‘Heaven and Hell’

Al-Ahmadiyya, June 1979 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 6, p. 2)

A rabbi died and a close friend of his met him in his dream a few days later.

“Rabbi, you know all the mysteries of the life hereafter now. Have you seen heaven and hell?”


said the rabbi.

“Oh, please, could I have a look at these places?”

“Well, if you insist, come with me.”

They approached a huge gate guarded by a fiercely looking being. The rabbi said to the gatekeeper:

“This friend of mine wants to see inside hell. Would you kindly open the gate for us for a little while?”

“Your friend would not like it, I assure you,”

said the gatekeeper,

“but I do not mind obliging you.”

And he opened the gate, and lo and behold! It was hell inside. A throng of people, fighting and shouting! And the whole place stank like a cess­pool.

For some time the friend of the rabbi could not under­stand what was going on there. Then he observed a big cauldron full of hot soup in the centre of the hall and the multitude of people around it holding spoons with large handles. Every one of them was hungry and wanted to drink the soup, but their huge spoons were not of much help. In their frantic effort to bring the soup to their mouths, they spilled the hot stuff over the other inmates of hell, burning their bodies, which resulted in screaming and fighting, and the mad rush towards the cauldron continued for the hot soup.

The rabbi’s friend watched this wretched scene for a few minutes and then said:

“That is enough.  Now let me have a glimpse of what it is like in paradise.”

So they reached the gate of heaven and requested a handsome smiling gatekeeper if they could have a peep inside. 

“Of course,”

he said.

Come on in.”

They entered a similar big hall as they had seen before, with a huge cauldron in the centre with hot soup. The only differ­ence was that there was no pushing, shouting or fighting. Decently-clad folks sat around the pot in a peaceful and joyous atmosphere. 

“But, what is it?”

the friend asked the rabbi.

“I don’t understand.”

“Let’s see what they are doing,”

said the rabbi. And they stepped forward.

All of them were holding large spoons, but instead of every person trying to feed himself (which obviously he could not do), he was feeding the person sitting opposite to him and his compatriot on the other side was reciprocating this kind gesture. They were all living in peace by cooperating with and helping each other.

“Oh yes, I know now, what heaven is,”

said the rabbi’s friend, and woke up.