of rewards. This would mean following the example of the Sahaba , who never ceased to ask about the *best* ways to attain Allah’s pleasure. It is embodied in the type of questions they used to ask the Prophet , such as, what type of person will be the closest to you in the hereafter? What is best deed to Allah? What is the most beloved deed? It is this admirable determination of theirs that must compel us into imitating them, and along with continuous striving, we must consistently hope and ask Allah to enter us into Janntul-Firdaws, as per the Hadith:
Mu’adh bin Jabal (radiyallahu anhu) said:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah say:’…If you ask of Allah, ask Him for Firdaws.'” 2
It was narrated from Kathir bin Murrah (radiyallahu anhu) that Abu Fatimah told him:“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Tell me of a deed that I can adhere to and act upon.’ He said: “You should prostrate, for you will not prostrate to Allah but He will raise you in status one degree thereby and erase from you one sin.” 3
- Tahjjud(night prayer): Most beloved prayer to Allah after the obligatory.
Abu Hurairah (radiyallahu anhu) narrated that: Allah’s Messenger said: “The most virtuous fasting after the month of Ramadan is that of Allah’s month of Al-Muharram. And the most virtuous Salat after the obligatory is the night prayer.” 4
- Ad-Duha(forenoon prayer): Acts as a charity for the 360 joints in our bodies.
Abu Dharr (radiyallahu anhu) reported Allah’s Apostle as saying: “In the morning charity is due from every bone in the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah’s glorification is an act of charity. Every utterance of praise of Him is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Oneness is an act of charity, every utterance of profession of His Greatness is an act of charity, enjoining good is an act of charity, forbidding what is distreputable is an act of charity, and two rak’ahs which one prays in the forenoon will suffice.”5
- Sunan Al-Rawatib: Twelve extra sunnah prayers a day grants one a house in Jannah.
Umm Habibah (radiyallahu anha) narrated that Allah’s Messenger said: “Whoever prays twelve Rak’ah in a day and night, a house will be built from him in Paradise: Four Rak’ah before Zuhr, two Rak’ah after it, two Rak’ah after Maghrib, two Rak’ah after Isha, and two Rak’ah before Fajr in the morning Salat.” 6
- Witr: Allah loves the witr prayer, and it is a sunnah mu’akkada.
Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib (radiyallahu anhu): The Prophet said: Allah is single (witr) and loves what is single, so observe the witr, you who follow the Qur’an.
These are just some of them, and if we make it a habit to continually pray these nawafil we will not only be immensely rewarded, but will also be elevated in Jannah, in sha Allah.(Kindly research more on the timings of these prayers and how to pray them).
Rabi’ah bin Ka’b Al-Aslami (radiyallahu anhu) said:“I used to bring to the Messenger of Allah water for wudu and serve him. He said: ‘Ask of me.’ I said: ‘I want to be with you in Paradise.’ He said: ‘Is there anything else?’ I said: ‘That is all.’ He said: ‘Help me to fulfill your wish by prostrating a great deal.'” 7
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radiyallahu anhu) 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.'” 8
Anas bin Malik (radiyallahu anhu) said:“The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever sends salah upon me once, Allah will send salah upon him tenfold, and will erase ten sins from him, and will raise him ten degrees in status.” 9