“Gardens (jannāt)” being indefinite reads out to the minds of listeners: “[The gardens] contain what no eye has seen, nor any ear heard, nor has occurred to the heart of man.”1 It also refers it to the listeners’ minds so that they may all conceive of it in a manner they find pleasing. Furthermore, it is as though the indefinite is a substitute for “there will be there all that the souls could desire.”(43:71)
“Flow (tajrī):” as is known, the most beautiful of gardens are those which have water; and the most beautiful of these are those in which the water is flowing; and the most beautiful of these are those in which the flow of water is perpetual. Thus, the word “flow” conjures up the picture of continuously running water.
As for “beneath which (min taḥtihā),” you know that the most beautiful of running water is that which flows through plants and shrubs, gushing out pure and clear from the garden, and flowing gurgling beneath its pavilions and in many rivulets among the trees. “Beneath which” indicates these three [that is, the waters flowing beneath the gardens, the pavilions, and the trees].
“Rivers (al-anhār):” running water in gardens is most beautiful if plentiful, and it is most pleasing if in the form of rivulets chasing each other, and if these are symmetrical they increase the charm and beauty of that part. But most beautiful of all is when the water is deliciously sweet and cold, as in the verse: “of waters incorruptible.”(47:15) The plural form and use of the definite indicate the above.
The sentence “Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: ‘Why, this is what we were fed with before’ (kullamā ruziqū minhā min thamaratin rizqan qālū hādhā alladhī ruziqnā min qablu):”
You should be aware that the parts of [this sentence] include many implied sentences [or phrases]. Since it is not tied to the preceding sentence (istīnāf), it is the answer to an implied question, and this question is a mixture of eight successive questions. For when given the good news of such a lofty dwelling-place, it occurs to the listener: “Will there be food there or not?” And if there is food, where will it come from and how will it be obtained? And if it is to be obtained from the garden, what does it consist of? And if it is its fruits, do they resemble the fruit of this world? And if they do resemble it, do they resemble each other? And if those fruits do resemble each other, are their tastes different? And if they are different,
From Abu Huraira; see, al-Bukhārī, Muslim no: 2824; al-Tirmidhī no: 3195. See, Ishārāt al-I‘jāz [Iḥsān Qāsim], 199.