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Al-Firdous is well-known as being the highest and loftiest part of Heaven (Jannah). A common dua recited, from the sunnah of the Prophet (saw) is: "O Allah, I ask You for al-Firdaws al-A‘la, the highest part of Jannah" (Allaahumma inni as’aluka al-Firdaws al-A‘la min al-Jannah)

Al-Firdous is also mentioned to be the home of the Prophets, martyrs, and highest scholars and the like.

In contrast, many of us will enter Jannah directly, and anyone can enter Jannah as long as they have an atom's worth of belief (Imaan) in their hearts, and this includes those of us who will enter Hell first until their sins have been removed, then be transferred to Jannah.

One IslamQA post (https://islamqa.info/en/135085) says:

It should be noted that one of the best means of attaining what you want and being saved from what you fear is supplication (du‘aa’), for supplication is worship

However this can easily be interpreted to be "Worship Allah by supplicating him as much as you can." I can make this literally happen by leaving my job and sitting in the mosque all day, or I can supplicate during my work, which may not help me focus on either supplication nor work, or I can supplicate when I get time to focus, which may be very little due to work, family, etc, so maybe I can supplicate during the 30 minute commute to/from work, but that's not much.

Given the above, each of the three proposed solutions having a good reason for/against, how do I ascertain where the balance is?

I can go into a lot of detail, so if you'd prefer to get to the crux of the question, jump to the TL;DR below: The following hadith implies that it's about sincerity of intentions.

It was narrated from Sahl ibn Haneef that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever asks Allaah sincerely for martyrdom, Allaah will cause him to reach the status of the martyrs even if he dies in his bed.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1909.

Question is, intentions must be followed by actions. How much effort do I put in to fulfil this? What are the sacrifices that are deemed appropriate?

Another hadith implies that it's effort:

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In Paradise there are one hundred degrees which Allaah has prepared for those who strive in jihad for the sake of Allaah. The distance between each two degrees is like the distance between the heavens and the earth.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2637.

Question here is, how much striving is extreme? And how much is not too little? Each person will give a different answer.

TL;DR: How can I make sure, to the best of my ability of course, that I'm heading towards not only Jannah, but Al-Firdous too, while avoiding extremes and other incorrect metrics of success?

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"However this can easily be interpreted..." - Actually, that would be an incorrect interpretation in context of all that Islam has said. That was not the point that IslamQA was making either.

Allah (ﷻ) never said to drop everything (e.g, job) and worship all day/night. He said the opposite.

وابتغ فيما آتاك الله الدار الآخرة ولا تنس نصيبك من الدنيا وأحسن كما أحسن الله إليك ولا تبغ الفساد في الأرض إن الله لا يحب المفسدين (But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world...) - Qur'an 28:77.

In one instance, three men said they would stop doing normal everyday activities (i.e., sleeping, eating or marrying) because they thought this detracts from their time to worship and makes their worship insufficient. But this was rejected by the Prophet (ﷺ). Such people would be neglecting their rights on their own body, on their family/dependents, etc.. which is wrong.

THUS, the people to enter Firdous are not those who just worship all day/night to extremes.

The people to enter Firdous are those who are sincere and the foremost in good.. as IslamQA said in the link you referenced. Being foremost in good doesn't mean "sitting in the Mosque all day" either, although the righteous love frequenting the masajid. Prophets, Martyrs and Scholars are certainly not just cooped up in the Masjid all day. They are out there in the world making differences in terms of speaking truth, standing for what is right, helping others, charity.

There are so many ways to do good throughout your day and strive for Allah's (ﷻ) sake. Someone wise would even take up a benevolent occupation that is helping the people/world, as that is not just earning you money for your expenses but also accumulating you good deeds!

  • Thank you for your answer. To my understanding, "speaking truth", etc is what a person does to enter Jannah. Is it "speaking the truth more" that enters one into Al-Firdous? Is it "speaking the truther truth"? Something else? – Ahmed Tawfik Apr 21 '18 at 15:57
  • Both. Doesn't have to be either-or. However, it's a known fact that doing something when it is more difficult is more loved by Allah. eg, speaking truth at a difficult time, feeding on a day of hunger, etc... these are beloved actions. – Muslimah يا رب العالمين Apr 21 '18 at 16:00
  • The problem with this answer is that it doesn't take into account going towards the extreme end. One can speak the utmost complete truth, every time. And it would be difficult, but one can get to that level. However, it can have massive consequences in other areas of life - e.g. No longer joking because most jokes involve deception/exaggeration/fictional instances. Is this consequence acceptable given that the goal is Al-Firdous? Thank you for your responses so far. :) – Ahmed Tawfik Apr 22 '18 at 10:08

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