HELL


...He (the denier) reflected and he schemed. Curse him, how he schemed! Again curse him, how he schemed! Then he looked. Then he frowned and glowered. Then he drew back and was proud. He said, 'This is nothing but magic from the past. This is nothing but the words of a mere mortal!' I will roast him in the Fire. What will convey to you what the Fire is? It does not spare anyone and it does not ease up, ceaselessly scorching the flesh. (Surat al-Muddaththir: 18-29)

Deceptions and Facts


The place, where disbelievers will remain for all eternity, is specially created to give pain to the human body and soul.

That is solely because the disbelievers are guilty of great wrong and God's justice entails their punishment. Being ungrateful and rebellious to the Creator, the One who gives man a soul, is the greatest wrong that can be committed in the whole universe. Therefore, in the hereafter there is grievous punishment for such a deadly sin. That is the purpose that hell serves. Man is created to be a servant of God. If he denies the main purpose of his creation, then he surely receives what he deserves. God states the following in one of the verses:


...those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation! (Surat al-Mu'min: 60)

Since the majority of people will be sent to hell at the end, and punishment in it is timeless and eternal, the main aim, the basic goal of people, should be to avoid hell. The biggest threat to man is hell and nothing can be more important than saving one's soul from it.

Despite this, almost all people on earth live in a state of unawareness. They occupy themselves with other troubles in their daily lives. They work for months, years, even decades for insignificant issues, yet never think of the biggest threat, the gravest danger to their eternal existence. Hell is right next to them; yet, they are too blind to see it:

Closer and closer to mankind comes their Reckoning: yet they pay no heed and turn away. To each renewed Message from their Lord they listen as in jest: their hearts are set on pleasure. (Surat al-Anbiya': 1-3)

Such people engage in vain effort. They spend all their lives chasing after chimerical goals. Most of the time, their goals are being promoted in the company, marrying, having a "happy family life", earning a lot of money or being an advocate of a useless ideology. While doing these things, these people are unaware of the big threat ahead of them. One catches the insensitive attitude they have towards hell even from their manner of referring to the subject. The "ignorant society" composed of such people frequently utter the word "hell" without having a thorough grasp of its meaning. Now and then, this word becomes the subject of jokes. However, nobody gives as much thought to the subject as it deserves. For these people, hell is an imaginary fiction.

In fact, hell is more real than this world. The world will cease to exist after some time, but hell will remain for all eternity. God, the Creator of the universe and the world and all the delicate balances in nature, has likewise created the hereafter, paradise and hell. A grievous punishment is promised to all disbelievers and hypocrites.

Hell, the worst place that can ever be imagined, is a source of the sheerest torture. This torture and pain is not similar to any kind of pain in this world. It is much more intense than any pain or misery one can ever face in this world. It is surely the work of God, the Exalted in Wisdom.

A second reality about hell is that, for everyone, this torture is timeless and eternal. The majority of people in this ignorant society have a common misconception about hell: they assume that they will "serve their sentence" in hell for a certain period and then they will be forgiven. This is only wishful thinking. This belief is also particularly widespread among those who assume themselves believers yet neglect to perform their duties towards God. They assume that there is no limit to the extent that they may indulge in worldly pleasures. According to the same belief, they will attain paradise after receiving temporary punishment in hell. However, the end awaiting them is more painful than they expect. Hell is definitely a place of everlasting torment. In the Qur'an, it is often stressed that punishment for disbelievers is constant and everlasting. The following verse makes this fact explicit:

"They will dwell therein for ages." (Surat an-Naba': 23)

The rationale stating: " I will serve my sentence for a while and then I will be forgiven" is bigoted thinking indulged in by some to comfort themselves. Indeed, God draws attention to this in the Qur'an, the same rationale having also been given utterance to by the Jews:

They say, 'The Fire will only touch us for a number of days.' Say, 'Have you made a contract with God - then God will not break His contract - or are you rather saying about God what you do not know?' No indeed! Those who accumulate bad actions and are surrounded by their mistakes, are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. (Surat al-Baqarah: 80-81)

Being ungrateful and rebellious to the Creator who "gave hearing and sight and intelligence and affections" (Surat an-Nahl: 78) certainly deserves unceasing suffering. The excuses one puts forward will not save one from hell. The verdict given for those who display indifference - or worse, animosity - towards the religion of his Creator is certain and invariable:

When Our Signs are recited to them - Clear Signs - you can detect denial in the faces of those who are disbelievers. They all but assault those who recite Our Signs to them! Say: 'Shall I inform you of something worse than that? The Fire which God has promised those who are disbelievers. What an evil destination!' (Surat al-Hajj: 72)


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Those who remained arrogant to God and harboured enmity towards believers will hear the following words on the Day of Judgement:

So enter the gates of Hell, to dwell therein. Thus evil indeed is the abode of the arrogant. (Surat an-Nahl: 29)

The most fearsome characteristic of hell is its eternal nature. Once in hell, there will be no return. The only reality is hell together with many other kinds of torture. Encountering such an eternal torture, a person falls into total despair. He has no further expectations. This state is described in the Qur'an as follows:

As for those who are rebellious and wicked, their abode will be the Fire. Every time they wish to get away from it, they will be forced into it, and they will be told: 'Taste the Penalty of the Fire, which you were wont to reject as false.' (Surat as-Sajdah: 20)

They will want to get out of the Fire but they will not be able to. They will have an everlasting punishment. (Surat al-Ma'idah: 37)

 
   

THE TORMENTS OF HELL


Beıng Taken To Hell


Hell...This place, where the attributes of God, the al-Jabbar (the Compeller), the al-Qahhar (the Subduer) and al-Muntaqim (the Avenger) are manifested for all eternity is specially created to inflict suffering on man. In the Qur'an, hell is depicted as if it were a living being. This creature is full of rage at and hatred for disbelievers. Since the day it was created, it waits impatiently to take its revenge upon disbelievers. Hell's desire for disbelievers can never be quenched. Its hatred for disbelievers makes it mad. When it encounters those who deny, its rage intensifies. The creation of this fire serves a single purpose; to inflict an unbearable torment. Indeed, it will carry out its duty and give the gravest of all pain.

After the judgement of disbelievers takes place in the presence of God, they will take their Books from the left side. This is the moment they will be sent to hell for all eternity. For the disbelievers, there is no opportunity to escape. There will be billions of people, yet this huge crowd will not offer the disbelievers an opportunity to escape or to be ignored. No one can hide himself in this crowd. Those sent to hell come with a witness and one who drives the soul on:

The Trumpet will be blown. That is the Day of the Threat. Every soul will come along with one who drives it on, and one who testifies against it. One will say 'You were heedless of this, so We have stripped you of your covering and today your sight is sharp.' His inseparable comrade will say, 'My testimony is ready to hand.' (And it is said): 'Cast into Hell every obdurate disbeliever, impeder of good, doubt-causing aggressor, who has set up another deity besides God. Hurl him into the terrible punishment.' (Surah Qaf: 20-26)

Disbelievers are driven towards this terrible place. In the words of the Qur'an, they are driven "in divisions". However, on the way to hell, fear is inspired in the hearts of disbelievers. The horrible noise and roar of the fire is heard from a distance:

When they are flung into it, they will hear it gasping harshly as it seethes. It all but bursts with rage. Each time a group is flung into it, its custodians will question them: 'Did no warner come to you?' (Surat al-Mulk: 7-8)

From the verses, it is obvious that when they are recreated, all disbelievers will understand what will befall them. They will remain all alone; no friends, relatives, or supporters will be there to help. Disbelievers will not have the strength to be arrogant and they will look with averted eyes. One of the verses describes this moment as follows:

You will see them as they are exposed to it, abject in their abasement, glancing around them furtively. Those who have faith will say, 'Truly the losers are those who lose themselves and their followers on the Day of Resurrection. The wrongdoers suffer an everlasting punishment.' (Surat ash-Shura: 45)

Entrance to Hell and the Gates of Hell


Ultimately disbelievers arrive at the gates of hell. The Qur'an describes the events there as follows:
Those who are disbelievers will be driven to Hell in companies and when they arrive there and its gates are opened its custodians will say to them, 'Did Messengers from yourselves not come to you, reciting your Lord's Signs to you and warning you of the meeting on this Day of yours? 'They will say, 'Indeed they did, but the decree of punishment is justly carried out against the disbelievers.' They will be told, 'Enter the gates of Hell and stay there timelessly, for ever. How evil is the abode of the arrogant!' (Surat az-Zumar: 71-72)

For each one of the groups a special gate of hell is created. Depending upon the extent of their rebellion against God, people are subjected to a classification. Disbelievers are placed in their individual locations in hell according to the sins they have committed. It is stated thus in the Qur'an:

He will say, 'Enter the Fire together with the nations of jinn and men who have passed away before you.' Each time a nation enters, it will curse its sister nation, until, when they are all gathered together in it, the last of them will say to the first, 'Our Lord, those are the ones who misguided us, so give them a double punishment in the Fire.' He will say, 'Each will receive double. But you do not know it.' (Surat al-A'raf: 38)

Another verse provides detailed information about hell:

... Hell is the promised meeting-place for all of them. It has seven gates and each gate has its allotted share. (Surat al-Hijr: 43-44)
Those subjected to the severest torment will be the hypocrites. These are the people who behaved as if they were believers, although they had no faith in their hearts:

The hypocrites are in the lowest level of the Fire. You will not find any one to help them. (Surat an-Nisa': 145)

Hell is full of hatred; its hunger for disbelievers can never be quenched. Despite the many disbelievers thrown into it, it asks for more:

On the Day He says to Hell, 'Are you full? 'it will ask, 'Are there no more to come?' (Surah Qaf: 30)

Once it catches, it keeps for all eternity. God describes hell in the Qur'an as follows:

I will roast him in hellfire. What will convey to you what hellfire is? It does not spare anyone and it does not ease up, ceaselessly scorching the flesh. (Surat al-Muddaththir: 26-29)

Surely, entrance to hell is also painful. People are "thrown" into it. In the words of another verse, they are "bundled" (Surat ash-Shu'ara: 94) into it.

An Endless Life Behind Locked Doors


As soon as disbelievers arrive in hell, the doors are locked behind them. Here, they see the most fearsome sights. They immediately understand that they will be "presented" to hell, the place where they will remain for all eternity. The closed doors indicate that there will be no salvation. God describes the state of disbelievers as follows:

And (as for) those who disbelieve in Our signs, they are the people of the left hand. On them is fire closed over. (Surat al-Balad: 19-20)

The torment in the Qur'an is described as "a severe punishment" (Surah Al 'Imran: 176), "a heavy doom" (Surah Al 'Imran: 4), and "a painful chastisement" (Surah Al 'Imran: 21). The descriptions of it are inadequate to give a full understanding of the punishment in hell. Being unable to suffer even minor burns in the world, man cannot grasp being exposed to fire for all eternity. What is more, the pain that a fire gives in the world does not stand comparison with the severe torture of hell. No pain can be similar to that of hell:

None punishes as He will punish on that day! None binds as He then will bind. (Surat al-Fajr: 25-26)

There is life in hell. Yet it is a life in which every moment is full of torture and anguish. In that life, every type of physical, mental and psychological torment, along with various types of torture and disgrace rage unchecked. To compare it to any distress in the world is impossible.

People in hell perceive pain through all five senses. Their eyes see disgusting and terrible images; their ears hear frightening screams, roars and cries; their noses fill with terrible and acrid smells; their tongues taste the most unbearable, vile tastes. They feel hell deep in their cells; this is a maddeningly severe pain that is difficult to imagine in this world. Their skin, their internal organs and their whole body are wracked and they writhe in pain.

The people of hell are very resistant to pain and they never die. Hence, they can never save themselves from torture. Their skins are mended as they burn; the same torture continues for all eternity; the intensity of torture never decreases. God says in the Qur'an: "Burn in the flames of hell. It makes no difference whether you bear it with patience, or not." (Surat at-Tur: 16)

No less than physical pain, mental pain is also severe in hell. People in hell have profound regrets, fall into hopelessness, feel desperate and spend ages in despair. Every corner, every place in hell is designed to give mental suffering. The suffering is eternal; if it were to end after millions or billions years, even such a long-term possibility could arouse fervent hopes and remain a strong reason for happiness and joy. Yet, the eternity of torture will inspire a kind of hopelessness that cannot be compared to any similar feeling in this world.

According to the Qur'an, hell is a place where extreme pain is experienced. It is narrow, noisy, smoky and gloomy, injecting feelings of insecurity into the human soul. It is a place characterised by disgusting smells, fires burning deep in the heart, nasty food and drink, garments of fire and liquid pitch. These are the basic characteristics of hell. There is a life going on in this terrible environment, however. The people of hell have sharp senses. They hear, talk and argue, and they try to escape from suffering. They burn in the fire, become thirsty and hungry, and feel regret. They are tormented by feelings of guilt. What is more important, they want the pain to be relieved.

The people of hell live a life infinitely more debased than that of the animals in this dirty and disgusting environment. The only nourishment they have is the fruits of the bitter thorn and the tree of zaqqum. Their drink, on the other hand, is blood and pus. Meanwhile, fire engulfs them everywhere. The anguish in hell is depicted as follows:

Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into hell. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, so that they may taste the penalty. For God is Exalted in Power and Wise. (Surat an-Nisa': 56)

With skin rent, flesh burned, and blood splattering all over, they are chained and whipped. Hands tied to their necks, they are cast into the core of hell. Angels of punishment, in the meantime, place those who are guilty in beds of fire, with their covers also of fire. The coffins they are placed in are likewise covered with fire. Disbelievers constantly scream to be saved from such anguish. And in return, they often receive more humiliation and torture . They are left all alone.


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These scenes will all come true. They are real. They are more real than our daily lives.

Those "who among men serve God, as it were, on the verge" (Surat al-Hajj: 11); those who say "the Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days" (Surah Al 'Imran: 24); those who make money, status, careers and other such material things the main goals of their lives and accordingly neglect the good pleasure of God; those who alter the commands of God in accordance with their own wishes and desires; those who interpret the Qur'an according to their own interests; those who go astray from the right path - in brief - all disbelievers and hypocrites will abide in hell, except for those upon whom God bestows His mercy and forgiveness. This is the conclusive word of God and will certainly be borne out:

If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the word from Me will come true, "I will fill Hell with jinn and men all together." (Surat as-Sajdah: 13)

These people are already destined for hell:

Many are the jinn and men we have made for Hell: They have hearts with which they do not understand, eyes with which they do not see and ears with which they do not hear. They are like cattle - nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning). (Surat al-A'raf: 179)

The Torment of Fire


In this life of hell, the greatest and most basic torment is no doubt being exposed to fire. Unlike other forms of torture, fire, as a distinctive feature of hell, leaves irreparable traces on the human body. It is a torment permeating the human body down to its "cells". The people of hell are thrown into this "Raging Blaze" (Surat al-Ma'arij: 15). They burn in "a Searing Blaze" (Surat al-Furqan: 11) which is "a Fire which rages" (Surat al-Layl: 14). In a verse of the Qur'an, it is said:

But as for him whose balance is light, his motherland is hellfire. And what will convey to you what that is? A raging Fire! (Surat al-Qari'ah: 8-11)

From the verses, we understand that fire rages all over hell. In this pit, there is not a single place which remains protected against fire. Fire reaches every corner of hell. While being subjected to other forms of physical and spiritual tortures, the disbeliever is constantly in touch with fire. The hellfire is enormously big. In the Qur'an, analogies are drawn between the sparks of fire and "great sparks the size of castles" and "a herd of yellow camels" to describe the intensity and magnitude of the fire.
On that Day, woe to the deniers! Proceed to that which you denied! Proceed to a shadow which forks into three but gives no shade or protection from the flames, shooting up great sparks the size of castles, like a herd of yellow camels. (Surat al-Mursalat: 28-33)

Disbelievers devote all their energy to escaping the flames, but it is not allowed. It is a fire "which calls for all who drew back and turned away." (Surat al-Ma'arij: 17) Another verse tells of the fate of the deniers:

But as for those who are deviators, their refuge is the Fire. Every time that they want to get out, they are put straight back into it again and they are told, 'Taste the punishment of the Fire, which you denied.' (Surat as-Sajdah: 20)

The screams and sighs of those who are subjected to such torment can be heard all over. Just these terrifying screams and sighs are a special source of torment for disbelievers:

There will be sighing for them. (Surat an-Anbiya': 100)

As for those who are wretched, they will be in the Fire, where they will sigh and gasp. (Surah Hud: 106)

Fire causes unbearable pain. Human beings are unable to endure even such pain as the flame of a match gives. However, any pain we experience in this world is insignificant as compared to that of hellfire. No one can be exposed to fire in the world over a long period of time. He either dies in 5-10 seconds or feels the pain for a limited period of time. However, hellfire is horrible; it does not kill but only inflicts pain. People in hell will be subjected to a fire which will abide for all eternity. Knowing that this torment will never end makes hell's inmates fall into a state of utter hopelessness. They feel desperate and experience a sense of total destruction.

A burned face is the most undesirable aspect of torment. That is because the face is important in being the part of the body which gives one a feeling of pride. It gives a person an identity and it is the most significant expression of what we call "I". Often, the features of being ugly or beautiful are attributed to the face. Upon seeing photographs of a person with a severe burn on his face, people shrink and immediately turn to God asking for protection for themselves against such a disaster. Nobody wants to be struck down by such misery. However, disbelievers are heedless of one important fact; they are gradually approaching a similar end, and an incredibly severe one. The pain of hellfire penetrates the entire human body. However, when the face is exposed to fire, it becomes an unbearable torture.

Eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin, in brief, all sensory organs are located in this important part of the body. Any threat to the face, albeit minor, elicits a strong reflex response. In hell however, the face is scalded. In this way, the most vulnerable part of the body is injured the most severely. This torment is depicted in the following verses:

They will say on the Day their faces are rolled over in the Fire, 'If only we had obeyed God and obeyed the Messenger!' (Surat al-Ahzab:66)

...wearing shirts of tar, their faces enveloped in the Fire. (Surah Ibrahim: 50)

The Fire will sear their faces, making them grimace horribly in it, their lips drawn back from their teeth. (Surat al-Mu'minun: 104)

The Firewood for Hellfire and Boiling Water


In the Qur'anic descriptions regarding the way disbelievers burn in hellfire, we come across an arresting expression: disbelievers are referred to as "firewood for Hellfire". Their burning is dissimilar to the burning of any other thing in fire. Disbelievers themselves make up the fuel of the fire:
The deviators will be firewood for Hellfire. (Surat al-Jinn:15)

Wood the kindling for fire, burns longer than any other material and with a greater intensity. Likewise, disbelievers become the wood for this fire which they once upon a time denied. This fact is made manifest in the following verses:

You who have faith! Safeguard yourselves and those who are close to you from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones.... (Surat at-Tahrim: 6)

As for those who are disbelievers, their wealth and children will not help them against God in any way. They are fuel for the Fire. (Surah Al 'Imran: 10)

You and what you worship besides God are fuel for Hell. You will go down into it. (Surat al-Anbiya': 98)

As well as the people serving as wood, there is also real wood to kindle the fire. Yet, this is another source of torment. Disbelievers, who used to be very close in the world,- husband and wife, for instance-carry wood for each other's fire. Abu Lahab and his wife are an example:

Ruin to the hands of Abu Lahab and ruin to him! His wealth has not helped him nor anything he has earned. He will burn in a Flaming Fire. And so will his wife, the firewood-carrier, with a rope of twisted fibre round her neck. (Surat al-Masad: 1-5)

This is the break-up of all bonds in this world. Disbelievers, who used to say that they were very much in love and rebelled against God together, build the fires of one another in hell. One's spouse, close relatives and all one's intimate friends will become enemies. Treachery will know no bounds.

The fire fed by "living" and non-living wood also boils the water that "scalds" disbelievers. Skin, one of the vital organs stretched all over the human body, and hardly a few millimetres in thickness, makes one perceive the outer world by the sense of touch. Including the genital organs, all vital parts of body like the face, hands, arms, legs-the organs to which one attaches the utmost importance-are covered by skin. As well as being the organ by which one takes pleasure, owing to its sensitivity, the human skin can become a major source of pain. It is especially vulnerable to fire and boiling liquids. Fire scorches the skin, boiling water scalds it. Scalding water wracks the skin completely; hardly a piece of skin remains unhurt. The thin skin first swells and then becomes inflamed, inflicting a severe pain. Neither physical charm, material wealth, strength, nor fame, in brief, nothing renders a person resistant to the injury done by scalding water. In the words of the Qur'an, "...they will have scalding water to drink and a painful punishment because they were disbelievers." (Surat al-An'am:70) In another verse, it is said:

And if he is one of the misguided deniers, there is the hospitality of scalding water and roasting in the Blazing Fire. This is indeed the Truth of Certainty. (Surat al-Waqi'ah: 92-95)

One of the verses describes this form of torment as follows:

Seize him and drag him bodily into the middle of the Blazing Fire. Then pour the punishment of boiling water on his head.' 'Taste that! You are the mighty one, the noble one! This is the very thing you used to doubt.' (Surat ad-Dukhan: 47-50)

These aside, there are other forms of anguish inflicted by fire. Branding is one of them; people of hell are branded with red-hot metals. However, these metals are actually the possessions disbelievers ascribed as partners to God in the world:

...As for those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in the Way of God, give them the news of a painful punishment. The Day will surely come when they are heated up in the fire of Hell and their foreheads, sides and backs are branded with it: 'This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you were hoarding!' (Surat at-Tawbah: 34-35)

Other Forms of Torment


Contrary to the received wisdom, hell is not merely a "giant oven." The people of hell will be exposed to fire. This is true. However, the torment in hell is not limited only to burning. The people of hell are also engulfed by other physical and psychological torments.

Various methods and equipment are employed to subject someone to torture in this world. Often torture cripples its victims. Sometimes they die of the pain. Those who survive become mentally distorted. Yet, the fact remains that the techniques employed for torture in this world are incomparably simpler than those of hell. The people of hell will undergo very different and severe tortures. In the case of a person who is electrocuted, the electricity given as well as the vulnerability of man to electricity are both created by God. Many other unknown sources of pain and the weaknesses of man all form part of God's perfect knowledge. Accordingly, God will inflict the most severe of all tortures. This is the law of God, the al-Qahhar (the Subduer).

In the words of the Qur'an, in hell, there is misery everywhere. There is no avoidance of torment; it engulfs the people of hell from all sides. They can neither fend off the torment nor avoid it:

They ask you to hasten the punishment, but Hell already encircles the disbelievers. (Surat al-Ankabut: 54-55)

Besides, there are other sources of suffering in hell. These are enumerated in the Qur'an as follows:
Hell, where they will roast. What an evil resting-place! This! So let them taste it - boiling water and scalding pus, and other such torments. (Surah Sad: 56-58)

From this and other verses, we understand that there may be various kinds of torments in hell. The most apparent ones, such as fire and humiliation, are alluded to in the Qur'an. However, the people of hell are by no means immune to other forms of suffering. For instance, besides fire and boiling water, being attacked by wild animals, being thrown into a pit of insects, scorpions and snakes, being bitten by mice, suffering from wormy wounds and many others beyond one's imagination are likely to afflict the wrongdoers simultaneously.

Hotness, Darkness, Smoke and Narrowness


Narrow, hot and dirty places are the most troublesome to be in for any individual in this world. Humidity and heat cause a feeling of suffocation; breathing, an essential function of body, is rendered difficult by high levels of humidity. Not being able to breathe causes intense weariness; the breast constricts. Even shade does not provide any relief in very hot weather and humidity. An unseen yet thick encompassing layer of air becomes suffocating. Even the levels of temperature and humidity in a sauna are difficult to tolerate. Unable to withstand intense steam for only ten minutes, a person locked in a sauna faints in a short while. A longer stay means death.

This stifling atmosphere dominates hell. Man, who takes elaborate precautions against becoming over-heated in this world, feels desperate in hell. Hell is hotter than any desert and dirtier and more oppressive than any place imaginable. Heat penetrates the human body; it is felt deep within the cells. For disbelievers, there is no possibility of relief or of cooling down there. In the Qur'an, the situation of the people of hell is depicted as follows:

And the Companions of the Left: what of the Companions of the Left? They shall dwell amid searing blasts and scalding water and the murk of thick black smoke, providing no coolness and no pleasure. (Surat al-Waqi'ah: 41-44)

On that Day, woe to the deniers! Proceed to that which you denied! Proceed to a shadow which forks into three but gives no shade or protection from the flames. (Surat al-Mursalat: 28-31)

In such a dense atmosphere, being confined to a narrow place proves to be another form of torment. This punishment is described as follows:

When they are flung into a narrow place in it, shackled together in chains, they will cry out there for destruction. 'Do not cry out today for just one destruction, cry out for many destructions!' (Surat al-Furqan: 13-14)

Being locked in a narrow place causes maddening anguish in this world. Solitary confinement is one of the severest punishments for prisoners. Being stuck in a car for hours after an accident or remaining locked in the wreckage of an earthquake-ravaged city is considered to be among the gravest disasters. However, such examples are insignificant beside their counterparts in hell. After all, someone trapped among the rubble either loses consciousness and dies, or is rescued alive after some time. In both cases, the pain lasts for a certain period of time.

This does not hold true for hell, however. There is no end to the pain in hell and thus no hope. In a dirty, stuffy, gloomy atmosphere with smoke filling the air, the disbeliever, hands tied to his neck and cast into a small room, is afflicted with anguish. He struggles, strives for salvation, but to no avail. He cannot even move. Ultimately, he begs to be allowed to disappear, as stated in the verse, and wishes only that he were dead. This request is simply returned. In that narrow hole he is confined in, he remains for months, years and may be for hundreds of years. A growing trouble fills his heart, while he begs thousands of times for his own disappearance. Once "saved," he will not taste salvation, but will encounter another face of hell.

Food, Drinks and Garments


The world abounds in countless varieties of delicious and nutritious food. Each one is a blessing from God. Various kinds of meat, fruits and vegetables with innumerable colours, tastes and odours, dairy products, honey and many other nutrients produced by animals and spices, had all been created specially by God and generously given for the service of man by the time this world was created. Moreover, the human senses have been created in such a way as to perceive all these delicious tastes. By the inspiration of God, man has an appetite for dainty food, while he is disgusted at rotten and nasty food, pus and so on. This is another inspiration by God.


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Favours, far greater than the ones in this world, are kept prepared in paradise, and from them believers will derive the benefit for all eternity. This is the gift of God, the One who gives blessings and prosperity. The people of hell, on the other hand, in retribution for the wicked deeds they engaged in in this world, are kept distant from the favours of God, the ar-Razzaq, (Surat ash-Shuara: 19) so that all they encounter is torment:

On the Day when those who were disbelievers are exposed to the Fire, (it will be said): 'You dissipated the good things you had in your worldly life and enjoyed yourself in so doing. So today you are being repaid with the punishment of humiliation for being arrogant on the earth without any right and for being deviators.' (Surat al-Ahqaf: 20)

There shall be no further favours for them. Even meeting the most essential needs turns out to be a torment. Food is specially created by God as a source of suffering. The only edible things are the fruits of the bitter thorn and the tree of zaqqum, which neither nourish nor satiate. They only give pain, tearing apart mouth, throat and stomach and giving off a disgusting taste and odour. In the Qur'an, we find descriptions of both the glorious beauties and the delicious food peculiar to paradise as well as the unendurable food of the people of hell:

Is that better by way of hospitality or the tree of Zaqqum which We have made to be an ordeal for the wrongdoers? It is a tree that emerges in the depths of the Blazing Fire. Its fruits are just like the heads of devils. They will eat from it and fill their bellies with it. (Surat as-Saffat: 62-66)

They have no food but a bitter thorny bush which neither nourishes nor satisfies. (Surat al-Ghashiyah: 6-7)

The people of hell, being rebellious and ungrateful to God, deserve such a requital. As a punishment, they encounter due "hospitality." In Surat al-Waqi'ah, this is related as follows:

Before that they were living in luxury, persisting in immense wrongdoing and saying, 'When we are dead and turned to dust and bones, shall we then be raised again or our forefathers, the earlier peoples?' Say: 'The earlier and the later peoples will certainly all be gathered on an appointed day. Then you, you misguided people, you deniers, will eat from the tree of Zaqqum, filling your stomachs with it and drink scalding water on top of it, slurping like thirst-crazed camels. This will be their fare on the Day of Judgment!' (Surat al-Waqi'ah: 45-56)

In the world, one occasionally suffers from a severe soar throat or a stomach ache. However, in hell, hardly a minute goes by without suffering from the severest of all these pains. The food disbelievers are entitled to eat chokes them. If they can ever manage to swallow, it seethes in the belly like molten brass (Surat ad-Dukhan: 44). It never satiates. This being the case, the people of hell suffer an everlasting, horrible hunger.

This torment is not limited to a single case; it repeats itself over and over again for all eternity. The people of hell feel hunger so intensely that, despite trying countless times, they can not help but eat the fruits of the bitter thorn, which make them writhe in pain. Then they rush to the boiling water. Yet, this water can never be digested. As stated in the verse above, they slurp like thirst-crazed camels. To make this suffering even more severe, disbelievers are driven to hell thirsty. (Surah Maryam: 86)

Aside from boiling water, another disgusting drink of the people of hell is pus. This fluid, the product of inflammation, one of the secretions in the human body with the most offensive odour, is the second choice of disbelievers. Pus is served to disbelievers together with blood. In another verse, there is mention of pus served with boiling water, so as to make the believer taste the obscene taste of pus and perceive the torment of boiling water with all his senses.

Despite their being disgusting and unbearable, that disbelievers still drink them to meet their needs shows their craving for drink. Once they taste this torment, they run to another. This also lasts for all eternity. Due to a never-ending thirst, the people of hell writhe in affliction:

Not tasting any coolness there or any drink, except for boiling water and scalding pus-a fitting recompense. (Surat an-Naba': 24-26)

Therefore here today he has no friend nor any food except exuding pus which no one will eat except those who were in error.' (Surat al-Haqqah: 35-37)

Disbelievers struggle to swallow this mixture, but to no avail. Blood and pus choke them yet they never manage to die:

And beyond him is Hell where he will be given pus to drink. He gulps at it but can hardly swallow it down. Death comes at him from every side, but he does not die. And beyond him is relentless punishment. (Surah Ibrahim: 16-17)

In this desperate situation, by means of a special dialogue, dwellers of hell see the people of paradise. They witness the wonderful favours the people of paradise enjoy. This enormously adds to their torment. Meanwhile, the people of hell plead for some of their provisions. But this is a futile supplication.

The Companions of the Fire will call out to the Companions of the Garden, 'Throw down some water to us or some of what God has given you as provision.' They will say, 'God has forbidden them to the disbelievers. (Surat al-A'raf: 50)

Aside from the provisions, the garments of the people of hell are also specially designed for them. Human skin is a sensitive tissue; even touching a hot stove or an iron for a second gives an unbearable pain. In such a case, the afflicted person suffers for days, his wound becomes inflamed and swells. Hell, however, abounds in garments hotter than molten iron which turn into a flame which blankets the skin and viciously burns:

...Those who are disbelievers will have garments of fire cut out for them... (Surat al-Hajj: 19)

...wearing shirts of tar, their faces enveloped in the Fire. (Surah Ibrahim: 50)


They will have Hell as a resting-place and covering layers on top of them. That is how We repay wrongdoers. (Surat al-A'raf: 41)

Angels of Punishment


Despite all the suffering they go through, there will not be a single soul to provide aid to the people of hell. No soul will be able to save them from it. Being abandoned will give them a bitter feeling of loneliness. Of the wrongdoer God says in the Qur'an: "Therefore, here today, he has no friend" (Surat al-Haqqah: 35). Among them, there will be only "angels of punishment", who will inflict perpetual torture and suffering. These are extremely stern, merciless, terrifying guards, bearing the sole responsibility for inflicting severe torture on the people of hell. The sole purpose of their existence is to take revenge upon those who rebel against God, and they discharge their responsibility with due care and attention:

You who have faith! Safeguard yourselves and those who are close to you from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones. Harsh, terrible angels are in charge of it who do not disobey God in respect of any order He gives them and carry out what they are ordered to do. (Surat at-Tahrim: 6)

No indeed! If he does not desist, We will grab him by the forelock, his lying, sinful forelock. Let him call his attendants; We will call the Guards of Hell! No indeed! Do not obey him, but prostrate yourself and draw near. (Surat al-'Alaq: 15-18)

These angels of punishment make disbelievers feel the wrath and rage of God upon them. They subject the people of hell to the severest, and most terrifying and degrading tortures.

One point deserves special mention here: angels of punishment, in fact, avoid the slightest injustice or cruelty. They merely administer the punishment in the way disbelievers deserve. These angels, the main manifestation of God's justice, are the holy beings who perform this duty with great pleasure and in a manner submissive to God.


The Spırıtual Torment In Hell


So far, we have mentioned the physical torment in hell. However, no less than this physical torment, there exists the spiritual torment of hell. Regret, hopelessness, humiliation, a feeling of being ill-treated, embarrassment, and disappointment are the feelings aroused by these various torments.


"The Fire Reaching Right into the Heart"


In one way or another, everyone tastes spiritual torment in this world. For instance, losing one's closest friend, spouse, or children or being deceived by someone in whom one has placed unquestioning trust fills the heart with an inexplicable grief. This grief is, in fact, a special form of torment which God implants in a person's heart as a penalty for idolising someone lost or someone who betrayed him. The individual needs essentially to demonstrate to God his feelings of love, appreciation, awe, devotion, trust and friendship. Failing to do this and simply extending these feelings to someone else, who is also created by God and thus in need of Him, in other words, associating partners with God, causes this torment. Idolaters taste this grief, so that they may take lessons from it, ask for pardon and turn to God before they are caught by death. The being which is idolised is not, necessarily, a human being. People have different things they cannot resist. Possessions, money, fortune, fame, in brief, anything or any concept being worshipped besides God may well be idolised.

The pain the loss of these idols inflicts on one's heart in this world is but a glimpse of the great torment one would undergo in hell. In essence, it is a warning. In hell, the real and non-ending form of this pain awaits an idolater. Sometimes, this spiritual torment becomes so intense that, one would prefer physical torture. Even, suicide is considered a salvation. This spiritual aspect of torment in hell is stressed in the Qur'an and described as a "fire reaching right into the heart":

Woe to every faultfinding backbiter who has amassed wealth and hoarded it! He thinks his wealth will make him live for ever. No indeed! He will be flung into the Shatterer. And what will convey to you what the Shatterer is? The kindled Fire of God reaching right into the heart. It is sealed in above them in towering columns. (Surat al-Humazah: 1-9)

Even the severest pain in this world disappears in time. Its traces may remain for a while, but time eventually erases its most hurtful traces. In hell, however, an even more bitter pain penetrates the hearts of disbelievers like a fury and remains there eternally.

Apart from this, the spiritual torment produces a sensation somewhat between hopelessness and humiliation, rage and hatred. No less than physical pain, disbelievers are also subjected to an insufferable spiritual pain.

Humiliation


Many verses regarding hell inform us that a degrading, humiliating torment awaits disbelievers there. They incur this punishment due to their arrogance and pride.

In this world, one of the main goals of disbelievers is to make others envy them and appreciate their personality and social status. A distinguished career, children, beautiful mansions, cars, and similar other worldly passions mean more to the individual when they become a part of a vain display of himself. Indeed, in the Qur'an, boasting of one's wealth and properties are mentioned as being among the lures of this world.

This passion, namely "boasting", turns in the hereafter to anguish which includes degradation as well as physical pain. That is because, the disbeliever forgot about "God, who is Praiseworthy" (Surat al-Baqarah: 267) and "has taken his whims and desires to be his god" (Surat al-Furqan: 43). For this reason, he has mainly busied himself in earning appreciation for himself rather than glorifying and praising God. He has buildt his life upon earning the pleasure of other people rather than earning God's approval. That is why he is blighted most when he is humiliated in front of other people.

The most horrible nightmare of a disbeliever is being disgraced and degraded in front of other people. There are even some people who would consider dying only to be appreciated rather than be disgraced. Adversities peculiar to hell have this feature at their core. The dismal state of the dwellers of hell is mainly due to their haughtiness. Never before have they been so utterly degraded. Numerous verses draw attention to this fact:

On the Day when those who were disbelievers are exposed to the Fire, (it will be said): 'You dissipated the good things you had in your worldly life and enjoyed yourself in so doing. So today you are being repaid with the punishment of humiliation for being arrogant on the earth without any right and for being deviators.' (Surat al-Ahqaf: 20)

Those who are disbelievers should not imagine that the extra time We grant to them is good for them. We only allow them more time so that they will increase their evil-doing. They will have a humiliating punishment. (Surah Al 'Imran: 178)


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Disbelievers are subjected to thousands of kinds of degrading treatment... even lower than that which animals receive in this world. Iron whips, shackles and collars are available only to humiliate. The faithless are tied to pillars, collared and chained.

In reality, humiliation is the essence of all the torments in hell. For instance, while being cast into the fire, they are degraded. This dreadful treatment starts from the moment the disbeliever is resurrected and chosen to be sent to hell. Furthermore, this punishment never abates.

Among billions of people, the disbeliever is taken by the angels and grabbed by his forelock and feet. In the words of the Qur'an, "That Day no man or jinn will be asked about his sin...The evil-doers will be recognised by their mark and seized by their forelocks and their feet." (Surat ar-Rahman: 39-41)

In hell, the disbeliever has to come to terms with a type of treatment even worse than that which animals receive. Seized by his hair, he will be dragged along the ground and then cast into hell. Unable to resist, he will ask for help, but to no avail. A feeling of desperation only increases the torment:

No indeed! If he does not desist, We will grab him by the forelock, his lying, sinful forelock. Let him call his attendants; We will call the Guards of Hell! No indeed! Do not obey him, but prostrate yourself and draw near. (Surat al-'Alaq: 15-18)
As the verses state, disbelievers will be "shoved roughly into the Fire of Hell" (Surat at-Tur: 13-14) and they will be "herded headlong into Hell." (Surat al-Furqan: 34)
Similarly,
...those who perform bad actions will be flung head first into the Fire: 'Are you being repaid for anything other than what you did?' (Surat an-Naml: 90)

...On the Day that they are dragged face-first into the Fire. (It will be said): 'Taste the scorching touch of Hell!' (Surat al-Qamar: 48)

Degradation becomes even more intense once in hell. Apart from the physical pain, an intense feeling of degradation overwhelms the dwellers of hell:

'Seize him and drag him bodily into the middle of the Blazing Fire. Then pour the punishment of boiling water on his head.' 'Taste that! You are the mighty one, the noble one! This is the very thing you used to doubt.' (Surat ad-Dukhan: 47-50)

To humiliate disbelievers, specially designed whips, collars and chains are used:

'Seize him and truss him up. Then roast him in the Blazing Fire. Then bind him in a chain which is seventy cubits long. He used not to have faith in God the Magnificent, nor did he urge the feeding of the poor.' (Surat al-Haqqah: 30-34)

In this world, except for those which are savage, even animals are not chained. And as for human beings, only the untreatable and dangerously mentally retarded are chained. This being the case, those sent to hell are the most inferior of all creatures. That is why, they are bound in "a chain which is seventy cubits long", as stated in the above verse. Other verses also give details of this degrading torment:

...they have shackles and chains around their necks and are dragged along the ground into the boiling water and then are thrown into the Fire! Then they will be asked, 'Where are those besides God you associated with Him?' (Surat al-Mu'min: 71-73)

... If you are surprised at their blindness, what could be more surprising than their words: 'What, when we are turned to dust, shall we then be created all anew?' These are the people who reject their Lord. Such people have iron collars round their necks. Such people are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. (Surat ar-Ra'd: 5)

...that Day you will see the evil-doers yoked together in chains, wearing shirts of tar, their faces enveloped in the Fire. So that God may repay every self for what it earned. God is swift at reckoning. (Surah Ibrahim: 49-51)

Those who are disbelievers will have garments of fire cut out for them, and boiling water poured over their heads, which will melt the contents of their bellies as well as their skin, and they will be beaten with cudgels made of iron. (Surat al-Hajj: 19-21)

The dark spirit the degradation accounts for becomes apparent on the faces of the people of hell. In the world too, you can see the serious trouble of people who are disgraced, dishonoured and mistreated. The degradation in hell will also affect the appearance of dwellers of hell as stated in the following verse:

Some faces, that Day, will be humiliated. (Surat al-Ghashiyah: 2)


Apart from all the methods of humiliation we have mentioned so far, we have to keep in mind that various other forms of it will be exercised in hell. In the Qur'an, the term "humiliation" is used and a few examples are provided to illustrate it. However, we need to keep in mind that this is a broad term which can by no means be limited to a few examples. All feelings, treatment or events stirring up humiliation in man's soul in this world are included in this concept and they are all available in hell.

An Irrecoverable Regret


By the time he is resurrected, the disbeliever bitterly realises what he has done wrong. The regret caused by his irreparable wrong gives him a bad shaking up. His desperate situation is exacerbated by this profound regret.

When the disbeliever is confronted with the deeds he engaged in in this world, he understands that he has no longer any chance to restore any honour to his life. Yet he still asks for another opportunity. In this spirit, he wants to return to his old life to atone for his wrongdoing. Meanwhile, he never again wants to see his friends and beloved ones with whom he heedlessly enjoyed life. All friendships, all bonds are torn apart. The lifestyle and traditions people adhered to in life, their houses, cars, spouses, children, companies, the ideologies they advocate lose their value and vanish. Quite simply, they are replaced by torment. The spirit caused by the terror of that day is related as follows:

If only you could see them when they are standing before the Fire and saying, 'Oh! If only we could be sent back again, we would not deny the Signs of our Lord and we would be among the believers.' Indeed that which they were concealing before has been shown to them; and if they were sent back they would merely return to what they were forbidden to do. Truly, they are liars. They say, 'There is nothing but this life and we will not be raised again.' If only you could see them when they are standing before their Lord. He will say, 'Is this not the Truth?' They will say, 'Yes indeed, by our Lord!' He will say, 'Then taste the punishment for your disbelief.' (Surat al-An'am: 27-30)

The Contention Among the People of Hell


Social status and hierarchical relations , which were assumed to be momentous in this world, lose all their meaning in hell. The state that both the people and their leaders are reduced to is such that they curse one another:

When those who were followed disown those who followed them, and they see the punishment, and the connection between them is cut, those who followed will say, 'If only we could have another chance, we would disown them just as they have disowned us.' In that way God will show them their actions as a cause of anguish and remorse for them. They will never emerge from the Fire. (Surat al-Baqarah: 166-167)

They will say on the Day their heads roll about in the Fire, 'If only we had obeyed God and obeyed the Messenger!' And they will say, 'Our Lord, we obeyed our masters and great men and they led us away from the right path. Our Lord, give them double the punishment and curse them many times over!' (Surat al-Ahzab: 66-68)

Arguing in it with one another, they will say, 'By God, we were plainly misguided when We equated you with the Lord of all the worlds. It was only the evil-doers who misguided us and now we have no one to intercede for us; we do not have a single loyal friend. If only we could have another chance, then we would be among the believers!'

There is certainly a Sign in that, yet most of them are not believers. (Surat ash-Shu'ara: 96-103)

Among the people of hell encountering an eternal torment, contentiousness arises. Everyone accuses everyone else. Intimate friends hate one another. The main source of this hate is the friendship they cherished in the world. They tempted one another into committing sins and offered encouragement in denial. All concepts regarding friendship have disappeared in the face of hellfire and all bonds strengthened in this life are broken. In the midst of all this crowd, everyone is alone, cursing all the others:

He will say, 'Enter the Fire together with the nations of jinn and men who have passed away before you.' Each time a nation enters, it will curse its sister nation, until, when they are all gathered together in it, the last of them will say to the first, 'Our Lord, those are the ones who misguided us, so give them a double punishment in the Fire.' He will say, 'Each will receive double. But you do not know it.' (Surat al-A'raf: 38)

Those who are disbelievers say, 'Our Lord, show us those jinn and men who misguided us and we will place them beneath our feet, so that they will be among the lowest of the low.' (Surah Fussilat: 29)


When they are squabbling with one another in the Fire, the weak will say to those deemed great, 'We were your followers, so why do you not ward off from us some of the flames?' But those who deemed themselves great will say, 'All of us are in it. God has clearly judged between His slaves.' (Surat al-Mu'min: 47-48)

'Here is a troop rushing headlong with you! There is no welcome for them. They will certainly roast in the Fire.' (And the damned will say to their leaders), 'No, it is you who have no welcome. It is you who brought this upon us. What an evil place to settle!' They will say, 'Our Lord, give him who brought this on us double the punishment in the Fire!' 'But how is it that we do not see some men whom we used to count among the worst of people and whom we turned into figures of fun? Did our eyes miss them?' All this is certainly true - the bickering of the people of the Fire. (Surah Sad: 59-64)

Pleas of Desperation and Hopelessness


The people of hell are in a hopeless state. The torture they undergo is extremely cruel and never-ending. Their only hope is to cry and beg for salvation. They see the people of paradise and beg for water and food. They try to repent and ask forgiveness of God. Yet, all these moves are in vain.
They beseech the keepers of hell. They even want them to act as intermediaries between them and God and ask for mercy. Their pain is so unbearable that they want to be saved from it even if it is only for a single day:

Those in the Fire will say to the custodians of Hell,'Call on your Lord to make the punishment less for us for just one day.' They will ask, 'Did your Messengers not bring you the Clear Signs?' They will answer, 'Yes.' Then they (their keepers) will say, 'Offer your prayers!' But the prayers of the disbelievers shall be in vain. (Surat al-Mu'min: 49-50)

Disbelievers further try to seek forgiveness, but they are strictly turned down:

They will say, 'Our Lord, our miserable destiny overpowered us. We were misguided people. Our Lord, deliver us from Hell! Then if we revert to sin, we will definitely be wrongdoers.' He will say, 'Stay here in shame and do not plead with Me. There was a group of My slaves who said, "Our Lord, we have faith, so forgive us and have mercy on us. You are the Best of the Merciful." But you made a mockery of them so that they made you forget to remember Me while you were laughing at them. Today I have rewarded them for being steadfast. They are the ones who are victorious.' (Surat al-Mu'minun: 106-111)
This is actually the last address of God to the people of hell. His words "Stay here in shame and do not plead with Me!" are conclusive. From then on, God never considers the people of hell. One would not even like to think about this situation.

While the sinners burn in hell, those who attain "happiness and salvation" remain in paradise enjoying the benefit of endless favours. The suffering of the people in hell becomes more intense when they observe the life of believers in paradise. Indeed, while being subjected to unbearable torture, they can "watch" the magnificent blessings of paradise.

Believers, whom disbelievers derided in this world, now lead a full and happy life, living in glorious locations, magnificent houses with beautiful women, and savouring delicious food and drinks. The sight of the believers in a state of peace and abundance further aggravates the humiliation of being in hell. These scenes add greater pain and suffering to their grief.

The regret becomes deeper and deeper. Not having followed the commands of God in the world makes them feel profound remorse. They turn to the believers in paradise and try to speak to them. They beg for help and sympathy from them. Yet, these are vain efforts. The people of paradise also see them. The exchange between the peoples of hell and paradise is as follows:

In Gardens they will ask the evil-doers: 'What caused you to enter Hell?' They will reply, 'We were not among those who prayed and we did not feed the poor. We engaged in vain disputes and denied the Day of Judgment until the inevitable end overtook us.' The pleas of the intercessors will not help them. (Surat al-Muddaththir: 40-48)

Meanwhile, believers and hypocrites will argue with one another. Hypocrites are the people who remained with the believers for a certain period of time. Despite having no faith in their hearts, and purely for personal gain, they performed their religious duties as if they were believers. Thus, they earned the appellation of "hypocrites". In hellfire, they implore the believers to give them help. The dialogue between these two groups is conveyed in the Qur'an as follows:

That Day the hypocrites, both men and women, will say to those who have faith, 'Wait for us, so that we may borrow some of your light.' But they will be told, 'Go back and look for some other light!' And a wall with a gate will be erected between them. Inside there will be mercy, but on the exterior lies punishment. They will call out to them, 'Were we not with you?' They will reply, 'Indeed you were. But you made trouble for yourselves and hung back and doubted, and false hopes deluded you until God's command arrived. The Dissembler tricked you about God. So today no ransom will be accepted from you or from those who were disbelievers. Your refuge is the Fire. It is your master. What an evil destination!' (Surat al-Hadid: 13-15)

An Eternal Torment With No Salvation


Apart from all the features of hell we have mentioned so far, there is another aspect of it which augments the intensity of torment inflicted: it is eternal. In this world, the fact that even the sharpest pain lessens with time gives comfort to man. The end of every pain is bliss and even awaiting this bliss gives hope.

However, there is no such hope in hell and this is what overwhelms the people of hell most. When they are cast into the fire, chained, scalded, whipped, and crammed into narrow places, their hands tied to their necks, they know that it will last for all eternity. Their attempts to escape can never meet with success. This indicates that their torment will continue forever. The anguish they feel is explained as follows:

Every time they want to come out of it, because of their suffering, they will be driven back into it: 'Taste the punishment of the Burning!' (Surat al-Hajj: 22)

Hell is an entirely isolated place. Disbelievers enter it and never re-emerge. There is no way out of hell. The feeling of confinement engulfs disbelievers. They are surrounded with walls and locked doors. This bitter feeling of confinement is described in the Qur'an as follows:

Those who reject Our signs,they are the Companions of the Left. Above them is a sealed vault of Fire. (Surat al-Balad: 19-20)

Say: 'It is the truth from your Lord; so let whoever wishes have faith and whoever wishes be a disbeliever.' We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire whose billowing walls of smoke will hem them in. If they call for help, they will be showered with water like seething molten brass, which will scald their faces. What a noxious drink! What an evil repose! (Surat al-Kahf: 29)

The shelter of such people will be Hell. They will find no way to escape from it. (Surat an-Nisa': 121)

By the time disbelievers see the fire, they fully recognise where they belong. They truly understand that there is no chance whatsoever of getting away from the fire. At this stage, the time concept loses its meaning and an eternal torment begins. The incessant nature of pain is its worst aspect. Even if a hundred years, a thousand years or millions of years pass by, one never draws close to the end. Millions of years is nothing as compared to eternity. The disbeliever dwelling in hell awaits an end, yet to no avail. That is why the eternal nature of hell is stressed:

God has promised the hypocrites, both men and women, and the disbelievers the Fire of Hell. They shall remain in it timelessly, for ever. It will suffice them. God has cursed them. They will have everlasting punishment. (Surat at-Tawbah: 68)

If those (the idols) had really been gods, they would not have gone down into it. Each one will be in it timelessly, for ever. (Surat al-Anbiya': 99)

As for those who are disbelievers, the Fire of Hell awaits them. Death shall not deliver them, nor shall its punishment be lightened for them. That is how We repay every thankless man. (Surah Fatir: 36)

All the pain in this world comes to an end. There is always salvation. One who suffers from pain either dies, or his pain is alleviated. However, in hell, pain is continual and incessant, offering no relief for even a moment.

An Important Reminder to Avoid Torment


Throughout this site, it is has been stressed that those who reject the commands of God in this world and deny the existence of their Creator will have no salvation in the hereafter and that they will face a terrifying torment in hell.

Therefore, without losing any time, each one has to realise his situation in the presence of God and surrender to Him. Otherwise, he will regret it and face a fearsome end:

It may be that those who are disbelievers will wish that they had been Muslims. Leave them to eat and enjoy themselves. Let false hope divert them. They will soon know. (Surat al-Hijr: 2-3)

The way to avoid eternal punishment, win eternal bliss and attain the approval of God is apparent:

Before it is too late, have true faith in God. Spend your life in doing good deeds to earn His pleasure…