Does Islam Believe in Hell?

Updated on March 4, 2017
Islam and hell.
Islam and 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.

Islam and Hell
Islam and Hell

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 puss 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
  • Murderers
  • The unjust
  • People who hide Allah’s revelations
  • People who commit suicide
  • All tyrants
  • Hypocrites

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.

Do you believe in hell?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Emmanuel Armah 4 weeks ago

      Oh really that's story of hell and Nice to Explain anything about it.... God bless you more

    • profile image

      Natalie Shantz 3 months ago

      Islam teaches that in hell some people have suffered enough to pay for their sins and then can go to Jahannam. Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, never sinned. Yet He suffered the extreme, eternal payment for sin in His death. Undeserving of death, He died and arose from death in a new body. He loves us. His death was the payment for OUR sin. Anyone who believes and calls on Him will be saved from hell and spend eternity in heaven! It is His FREE (to us) gift because God loves us that much.

    • profile image

      J.A.S. 7 months ago

      The Old and New Testament never mention Hell or eternal damnation at all. "Hell" is a mistranslation of "Hades" "Sheoul" and "Gehenna," from the ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic respectively. The original words mean simply "the grave/the pit/ the unseen or hidden place." Gehenna was a rubbish pit outside of Jerusalem where a fire always burned to consume the trash. In other words, your body would be thrown in a trash heap if you live a sinful life.

      The word "Hell" actually comes through Northern Europe, (which had no influence on the original Biblical writings), from Old Norse "Hel" etc. It means different things through different ages, but the oldest form of the word has a root in PIE, "Kel" and again means simply 'unseen" or "hidden." The Latin "Celare" (to hide, cover, keep in darkness) and "conceal" are both cognates (words related through the same source) of "Hell."

      The idea of Hell as punishment and eternal is entirely Medieval and a construct only of the church who used the 4th century Latin Vulgate Bible, (an exquisite work of St. Jerome), which translates "Hades" Sheoul" etc as "Infernum." But again, despite Dante and Milton having this as a realm of torture, the roots of the word itself, (In+Fere) means to be "carried in," to made unseen into the ground if you will.

      According to St. Augustine, the concept of Godly wrath after death comes from Egypt whose Pharaohs, the kings and princes, used this to scare and control the people by claiming intimate knowledge of divinity and retribution. This was later adopted by Numa, successor to Romulus and thus the second king of Rome, who claimed to meet with the nymph Egeria each night and even to have won a contest of wits to Jupiter. According to Livy and Plutarch, this was a laughable ruse and Numa used it simply to control the "rudis" and warlike common people of Rome whom excessive battle had made too fierce and unpredictable and unafraid of ordinary law. Numa also created "pontiffs" and "Pontiff Maximus" which are still the terms for bishops and popes. And like the Medieval Church leaders, they had direct contact with God or angels because, again, Numa met with the nymph Egeria each night and she told him what to warn the people against and how to act.

      It is interesting to note that many of the concepts of the church began directly in pagan beliefs 600 years before Christ, and were only enacted in the 4th century onward when Rome was disintegrating and the empire quickly dissolving.

    • profile image

      happy harry 7 months ago

      hell is a man made construct to control people

    • myvenn profile image

      myvenn 2 years ago from Ghana


    • Taalib Pugh1 profile image

      Theodore Pugh 2 years ago from Wilkes Barre Pa

      Nicely explained.

    • myvenn profile image

      myvenn 2 years ago from Ghana

      Thank you too Jepp for taking the time to read and appreciate this hub. And thanks for shedding some more light on the hub.

    • profile image

      jepp 2 years ago

      I really thank you MYVENN for this hub i really liked but i have some notes :

      If you believe in God and what he have said and his messengers all of them and his angles and the last day and the destiny, but you have done some sins you will have punishment just for your sins and thin you will be brought to paradise but if you don't believe in God or what he have said or his messengers all of them or his angles or the last day or the destiny you will be brought to the hell forever and Mohammed said that "In the last day the most happiest man on earth will be brought and dunk him into the hell for while and ask him that have you ever seen any happiness in your life? and he swear in God he have never seen any happiness." the punishment of hell is very very difficult.

      There are one hell and one paradise but there are difference between our thinking.

      thank you again MYVENN