|Islam teaches that Hell is a real place prepared by God for those who do not believe in Him, rebel against His laws, and reject His messengers. Hell is an actual place, not a mere state of mind or a spiritual entity. The horrors, pain, anguish, and punishment are all real, but different in nature than their earthly counterparts. Hell is the ultimate humiliation and loss, and nothing is worse than it: “Our Lord! Surely, whom You admit to the Fire, indeed You have disgraced him, and never will the wrongdoers find any helpers.” (Quran 3:192) “Know they not that whoever opposes God and His Messenger (Muhammad), certainly for him will be the Fire of Hell to abide therein? That is the extreme disgrace.” (Quran 9:63)
The Names of Hell
Hell Fire has different names in Islamic texts. Each name gives a separate description. Some of its names are:
Jaheem – fire – because of its blazing fire.
Jahannam – Hell – because of the depth of its pit.
Ladthaa – blazing fire – because of its flames.
Sa’eer – blazing flame – because it is kindled and ignited.
Saqar – because of the intensity of its heat.
Hatamah – broken pieces or debris – because it breaks and crushes everything that is thrown into it.
Haawiyah – chasm or abyss – because the one who is thrown into it is thrown from top to bottom
Paradise and Hell Presently Exist and are Eternal
Hell exists at the present time and will continue to exist forever. It will never die down, and its inhabitants will remain in it forever. No one will come out of Hell except sinful believers who believed in the Oneness of God in this life and believed in the specific prophet sent to them (before the coming of Muhammad). The polytheists and unbelievers will reside in it forever. This belief has been held from classical times and is based on clear verses of the Quran and confirmed reports from the Prophet of Islam. The Quran speaks of Hell in the past tense and states that it has already been created: “And fear the Fire which is prepared for the disbelievers.” (Quran 3:131) The Prophet of Islam said: “When any of you dies, he is shown his position (in the Hereafter) morning and evening. If he is one of the people of Paradise, he is shown the place of the people of Paradise. If he is one of the people of Hell, he is shown the place of people of Hell. He is told, ‘this is your position, until God resurrects you on the Day of Resurrection.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim) In another report, the Prophet said: “Surely, the soul of a believer is a bird hanging on the trees of Paradise, until God returns it to his body on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muwatta of Malik) These texts make it clear that Hell and Paradise exist, and that souls may enter them before the Day of Resurrection. Speaking of Hell’s eternity, God says: “They will long to leave the Fire, but never will they leave there from; and theirs will be a lasting torment.” (Quran 5:37) “…And they will never leave of the Fire.” (Quran 2:167) “Surely, those who disbelieve and did wrong; God will not forgive them, nor will He guide them to any way except the way of Hell, to dwell therein forever.” (Quran 4:168-169) “Surely, God has cursed the disbelievers, and has prepared for them a flaming Fire wherein they will abide for ever.” (Quran 33:64) “And whosoever disobeys God and His Messenger, then surely, for him is the fire of Hell, he shall dwell therein forever.” (Quran 72:23)
The Keepers of Hell
Mighty and stern angels stand over Hell who never disobey God. They do precisely as ordered. God says: “O you who believe, save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones over which are (appointed) angels, stern and severe, who flinch not (from executing) the commands they receive from God, but do (precisely what) they are commanded.” (Quran 66:6) They are nineteen keepers of Hell as God says: “Soon I will cast him into Hell Fire. And what will explain to you what is Hellfire? Nothing does it allow to endure, and nothing does it leave alone! Darkening and changing the color of man! Over it are nineteen (angels as keepers of Hell).” (Quran 74:26-30) One should not think that the inhabitants of Hell will be able to overcome the keepers of Hell because there are just nineteen of them. Everyone of them has the strength to subdue all humanity by himself. These angels are called the Guards of Hell by God in the Quran: “And those in the Fire will say to the Guards of Hell, ‘Call upon your Lord to lighten for us the torment for a day!’” (Quran 40:49) The name of the chief angel guarding over Hell is Malik, as mentioned in the Quran: “Surely, the disbelievers will be in the torment of Hell to abide therein forever. (The torment) will not be lightened for them, and they will be plunged into destruction with deep regrets, sorrows and in despair therein. We wronged them not, but they were the wrongdoers. And they will cry: ‘O Malik! Let your Lord make an end of us’ He will say: ‘Surely, you shall abide forever.’ Indeed We have brought the truth to you, but most of you have a hatred for the truth” (Quran 43:74-78)
|The intense heat, food, and drink of the people of Hell is described in Islamic religious sources.
God says: “And the companions of the left – what are the companions of the left? (They will be) in scorching fire and scalding water and a shade of black smoke, neither cool nor beneficial.” (Quran 56:41-44) Everything people use to cool down in this world – air, water, shade – will be useless in Hell. The air of Hell will be hot wind and the water will be boiling. The shade will not be comforting or cooling, the shade in Hell will be the shadow of black smoke as mentioned in the verse: “And shadow of black smoke.” (Quran 56:43) In another passage, God says: “But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be light, will have his home in a (bottomless) pit. And what will explain to you what this is? (It is) a Fire blazing fiercely.” (Quran 101:8-11) God describes how the shade of Hell’s smoke will rise above the Fire. The smoke that rises from Hell will be divided into three columns. Its shade will neither cool nor offer any protection from the raging Fire. The flying sparks will be like huge castles similar to string of marching yellow camels: “Proceed to a shadow (of smoke) having three columns (but having) no cool shade and availing not against the flame. Indeed, it throws sparks (as huge) as a fortress, as if they were yellow camels (marching swiftly).” (Quran 77:30-33) The Fire consumes everything, leaving nothing untouched. It burns skin reaching all the way to the bones, melting the contents of the stomach, leaping up to the hearts, and exposing the vital organs. God speaks of the intensity and affect of the Fire: “I will drive him into Hellfire. And what can make you know what is Hellfire? It lets nothing remain and leaves nothing (unburned), altering the skins.” (Quran 74:26-29) The Prophet of Islam said: “Fire as we know it is one seventieth part of the Fire of Hell. Someone said, ‘O Messenger of God, it is enough as it is!’ He said, ‘It is as if sixty-nine equal portions were added to fire as we know it.’” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari) The Fire never extinguishes: “So taste you (the results of your evil deeds). No increase shall We give you except in torment.” (Quran 78:30) “…Whenever it abates, We shall increase for them the fierceness of the Fire.” (Quran 17:97) The torment will never be reduced and the unbelievers will not have any break: “…Their torment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped.” (Quran 2:86)
The Food of its Inhabitants
The food of the people of Hell is described in the Quran. God says: “No food will there be for them except from a bitter, thorny plant which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger.” (Quran 88:6-7) The food will neither nourish nor taste good. It will only serve as a punishment to the people of Hell. In other passages, God describes the tree ofzaqqum, a special food of Hell. Zaqqum is a repulsive tree, its roots go deep into the bottom of Hell, its branches stretching all over. Its ugly fruit is like the heads of the devils. He says: “Indeed, the tree of zaqqum is food for the sinful, like murky oil, it boils within bellies, like the boiling of scalding water.” (Quran 44:43-46) “Is that (Paradise) better as hospitality or the tree ofzaqqum? Indeed, We have made it a torment for the wrongdoers. Indeed, it is a tree issuing from the bottom of the Hellfire, its emerging fruit as if it was heads of the devils. And, indeed, they will eat from it and fill with it their bellies. Then, indeed, they will have after it a mixture of scalding water. Then, indeed, their return will be to the Hellfire.” (Quran 37:62-68) “Then indeed you, O those astray (who are) deniers, will be eating from trees of zaqqum and filling with it your bellies, and drinking on top of it from scalding water, and will drink as the drinking of thirsty camels. That is their hospitality on the Day of Recompense.” (Quran 56:51-56) People of Hell will get so hungry that they will eat from the obnoxious tree of zaqqum. When they will fill their bellies with it, it will start to churn like boiling oil causing immense suffering. At that point they will rush to drink extremely hot water. They will drink it like thirsty camels, yet it will never quench their thirst. Rather their internals will be torn. God says: “…They will be given to drink boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels (to pieces).” (Quran 47:15) The thorny bushes and zaqqum will choke them and stick in their throats because of their foulness: “Surely, with us are fetters (to bind them) and a ranging Fire (to burn them), and a food that chokes and a penalty grievous.” (Quran 73:12-13) The Prophet of Islam said: “If a drop from zaqqum were to land in this world, the people of earth and all their means of sustenance would rot. So how must it be for one who must eat it?” (Tirmidhi) Another food served to the people of Hell will be festering puss that oozes out of their skin, the discharge that flows from the private parts of adulterers and the decaying skin and flesh of those being burnt. It is the “juice” of the people of Hell. God says: “So no friend has he here this Day, nor has he any food except filth from the washing of wounds which none do eat but those in sin.” (Quran 69:35-37) “This – so let them taste it – is scalding water and (foul) purulence. And other (punishments) of its type (in various) kinds.” (Quran 38:57-58) Lastly, some sinners will be fed fire from Hell as a punishment. God says: “Indeed, those who devour the property of orphans unjustly are only consuming into their bellies fire.” (Quran 4:10) “Indeed, they who conceal what God has sent down of the Book and exchange it for a small price – those consume not into their bellies except the Fire.” (Quran 2:174)
God tells in the Quran about the drink of people of Hell: “They will be given to drink boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels (to pieces).” (Quran 47:15) “…And if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky oil, which scalds (their) faces. Wretched is the drink, and evil is the resting place.” (Quran 18:29) “Before him is Hell, and he will be given a drink of purulent water. He will gulp it but will hardly (be able to) swallow it. And death will come to him from everywhere, but he is not to die. And before him is a massive punishment.” (Quran 14:16-17) “A boiling fluid and fluid dark, murky, intensely cold.” (Quran 38:57) The types of drink people of Hell will get to drink are as follows:
“They will go around between it and scalding water, heated (to the utmost degree).” (Quran 55:44) “They will be given drink from a boiling spring.” (Quran 88:5)
“Anyone who drinks intoxicants will be made to drink the mud of khabal. They asked, ‘O Messenger of God, what is the mud of khabal?’ He said, ‘The sweat of the people of Hell’ or the ‘juice of the people of Hell.’” (Saheeh Muslim)
“It is like boiling oil, when it is brought near a person’s face, the skin of the face falls off into it.” (Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi)
|The intensity of the fire of Hell will be such that people will be willing to give up their dearest possessions to escape it: “Indeed, those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers – never would the (whole) capacity of the earth in gold be accepted from one of them if he would (seek to) ransom himself with it. For those there will be a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers.” (Quran 3:91) The Prophet of Islam said: “One of the people of Hell who found most pleasure in the life of this world will be brought forth on the Day of Resurrection and will be dipped into the Fire of Hell. Then he will be asked, ‘O son of Adam, have you ever seen anything good?’ Have you ever enjoyed any pleasure?’ He will say, ‘No, by God, O Lord.” Few moments in Hell and the person will forget all the good times they had. The Prophet of Islam informs us: “On the Day of Resurrection, God will ask the one whose punishment in the Fire is lightest, ‘If you had whatsoever you wanted on earth, would you give it to save yourself?’ He will say, ‘Yes.’ God will say, ‘I wanted less than that from you when you were still in the loins of Adam, I asked you not to associate anything in worship with Me, but you insisted on associating others in worship with Me.’” The horror and intensity of the Fire is enough to make a man lose his mind. He would be willing to give up everything he holds dear to saved from it, but he never will be. God says: “The criminal will wish that he could be ransomed from the punishment of that Day by his children, and his wife and his brother, and his nearest kindred who shelter him, and all – all that is on earth – so it could save him. No! Indeed, it is the Flame (of Hell), plucking out (his being) tight to the skull!” (Quran 70:11-16) The punishments of Hell will vary in degree. The torment of some levels of Hell will be greater than others. People will be put in a level according to their deeds. The Prophet of Islam said: “There are some whom the Fire will reach their ankles, others up to their knees, others up to their waists, and yet others up to their necks.” He spoke of the lightest punishment in Hell: “The person who will receive the least punishment among the people of Hell on the Day Resurrection will be a man, a smoldering ember will be placed under the arch of his foot. His brains will boil because of it.” This person will think no one else is being punished more severely than himself, even though he will be the one receiving the lightest punishment. Many verses of the Quran speak of various levels of punishment for the people of Hell: “The hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire.” (Quran 4:145) “and on the Day that Judgment will be established (it will be said to the angels): Cast the people of Pharaoh into the severest penalty!” (Quran 40:46) The Fire kindled by God will burn the skin of the people of Hell. The skin is the largest organ of the body and the site of sensation where the pain of burning is felt. God will replace the burnt skin with a new one to be burnt again, and this will keep on repeating: “Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses – We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, God is ever Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Quran 4:56) Another punishment of Hell is melting. When super-heated water will be poured on their heads, it will melt away the internals: “…poured upon their heads will be scalding water by which is melted that within their bellies and (their) skins.” (Quran 22:19-20) Prophet Muhammad said: “Super-heated water will be poured onto their heads and will dissolve through it until it cuts up their innards, expelling them; until it comes out of their feet, and everything is melted. Then they will be restored as they were.” One of the ways God will humiliate the sinful in Hell is by gathering them on Judgment Day on their faces, blind, deaf, and dumb. “and We will gather them on the Day of Resurrection (fallen) on their faces – blind, dumb and deaf. Their refuge is Hell; every time it subsides We increase them in blazing fire.” (Quran 17:97) “And brings an evil deed — such will be flung down on their faces into the Fire, (and it will be said), ‘Are you recompensed for anything but what you used to do?’” (Quran 27:90) “The Fire will burn their faces and they will grin therein, their lips displaced.” (Quran 23:104) “The Day their faces will be turned over in the Fire, they will say, ‘How we wish we had obeyed God and obeyed the Messenger.’” (Quran 33:66) Another painful punishment of unbelievers will be getting dragged on their faces into Hell. God says: “Indeed, the criminals are in error and madness. The Day they are dragged into the Fire on their faces (it will be said), ‘Taste the touch of Hell.’” (Quran 54:47-48) They will be dragged on their faces while they are tied in chains and fettered: “Those who deny the Book (the Quran) and that with which We sent Our messengers – they are going to know, when the shackles are around their necks and the chains; they will be dragged in boiling water; then in the Fire they will be filled (with flame).” (Quran 40:70-72)|