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Description of Hell-Fire

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In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Translator’s Note

This is a translation of a khutbah (sermon) of Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen (d. 1421 A.H ~ 2001 CE). I have referenced as many indirect references to the ayaat as possible. Sheikh would some time use an ayah as a reference but did not quote the exact ayaah (a lot of it in “The Eternal Punishment” section). In such cases, I have simply added a reference to that ayah in the footnotes instead of quoting the exact ayah. I have also added headings to make it easy to follow and remember.

I have exerted all my efforts in making this translation as close to Sheikh’s expressions and choices of words as possible, we ask Allāh Glory be to Him to pardon us for any shortcomings in the translation.

The original audio (Arabic) is at the bottom of this article

Preface

All praise is for Allāh the One who deserves it, the One who rewards His slaves out of His Blessing and Justice.

I testify that there is no one worthy of worship except Allāh alone and that He has no partner in His Kingdom and Legislation. And I testify that Muḥammad ﷺ is His Prophet and Messenger and best of His creation. Peace be upon him and his household and his companions and those who follow his guidance.

What follows, O slaves of Allāh, fear Allāh Glory be to Him.

O slaves of Allāh, we have mentioned in our previous sermon the conditions of a person at the time of death and what will take place in the grave. Now we we will explain that will take place after this (i.e, grave).

Introduction

O slaves of Allāh, fear the fire! which is prepared for the disbelievers, and obey Allāh and His Messenger so you may have mercy.

Fear the fire with obedience of Allāh, by obeying His commands and abstaining from what He forbade! Because there is no other way to be saved from Hellfire except this.

Fear the fire, for it is a horrible place, a home for the wicked, miserable, humiliated and disgraced; the home for those who do not believe in Allāh and the Hereafter; the worst of Allāh’s creatures will reside therein, from the devils and their followers.

Allāh ﷻ said, when addressing Iblees

فَٱلْحَقُّ وَٱلْحَقَّ أَقُولُ • لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنكَ وَمِمَّن تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

“The truth [is My oath], and the truth I say – [That] I will surely fill Hell with you and those of them that follow you all together.”

Surah Śad 38:84-85 1

Fear the fire! for indeed it is a home of Pharoah, Hamān, Qarūn and Ubay Ibn Khalaf, and other than them from the transgressors and the wicked ones. The home of Abdullah Ibn Ubayy and his cronies, from the hypocrites of this nation. These are the residents of the Fire, the wicked evil disbelievers, the oppressive transgressors and the deceiving hypocrites.

Location

And if you ask about it’s location, then it is in the lowest of the places and the farthest they can be from the Lord of the Worlds. It is the home of punishment of Allāh, hence it is farthest from the Mercy of Allāh. And far from the friends of Allāh. It will come on the Day of Judgement, chained in 70 thousand chains, with every chain 70 thousand angels holding it. 2

Severity of Heat

The heat of it is intense and it’s depth is deep! It has been reported from an authentic ḥadīth, He ﷺ said

نَارُكُمْ هَذِهِ الَّتِي يُوقِدُ بَنُو آدَمَ جُزْءٌ وَاحِدٌ مِنْ سَبْعِينَ جُزءًا مِنْ حَرِّ جَهَنَّمَ قَالُوا وَاللَّهِ إِنْ كَانَتْ لَكَافِيَةً يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَإِنَّهَا فُضِّلَتْ بِتِسْعَةٍ وَسِتِّينَ جُزْءًا كُلُّهُنَّ مِثْلُ حَرِّهَا

This Fire of yours, which the sons of Adam kindle, is one part from seventy parts of the heat of the Hell.” They said: “By Allāh! Would it not have been enough O Messenger of Allāh?!” He said: “It is sixty-nine parts more”

Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, 2589 (Sahih) 3 4

Depth

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذْ سَمِعَ وَجْبَةً فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ تَدْرُونَ مَا هَذَا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ قُلْنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ هَذَا حَجَرٌ رُمِيَ بِهِ فِي النَّارِ مُنْذُ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفًا فَهُوَ يَهْوِي فِي النَّارِ الآنَ حَتَّى انْتَهَى إِلَى قَعْرِهَا ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Abu Huraira reported: We were in the company of Messenger of Allāh ﷺ that we heard a terrible sound. Thereupon Allāh’s Apostle ﷺ said: Do you know what (sound) is this? We said: Allāh and His Messenger know best. Thereupon he said: That is a stone which was thrown seventy years before in Hell and it has been constantly slipping down and now it has reached its base.

Sahih Muslim 2844a 5

Jews & Christians

In the two sahihs from him ﷺ that

يقال لليهود و والنصارى يُقَالُ لَهُمْ مَاذَا تَبْغُونَ فَيَقُولُونَ عَطِشْنَا يَا رَبَّنَا فَاسْقِنَا ‏.‏ – قَالَ – فَيُشَارُ إِلَيْهِمْ أَلاَ تَرِدُونَ فَيُحْشَرُونَ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ كَأَنَّهَا سَرَابٌ يَحْطِمُ بَعْضُهَا بَعْضًا فَيَتَسَاقَطُونَ فِي النَّارِ

It will be said to the jews and the christians 6 What do you want? They would say: Thirsty we are, O our Lord! Quench our thirst. They would be directed (to a certain direction) and asked: Why don’t you go there to get water? But they would be pushed and gathered together towards the Hell, which was like a mirage to them, and the flames would consume one another. They would fall into the Fire

Sahih Muslim 183a 7 & Sahih al-Bukhari 4581 8

Allāh ﷻ said

وَنَسُوقُ ٱلْمُجْرِمِينَ إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَ وِرْدًا

And will drive the criminals to Hell in thirst

Surah Maryam 19:86 9

50 Thousand Years Long Day

O slaves of Allāh! What do you think of people who stand on their feet for 50 thousand years?! 10

They would not have anything to eat nor would they have anything to drink, standing for 50 thousand years and that is the Day of Standing (Yawm al-Qiyaamah). Starving stomachs and dried throats and then they would be thrown in to the Fire! They would desire something to drink while they would not find anything to consume except the Fire.

Their Food

Indeed, their food is az-Zaqqum 11! and it is a disgusting tree with horrible smell and taste. It’s appearance is detestful. They will eat from it regardless because of severe hunger and it neither nourishes nor avails against hunger. 12

In a ḥadīth from Prophet ﷺ that he ﷺ said

اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ لَوْ أَنَّ قَطْرَةً مِنَ الزَّقُّومِ قُطِرَتْ فِي دَارِ الدُّنْيَا لأَفْسَدَتْ عَلَى أَهْلِ الدُّنْيَا مَعَايِشَهُمْ

O you who believe! Have fear of Allāh as is His due, [3:102] 13 (Then he said): “If a drop of Zaqqum were to be dropped on the earth, it would ruin the livelihood of the people of this world”

Jami’ at-Tirmidhi 14, Ibn Majah 15 (Hasan Sahih)

Their Drinks

So when they have filled their bellies with this filthy food that neither nourishes nor avail them anything against hunger, they will be panting due to severe thirst but they will not find anything except a boiling drink, even if they ask for relief!

وَإِن يَسْتَغِيثُوا۟ يُغَاثُوا۟ بِمَآءٍ كَٱلْمُهْلِ

And if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky oil

Surah al-Kahf 18:29 16

It is melted lead which scalds their faces 17 until it melts their meat! Wretched is the drink 18. They drink it with hatred and pain! (Their drinking will be like) the drinking of thirsty camels 19 like a thirsty camel who does not let go of water. When they drink from it, it will sever their intestines! 20

That is their drink, like murky oil in severe heat! Allāh Glory be to Him said

وَخَابَ كُلُّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ • مِّن وَرَآئِهِۦ جَهَنَّمُ وَيُسْقَىٰ مِن مَّآءٍ صَدِيدٍ • يَتَجَرَّعُهُۥ وَلَا يَكَادُ يُسِيغُهُۥ وَيَأْتِيهِ ٱلْمَوْتُ مِن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ وَمَا هُوَ بِمَيِّتٍ ۖ وَمِن وَرَآئِهِۦ عَذَابٌ غَلِيظٌ

And every obstinate, arrogant dictator (who refuses to believe in the Oneness of Allāh) was brought to a complete loss and destruction. In front of him is Hell, and he will be made to drink boiling, festering water. He will sip it unwillingly, and he will find a great difficulty to swallow it down his throat, and death will come to him from every direction, yet he will not die and in front of him, will be a great torment.

Surah Ibrāhīm 14:15-16 21

The Eternal Punishment

This is a punishment that is constant and eternal! It will not be lightened for them, and they will be plunged into destruction with deep regrets, sorrows and in despair therein. 22. Every time their skins are roasted through, Allāh will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, Allāh is ever Exalted in Might and Wise. 23 and every time the fire subsides, Allāh will increase it’s blaze. 24.

They will raise their voices with the loudest screams. And every time they want to get out of the fire they will be returned to it. 25 And it will be said to them “Taste the punishment of fire that you used to deny”! They will have variety of punishments and they will never rest. They will say to the gatekeeper of Hellfire, “Supplicate your Lord to lighten for us a day from the punishment.” 26.

By Allāh! They’re not hoping for the punishment to cease forever, not even for an hour! They only request for their torment to be lighten (and relieved from) even if it was for one day 27 but they will not be answered by the angels except with rebuking and scolding, they will say to them “did your Messengers not come to you with clear proofs (i.e, with clear evidences) and they say ‘indeed’, so the angels say to them ‘supplicate then yourselves. And supplication of the infidels will be but in wandering’ 28.

Reasons for Punishment

They will not be answered (for their request) because they did not answer (the call to Islam) to Allāh and His Messengers, they did not answer to His Messengers when they called them to Allāh and His worship! They did not answer them in this world.

They Wish for Death!

They will then wish for the death due to severity of the punishment! They will say to Maalik (an angel who is the keeper of hellfire)

يَٰمَٰلِكُ لِيَقْضِ عَلَيْنَا رَبُّكَ

Oh Maalik! let your Lord put an end to us!

Surah az-Zukhruf 43:77 29

Meaning to cause us to perish and die! He will say to them

إِنَّكُم مَّٰكِثُونَ

verily ye shall bide

Surah az-Zukhruf 43:77 30

and it will be said to them

لَقَدْ جِئْنَٰكُم بِٱلْحَقِّ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَكُمْ لِلْحَقِّ كَٰرِهُونَ

We had certainly brought you the truth, but most of you, to the truth, were averse.

Surah az-Zukhruf 43:78 31

كَذَٰلِكَ يُرِيهِمُ ٱللَّهُ أَعْمَٰلَهُمْ حَسَرَٰتٍ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ وَمَا هُم بِخَٰرِجِينَ مِنَ ٱلنَّارِ

Thus will Allāh show them their deeds as regrets upon them. And they will never get out of the Fire.

Surah al-Baqarah 2:167 32

They Will Supplicate

They will then turn their attention to the Lords of the Worlds. They will turn their attention to the Lords of the Worlds, the possessor of Greatness and Glory, the possessor of perfect justice in His judgement and actions, they will say, supplicating:

قَالُوا۟ رَبَّنَا غَلَبَتْ عَلَيْنَا شِقْوَتُنَا وَكُنَّا قَوْمًا ضَآلِّينَ • رَبَّنَآ أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْهَا فَإِنْ عُدْنَا فَإِنَّا ظَٰلِمُونَ

They will say, “Our Lord, our wretchedness overcame us, and we were a people astray. Our Lord, remove us from it, and if we were to return [to evil], we would indeed be wrongdoers.”

Surah al-Mu’minoon 23:106-107 33

What will Allāh answer them? What will Allāh say to them in response to their supplication and prayer? He will say to them, and He is the best of judges!

ٱخْسَـُٔوا۟ فِيهَا وَلَا تُكَلِّمُونِ • إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِى يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ ءَامَنَّا فَٱغْفِرْ لَنَا وَٱرْحَمْنَا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ ٱلرَّٰحِمِينَ • فَٱتَّخَذْتُمُوهُمْ سِخْرِيًّا حَتَّىٰٓ أَنسَوْكُمْ ذِكْرِى وَكُنتُم مِّنْهُمْ تَضْحَكُونَ

Remain despised therein and do not speak to Me. Indeed, there was a party of My servants who said, ‘Our Lord, we have believed, so forgive us and have mercy upon us, and You are the best of the merciful.’ But you took them in mockery to the point that they made you forget My remembrance, and you used to laugh at them.

Surah al-Mu’minoon 23:108-110 34

At that point, they will despair of all good!


Original Audio (Arabic)

Here is the original audio recording: