The Last Person to Enter Paradise
Regarding the last person to enter Jannat, it is narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated the following:
The bridge of hell has seven arches. The distance between each pair of arches is equal to that of a journey taking seventy years, while the width of the bridge is like the sharp edge of a sword. The first group of people will cross over it as quickly as it takes to blink an eye. The second group, at the speed of a brief flash of lightning; the third group, at the speed of a violent gust of wind; the fourth group, at the speed of a man in a hurry; as for the seventh, they will cross over it at an ordinary walking pace.
When all seven groups have crossed over, one man will still be waiting, which means that he will be the very last person to cross that bridge. “Cross over!” he will be told, so he will set his two feet upon it, but one of them will slip. Then he will straddle the bridge and try crawling along it on his knees, but the Fire of Hell will lick at his hair and his skin as he does so.
He will continue to wriggle along on his belly, for his other foot will slip, leaving him with one hand holding fast, while the other hand dangles loose. The Fire of Hell will try to burn him, so he will suppose that he has no chance of escaping from its clutches. Nevertheless, he will continue to wriggle along on his belly until he finally succeeds in getting beyond its reach. As soon as he is clear of it, he will look at it and say, “Blessed be the One who has delivered me from you! I cannot imagine that my Lord has ever given anyone, in ancient or recent times, the likes of what He has given me! He did indeed deliver me from you, after I had seen you and met you face to face!”
One of the angels will then approach him, take him by the hand and lead him to a fountain in front of the entrance of Jannat. The angel will say to him, “Bathe yourself in this fountain, and drink from it.” He will thereupon bathe himself in the fountain and take a drink from it. As he does so, the sweet aroma of the people of Jannat will keep wafting toward him. Then the angel will lead him away and make him stand at the door of Hell, saying to him, “Stand here and wait, until you receive permission from your Lord.”
While he is standing there, he will catch sight of the occupants of Hell. He will hear them howling like dogs, so he will weep as he pleads, “O my Lord, turn my face away from the people of the Fire of Hell. I shall never ask You, O my Lord, for any other favour.” That same angel will then come to him from the presence of the Lord of All the Worlds. The angel will turn his face away from Hell and at that point the place where the man will be standing there will be no more than a footstep away from Jannat. So he will find himself looking directly at the door of Jannat and will discover that the two side-posts of the door are very far apart. In fact they will be so far apart that even the swiftest of birds would take forty years to fly from one of them to the other.
The man will then make a request to his Lord, saying, “O my Lord, You have indeed treated me with the utmost kindness. You have delivered me from the Fire of Hell, and You have averted my face from the inhabitants of Hell and turned it towards the Garden of Paradise. Between me and the door of Jannat there is now but a single footstep, so I beg You, O my Lord through Your Might and Glory, to let me enter the door. I shall not ask You for anything other than this.”
That same angel will then come to him again from the presence of the Allah and will say, “O son of Adam, you are so untrue to your word! Did you not insist that you would not ask for anything else?” The man will respond, “By the Might and Glory of the Lord, I shall not ask for anything else!” The angel will thereupon take him by the hand and cause him to enter the door, and will then fly away, returning to the presence of Allah Ta’ala.
Now that he is inside Jannat, he will look to his right and left, scanning an area that extends to the distance of a whole year’s journey, yet he will not see anyone there. In all that space, he will see nothing but trees and fruit, and the nearest tree will be just one footstep away from the spot on which he is standing. As he looks at that tree, he will notice that its trunk is of gold and its branches of bright silver, that the leaves are like the finest ornaments any human being ever saw, that its fruits are creamier than butter and sweeter than honey, and that its aroma is more fragrant than musk.
He will be utterly bewildered by all the sights he sees. He will therefore say, “O my Lord, You have delivered me from the Fire of Hell and allowed me to enter the door of Paradise, so you have treated me with the utmost kindness. The distance between me and this tree is merely a footstep; I shall ask you for nothing else apart from permission to take that one step.”
That same angel will thereupon come to him and will say, “You are so untrue to your word. O son of Adam! Did you not insist that you would not ask for anything more? So what do you mean by making this extra request, and what has become of the solemn oath you swore? Do you not feel any sense of shame?” The angel will thereupon take him by the hand and transport him to the least imposing of all the dwellings assigned to him. To his amazement, he will find this to be a palatial mansion, built of pearls, that stretches before him to the distance of a full year’s journey.
As soon as he arrives there however, and surveys the scene in front of him, he will find himself looking at another dwelling place, at which point that pearly mansion, along with everything else that is now behind him, will seem to him like a dream. Once he has seen it he will be unable to control himself so he will say, “O my Lord, I am asking You to grant me this dwelling, and I shall not ask You for anything else.”
One of the angels will thereupon come to him and say, “O son of Adam, did you not commit yourself to the solemn oath you swore by your Lord? You are so untrue to your word. Nevertheless, the dwelling is yours.” As soon as he arrives there however, and surveys the scene in front of him, he will find himself looking at yet another dwelling place, at which point the previous one will seem to him like a dream. So he will say, “O my Lord, I am asking You to grant me this dwelling.”
That same angel will then come to him and say, “O son of Adam, what is the matter with you? Do you never fulfil a solemn vow? Did you not insist that you would not ask for anything else?” Nevertheless the angel will not reproach him too severely, because it will be quite obvious to him that the poor man is almost beside himself through being exposed to such marvels and wonders. So the angel will tell him, “It is yours!”
At this point yet another dwelling place will suddenly appear in front of him and those he saw previously will seem to him like a dream. He will therefore be left too dumbfounded to express himself in coherent speech. That same angel will then come to him and will ask, “Why are you not making a request to your Lord now?” The man will reply, “May Allah Bless you! By Allah I have already given my oath to the Lord of Might and Glory on so many occasions that I now feel afraid of Him. I have asked Him for so much that I now feel a sense of shame.”
At this point Allah Ta’ala will say to the man, “Will it please you if I grant you ten times more than everything in the whole world, from the day when I created it till the day when I caused it to be no more?” The man will reply, “O my Lord, can You be making fun of me, when You are the Lord of the Worlds?” Allah Ta’ala will then say to him, “I am indeed Capable of doing it, so ask Me for whatever you wish!” At this point the man will reply, “O my Lord, allow me join the company of human beings.”
An angel will thereupon come and take him by the hand and will walk with him into the Garden of Paradise until something will become apparent to him, something the like of which he has never seen. At the sight of this vision, he will immediately prostrate himself saying, “My Lord has manifested Himself to me!” The angel will then say to him, “Lift up your head. This is your dwelling place, although it is only the least of your dwellings.” This man who will be the last to enter Jannat will be referred to as “that poor fellow” by the other inhabitants of Jannat.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us good in this world and the hereafter and guard us against the torment of the Fire, Ameen.
[Compiled from Ghunyalit Taalibi Tareeqal Haq by Hazrat Shaikh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh]