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Priority: b, Quality: c
From Death to Resurrection
Removal of the Spirit
From Death to Grave
Ghusl of the Dead and Funeral Prayer
Kafan and Burial
First Night of Grave
Prayer of Burial Night
Questions in the grave
Punishment of the Grave
Visiting the Graves
Nafkha Sur
Stations of Qiyama
Heaven or Hell
Related Concepts
Afterlife Bodies
Embodiment of Actions

Hell or Jahannam (Arabic: جَهنَّم) is a place in the afterlife in which evil-doers will be punished. The place or parts of it are referred to in the Qur'an also as "Jaḥīm" (الجَحیم), "Saqar" (السقَر), "Sa'īr" (السعیر), and in many cases, it is referred to as "al-Nar" (النار, the Fire). The Hell is not only mentioned in the Qur'an and hadiths; it is also discussed in Islamic disciplines such as theology, philosophy, and theoretical mysticism.


The word, "Jahannam", literally means a very deep pit. It refers to a fire with which God will punish the sinners in the afterlife. In the terminology of the Qur'an, it refers to the location of afterlife punishments where evil-doers and unbelievers will be punished.[1]

Most Muslim lexicographers take "Jahannam" to have a non-Arabic root,[2] while some of them take it to have an Arabic origin.[3] Isma'il b. Hammad al-Jawhari and al-Raghib al-Isfahani take it to be a persian word. Al-Raghib takes the original form of "Jahannam" to be "Jahannām" (جَهَنّام, a Persian word which means a deep pit).[4] Ibn Athir, Ibn Manzur, and al-Suyuti speculate that the word has a Hebrew origin; they hold that it is derived from the Hebrew word, "Kihinnām".[5]

Contemporary western researchers take the word to be originated from the Hebrew word, "Gehennom" (גיהנום), or "Jihinum" which means the valley of Banu Hinum.[6]

Hell in Eschatology

In eschatology, the Hell is taken to be the worst place as opposed to the Heaven which is taken to be the best place. The Heaven is home to all the good, and the Hell is home to all the sufferings.

Agents of the Hell

All agents of the Hell are angels and servants who absolutely obey God.[7] In the Islamic doctrine, there is no Hell the control of which is in the hands of devils. The Hell is totally ruled and controlled by God.

According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), the Hell is a torture for the sinners and is a mercy for its agents who work inside it.[8] The main guard of the Hell who is called "Malik" (مالك)[9] is characterized in hadiths as being very ugly and stinky.[10] The 19 guards of the Hell to which the Qur'an refers[11] are characterized as being so frightening that if an earthly person looked at them, he or she would die immediately.[12]

The Philosophy of the Hell

The main question concerning the Hell is why evil-doers should endure such a hard and long punishment which is not comparable to hardships of this world with respect to its strength and eternity.[13]

Guarantee for religious ruling

The fear of the Hell is taken by religious doctrines to be a performance bond for religious rulings. The Qur'an has asked people to fear the Hell[14] and protect themselves and their family from its fire.[15]

Punishment for actions

Several Qur'anic verses consider the Hell to be a "punishment" for one's evil actions.[16] In addition to frequent terms that imply punishment, the term, "nakal" (نَکال, reprisal) is also used,[17] and God has been even characterized as being "muntaqim" (مُنتَقِم, avenger).[18]

Embodiment of actions

According to the doctrine of the Embodiment of Actions, the punishment endured by evil-doers is, in fact, the real form of their own actions, and it is the actions themselves which take the forms of punishments and bring sufferings to them. No suffering is imposed on anyone from the outside; rather the punishment is the result of their own actions.[19] The notion of the Embodiment of Actions is implied by some Qur'anic verses; however, it is most obviously stated in Sura al-Zilzal (99):8: "And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it"[Note 1]. In another verse of the Qur'an, usurping the possessions of an orphan is identified with eating the fire.[20]

From Death to the Resurrection

After his death, the sinner endures sufferings in Barzakh (a world between this world and afterlife) until the resurrection. Then a divine court of justice is held on Dooms Day; those who deserve the Heaven will not suffer from the Hell, and evil-doers will be punished after being tried. However, some Islamic texts talk about immediate transfer to the Hell after death; it is as if the fire of the Hell lurks beyond the death. Such a picture is given about the people of the prophets Noah (a) and Lot (a); they were immediately moved to the Hell after they died by a divine punishment in this world.[21]

The Hell is said not to wait for evil-doers to go to it; rather it lurks in ambush for them.[22] When evil-doers are about to enter the Hell, its fire flames.[23] And when the divine court of justice is held after the resurrection, the Hell is brought to the scene.[24]

On Dooms Day, the Hell is presented to the evil-doers.[25] They will see the Hell and know that they will be thrown into it,[26] feeling the suffering before entering it.[27]

The sufferings of the Hell are referred to in the Qur'an as "'Adhab yawm 'azim"[28] (the punishment of a tremendous day), "'Adhab yawm 'aqim" [29](the punishment of an inauspicious day), and "'Adhab yawm kabir"[30] (the punishment of a great day) as attributed to the day of resurrection.

The Hell acts like a hunter: some of its flames go out to capture certain groups of sinners and devour them. The flame is characterized as having two eyes and a fluently talking tongue. Such flames are commissioned to hunt three groups of sinners: obstinate tyrants, those who bothered God and His prophet, and those who make idols.[31] Sometimes the picture is given with more details: there are flames that capture the murderers of Imam al-Husayn (a), just like a bird that picks seeds from the ground, and take them inside the fire.[32]

The Hell is greedy to devour the sinners, and however many evil-doers are thrown inside it, it asks more by saying "are there any more?".[33]

The Hell lurks in ambush for every person. There is no person present at the day of the resurrection who does not enter it.[34] However, one can find his or her way out of it provided that they have attained salvation. Some hadiths have elaborated this doctrine by talking about a hazardous bridge that goes through the Hell; those who have attained salvation will successfully cross the bridge, and the sinners will fall from it into the Hell.[35] The bridge is characterized as being as narrow as the edge of a sword.[36] Inspired by some Qur'anic verses, the bridge is sometimes called the Sirat.[37]

Groups of People Who Enter the Hell

In some general statements in religious texts, it is said that many people from human beings and jinn will be punished in the Hell,[38] but in other texts, the instances of people who are punished in the hell are specified with more detail.

  • Polytheism and unbelief: the prime instance of people who are punished in the Hell are polytheists,[39] because polytheism is the biggest sin.[40] Those who take a creature as their god will burn in the fire of the Hell together with what they worshiped.[41] Some rare hadiths have even talked about the sun and the moon being thrown into the Hell, because they were worshiped by some people.[42] Sometimes it is said that unbelievers will be thrown into the Hell, and sometimes obstinate unbelievers are said to enter the Hell.[43] The notion of obstinacy is sometimes cashed out in terms of falsifying the signs of God[44] and ridiculing the divine signs.[45]
  • Arrogance: arrogance is a sin with which many people of the Hell are characterized.[46] In some hadiths, the aspects of such arrogance are delineated.[47] For example, there is a hadith according to which most people in the Hell are arrogant people and tyrants.[48]
  • Brutal rulers: it frequently appears in many hadiths that the first people who enter the Hell are brutal rulers. The theme appears in different Shiite[49] and Sunni[50] sources of hadiths. There is a hadith from Imam Ali (a) according to which a brutal leader is in the bottom of the Hell and will be punished in the most severe way.[51]
  • Assistants of brutal rulers: people who lean towards brutal rulers[52] and guide them through their brutal acts[53] will be thrown in the Hell along with their bosses.[54]
Other descriptions of the people of the Hell refer to the above notion: "taghi" (طاغي[55], disobedient), "mutrif" (مُترِف[56], indulged in luxury), and "musrif" (مُسرِف[57], extravagant).
  • Sinners: one feature of the people of the Hell is that they are sinners and evil-doers, that is, they disobey God and His prophet.[58] The most important sin because of which people go to the Hell is the violation of the rights of people, such as killers of innocent people,[59] faultfinding people, gossipers,[60] and stingy collectors of wealth.[61] In hadiths, other groups of sinners are mentioned over and above the ones mentioned in the Qur'an.[62] The lusts and appetites lead one to the neglect of the horrors of the Hell.[63]
  • Companionship with Sinners: According to some hadiths, people who have committed similar sins will be one another's companions in the Hell. That is, in addition to individual punishments, there is collective punishment as well. The Qur'an frequently talks about nations[64] or groups[65] entering the fire or about people being gathered to the Hell.[66] Although such groups are companions, the Qur'an has mentioned that they talk to each other in a hostile way and express their hate to one another.[67]

Dwelling Forever

Main article: Khulud

In the initial picture given of the Hell, its dwellers can never go out of it and will be punished there forever. What reinforces this initial picture is that there is no death in the afterlife; dwellers of the Hell will never die,[68] although all conditions that lead to death in this world are present.[69] They do not die, and they never go out of fire.[70] There is a hadith according to which the death is brought to the scene on Dooms Day in the form of a goat—in a way that everyone will recognize it as death—and it is slaughtered,[71] so that people are disappointed from getting rid of their sufferings by death.[72]

There are many Qur'anic verses concerning the eternal punishment in the Hell for evil-doers.[73] The Hell is sometimes referred to as "Dar al-Khuld" [74](دارالخلد, House of Eternity) and "'Adhab al-Khuld" [75](عذاب الخلد, Eternal Punishment). According to some People of the Book, those who enter the Hell will only be punished there for a few days and they will then be saved from the fire.[76] However, their belief is strongly reproached in the Qur'an.

However, there are few remarks in the Qur'an that led some Muslims to the belief that there are temporary punishments in the Hell as well. Sura al-An'am (6):128 talks about some people dwelling in the Hell forever, but it then qualifies it with the phrase: "except what God wills". Thus, some exegetes of the Qur'an maintained that some dwellers of the Hell might find a way out of it one day.[77]

There is also a Qur'anic verse according to which sinners "will dwell therein for ages (ahqab, أحقاب)" (78:23). This verse has also led some exegetes to believe that the Hell will be a temporary place, at least, for some of its dwellers. According to a hadith, "I swear to God no one will be saved from the Fire unless they stay there for "ahqab" (أحقاب, ages), each "haqb" (حقب, age) being over 80 years.[78] And if the dwellers of the Hell are told that they would stay there for as many years as all the sands in the world, they would still be delighted".[79]

Dwellers of the Hell who will be saved from the fire after enduring some suffering for their evil actions are considered by some hadiths to be Muslim sinners.[80] According to some hadiths, whoever has a little bit of belief or faith in their heart will be saved from the fire one day.[81] And sometimes people are saved from the Hell by the intercession of some saints of God, while they have turned into ashes in the Hell.[82]

Features of the Hell

Types of Punishment mentioned in the Qur'an

Fire: the most important punishment with which the Hell is known is a burning fire. Some verses of the Qur'an talk about evil-doers falling into the fire, instead of falling into the Hell. However, the Qur'an highlights the peculiarity of this fire by characterizing it as "burning fire"[83] or "lidded fire"[84] that cooks the skin[85] and leaves nothing.[86] The fire is known as "Nar Allah"[87] (the fire of God) and has flaming pillars,[88] and unlike earthly fires, it starts from hearts and it flames outwards, rather than inwards.[89] Its firewood are the human beings themselves.[90] According to some Qur'anic verses, there is a fire that has human beings and stones as its firewood.[91]

Fire-related punishments: some punishments in the Hell are related to fire; for instance, "samum" (سموم) which is fierce blast of fire,[92] and "hamim" (حمیم) which is boiling water[93] which dwellers of the Hell have to drink,[94] and it will be poured on their heads.[95] Their clothes are also from fire[96] or burning materials such as "qatiran"[97] (قطران, melted tar) and "hamim"[98].

Food and drink: the Qur'an and hadiths have mentioned some of what the dwellers of the Hell will eat and drink. Unlike foods and drinks in the Heaven which are characterized with what is familiar to earthly ones, those in the Hell are characterized with unfamiliar terms, such as "Zaqqum" [99](زقّوم) which is a kind of tree, "ghislin" [100](غسلین) which is taken by the exegetes of the Qur'an to be filth, pus, and corruption from the washing of the wounds, "dari'"[101] (ضریع) which is thorns or thorny fruit, and drinks such as "ghassaq"[102] (غساق) which is paralyzing cold water, "sadid"[103] (صدید) which is fetid or festering water, and "shurb al-him" [104](شرب الهیم), which is drinking like a thirsty camel. These terms have been difficult for the exegetes to explain. However, their general feature is that they do not quench thirst or feed up the person,[105] they are stuck in one's throat,[106] and tear up the viscera.[107]

Other punishments: there are other punishments in the Hell, such as chains and shackles[108], iron mace,[109] whips,[110] horrifying sounds in the Hell,[111] tightness of the space, the feeling of pressure,[112] and shadows which are fiercer than the fire.[113] And many more punishments.

Types of Punishment Mentioned in the Hadith

There are more details in hadiths: for example, there is said to be prisons in the Hell with peculiar punishments, and they are called the prison of Bulas[114] (بولس) or Falaq[115] (فلق). There are descriptions of snakes and scorpions in the Hell[116] which have been questionable for critics.[117] Some snakes are introduced with their names.[118] Of drinks in the Hell, "tinat al-khiyal" (essence of corruption) is mentioned, which is extracted from dwellers of the Hell themselves.[119] There are hadiths about the feeling of disgust by eating and drinking in the Hell.[120]

Also, a mill is mentioned which grinds religious scholars who did not practice what they knew.[121] "Zamharir", which is a Qur'anic word regarding the Heaven,[122] has been used in hadiths in a different meaning, referring to a land in the Hell with a horrible, freezing cold which tears the bodies of the evil-doers into pieces.[123] According to a hadith, people of the Hell take refuge to Zamharir in order to escape the fire, but they suffer even more in there,[124] and so they beg God to return them to the fire.[125]

According to some exegetes of the Qur'an, the Qur'anic verse according to which dwellers of the Hell will stay there forever "except what God wills"[126] refers to them going to Zamharir for a while during their punishments.[127]

Gates and Floors of the Hell

The Qur'an frequently points out that the Hell has gates.[128] In one case, it says that the Hell has 7 gates each of which has an "assigned portion", that is, they are assigned to different classes of sinners.[129] Some verses also refer to floors and stages of the Hell, for example "the lowest stage (al-darak al-asfal) of the fire".[130] Some exegetes of the Qur'an have taken "al-darak al-asfal" to refer to the lowest stage or floor of the Hell.[131]

Some lexicographers and exegetes point out that "darakat" with respect to the Hell are counterparts of "darajat" (degrees) with respect to the Heaven.[132] However, the word, "darajat", has been used about the Hell as well.[133] Some exegetes, such as ibn Jurayh, take the 7 gates to refer to the 7 stages (darakat) of the Hell. This is confirmed in a hadith as well. Some exegetes take the different names for the fires of the Hell to refer to these 7 stages or floors: "Jahannam", "Laza" (لظی, flames of the fire), "Hutama" (حطمة, that which crushes and breaks into pieces), "Sa'ir" (سعیر, blazing fire), "Saqar" (سقر, scorching fire), "Jahim" (جحیم, hell fire), and "Hawiya" (هاویة, bottomless pit). However, there is no agreement over their order.[134]

There are hadiths that characterize these stages individually; for example, "Saqar" is where arrogant people will dwell,[135] and "Sa'ir" is where killers will be punished.[136]

Other Places of Hell

In addition to "darakat" (or stages) of the Hell, there are some Qur'anic terms occurring in verses related to the Hell which are taken in some hadiths to refer to specific locations in the Hell. For example, the word, "Sa'ud" (صعود, hard ascent or mount of calamities) in the Qur'an, Sura al-Muddaththir (74):17, is taken to be the name of a mountain in the Hell,[137] the word, "'Aqaba"[138] (عقبة, height or ascent) is also taken to be the name of a mountain in the Hell,[139] "Hufra min al-nar"[140] (a pit of fire) as a pit in the Hell,[141] "Falaq"[142] as a pit in the Hell in which people are punished in different ways,[143] "Wayl"[144] as a horrifying valley[145] or a pit in the Hell which it takes 40 years for one to reach its bottom,[146] "Ghayy" (غیّ)[147] as a valley in the Hell,[148] "Ghassaq" [149] (غساق) as a river or a valley full of scorpions,[150] "Atham" [151](اثام) as a valley in the Hell,[152] and "Mawbiq" (موبق) as a river of pus and blood in the Hell.[153]

There are other locations in the Hell mentioned in hadiths, such as the Pit of Sadness (Huzn, حزن) from which the Hell itself escapes,[154] the Pit of Habhab (هبهب) located in the valley of Saqar in which tyrants dwell,[155] the Sakran (سکران) mountain and its valley, Ghadban (غضبان), in which there are coffins of fire,[156] and a coffin of fire in the bottom of the Hell in which 6 people from the ancient time and 6 people from the Umma of Prophet Muhammad (s) are punished.[157]

Some Imami and Sunni scholars of hadiths have written independent books regarding the Hell and the Heaven,[158] such as Sifat al-janna wa l-nar (Features of the Heaven and the Hell) by Sa'id b. Jinah which is the oldest book in this regard available to us.

Humiliation and Deprivation

According to Qur'anic doctrines, just as neglectful indulgence[159] in mundane pleasures [160]is punished by deprivation in the Hell, arrogance and tyranny in this world is punished by humiliation in there. From the very beginning, the way evil-doers are thrown into the fire is accompanied by humiliation,[161] as implied by phrases such as "falling into the fire"[162], "outcast into the fire",[163] "being grabbed by the head or by the feet"[164] and the like. And when they are being punished, they are humiliated by different sufferings; for example, "'Adhab al-hun" (عذاب الهون, humiliating punishment) is a punishment mentioned in the Qur'an for arrogance and tyranny.[165]

One manifestation of such humiliation is seen in evil-doers being reproached by the guards of the Hell[166] as well as in a conversation between the dwellers of the Hell and the dwellers of the Heaven, as appearing in the Qur'an.[167]

The most significant deprivation of the dwellers of the Hell is that God never talks to them,[168] which makes them forlorn in the Hell. There are Qur'anic verses in this regard according to which dwellers of the Hell ask the guards to pray for them to God,[169] and when the guards disappoint them, they pray to God on their own.[170] The Qur'an says that their requests, cries,[171] wishes of ransoms for release,[172] and wishes of another opportunity to return to this world [173]and compensate their actions are not heard by God. It is repeatedly emphasized that dwellers of the Hell receive no help,[174] have no new opportunity,[175] and are not given any safety conduct[176].

According to a sermon attributed to Imam Ali (a) regarding the features of the Hell: "it is a house where no mercy can be found and no praying by its dwellers is heard".[177]

There are some hadiths, however, to the effect that in some exceptional cases their praying is heard by God: for example, the one according to which there is a servant of God in the Hell who kept calling God as "Ya Hannan, Ya Mannan" (O the Charitable, O the Benefactor) for a thousand years. Finally, God sends Jabra'il to him to answer his calls and forgives him.[178]

In Islamic Theology

The issue of rewards and punishments in the afterlife, and in particular, the issue of the Hell, constitute a large portion of theological works. There are some common theological issues regarding the Hell or Heaven, as there are specific issues about either of the two.

Whether the Hell and the Heaven exist now: one theological question is whether the Hell and Heaven are already created or not. The question seems to be posed by Hisham al-Futi for the first time; he asked the question because he thought there was no point for the Hell or the Heaven to exist before the resurrection.[179] Some scholars of the Mu'tazila, Najjariyya, and scholars associated with the Mu'tazila, such as Zaydiyya and Khawarij took al-Futi's question seriously and maintained that the Hell and the Heaven might not already be created; it is, indeed, possible for them to exist or not exist now. Some people, such as Abu Hashim al-Juba'i agreed with al-Futi, and some of the Mu'tazila, such as Abu 'Ali al-Juba'i and Abu l-Hasan al-Basri as well as Imami and Ash'ari theologians maintained that the Hell and the Heaven already exist.[180]

Eternity and immortality: another common question about the Hell and the Heaven is that of their eternity and immortality. The question was posed by Juham b. Safwan on the ground that it is not possible for a contingent entity to be infinite.[181] Jahiz allegedly believed that there is no eternal dwelling in the Hell and that the dwellers of the Hell will eventually turn into fire.[182]

However, proponents of the eternity of the Hell and the Heaven tried to reply to objections by appeal to philosophical and theological reasoning[183] as well as rhetorical arguments[184].

Wrong-doings by the dwellers of the Hell: along with the theological issue of infallibility in the Heaven and the voluntary or involuntary abstinence from wrong-doing in there, there is a theological issue about wrong-doings by the dwellers of the Hell. One important theory in this respect is the theory of ilja', according to which God forces the dwellers of the Hell to quit wrong-doings, and so their abstinence is not praiseworthy.[185] However, others believe that their abstinence from wrong-doings is because of their lack of motivations for such actions.[186] They believe that only wrong-doing without any obstinacy towards God is possible in the afterlife.[187]

Committers of major sins in the Hell: this is a ramification of the old question about people who commit major sins. Khawarij take committers of major sins to be unbelievers if they do not repent to God, and so for them, there is no significant difference between the position of an unbeliever and a committer of a major sin who did not repent to God. Of Khawarij, Najda b. 'Amir who was more modest believed that it is possible for such evil-doers to suffer a punishment in accordance with their sins outside the Hell and then enter the Heaven. In his view, the Hell is only home to unbelievers and so a Muslim evil-doer does not enter the Hell.[188] His view was later revised by some of the Murji'a. Muqatil b. Sulayman believed that Muslim committers of major sins suffer the Hell from a distance on the Sirat bridge and will suffer in accordance with their sins, and will then go to the Heaven without entering the Hell.[189]

The view of the Mu'tazila about the punishment of Muslim wrong-doers is grounded in their position concerning Manzila bayn al-Manzilatayn (a position between the two positions). Most of the Mu'tazila believed that in the afterlife, all people are only divided into two groups: people of the Heaven and people of the Hell, and so for them, Muslim wrong-doers will enter the Hell just like the unbelievers, except that their punishment will be milder than that of the unbelievers.[190]

According to Imami and Ash'ari theologians, Muslim wrong-doers will enter the Hell if they are not forgiven by God and will be punished in accordance with their sins and will then go to the Heaven until no monotheist remains in the Hell.[191] They take "khulud" in the Qur'an to mean a long, rather than an eternal, stay in the Hell.[192] Some of the Mu'tazila have the same view, adding that it does not fit the divine justice for monotheist wrong-doers to stay in the Hell forever.[193] Some Imami theologians deny that such wrong-doers will go to the Heaven, although they do believe that they will finally go out of the Hell.[194] He identified such an intermediate position between the Hell and the Heaven with what is called "A'raf" or "Barzakh" in the Qur'an.

The goodness of the Hell: one theological question about the Hell is whether eternal punishment in the Hell is good. The question is taken seriously by later Mu'tazili theologians. In the school of Basra, scholars such as Abu 'Ali al-Juba'i believed that punishment in the Hell is neither good, nor bad, and it is a matter of convention to call it good or bad.[195] But in the school of Baghdad, people such as Abu Ja'far al-Iskafi believed that punishment in the Hell is good and is a divine mercy even for unbelievers who suffer them.[196]

In Islamic Sufism and Mysticism

Muslim mystics, just like the people of sharia, take the Hell to be a place where sinners in this world will be punished, but they have provided various characterizations of the notion of the Hell. Historically speaking, Sufi views develop from the fear of God to the love of God; they emphasize the interior of the sharia as well as its exterior. Sufism was finally developed into the theoretical mysticism which cultivated in the theories of ibn 'Arabi and his followers.

Early Sufis emphasized the fear of God, detachment from this world, thinking about death, and the punishment of sinners. They exhibited fear of the consequences of committing sins, and remorse and shame as well as buka' (crying) because of their sins.[197] In this ascetic Sufism, fear is preferred to hope due to its stronger impact on one's will, ascetic life, and the awakening of the soul.[198]

Such themes became more interior in the views of Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya. She emphasized the fear of divine punishment and believed that such a fear should be a believer's guide. She replaced the fear of eternal punishment or hope of eternal reward by the eternal love of God and His servitude.[199]

In fact, a Sufi's ideal is love of, and unification with, God. Thus, sins make one separated from God and the Hell is, indeed, the separation from God, which is the biggest deprivation.[200] They even believe that if the blessings of the Heaven are to prevent one from seeing the divine beauty, a lover of God had better go to the Hell and see His beauty.[201] In later centuries, Sufis did not even find it acceptable for one to ask for the Heaven in the hope of meeting God.[202] The highest desideratum for them was divine love and satisfaction. Dhu l-Nun al-Misri believed that fear of the Hell was nothing compared to the fear of separation from God.[203]

Sufis emphasized that the fire of the Hell has nothing to do with real believers and lovers of God.[204]

In the remarks of Sufis, there are expressions such as the Hell of separation, the suffering of distance from the Beloved, the Hell of distance, and the humility of distance which are used in contrast to the suffering or fire of the Hell. They imply that the real suffering is that of distance from God, which is taken by Sufis to be a painful punishment.[205]

According to ibn 'Arabi, the Hell and the Heaven refer, in fact, to distance from, and proximity to, God, respectively. The Hell which is home to wrong-doers is their conception of their distance from God, and the painful punishment and humility is that of distance.[206] Such a distance is caused by one's indulgence in their natural desires and the illusion of things other than God as existent. But such a distance is only illusory, since everything is a form of the degrees of the Divine Existence, and thus, everything other than God is but illusion.[207] According to ibn 'Arabi, the Hell and the Heaven are only psychological states of the soul after its separation from the body. A soul is prosperous or miserable to the degree to which they know God. The humiliating punishment of the soul can cease by the removal of the distance, that is, by the removal of one's ignorance of God.[208]


  1. Rāghib, al-Mufradāt, p. 102; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Nihāya, vol. 1, p. 323; Bayḍāwī, Anwār al-Tanzīl, vol. 1, p. 111.
  2. Azharī, Tahdhīb al-lugha, vol. 6, p. 515; Jawālīqī, al-Muʿrab, p. 107; Khafājī, Shifāʾ al-ghalīl, p. 59.
  3. Azharī, Tahdhīb al-lugha, vol. 6, p. 515.
  4. Rāghib, al-Mufradāt, p. 102.
  5. Jawālīqī, al-Muʿrab, p. 107; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Nihāya, vol. 1. P. 323; Suyūṭī, al-Itqān, vol. 2, p. 132.
  6. Sacy, Lettre de M. le baron Silvestre de Sacy a M. Gracin de Tassy, p.175; Gieger,Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume augenommen?, p.47-48.
  7. Qurʾān, 74: 311; 39: 71; 66: 6.
  8. Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, ʿIlal al-sharāyiʿ, vol. 1, p. 298.
  9. Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, vol. 1, p. 466 & vol. 3, p. 182; Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 5, p. 14.
  10. Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, vol. 6, p. 2585; Ṣaffār, Baṣāʾir al-darajāt, p. 437.
  11. Qurʾān, 74: 30.
  12. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Durūʿ al-wāqīya, p. 273.
  13. Qurʾān, 61: 10.
  14. Qurʾān, 2: 24.
  15. Qurʾān, 2: 201; 66: 6; for hadiths: see: Ṣiddīq Ḥasan Khān al-Qanūjī, Yaqẓaṭ awla l-iʿtibār, p. 55.
  16. For example: Qurʾān, 10: 53; 73: 12.
  17. Qurʾān, 79: 25; 73: 12.
  18. Qurʾān, 3: 4.
  19. Qurʾān, 9: 35; 39: 24.
  20. Qurʾān, 4: 14.
  21. Qurʾān, 71: 25; 66: 10.
  22. Qurʾān, 78: 21.
  23. Qurʾān, 26: 91; 81: 12.
  24. Qurʾān, 89: 23.
  25. Qurʾān, 18: 100; 46: 20, 34.
  26. Qurʾān, 18: 53.
  27. Qurʾān, 23: 104; 19: 68; 32: 20; 102: 5-6.
  28. Qurʾān, 6: 15.
  29. Qurʾān, 22: 55.
  30. Qurʾān, 11: 3.
  31. Tirmidhī, Sunan, vol. 4, p. 701; Ibn Mubārak, al-Zuhd, p. 102; See for a difference text: Ibn ʿAdī, al-Kāmil, vol. 3, p. 214.
  32. Mufīd, al-Amālī, p. 130.
  33. Qurʾān, 50: 30.
  34. Qurʾān, 19: 71.
  35. For example: Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, vol. 5, 2403; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 1, p. 177.
  36. Ṭabarī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 11, p. 47; Abū l-Shaykh al-Iṣfahānī, al-ʿAẓama, vol. 3, p. 834.
  37. Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, al-Iʿtiqādāt, p. 70; Ṭūsī, al-Amālī, p. 290.
  38. Qurʾān, 6: 6, 128; 7: 38, 179.
  39. Qurʾān, 5: 72; 17: 39.
  40. Qurʾān, 4: 48.
  41. Qurʾān, 21: 29, 98.
  42. See: ʿAlāʾ b. Razīn, Ḍimn al-uṣūl al-sitta ʿashar, p. 156; Nābulsī, Ahl al-janna wa ahl al-nār, p. 74; Ṣiddīq Ḥasan Khān al-Qanūjī, Yaqẓaṭ awla l-iʿtibār, p. 70.
  43. Qurʾān, 50: 24; 3: 106; 6: 30.
  44. Qurʾān, 2: 39; 5: 105, 86.
  45. Qurʾān, 18: 106.
  46. Qurʾān, 8: 33; 39: 60, 72; 40: 76.
  47. Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, vol. 4, p. 225; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 4, p. 2190; Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 2, p. 309.
  48. Ibn Ḥibbān, Ṣaḥīḥ, vol. 16, p. 518.
  49. Qāḍī al-Nuʿmān, Daʿāʾim al-Islām, vol. 1, p. 147; Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, ʿUyūn akhbār al-Riḍā, vol. 1, p. 31.
  50. Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 2, p. 425 & 479; Ḥākim al-Nayshābūrī, al-Mustadrak ʿala l-ṣaḥīḥayn, vol. 1, p. 544; Diylamī, al-Firdaws b-maʾthūr al-khiṭāb, vol. 1, p. 24.
  51. Nahj al-balāgha, Sermon: 164.
  52. Qurʾān, 11: 113.
  53. Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, al-Amālī, p. 513-514.
  54. Ibn Abī Shayba, al-Muṣannaf, vol. 7, p. 163; Ibn Abī ʿĀṣim, al-Awāʾil, p. 54; Ṭabarānī, al-Awāʾil, p. 64.
  55. Qurʾān, 79: 39; 78: 22.
  56. Qurʾān, 56: 45.
  57. Qurʾān, 40: 43.
  58. Qurʾān, 72: 15.
  59. Qurʾān, 4: 93.
  60. Qurʾān, 104: 1.
  61. Qurʾān, 9: 34-35; 104: 2.
  62. Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, al-Khiṣāl, p. 159, 296; Miṣbāḥ al-sharīʿa, attributed to Imām al-Ṣādiq (a), p. 205.
  63. See: Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, vol. 5, p. 2379; ; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 4, p. 2174.
  64. Qurʾān, 7: 38; 15: 43; 56: 49-50.
  65. Qurʾān, 19: 69.
  66. Qurʾān, 3: 12; 6: 128, 8: 36; 41: 19.
  67. Qurʾān, 7: 38; 29: 25; 38: 59-64; 40: 74; 45: 10.
  68. Qurʾān, 35: 36; 44: 56.
  69. Qurʾān, 14: 17.
  70. Qurʾān, 2: 167; 5: 37.
  71. Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, vol. 4, p. 1760; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 4, p. 2188; Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 8, p. 12.
  72. Abū Yaʿlā al-Mūṣilī, al-Musnad, vol. 5, p. 18; Ḍīyāʾ al-Dīn al-Maqdisī, al-Aḥādīth al-mukhtāra, vol. 7, p. 49-50.
  73. Qurʾān, 7: 36; 9: 63, 68.
  74. Qurʾān, 41: 28.
  75. Qurʾān, 10: 52; 32: 14.
  76. Qurʾān, 2: 80; 3: 24.
  77. Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 4, p. 274; Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 13, p. 192.
  78. Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿaẓīm, vol. 4, p. 464; Haythamī, Majmaʿ al-zawāʾid, vol. 10, p. 398.
  79. Ṭabarānī, Muʿjam al-kabīr, vol. 10, p. 179; Abū Naʿīm al-Iṣfaḥānī, Ḥilyat al-awlīyāʾ, vol. 4, p. 168.
  80. Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 1, p. 178; Tirmidhī, Sunan, vol. 4, p. 713; Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 3, p. 355.
  81. Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, vol. 1, p. 16, vol. 5, p. 2400; ; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 1, p. 172, 178.
  82. Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 1, p. 172; Dārimī, Sunan, vol. 2, p. 427.
  83. Qurʾān, 88: 4; 101: 8.
  84. Qurʾān, 90: 20.
  85. Qurʾān, 74: 29; 70: 15-16.
  86. Qurʾān, 74: 28.
  87. Qurʾān, 104: 6.
  88. Qurʾān, 104: 9; 77: 32-33.
  89. Qurʾān, 104: 7.
  90. Qurʾān, 3: 10; 21: 98.
  91. Qurʾān, 2: 24; 66: 6.
  92. Qurʾān, 52: 27; 56: 42; also Ibn Rajab, al-Takhwīf min al-nār, p. 82.
  93. Qurʾān, 44: 43.
  94. Qurʾān, 6: 70.
  95. Qurʾān, 22: 19, 20; 44: 48.
  96. Qurʾān, 22: 19.
  97. Qurʾān, 14: 50.
  98. Qurʾān, 37: 67.
  99. Qurʾān, 37: 62; 44: 43; 56: 52.
  100. Qurʾān, 69: 36.
  101. Qurʾān, 88: 7.
  102. Qurʾān, 38: 57; 78: 25.
  103. Qurʾān, 14: 16.
  104. Qurʾān, 56: 55.
  105. Qurʾān, 88: 7; 37: 66-67; 78: 24.
  106. Qurʾān, 73: 13.
  107. Qurʾān, 47: 15; 2: 174.
  108. Qurʾān, 69: 30; 40: 71.
  109. Qurʾān, 22: 21.
  110. Qurʾān, 89: 13.
  111. Qurʾān, 11: 106; 21: 100.
  112. Qurʾān, 25: 12; 83: 7-8; also Ibn Mubārak, al-Zuhd, p. 86.
  113. Qurʾān, 39: 16; 56: 43; 77: 31-33.
  114. Ibn Abī Shayba, al-Muṣannaf, vol. 5, p. 329; Bukhārī, al-Adab al-mufrad, p. 196.
  115. Ṭabarī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 30, p. 349; Daylamī, al-Firdaws b-maʾthūr al-khiṭāb, vol. 3, p. 217; Muttaqī al-Hindī, Kanz al-ʿummāl, vol. 2, p. 15.
  116. Ḥākim al-Niyshābūrī, al-Mustadrak ʿala l-ṣaḥīḥayn, vol. 4, p. 635; Ibn Mubārak, al-Zuhd, p. 178.
  117. Ṭabrisī, al-Iḥtijāj, vol. 2, p. 99.
  118. Ṭabarānī, al-Muʿjam al-awsaṭ, vol. 5, p. 372; Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī, al-Muwaḍḍiḥ li-awhām al-jamʿ wa l-tafrīq, vol. 2, p. 222.
  119. Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1587; Tirmidhī, Sunan, vol. 4, p. 655; Suyūṭī, al-Itqān, vol. 5, p. 333.
  120. Tirmidhī, Sunan, vol. 4, p. 706; Ibn Māja, Sunan, vol. 2, p. 1446; Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 3, p. 28, 83.
  121. Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, ʿIqāb al-aʿmāl, p. 254; Ibn ʿAdī, al-Kāmil, vol. 2, p. 427.
  122. Qurʾān, 76: 13.
  123. Sahmī, Tārīkh Jurjān, p. 486; Ibn Rajab, al-Takhwīf min al-nār, p. 71.
  124. Samʿānī, Tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 3, p. 195; Ibn Rajab, al-Takhwīf min al-nār, p. 71.
  125. Thaʿlabī, Tafsīr al-Kashf wa l-bayān, vol. 6, p. 36; Ibn Rajab, al-Takhwīf min al-nār, p. 71.
  126. Qurʾān, 6: 128.
  127. Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 2, p. 65; Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 7, p. 143; Zaylaʿī, Naṣb al-rāya, vol. 2, p. 148.
  128. Qurʾān, 16: 29; 39: 71; 40: 76.
  129. Qurʾān, 15: 44.
  130. Qurʾān, 4: 145.
  131. Ṣanʿānī, Tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 3, p. 382; Ibn ʿAṭīyya, al-Muḥarrar al-wajīz, vol. 5, p. 500.
  132. Ibn Fāris, Muʿjam al-maqāyīs al-lugha, vol. 2, p. 269; Jawharī, al-Ṣiḥāḥ, vol. 4, p. 1583; Samʿānī, Tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 495.
  133. Ibn Rajab, al-Takhwīf min al-nār, p. 50.
  134. Ṭabarī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 14, p. 35; Qummī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 1, p. 376-377; Thaʿlabī, Tafsīr al-Kashf wa l-bayān, vol. 5, p. 342; Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 118.
  135. Barqī, al-Maḥāsin, p. 123; Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 2, p. 310.
  136. Qāḍī al-Nuʿmān, Daʿāʾim al-Islām, vol. 2, p. 420; Ibn Barrāj, al-Muhaḍab, vol. 2, p. 454.
  137. Barqī, al-Maḥāsin, p. 123; Hannād al-Kūfī, al-Zuhd, p. 184; Ibn Rajab, al-Takhwīf min al-nār, p. 137.
  138. Qurʾān, 90: 11.
  139. Ṭabarī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 30, p. 201.
  140. Qurʾān, 3: 103.
  141. Barqī, al-Maḥāsin, p. 91.
  142. Qurʾān, 113: 1.
  143. Qummī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 2, p. 449; Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, Maʿānī l-akhbār, p. 227; Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, al-Tawḥīd, p. 391.
  144. Qurʾān, 104: 1.
  145. Fīrūz Ābādī, Tanwīr al-miqbās, p. 256; Maqātil b. Sulaymān, al-Tafsīr, vol. 3, p. 460; Ṭabarī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 1, p. 378.
  146. Tirmidhī, Sunan, vol. 5, p. 320; Ḥākim al-Niyshābūrī, al-Mustadrak ʿala l-ṣaḥīḥayn, vol. 2, p. 551.
  147. Qurʾān, 19: 59.
  148. Ṭabarī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 16, p. 100; Ṭabarānī, al-Muʿjam al-kabīr, vol. 9, p. 227; Hannād al-Kūfī, al-Zuhd, p. 183.
  149. Qurʾān, 78: 25.
  150. Ahwāzī, al-Zuhd, p. 100.
  151. Qurʾān, 25: 68.
  152. Ṭabarī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 19; p. 44; Mufīd, al-Ikhtiṣāṣ, p. 344.
  153. Ṭabarī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 15, p. 265; Ibn Abī ʿĀṣim, al-Zuhd, p. 311.
  154. Tirmidhī, Sunan, vol. 4, p. 593; Ibn Māja, Sunan, vol. 1, p. 94.
  155. Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, ʿIqāb al-aʿmāl, p. 274; Ibn Abī l-Dunyā, al-Tawāḍuʿ wa l-khumūl, p. 271; about pointed to the valley of Habhab , see: ʿAqīlī, Kitāb al-ḍuʿafāʾ al-kabīr, vol. 1, p. 134.
  156. Shaykh al-Ṣadūq, al-Amālī, p. 82.
  157. Kitāb Sulaym ibn Qays, p. 161; Mufīd, al-Kāfiʾa, p. 25.
  158. Ibn Nadīm, al-Fihrist, p. 245; Najāshī, al-Rijāl, p. 146, 191; Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, p. 157, 213; al-Kattānī, al-Risāla al-Mustaṭrifa, p. 345.
  159. Qurʾān, 40: 75.
  160. See: Qurʾān, 52: 12.
  161. Qurʾān, 19: 86; 39: 71.
  162. Qurʾān, 27: 90; 54: 48.
  163. Qurʾān, 52: 13.
  164. Qurʾān, 55: 41; 44: 47; 69: 30-31.
  165. Qurʾān, 46: 20.
  166. Qurʾān, 39: 71; 44: 49; 67: 8.
  167. Qurʾān, 7: 44; 17: 39, 18.
  168. Qurʾān, 2: 174.
  169. Qurʾān, 40: 49.
  170. Qurʾān, 40: 50; 35: 37.
  171. Qurʾān, 66: 7.
  172. Qurʾān, 70: 11.
  173. Qurʾān, 6: 27; 37: 55-56.
  174. Qurʾān, 2: 86; 3: 91.
  175. Qurʾān, 2: 162; 3: 88.
  176. Qurʾān, 70: 28.
  177. Mufīd, al-Amālī, p. 266; Ṭūsī, al-Amālī, p. 29.
  178. Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 3, p. 230; Ṭabarī, al-Tafsīr, vol. 30, p. 294; Ibn Abī l-Dunyā, al-Ḥusn al-ẓann bi-Allāh, p. 104.
  179. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-nihal, vol. 1, p. 70.
  180. Ashʿarī , Maqālāt al-Islāmīyyīn, p. 296; Maqdisī, al-Badʾ wa l-tārikh, vol. 1, p. 188-190; Mufīd, Awāʾil al-maqālāt, p. 141-142; ʿAḍud al-Dīn al-Ījī, al-Mawāqif, vol. 3, p. 485, 487.
  181. Ashʿarī , Maqālāt al-Islāmīyyīn, p. 148-149, 164, 474; Abū Manṣūr al-Baghdādī, al-Farq bayn al-firaq, p. 119, 199; Isfarāyinī, al-Tabṣīr fi l-Dīn, p. 108; Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-nihal, vol. 1, p. 80.
  182. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-nihal, vol. 1, p. 72.
  183. e.g. Taftāzānī, Sharh al-maqāṣid, vol. 2, p. 228-238.
  184. ʿAllāma al-Ḥillī, Kashf al-Murād, p. 364; Taftāzānī, Sharh al-maqāṣid, vol. 2, p. 167.
  185. See: Abū Manṣūr al-Baghdādī, al-Farq bayn al-firaq, p. 121; ʿAllāma al-Ḥillī, Kashf al-Murād, p. 437-438.
  186. Mufīd, Awāʾil al-maqālāt, p. 106.
  187. Mufīd, Awāʾil al-maqālāt, p. 107.
  188. Abū Manṣūr al-Baghdādī, al-Farq bayn al-firaq, p. 92.
  189. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-nihal, p. 128; like this view from Thawbān al-Murjaʾ: Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Iʿtiqādāt firaq al-muslimīn wa l-mushrikīn, p. 71.
  190. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-nihal, vol. 1, p. 50, 52.
  191. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-nihal, vol. 1, p. 92; Ibn ʿAsākir, Tabyīn kidhb al-muftarī, p. 306; Ibn Maytham al-Baḥrānī, Qawāʿid al-marām, p. 165.
  192. See: Sayyid al-Murtaḍā, Rasāʾil, p. 270; Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 4, p. 189; ʿAḍud al-Dīn al-Ījī, al-Mawāqif, vol. 3, p. 491.
  193. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-nihal, vol. 1, p. 82, 128.
  194. ʿAllāma al-Ḥillī, Kashf al-murād, p. 424.
  195. Ashʿarī , Maqālāt al-Islāmīyyīn, p. 537.
  196. Ashʿarī , Maqālāt al-Islāmīyyīn, p. 249.
  197. Smith, The Way of the Mystics, p. 126; Smith, Rabia, 39-40.
  198. Smith, Rabia, p. 68.
  199. ʿAṭṭār Niyshābūrī, Tadhkirat al-awlīyāʾ, p. 83; Smith, Rabia, p. 98-99; Smith, The Way of the Mystics, p. 187-188.
  200. ʿAṭṭār Niyshābūrī, Tadhkirat al-awlīyāʾ, p. 658; Smith, Rabia, p. 39.
  201. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, p.39.
  202. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, p. 161.
  203. Smith, The Way of the Mystics, p. 195; Abū Ṭālib al-Makkī, Qūt al-qulūb, vol. 1, p. 225.
  204. Ghaznawī, Maqāmāt-i zhindi pīl, p. 139; Sanāyī, Dīwān, p. 51; Rūzbahān al-Baqlī, Sharh-i shaṭaḥīyyāt, p. 253-256.
  205. Qushayrī, Laṭāʾf al-ishārāt, vol. 2, p. 251, 274 & vol. 3, p. 273-275; Abū Naṣr al-Sarrāj, al-Lumaʿ fī l-taṣawwuf, p. 262; Hujwīrī, Kashf al-maḥjūb, p. 127.
  206. Ibn al-ʿArabī, Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam, p. 107-108.
  207. Qayṣarī, Sharḥ fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam, p. 244; Khwārizmī, Sharḥ fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam, vol. 1, p. 369.
  208. Qayṣarī, Sharḥ fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam, p. 114.
  1. وَ مَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَه Qur'an 99:8


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