Thursday, December 8, 2011

al-Jannah wa an-Naar - In The Light of the Qur'an and Sunnah

The Vast Extent of Hell

is huge and vast and immensely deep, as is proven by several


(1) Those who will enter Hell are innumerable, yet one of them
will be so huge that his molars will be as big as Mount Uhud, and the
distance between his shoulders will be equivalent to three days walking.
Nevertheless, Hell will accommodate the huge number of Kuffaar and
evildoers who have existed throughout history, in spite of their huge
size, and there will still be room for more, as Allah says in the

"On the Day when We will say to Hell: "Are you filled?" It
will say: "Are there any more to come?"

The Fire of Hell is like a mill to which are brought thousands
upon thousands of tons of grain, which it grinds tirelessly until it is
all done, then waits for more. In the hadith that describes the debate
between Paradise and Hell, it says that Allah (swt) said to Hell,
"You are My Punishment; I will punish in you whomsoever I will".
Both Paradise and Hell will be filled, but Hell will not be filled until
Allah (swt) places His foot in it and it will say, "Enough,
Then it will be filled and its different parts will come
closer to one another. Allah (swt) will not wrong any one of His
Creation. Reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (ra)
(Jaami' al-Usool, 10/544). [See the narration from Anas in al-Bukhaari,
Muslim and Mishkaat ul-Masaabeeh, 3/109 with a similar

(2) Another indication of its vast depth is the fact that a
stone thrown from the top of Hell takes a very long time to reach the
bottom. Muslim reports that Abu Hurayrah (ra) said:

"We were with the Messenger of Allah (saw) and we heard
the sound of something falling. The Prophet (saw) said, "Do you know what
that was?" We said, "Allah and His Messenger know best". He said, "That
was a stone that was thrown into Hell seventy years ago and it was falling
through Hell until now
". (Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab fi
shiddat haar an-naar, 4/2184 no. 2844)

Haakim reports from Abu Hurayrah, and Tabaraani from Mu'aadh
and Abu Umamah (ra) that the Prophet (Saw) said, "If there was a
huge stone as big as seven khalifaat stones, and it was thrown from the
edge of Hell it would fly through it for seventy years before it reached
the bottom"
. (Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer, 5/58, no. 5124, Its
isnaad is saheeh).

(3) The great number of angels who will bring Hell forth on the
Day of Resurrection.

The Messenger (saw) described how Hell will be brought forth on
the Day of Resurrection, concerning which Allah (swt) said,

"And Hell will be brought near that Day".


The Prophet (saw) said,

"Hell will be brought forth that Day by means of seventy
thousand ropes, each of which will be held by seventy thousand angels."
(reported by Muslim from 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ud, 4/2184

can only image the vastness of this terrifying creation that requires such
a huge number of strong and powerful angels whose strength is known only
to Allah!

(4) Another indication of the vastness of Hell is the fact that
two great creations like the sun and moon will be two rolled-up bulls in
Hell. at-Tahhaawee reports, in Mishkil al-Aathaar, that Salamah ibn
'Abdur-Rahman said, "Abu Hurayrah told us that the Prophet (saw)

"The sun and moon will be two rolled-up bulls in Hell on
the Day of Resurrection"
al-Bayhaqi also reported this in
"al-Ba'th wal-Nushur", as did al-Bazzaar, al-Isma'ili and al-Khattaabi,
with an isnaad that is saheeh according to the conditions of al-Bukhaari,
who reported in al-Saheeh al-Mukhtasar, with the wording "The sun
and moon will be rolled up in Hell of the day of Resurrection"
(Sheikh Naasir ud-Deen al-Albaani narrated this hadeeth in Silsilah
al-ahadeeth as-Saheehah, 1/32, hadith no:124)



The Levels of Hell

are variations in the degrees of heat in Hell, and in the levels of
punishment which Allah (swt) has prepared for its inhabitants; there is
not just one level.


Allah says:

"Verily the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths [grade]
of the Fire"

is said that both Paradise and Hell have different levels; the lower the
level in Hell, the greater the intensity of the heat. The hypocrites will
suffer the worst punishment, and so they will be in the lowest level of

Allah (swt) refers to the levels of Paradise and Hell in the

"For all there will be degrees [or ranks] according to what
they did"

"Is then one who follows [seeks] the good pleasure of Allah
like the one who draws on himself the Wrath of Allah? His abode is Hell -
and worst, indeed, is that destination! They are in varying grades with
Allah, and Allah is All-Seer of what they do"
. (3:162-3)

'Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Zayd ibn Aslam said, "The levels of
paradise go up and the levels of Hell go down"
[Ibn Rajab, at-Takhweef
min an-Naar, p.5]. It was reported from some of the Salaf that the sinners
amongst the monotheists who enter Hell would be in the first level, the
Jews would be in the second level, the Christians in the third level, the
Sabians in the fourth level, the Magians in the fifth level, the
polytheist Arabs in the sixth level and the hypocrites in the seventh
level (1) Some books give names to these levels: the first is called
Jahanam, the second Ladhaa, the third al-Hutamah, the fourth as-Sa'eer,
the fifth Saqar, the sixth al-Jaheem, and the seventh

There is no proof for this division of the inhabitants of Hell
or the names that have been attributed to the various levels. The truth is
that all of these names - Jahanam, Ladhaa, al-Hutamah, etc - are
alternative names by which Hell in its entirety is known, and they are not
applied to one part or another of it. It is also known that people will be
placed in different levels of Hell according to the extent of their kufr
and sins.


(1) If
this division is based on our understanding of the texts that indicate the
evil of the various groups, then it needs to be revised, for the Magians
who worship fire are no less sinners than the Arab polytheists. It is
better not to engage in speculation about matters that were not discussed
in the nusoos (texts).

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