The following excerpt is taken from “Exposition of the Quran” by Ghulam Ahmed Pervez under the term Jannah in the index:
It is usually translated as heaven or paradise, though this does not properly convey the Quranic concept of the term.
A garden of dates and grapes was called as Jannah; if a garden had other fruit-trees, but not dates and grapes, then it was called hadeeqa. Raghib says that every garden whose ground is not visible because of undergrowth of bushes is called Jannah.
The word Jannah has been used in the quran extensively to convey a definite concept; the social order, which results by following the Quranic way of life. Jannah is established both in this world and the hereafter.
While narrating the story of Adam, the Holy Quran says that Adam was living in al Jannah, where he could eat as much as he liked and from anywhere, but was warned not to go near shajara (2:35). In other words, Jannah denotes a social order where each and everything can be had without undue labor. These things, however, are to be utilised within the limits laid down by Allah – (hudood-ullah). If that limit is respected, then there would be no end to these bounties and the sources would never exhaust.
As far as life after death is concerned, the Holy Quran says, “No one knows or can perceive what is kept hidden for his joy, as a reward for what he had done in this world (17:32).” However, some of the things in al Jannah are explained in symbolic form (13:35), as human beings are not capable of perceiving or comprehending these things otherwise. In order to obtain al Jannah in life after death, one must develop his personality in this world; only then is he capable of reaching the stage of al Jannah. Al Jannah is not the end of the growth of human personality, as stated in verse 57:12. Those who fail to develop their personalities to the required degree would fall into Jahannam. It may be noted that al Jannah or Jahannam are not places or stations, but denote state of mind, which e cannot comptehend with our present senses of perception.