Allah Subhanuhu wa-T'ala says in the Holy Quran:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ يَهْدِيهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِإِيمَانِهِمْ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهِمُ الأَنْهَارُ فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ
دَعْوَاهُمْ فِيهَا سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَتَحِيَّتُهُمْ فِيهَا سَلاَمٌ وَآخِرُ دَعْوَاهُمْ أَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Surely those who believe (in the truths revealed in the Book) and do righteous deeds their Lord will guide them aright because of their faith. Rivers shall flow beneath them in the Gardens of Bliss. Their cry in it will be: 'Glory be to You, Our Lord!', and their greeting: 'Peace!'; and their cry will always end with: 'All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe. (10:9-10)
The sequence of ideas presented here is quite significant because answers have been systematically provided to a number of highly relevant basic questions. Let us look at these answers in their sequence. Why will the righteous enter Paradise? The answer is: because they have followed the straight way in their worldly life. That is, in all matters and in every walk of life, in all affairs relating to the personal or collective life they have been righteous and have abstained from false ways.
This gives rise to another question: how were the righteous able to obtain a criterion that would enable them to distinguish, at every turn and crossroad of life, between right and wrong, between good and evil, between fair and unfair? And how did they come to have the strength to adhere to what is right and avoid what is wrong? All this, of course, came from their Lord Who bestowed upon them both the guidance which they needed to know the right way and the succour required to follow it. In answer to why their Lord bestowed upon them this guidance and succour, we are reminded that all this was in consideration for their faith.
It is also made clear that this reward is not in lieu of merely a verbal profession to faith, a profession that is no more than a formal acceptance of certain propositions. Rather, the reward is in consideration for a faith that became the moving spirit of a believer's character and personality, the force that led him lo righteous deeds and conduct. We can observe in our own physical lives that a person's survival, state of health, level of energy, and joy of living all depend upon sustenance from the right kind of food. This food, once digested, provides blood to the veins and arteries, provides energy to the whole body and enables the different limbs to function properly.
The same holds true of man's success in the moral domain. It is sound beliefs which ensure that he will have the correct outlook, sound orientation and right behaviour that will ultimately lead to his success. Such results, however, do not ensue from that kind of believing which either consists of a mere profession to faith, or is confined to some obscure corner of man's head or heart. The wholesome results mentioned above can only be produced by a faith which deeply permeates man's entire being, shaping his mental outlook, even becoming his instinct; a faith which is fully reflected in his character, conduct and outlook on life. We have just noted the importance of food. We know that the person who, in spite of eating remains like one who has not partaken of any food, would not be able to enjoy the healthy results that are the lot of the person who has fully assimilated what he ate. How can it be conceived that it would be different in the moral domain of human life? How can it be that he who remains, even after believing, like the one who does not believe, will derive the benefit and receive the reward meant for those whose believing leads to righteous living?
"...their cry will always end with: 'All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe."
This should remove any misconceptions about Paradise which seem to have been formed by some people of frail understanding. Subtly, the verse suggests that when people are admitted to Paradise, they will not instantly pounce upon the objects of their desire as the starved and hungry are wont to do when they observe food. Nor will they frantically go about giving vent to their lusts, impatiently demanding their cherished objects of enjoyment - beautiful women, wine, dissolute singing and music.
The fact is that the men of faith and righteousness who are admitted to Paradise will be those who, during their life in the world, have embellished their lives with sublime ideas and noble deeds, who have refined their emotions, who have oriented their desires in the right direction, and who have purified their conduct and character. Thus, the nobility which they have developed in their personalities will shine in even greater splendour when they set their feet in the pure and clean environment of Paradise. Those same traits which characterized their behaviour in the world will appear with even greater lustre.
The favourite occupation of such people in Paradise will be the same as during their life on the earth - to celebrate the praise of God. Likewise, their relationships in Paradise will be imbued with feelings of mutual harmony and concern for each other's well-being as had been the case in this world.
Jesus went into the wilderness beyond Jordan with his disciples, and when the midday prayer was done he sat down near to a palm-tree, and under the shadow of the palm-tree his disciples sat down. Then Jesus said: 'So secret is predestination, O brethren, that I say to you, truly, only to one man shall it be clearly known. He it is whom the nations look for, to whom the secrets of God are so clear that, when he comes into the world, blessed shall they be that shall listen to his words, because God shall overshadow them with his mercy even as this palm-tree overshadows us. Yes, even as this tree protects us from the burning heat of the sun, even so the mercy of God will protect from Satan them that believe in that man.'
The disciples answered, "O Master, who shall that man be of whom you speak, who shall come into the world?" Jesus answered with joy of heart: 'He is Muhammad;, Messenger of God, and when he comes into the world, even as the rain makes the earth to bear fruit when for a long time it has not rained, even so shall he be occasion of good works among men, through the abundant mercy which he shall bring. For he is a white cloud full of the mercy of God, which mercy God shall sprinkle upon the faithful like rain.'
Reference: The Gospel of Barnabas, Chapter 163
1496. Usamah bin Zaid (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He who is favoured by another and says to his benefactor: `Jazak-Allah khairan (may Allah reward you well)' indeed praised (the benefactor) satisfactorily.''
Commentary: If one is unable to return someone's kindness with kindness, he should say, "Jazak-Allahu khairan (may Allah reward you well).'' This means: "I am unable to reciprocate your kindness. May Allah grant you the best reward for it.'' Obviously there is no match for the reward that one gets from Allah. For this reason the Prophet (PBUH) said that it was the best of the praise for a benefactor.
1497. Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Do not invoke curses on yourself or on your children or on your possessions lest you should happen to do it at a moment when the supplications are accepted, and your prayer might be granted.''
Commentary: Almighty Allah always listens to everyone's prayer but He has fixed certain times when He grants more prayers addressed to Him. Therefore, one should never curse oneself or one's own children or one's own business, etc., lest this is done at the time when prayers are accepted by Allah and then one has to regret it all his life.
1498. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "A slave becomes nearest to his Rubb when he is in prostration. So increase supplications in prostrations.''
Commentary: This Hadith points out the exellence of supplicating while prostrating in Salat, as one gets closer to Allah in this position.
1499. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH), "The supplication of every one of you will be granted if he does not get impatient and say (for example): `I supplicated my Rubb but my prayer has not been granted'.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
The narration of Muslim is: "The supplication of a slave continues to be granted as long as he does not supplicate for a sinful thing or for something that would cut off the ties of kinship and he does not grow impatient.'' It was said: "O Messenger of Allah! What does growing impatient mean?'' He (PBUH) said, "It is one's saying: `I supplicated again and again but I do not think that my prayer will be answered.' Then he becomes frustrated (in such circumstances) and gives up supplication altogether.''
Commentary: We learn from this Hadith that one should continue beseeching Allah without ever thinking that in spite of praying for a long time, his prayer has not been granted. One should never allow frustration to overcome in his mind. If a person's supplication is not granted for a long time, there would be certainly some good for him in that delay the reason of which is known to Allah Alone. It is, therefore, essential that he should never cease to pray whether his prayer is granted or not. Persistence in prayer is certainly beneficial to him.
1500. Abu Umamah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was asked: "At what time does the supplication find the greatest response?'' He (PBUH) replied, "A supplication made during the middle of the last part of the night and after the conclusion of the obligatory prayers.''
Commentary: "Al-'Akhir'' is the characteristic of "Jauf'' and in the present context it means the late hours of night. "Jauf'' can also mean here "middle'', that is in the later-half of the night.
In other words, if the night is divided between two equal parts then it (Jauf) would be the middle of the second part. In either case it is the time of the night which in other Ahadith has been termed as the third part of the night. It is the time when Almighty Allah comes to descend on the sky of this world.
Prayers are also granted by Allah after the obligatory Salat.
1501. `Ubadah bin As-Samit (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Whenever a Muslim supplicates Allah, He accepts his supplication or averts any similar kind of trouble from him until he prays for something sinful or something that may break the ties of kinship.'' Upon this someone of the Companions said: "Then we shall supplicate plenty.'' The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Allah is more plentiful (in responding).''
Commentary: We learn from this Hadith that prayer (supplication) is beneficial to us in any case, because Almighty Allah either grants the prayer we make, or if the supplication is not being accepted, He removes some future trouble that was destined for us, or He grants us in full in the Hereafter.
A Muslim should never feel shy of praying to Allah. In fact, he should persistently pray because there is no end to His Treasures.
1502. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) used to say when he was in distress: "La ilaha illallahul-Azimul-Halim. La ilaha illallahu Rabbul-`Arshil-`Azim. La ilaha illallahu Rabbus-samawati, wa Rabbul-ardi, wa Rabbul-`Arshil-Karim. (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah the Incomparably Great, the Compassionate. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah the Rubb of the Mighty Throne. None has the right to be worshipped but Allah the Rubb of the heavens, the Rubb of the earth, and the Rubb of the Honourable Throne).''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: The only medicine in a time of distress is the remembrance of Allah Whose Help alone should be sought. This Du`a contains words which glorify Allah and exalt Him far above all else. It is desirable to recite these words when one is in distress as this is exactly what the Prophet (PBUH) used to recite in such situations.