Heaven and Hell
The Koran abounds in references to "the Fire," "the Burning," and "the Gardens beneath which rivers flow." Beyond the Koran, many hadith (sayings) and other, later records of oral traditions develop Islamic eschatology. The account of Muhammad's Ascension, which retraces the Prophet's progress from hell to paradise, resembles Asian and European accounts in organization and vividness. In the late eighth century, the Sufi mystic Rabi ah of Basra claimed that neither fear of hell nor hope for heaven befit the pious soul: "O God! if I worship Thee in fear of Hell, burn me in Hell; and if I worship Thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise; but if I worship Thee for Thine own sake, withhold not Thine everlasting beauty!"
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Alan E. Bernstein