What Are the Seven Levels of Heaven?

The idea that there are seven or more levels of heaven, or even seven separate heavens, is prevalent in many major world religions. The earliest recorded versions of heavens that are intended for humanity rather than the homes of the gods are in the Hindu puranas, which mention the vyahrtis, the higher worlds or heavens. The Hindu heavens include Satyaloka, the abode of Brahma; Janaloka, the world for life-long celibates; and Svarloka, home to bards and other pious beings.

In early Judeo-Christian traditions, the heavens are always considered to be multiple, but the number varies according to the source consulted. The seven heavens are found in an apocryphal book of scripture, 2 Enoch, which relates Enoch’s journey through the heavens. Some of these heavens are described as being like natural features, such as Vilon, or curtain, which is the veil that hides the other heavens from human view. Another example is Zebul, or habitation, which is the place of the celestial bodies. Others are dwelling places for various levels of angels and human souls, including Makhon, the City, where the angels governing the world and nature live, and Raki’a, where souls awaiting judgement must stay.

Islam adopted the idea of seven levels of heaven from its Judeo-Christian roots, but while the seven levels of heaven are briefly mentioned in the Quran, their details are most fully realized in the Hadith. Here, the seven levels are described as being home to many notable biblical prophets and patriarchs, including Abraham, Jesus, John the Baptist, Adam and Moses, who the Prophet Muhammed meets as he travels through the heavens.