Assalamualaikum w.b.t. My question is, is the gate of al-Rayyan which meant for those who fast a lot specialized for the nation (ummah) of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH only, or is the nation (ummah) of other prophets may enter it as well?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
One of the blessings of Allah SWT upon His servants is every person will enter paradise through the gate of his deeds. One of the gates is the gate of al-Rayyan which specially meant for those who fast a lot. This is in accordance with a hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurairah RA. The Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ أَنْفَقَ زَوْجَيْنِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ نُودِيَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِ الْجَنَّةِ يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ، هَذَا خَيْرٌ. فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الصَّلاَةِ دُعِيَ مِنْ باب الصَّلاَةِ، وَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجِهَادِ دُعِيَ مِنْ باب الْجِهَادِ، وَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الصِّيَامِ دُعِيَ مِنْ باب الرَّيَّانِ، وَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الصَّدَقَةِ دُعِيَ مِنْ باب الصَّدَقَةِ
"Whoever gives two kinds (of things or property) in charity for Allah's Cause, will be called from the gates of Paradise and will be addressed, 'O slaves of Allah! Here is prosperity.' So, whoever was amongst the people who used to offer their prayers, will be called from the gate of the prayer; and whoever was amongst the people who used to participate in Jihad, will be called from the gate of Jihad; and whoever was amongst those who used to observe fasts, will be called from the gate of Ar-Rayyan; whoever was amongst those who used to give in charity, will be called from the gate of charity."
Sahih al-Bukhari (1897) and Sahih Muslim (1027)
Imam al-Nawawi upon commenting on this hadeeth stated that every person will enter from the gates of his deeds due to his consistent acts of worship like prayer, fasting and others. (Refer Al-Minhaj Syarh Sohih Muslim, 6/100)
This means, if a true worshipper of Allah (mu’min) does the act of worship consistently, he will be welcomed to enter the Paradise from any specific gates meant for him. In fact, Al-Hafiz Ibnu Hajar said that apart of the mentioned gates, there are other gates as well like the gates of Hajj, dhikr, knowledge, and the right side is the gate of tawakkal which meant for those who enter Paradise without being judged. (Refer Fath AL-Bari Syarh Sohih Al-Bukhari, 7/37)
Referring to the above question, the hadeeth mentioned is taken by its general meaning. It means that the gate of Al-Rayyan will also be entered by the ummah of other prophets as well. Specialized unseen things (ghaibiyyat) require evidence or excerpts of the Quran and Sunnah. If there is none, then the mentioned hadeeth will be applied based on its general meaning. A legal maxim mentions:
إِذَا وُرِدَ في النَّصِّ الشَّرْعِي لَفْظ عامٌ وَلَمْ يَقُمْ دَلِيلٌ عَلَى تَخْصِيصِه، وَجَبَ حَمْلُهُ على عُمُومِه
“If the excerpt of syara’ uses general words and there is no other evidence found specifying the issue, then it sticks compulsorily on the general meaning”
Syeikh Muhammad Abdurrahman Al-Mubarakfuri stated that the gate (gate of Al-Rayyan) is meant for mu’min who fast a lot. (Refer Tuhfah Al-Ahwazi Syarh Jami’Al-Tirmizi, 19/147)
This means, every nation (ummah) before the Prophet Muhammad PBUH is eligible to enter the gate of Al-Rayyan as long as they believe in Allah SWT. However, the earliest nation to enter the Paradise is the nation of Muhammad PBUH. This is generally based on the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurairah RA. The Prophet PBUH said:
نَحْنُ الآخِرُونَ الأَوَّلُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَنَحْنُ أَوَّلُ مَنْ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ بَيْدَ أَنَّهُمْ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا وَأُوتِينَاهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ
“We are the last (but) we would be the first on the Day of Resurrection, and we would be the first to enter Paradise, but that they were given the Book before us and we were given after them.”
Sahih Muslim (855)
In conclusion, the gate of Al-Rayyan is not specialized for the nation of The Prophet Muhammad PBUH only. It will be entered by the nations of other prophets as well. This is because, the mentioned hadeeth stated general saying on this and there is no specialization for the nation of Muhammad PBUH.
May Allah grant the understanding of this religion to us all. Wallahua’lam.