Mar 15, 2012

Have You Thought About Hell Lately?

By Jean Cooksey


If you are like me, you don’t think about Hell much. You focus on Heaven and imagine yourself heralded into it on the Day of Judgment through the mercy of Allah SWT (despite your transgressions and negligence). Why do I think this way? Simply put, I don’t want to imagine the alternative. Am I doing myself any favors by thinking this way? Probably not. Hell is a real place and it is created for a reason. Reminders of what it entails are found throughout the Quran and ahadeeth. Therefore it must serve a purpose to know about Hell and its qualities. For this reason I attempt to remind myself and the reader of the embodiment of what it means to displease Allah SWT. I ask the reader to engage their imagination to create lasting images that in turn serve to evoke obedience to Allah in matters great and small while we are still capable of doing so. There is no ransom to release oneself from Hell. Only our deeds and intentions direct us toward our final destination. The following is only a portion of what Allah SWT promises for those who disregard His warnings.

In its most basic description Hell, known as Jahannam in Arabic, is an eternal place of crushing heat and vast depth from which there is no hope of relief or escape except through the decree of Allah SWT. These attributes are a well-known thing.

But [I have for you] only notification from Allah ,and His messages." And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger - then indeed, for him is the fire of Hell; they will abide therein forever. 
( Al-Jinn 72:23 ) 

In this abode of fire are guardians appointed by Allah. These angel guardians do not yield from the command of Allah. There will be no helpers for the inhabitants of the fire. Allah is most just in his decisions.

O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded. 
( At-Tahrim 66:6 ) 

And if each soul that wronged had everything on earth, it would offer it in ransom. And they will confide regret when they see the punishment; and they will be judged in justice, and they will not be wronged.
( Yunus 10:54 ) 

Indeed, the criminals will be in the punishment of Hell, abiding eternally. It will not be allowed to subside for them, and they, therein, are in despair. And We did not wrong them, but it was they who were the wrongdoers. And they will call, "O Malik, let your Lord put an end to us!" He will say, "Indeed, you will remain." We had certainly brought you the truth, but most of you, to the truth, were averse.
(Az-Zukhruf 43:74-78)

Just as there are different degrees and type of sin there are as many punishments fitting them in Hell. The lower the level of Hell, the more intense the punishment will be.

“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.”
(Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

Just as with Heaven, Hell has multiple gates from which one enters.

And indeed, Hell is the promised place for them all. It has seven gates; for every gate is of them a portion designated. 
(Al-Hijr 15:43-44) 

These gates will be locked for those who enter. It is a prison of the worst kind yet the justice of it is perfect. Once inside the inhabitants of Hell are fuel for its fire. The fire is so hot that even stones are consumed. Few have had chance to visit a lava flow such as that in Hawaii. To be even in the proximity of an active lava flow is unbearable due to the heat. Melted earth flows as viscous liquid destroying everything in its path. If Allah can create such a thing on earth, surely the torment of Hell is unimaginably unbearable.

“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) 

As if that were not enough added to the heat of Hell are multitudes of other punishments.

…But those who disbelieved will have cut out for them garments of fire. Poured upon their heads will be scalding water 
( Al-Haj 22:19 )

And you will see the criminals that Day bound together in shackles, their garments of liquid pitch and their faces covered by the Fire. 
( Ibrahim14:49-50 ) 

The mercy of things that relieve our discomfort in this life are not present in Hell. The water is boiling, the shade is only from that of smoke and no coolness shall reach its inhabitants. Imagine the thirst you feel while fasting on a hot day. Allah provides comfort in the form of water, milk, and fruit juices by His mercy. Would you trade that temporary thirst for an unyielding thirst that finds nothing to relieve it?

…like [that of] those who abide eternally in the Fire and are given to drink scalding water that will sever their intestines 
( Muhammad 47:15) 

“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) 

Surely fasting is a reminder of many things. Hunger in this life is temporary yet for the offenders in Hell there is no end.

For them there will be no food except from a poisonous, thorny plant which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger. 
( Al-Ghashiya 88:6-7 ) 

Indeed, the tree of zaqqum is food for the sinful. Like murky oil, it boils within bellies like the boiling of scalding water. 
( Ad-Dukhan 44:43-46 ) 

There will be no pleasure in consuming this food and it will not end the feeling of hunger. Yet in the desperation of hunger the inhabitants of Hell will take from the only source of food they can find. Descriptions of the consumption of the puss of their own wounds are yet another thing that the desperate resort to in Hell. May we be grateful for even the most humble of food we have in this life.

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, Allah is ever Exalted in Might and Wise. 
( An-Nisa 4:56 ) 

The punishment of Allah for disbelief is without limits. And when they cry out for relief and mercy their cries go unacknowledged, just as they used to deny Allah in their lifetime. If by being Muslim we think we are safe from Hell we must be reminded of our role toward Allah, ourselves, and fellow mankind.

“A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown into the Fire. Then his entrails will be spilled out into the Fire and he will be forced to walk around and around like a donkey in a treadmill. The people of Hell will gather around him and say, ‘O so-and-so, what is wrong with you? Did you not enjoin us to do good and forbid us to do wrong?’ He will say, ‘I used to order you to do good, but I did not do it and I used to forbid you to do evil, but I used to do it myself.’ Then he will walk around and around like a donkey in a treadmill.”
 (Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

For all the mercies of Allah available to us in this lifetime we should strive to appreciate them and recognize them where they can be found. Surely there are more mercies from Allah SWT that we are unaware of in this life than from what we acknowledge. Let us be mindful of His mercy so that we may avoid an existence where no such mercy can be found. Even in a perceived displeasure on earth, there is hidden mercy within it. Not so in Hell. Punishment in Hell is for its own sake. You do not garner blessings by enduring its pain with patience as with this life.

[Enter to] burn therein; then be patient or impatient - it is all the same for you. You are only being recompensed [for] what you used to do. 
(At-Tur 52:16) 

What a deeply desperate end when nothing but the mercy of Allah can save you from the torment that is Hell. That mercy is available now. Take advantage of it. Seek out knowledge and deeds to protect yourself from this fate. Ask Allah SWT for forgiveness, guidance, and mercy when you still have an audience with Him.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


Such a powerful article, can stir a lot of people into action! Thank you and Jazak Allah from the bottom of my heart.

Great article about the most miserable of fates. SubhanAllah, it is really terrifying, may Allah forgive us all for our heedlessness an save us from the scorching fire, ameen.

Really thought provoking!

a great aritcl...!! a perfect reminder..

I think of the concept constantly. I have children, grandchildren and so many family members that I can't count them. I'm saddened for myself and all those I know and love. They have no idea of the severity, nor do they care to hear from me. I pray for their forgiveness. I pray for my own. I have no one to pray for me after I am gone. I run the thought in my mind so much that I try never to stop saying Dikhr. I have Allah(swt) in my head in everything that I do. Even when I finally fall asleep the Praise still rolls from my tongue. I wake in the night with the Prasie in my thoughts. I awake for Tahajjud with Prayer to Allah (swt) for helping
me wake to perform the prayer. I never stop fearing the latter. I pray that I and those I know and love will be forgiven. That they insha Allah will find or be guided back to the "TRUTH of ALLAH" Allahu Akbar!!!

Fhanhaz, when one makes du'a for another, the angels make the same for them. May Allah SWT forbid us from hellfire and may He guide our families to the Truth so that they may benefit from it.

"There is no ransom to release oneself from Hell." Your article is provocative and frightening. It made me cry because I, too, try not to think about the Hellfire. This is because I know I am sinful, and not a good Muslim, and know that Hell is most certainly my next home. I so admire your ability to cut to the chase - in a most articulate way - so that there is no doubt in our minds. I would love to see you continue with advice, and proof, of how to turn my almost certain fate of Hellfire into hope of redemption and even a small place in Jannah. Even reading this now, and having already known it, I am not able to find the motivation to save myself. Is there help for me?

Mk Grant, What was it about Islam that you love/loved? What motivates you to do anything for the sake of Allah? Is it reading meaningful articles? Quran? Being with righteous people? Pick something small everyday or week that you plan to do on a regular basis and keep doing it. Something easy you know you can do like saying a simple thikr or just making SURE to say "bismillah" EVERY time before you eat (for example.) Then when this becomes a habit try adding another. Allah SWT loves the little consistent things that are done with sincerity and He loves to forgive. Focus on gratitude as much as possible. Actually force yourself to find things to be grateful for on a daily basis. The pain and dissapointment in this life can blind us to the reality of what Allah's value is. Look to others with less than yourself in this duniya for reasons to be grateful and look up to those with stronger iman/knowledge/practice to inspire you to improve. I too have much to work on. The point I think is to be working on it and trying to better one's self, even if only a little at a time. The fact that you are concerned shows some sincerity in your desire to do/be better. I think you know the "what" now you need the "how". I think the answers are above. We need to put out the effort all with Allah in mind. May Allah fill our hearts with love for His deen and clear our hearts and minds of the clutter this duniya gives us. I don't know if my response helps or makes sense but insha'Allah I hope it does.

You cannot know that Hell is your next "home". It could be that one small kindness you did without realizing it was big on your book of good deeds. You are still alive and have the ability to do good and worship Allah.

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