Hell is an abode which is a clear demonstration of the Wrath of Almighty Allah. That which has been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and Ahadith concerning the description of Jahannam (Hell) is being briefly explained hereunder, so that we may take refuge from the Wrath of Almighty Allah and His punishment, and so that we may abstain from those actions that will lead us towards hell and its tortures.
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated, “Hell has been concealed in the pleasures of the world and paradise lies hidden in the hardships of life.” [Bukhari Shareef ]
Looking at its physical nature, the fire of Jahannam was fanned for a thousand years until it became red. It was then fanned for another thousand years until it became white. It was then fanned for a further thousand years until it became black. It is now completely black wherein there is no sign of light. [Bahaar-e-Shariat] Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated that this worldly fire is the seventieth part of the fire of hell. If one adds sixty-nine degrees of intensity to the worldly fire, it would equal the fire of hell. [Bukhari Shareef ]
The fire of this world is so intense that no one can bear to be burnt by it. However even this worldly fire begs Allah Ta’ala never to enter it into the fire of hell, yet amazingly man seems to have no fear of it and commits all those actions that would lead him to hell.
Hell has seven levels and each one has a big entrance. Referring to these levels Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’an, “It has seven entrances. For each entrance there is an appointed portion of them.” [Surah 15, Verse 44] Every sinner will be in the separate place in accordance with the nature of his sins. The names of these seven levels are, Jahannam, Luzwa, Hutwamah, Saeer, Saqar, Jaheem and Hawiyah. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan]
Every one of these levels is replete with unimaginable pains, tortures and torments and multifarious houses. For instance, there is a house called Ghayy, with such severity of torments that the inmates of the other six levels pray four hundred times daily for salvation from its tortures. There is another house known as Zamharir which is the region of extremely severe and torturous cold. [Ahmad]
Regarding the depth of hell, it is stated in the Hadith Shareef that if a rock is thrown into Jahannam from outside, then even after travelling for seventy years it would still have not reached the bottom of hell. [Bahaar-e-Shariat]
The size of the inmates’ bodies in hell would be stretched and broadened so as to magnify their pain and suffering. Their bodies will be inflated to such an extent that to travel from one shoulder to the other shoulder will take three days journey on a fast horse. Their skins will become forty two yards thick and their tongues will hang out of their mouths for one to two miles distance. [Bahaar-e-Shariat] The place where they sit will be like the distance between Makkah and Madinah. [Mishkaat Shareef] Their upper lip will stretch up to the top of their heads and their lower lip will hang over their navels. [Tirmidhi Shareef] The inmates of hell will be so ugly that if one of them has to be brought onto earth then all the people on earth will die due to his ugliness and foul odour. [Bahaar-e-Shariat]
The lowest form of punishment in hell is that a person will be made to wear shoes of fire and this will cause his brains to boil, and he will think that he is receiving the worst punishment. Hazrat Jibra’eel (Alaihis Salaam) took an oath and said that if the warden of Jahannam had to appear to the people in this world then all of them would die due to his fierce appearance. There are such massive snakes and scorpions in hell and their stings and bites are so venomous and painful, that the pain and effect will be felt for a thousand years. [Bahaar-e-Shariat]
The Holy Qur’an makes mention of a mountain in hell in the following verse, “Soon I shall cause him to ascend to the mountain of fire sand.” [Surah 74, Verse 17] Saood is the name of this mountain, whose height is a distance of fifty years. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan] Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated, “Saood is a mountain of fire. The inmates of hell would be mounted on it in the span of seventy years and likewise would be dropped from its peak in the span of seventy years. [Tirmidhi Shareef ]
Regarding the infidels the Holy Qur’an states, “Surely, We have prepared for the infidels chains and shackles and a burning fire.” [Surah 76, Verse 4] From this we learn that the chains, iron collars and an eternal stay in hell are specifically for the infidels. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan] These chains and iron collars would be put on the infidels at the time of being taken to hell. [Tafseer Roohul Ma’ani]
Hazrat Hassan Basri (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) narrates, “The inmates of hell will be burnt seventy thousand times daily. Every time after having been burnt, their bodies would be restored. Thus this process will continue.” [Targheeb] This is mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an in the following verse, “Those who have rejected Our Verses, We shall soon cause them to enter the Fire. Whenever their skins will be fully burnt, We shall change them with fresh skins, that they may taste the punishment. [Surah 4, Verse 56] In spite of remaining in such severe fire they will not experience death, instead after every time the skin is burnt a new one will be created in its place, like a new skin is created after a blister. This punishment is set aside for the infidels. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan]
The Holy Qur’an further states, “Whenever they will wish to come out of there, they will be thrown back into the same, and it will be said to them, “Taste the punishment of the Fire which you used to belie.”” [Surah 32, Verse 20] The inmates of hell would be jumping in the blazing flames so high that they would be coming to the mouth of hell, very near to coming out of pain. The angels would immediately strike their bodies with a mace, with which they will fall back into hell. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan]
About this mace in hell, Allah Ta’ala states, “And for them are the maces of iron.” [Surah 22, Verse 21] Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated that if a mace of hell is placed on earth, even all the humans and jinns together would not be able to lift it. [Targheeb]
The inmates of hell will cry so much that deep scars will form on their faces. They will cry blood and matter instead of tears. This blood and matter will be so much that ships will be able to sail in them. [Bahaar-e-Shariat]
Allah Ta’ala then states in the Holy Qur’an regarding the food in hell, “Then certainly O you the misguided and the beliers. Will eat of the tree of Zaqqum (bitter thorny cactus). And therewith fill your bellies. And you will drink thereafter boiling water.” [Surah 56, Verses 51-54]
When the hunger of the inmates of hell would increase to such an extremity that it would surpass all other torments, they will ask for food to satisfy their hunger. They would then be given Zaqqum, a thorny plant which would get stuck in their throats. It is mentioned that if one drop of Zaqqum is caused to spill into the world it will spoil the food of the entire world. [Tirmidhi Shareef ] Imagine then the condition of those whose diet will be nothing but Zaqqum!
They will then cry for water and will be given such boiling water to drink that when they bring it close to their mouths, the intense heat will cause the skin on their faces to fall off. This is proven from the Holy Qur’an wherein Allah Ta’ala states, “And if they complain for water, then they will be helped with water, which is like molten lead that will burn the faces. What a bad drink it is and hell what an evil place to stay. [Surah 18, Verse 29] Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) said that the water would be thick and coarse like the sediment of oil. When it would come near to the mouth the skin would burn and peel off. [Tafseer Khazainul Irfaan] When this liquid reaches their bowels, it will cause their intestines to disintegrate and flow out of their bodies, as mentioned in the following verse, “Whereby that which is in their bellies will be melted and their skins too.” [Surah 22, Verse 20]
Allah Ta’ala further states, “They will neither taste therein nor drink. Except boiling water and a stinking yellow liquid in hell.” [Surah 78, Verses 24, 25] This boiling stinking yellow liquid would be a mixture of water, blood and pus of other inmates of hell, and is reserved for the infidels. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan] This is also mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in the following verse, “The hell ran after him and he shall be made to drink water of oozing pus.” [Surah 14, Verse 16]
These are just some of the numerous punishments in hell. May Allah Ta’ala protect us from such punishment.
It is reported by Hazrat Anas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) often recited this Dua: “O our Lord, give us good in the world and give us good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Hell.” [Surah 2, Verse 201] May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq to also recite this Dua and the Hidayat to seek refuge from the punishment of Allah and to stay away from those actions that will lead to such punishment. And may Allah Ta’ala grant us all death on Imaan, Ameen.