Last Updated: 2018/10/22
Summary of question
In the second Surah of the Quran, it is stated that:" Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: "Why, this is what we were fed with before". What reality does this verse address?
Salamun alaikum. In the Quran it is stated that when people will enter jannah [heaven] they will say they have seen similar things before. What does that mean?
Concise answer
About the day of resurrection and bounties which will be granted to practicing Muslims, the Quran says: "But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is Gardens, beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: "Why, this is what we were fed with before [but these are quite better] and they have therein companions pure (and holy); and they abide therein (for ever)" [1]
Here as in many other verses, faith and good deeds are introduced as two values which should always go together and accompany, none of which suffices alone. In other words, it can be said that the relation between faith and good deeds is similar to the relation between the spirit and the body and God will accept only those deeds which emanate from faith in Him, otherwise it is worth nothing spiritually. Moreover, faith not leading to good deeds has no value as faith without good deeds is unable to bring salvation to man.
For more information concerning the reality of faith and if good deed is part of the concept of faith or it has another reality, see: The Concept of Faith, 120, Degrees of Faith, 26716
Anyway, in this verse, God gives glad tidings to those with both faith and good deeds that they will receive four heavenly bounties. The nature of heavenly bounties is not clear for us. However, to have a relative understanding and a perspective, heavenly bounties have been compared to bounties in this world which is stated in terms comprehensible for us.
These four bounties stated as the reward for faith and good deeds are:
1-Gardens with rivers under their trees:  Flow of water not only irrigates trees, plants and flowers, it is pleasant to the eyes of beholders. This pleasure exists in heaven as well.
2-Heavenly fruits: Dwellers of heaven will have different fruits. A characteristic of heavenly fruits is that they do not have low quality kind. They have the same color, taste and size and no one can be preferred; so each time dwellers of heaven have fruits they say it is the same [fruit] they had before. They are given similar fruits.
3- Pure spouses: In the heaven people will be granted wives who are pure and sinless. Man will take great pleasure seeing them and living with them. These are the same houris [beautiful virgins] stated in other verses. See: Houris and marriage, 789; Houris for intimates and companions of the right hand, 36835
4- Eternity: In the heaven, each bounty even an important one, is worth nothing if it is not permanent and man will be upset to lose it although he has it for some time. Pleasure of having a bounty is not worth the agony after it is gone. However, bounties in heaven are eternal so this fact doubles the pleasure[2].
For the phrase "They say: this is what we were fed with before", interpreters have offered some probabilities:
1-Since fruits of heaven, although picked from trees, will grow again by divine will. So based on this principle dwellers of heaven will be boggled when they have a fruit and see it return to its place and they say in surprise it is what we have been granted before[3].
2- This verse means they have been granted these bounties before (in this world)[4].
3- This verse means: these fruits are similar to fruits we have been granted before in heaven. In other words, they know these new fruits are different from fruits in the past. But since they have the same color, taste, smell and indescribable quality, they are likened to fruits in the past[5].
However it is not impossible to accept all these interpretations together; since quranic terms have different esoteric meanings. It has been discussed earlier that a term can be used in more than one meaning which is in no way problematic[6].
The phrase "for they are given things in similitude" has some interpretations as follow:
1- Fruits of heaven have the same color but they have different taste[7].
2-All fruits of heaven are of similarly high quality. There is no low quality fruit among them[8].
3- Some fruits of heaven are similar to fruits in this world. However, fruits of heaven are better and they smell better[9].
4- Due to resemblance between some fruits in the heaven in their qualities and features and the pleasure derived from them, the term "in similitude" has been applied[10].
5- Due to the similarity of all fruits in heaven, "in similitude” has been applied[11].  

[1]  Quran, Baghara no.25
[2] See: Ja”fari, Yaqoob, Kowthat, vol.1, pp.101-103, Bija, Bita
[3] Tabarsi, Fazl bin Hassan, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafseer al-Quran, a prologue by Balaghi Muhammad Javad, vol.1, p.162, Tehran, Naser Khosro, third impression, 1993 (this interpretation quotes Abi Obaida and Yahya bin Kathir)
[4]  Ibid (Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas’ood have this viewpoint)
[5] Ibid (Hassan Basri and Wasel ibn Ata have this viewpoint)
[6] Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Tafsir-e Nemoune, vol.1, p.140, Darol Kotob al-Islamiya, Tehran, first edition, 1995
[7] Ibid (Ibn Abbas and Mojahed)
[8] Ibid (Qatada and Hassan Basri)
[9]  Ibid (Akrama)
[10] Ibid (Abi Moslem)
[11] Ibid
Question translations in other languages
Please enter the value
Example : Yourname@YourDomane.ext
Please enter the value

Thematic Category

Random questions

  • What is the Quranic perspective about the People of the Book?
    3334 Exegesis 2014/01/27
    The Quran, like many other eloquent speeches, have organized its words on the basis of their audience's needs. In this connection, the personality, conducts, belief etc. of the audience have been taken into consideration. The Holy Quran has addressed the People of the Book in the same ...
  • How should one, who has masturbated, repent? What are the ways through which one can make up for the physical and spiritual harms of masturbation?
    18987 Laws and Jurisprudence 2011/08/10
    Sins are like an ill-smelling putrid bog. The deeper a person goes into it the less he feels its disgusting smell because his smelling taste ceases to function properly. However, a person's firm decision to discontinue lusting is by itself a victory.Masturbation has been considered to be one of ...
  • Which animals and insects have been named in the Quran?
    38687 Exegesis 2009/12/16
    Approximately 35 animals have been named in the Quran; the birds and insects of which are:Salwa (سلوی)=The quail (Baqarah:57), Ba’uth (بعوض)=Mosquito (Baqarah:26), Dhubab (ذباب)=Fly (Hajj:73), Nahl (نحل)=Honeybee (Nahl:68), Ankabut (عنکبوت)=Spider (Ankabut:41), Jarad (جراد)=Grasshopper (A’raf:133), HudHud (هدهد)=Hoopoe (Naml:20), Ghurab (غراب)=Crow (Ma’idah:31), Ababil (ابابیل)= probably ‘Swallow’ (Fil:3), Naml (نمل)=Ant ...
  • where did secularism or the belief in the separation of religious and civil affairs emerge from?
    3180 Modern 2008/11/19
    During the renascence Christian believers came to the realization that their religion, with all the shortcomings it had, could not meet the modern social and political needs; therefore, secularism took shape.Secularism can be considered as the legitimate child of western civilization since Christianity, having gotten distracted and intermingled with ...
  • Does a virgin girl need to get her father’s permission for marriage?
    3304 Laws and Jurisprudence 2011/12/20
    The maraje’ consider the permission of the father or paternal grandfather [in the case of her not having a father] of a virgin girl necessary for her marriage[1].[2] The baligh virgin girl who can distinguish between what is ...
  • Does belching out what one has eaten invalidate the fast?
    2902 Laws and Jurisprudence 2010/08/01
    If one who is fasting belches out something and it comes into the mouth, if he swallows it again, it will invalidate his fast no matter how little it is and he has to make up for it and also make kaffarah (either fast 60 ...
  • What is the reason behind the impurity of semen and urine?
    5674 بیشتر بدانیم 2014/04/20
    We must keep in mind that all of the divine laws are based upon securing the interests of mankind and keeping them away from harms. This means that nothing is lawful and unlawful without reason and it is not the case that things have been applied without ...
  • What would have happened if the Caliphate had fallen into the hands of Imam Ali (as)?
    3768 Traditional 2011/05/18
    Certainly, Imam Ali’s (as) greatest concern would have been to continue the way of the Holy Prophet (saw) and guard the path of hidayah (guidance) and true Islam, so that mankind could reach sa’adah (salvation) both in this world and the next. The Holy Prophet ...
  • Is questioning pervasive and all-encompassing? What does questioning of prophets mean?
    1879 دلائل عقلی و نقلی معاد 2015/05/03
    An important issue discussed in religious texts in connection with the Day of Resurrection is the subject of questioning on this very day. What is actually inferred from Quranic verses and prophetic traditions is that the questioning is pervasive and it is there for everyone; it is ...
  • I would like to know who was the first scholar who presented the concept of Wilayat Al- Faqih?
    4545 Laws and Jurisprudence 2007/01/24
    The concept of “Wilayate Faqih” means the government of an Islamic society which is headed by someone who has reached the level of Ijtihad (Ability to answer contemporary questions based on Islamic concepts and values by referring to main Islamic sources: Quran and Sunnat in Islamic law). ...