#317: The First Meal of the People of Paradise


Assalamualaikum ustaz. What is the first meal of the people who enter paradise? I once heard that it is a whale’s liver. Is this true? Hope for an explanation.


Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

In answering this question, matters that are included in the matters of the unseen and sam’iyyat, we should refer to the divine revelation and Hadyun Nabawi.

The above question’s answer can be found in a long hadith where Rasullullah PBUH was visited by a rabbi who came and asked him several questions. Here, we cited the narration:

عن ثوبان مولى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حدثه قال:كُنْتُ قائِمًا عِنْدَ رَسولِ اللهِ ﷺ فَجاءَ حِبْرٌ مِن أحْبارِ اليَهُودِ فَقالَ: السَّلامُ عَلَيْكَ يا مُحَمَّدُ فَدَفَعْتُهُ دَفْعَةً كادَ يُصْرَعُ منها فَقالَ: لِمَ تَدْفَعُنِي؟ فَقُلتُ: ألا تَقُولُ يا رَسولَ اللهِ، فَقالَ اليَهُودِيُّ: إنَّما نَدْعُوهُ باسْمِهِ الذي سَمّاهُ به أهْلُهُ. فَقالَ رَسولُ اللهِ ﷺ: إنَّ اسْمِي مُحَمَّدٌ الذي سَمّانِي به أهْلِي، فَقالَ اليَهُودِيُّ: جِئْتُ أسْأَلُكَ، فَقالَ له رَسولُ اللهِ ﷺ: أيَنْفَعُكَ شيءٌ إنْ حَدَّثْتُكَ؟ قالَ: أسْمَعُ بأُذُنَيَّ، فَنَكَتَ رَسولُ اللهِ ﷺ بعُودٍ معهُ، فَقالَ: سَلْ فَقالَ اليَهُودِيُّ: أيْنَ يَكونُ النّاسُ يَومَ تُبَدَّلُ الأرْضُ غيرَ الأرْضِ والسَّمَواتُ؟ فَقالَ رَسولُ اللهِ ﷺ: هُمْ في الظُّلْمَةِ دُونَ الجِسْرِ قالَ: فمَن أوَّلُ النّاسِ إجازَةً؟ قالَ: فُقَراءُ المُهاجِرِينَ قالَ اليَهُودِيُّ: فَما تُحْفَتُهُمْ حِينَ يَدْخُلُونَ الجَنَّةَ؟ قالَ: زِيادَةُ كَبِدِ النُّونِ، قالَ: فَما غِذاؤُهُمْ على إثْرِها؟ قالَ: يُنْحَرُ لهمْ ثَوْرُ الجَنَّةِ الذي كانَ يَأْكُلُ مِن أطْرافِها قالَ: فَما شَرابُهُمْ عليه؟ قالَ: مِن عَيْنٍ فِيها تُسَمّى سَلْسَبِيلًا قالَ: صَدَقْتَ.

Thauban, the freed slave of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), said: While I was standing beside the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) one of the rabbis of the Jews came and said: Peace be upon you, O Muhammad. I pushed him back with a push that he was going to fall. Upon this, he said: Why do you push me? I said: Why don’t you say: O Messenger of Allah? The Jew said: We call him by the name by which he was named by his family. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: My name is Muhammad with which I was named by my family. The Jew said: I have come to ask you (something). The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Should that thing be of any benefit to you if I tell you that? He (the Jew) said: I will lend my ears to it. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) drew a line with the help of the stick that he had with him and then said: Ask (whatever you like). Thereupon the Jew said: Where would the human beings be on the Day when the earth would change into another earth and the heavens too (would change into other heavens)? The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: They would be in the darkness beside the Bridge. He (the Jew) again said: Who amongst people would be the first to cross (this bridge).? He said: They would be the poor amongst the refugees. The Jew said: What would constitute their breakfast when they would enter Paradise? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: A caul of the fish-liver. He (the Jew) said. What would be their food alter this? He (the Holy Prophet) said: A bullock which was fed in the different quarters of Paradise would be slaughtered for them. He (the Jew) said: What would be their drink? He (the Holy Prophet) said: They would be given drink from the fountain which is named” Salsabila”. The Jew said: What you have said is true,” [1]

In explaining the above hadith, Imam al-Nawawi said: “Regarding the phrase ‘فَمَا تُحْفَتُهُمْ’, it is what is specially granted to a person and given honourably. Ibrahim al-Halabi said it is a part of the most delicious fruits.” [2]

Imam al0Nawawi also said: Al-Nun is a fish in the sea according to the agreement of scholars. While the phrase ‘زَائِدَة كَبِد’ is the best slice of fish from its liver. And this is the most delicious part. [3]

Some scholars said, the word nun means a whale or huge fish.

Thus, in answering the above question, among the first meals of the people of paradise are:

  • A potion from the most delicious part of a fish liver.
  • A bullock.
  • Tears that are named salsabila.

In another narration, when the people of paradise enter paradise, especially for those who fasted in Ramadhan and always perform the sunnah fasting, then they will enter through the door of Rayyan where after drinking the water, they’ll never be thirsty again.

From Sahl RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ بَابًا يُقَالُ لَهُ الرَّيَّانُ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ الصَّائِمُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ يُقَالُ أَيْنَ الصَّائِمُونَ فَيَقُومُونَ لَا يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ فَإِذَا دَخَلُوا أُغْلِقَ فَلَمْ يَدْخُلْ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ

 “There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry, the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.” [4]

According to Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari, the meaning of al-Rayyan is that he himself won’t feel thirsty for there are numerous rivers that flow in it and fruits beside him or that he wouldn’t feel thirsty in the hereafter. [5]

We end this discussion with the supplication.

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّا نَسْأَلُكَ رِضَاكَ وَالْجَنَّةَ ، وَنَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ سَخَطِكَ وَالنَّارِ

“O Allah, we ask from You, Your blessings and paradise. And we seek refuge from You from Your wrath and hellfire.”

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] Narrated by Muslim (315)

[2] See Syarh al-Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim, 2/14

[3] See Syarh al-Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim, 2/15

[4] Narrated by al-Bukhari (1896)

[5] See Mirqat al-Mafatih, 4/1361