Does Islam Believe in Hell?
Muslims Believe in Hell
We all know Christians believe in hell. According to Christianity, people who disobey God and who don’t accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior will go to hell when they die. This is common knowledge. But what about in Islam? Do Muslims also believe in hell just like Christians do?
Yes, Muslims also believe in hell just the way Christians do except that their concept of hell is a little bit different from that of Christians in the sense that they believe that for some sinners hell isn’t a permanent place of suffering as many Christians see it. According to Muslims, the punishment that certain sinners receive in hell is temporary in the sense that these sinners don’t stay in hell forever. Certain sinners will be set free from hell and brought to paradise after paying for the sins they committed while on Earth.
The Day of Judgment (the Last Day)
When a person dies, he or she remains in the grave and waits to be resurrected on the Last Day. While waiting in their graves, deceased souls bound for hell (Jahannam) experience some suffering (although they are not yet in hell) in the sense that they do not have peace. But deceased souls bound for paradise (Jannah) experience peace while they wait in their graves to be resurrected and taken to paradise.
According to Islam, on the Last Day (that is the Earth's final day), the whole world will be destroyed by Allah, and he will raise all dead people including jinn (supernatural creatures) in order to judge them according to their deeds. During the judgment process, Allah will decide whether a person will go to paradise (Jannah) or hell (Jahannam). Only Allah has the power to judge and decide who goes to hell and who goes to paradise.
Names for Hell in Islam
There are so many names that hell is called in Islam. The most common name for hell in Islam is Jahannam. Every Muslim knows that Jahannam means hell. Other names for hell include The Fire, Blazing Fire, The Abyss, The Blaze, and That which Breaks to Pieces.
Facts About Hell in Islam
- According to Islam, hell is so deep that if one were to drop a stone into it, it would take 70 years for the stone to hit the bottom of hell.
- Suffering in hell is both physical and spiritual.
- Not every sinner waits until the Last Day to be judged by Allah and sent to hell. Anybody who becomes an “Enemy of Islam” is sent to hell the moment he or she dies. Other groups of sinners such as those who did not believe in Allah and His Laws and those who died in their sins will have to wait until the Last Day before entering hell.
- Everybody doesn't suffer the same in hell. The gravity of one's sin will depend on the severity of one's suffering in hell. This means if Mr. A and Mr. B find themselves in hell because they sinned while on Earth, and Mr. A’s sins are more severe than that of Mr. B, then Mr. A suffers more in hell than Mr. B. It is as simple as that.
- According to the Quran, hell has seven levels and seven gates. Each gate deals with a specific group or category of sinners. So if the degree of Mr. A’s sin is not the same as that of Mr. B’s, then they are both going to find themselves at different gates of hell.
- The seven levels of hell contain different forms of torments and torture. The lowest of the levels is considered the severest of all the levels in terms of punishment. This, therefore, means that sinners that find themselves there are considered the worst kinds of sinners.
- Hell is a place where sinners undergo severe forms of torture with things such as fire, boiling water, and scorching wind, which severely scorch sinners’ skins to the point where their skins will get destroyed and be replaced with new skins in order for the sinners to start facing their torments afresh. This cycle of torture will carry on for as long as the sinners remain in hell.
- No matter how much a sinner being tortured in hell becomes remorseful and begs for forgiveness, he or she shan’t be forgiven.
- No sinner can escape from hell once he or she gets there. The only time a sinner can leave the extreme torture of hell is when he or she has finished paying for his or her transgressions. If a sinner tries to escape from the blazing fire of hell, a hook made of iron will be used to drag the sinner back to hell.
- According to the Quran, hell has nineteen angels who are led by the keeper of hell named Maalik. The Quran describes Maalik as a very severe and harsh man who doesn’t feel the plights of the sinners undergoing severe torments. And whenever the inhabitants of hell beg him to let them out of hell, he tells them that they shall remain in hell because they “abhorred the truth” when it was brought to them.
- On top of the blazing fire that exists in hell, the place is also believed to contain a lot of venomous snakes and scorpions. The pain from the venom of any of these snakes and scorpions can last for several decades.
Food in Hell (Jahannam)
There is food in hell. According to the Quran, there are only three sources of food in hell. But these foods are so terrible that it is better to stay away from them no matter how much one is starving simply because they are only going to worsen a sinner's torment. The sources of food in hell are:
- The Tree of Zaqqum: This is a tree located in hell whose fruits are cursed. The cursed fruits of this tree will severely burn the insides of a sinner’s stomach when consumed by the sinner. The Tree of Zaqqum is believed to be in the lowest level of hell.
- Ḍari: A bitter plant that has very sharp thorns all over it. Eating this plant is a waste of time since it not only pricks badly, but it also will never give one any relief from hunger.
- Ghislin: According to the Quran, ghislin is the only nourishment a sinner can get in hell. And what is ghislin? It is the pus which comes out from skins of the tortured sinners in hell.
People Who Will Go to Hell in Islam
According to the Quran, the following people shall all end up in hell:
- Disbelievers – these are those who don’t believe in Allah
- Polytheists – these are people who believe in more than one god.
- All people who reject the truth
- People who persecute believers
- All sinners and criminals
- The unjust
- People who hide Allah’s revelations
- People who commit suicide
- All tyrants
It is worth noting that the groups of people mentioned above are not the only ones destined for hell. There are several others. For example, the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad mentions that other people destined for hell include proud and haughty people.
It is also worth noting that according to Muslim scholars, the fact that one is a Muslim doesn’t automatically keep one from going to hell. According to these scholars, if you are a Muslim and you sinned, and your sins weren’t forgiven before you died or the good deeds that you did in this lifetime weren’t sufficient enough to cancel the sins you committed, you are destined for hell when you die.
Similarities Between the Muslim and Christian Hell
Though there are a lot of differences between the Muslim concept of hell and Christian concept of hell, there are quite a number of similarities such as the following:
- Both religions consider hell a very deep place. According to Islam, hell is so deep that a stone thrown into it would take 70 years to travel to its bottom. The Christians’ Bible also talks about the extreme depth of hell by calling it a “bottomless pit.”
- Both Muslims and Christians describe hell as a place that burns with fire and is extremely torturous.
- Both religions agree that hell is a place where all sinners will be sent to on the Judgment Day.