Jahannam (Hell)

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A 15th century Persian depiction of Muhammad, Gabriel and Buraq watching as a demon tortures women by hanging them up by hooks through their breasts and burning them. Muhammad said that the majority of people in Hell were women because they are ungrateful and harsh towards their husbands.[1]

Jahannam (جهنم) is the Arabic language equivalent of the word Hell and is used in Islam to refer to the eternal abode of fiery torment, or the specific Islamic conception of Hell. The word 'Jahannam' comes from the Hebrew 'Gehinnom'.[2] Jahannam is the foil to Jannah (Paradise), which is the eternal abode of bliss. Both are said to coexist with the temporal world but will only be occupied by humans after the Day of Judgement. Other names for Jahannam in the Quran include al-Nar (lit. "the fire"), Jaheem (lit. "the blazing fire"), Hutamah (lit. "that which shatters"), Haawiyah (lit. "the abyss").

Generally - although a minority of theologians differ - it is held that unbelievers (i.e. infidels, or kuffar) will spend eternity in Jahannam and that sinful Muslims will only spend as much time therein as is required to purge them of their sins, whereafter they will be sent to Jannah.

Nearly 500 verses (roughly one out of every twelve) in the Quran speak of Hell.[3] Among other descriptions, the Quran describes Jahannam as fueled by the bodies of its occupants.[4] Punishments in Jahannam are said to vary according to a person's sins.[5][6] Like Jannah, Jahannam has seven gates, one for each of seven classes of sinners.[7] Angels serve as Jahannam's overseers.[8][9] The torture is described as so terrible that its occupants will plead for their own destruction, "Would that I were dust!".[10]

Details in scripture


  1. Eternity in blazing fire[11]
  2. Hung by the breasts[12]
  3. Bound in yokes[13] and chains[10]
  4. Garments of liquid pitch[14] and fire[15]
  5. Faces covered in fire[14] and lips burnt off[16]
  6. Beat with maces of iron[15]
  7. Fed painful, noxious, choking foods which will leave them hungry and boil their insides[13][17][18][19]
  8. Boiling water[20] poured over one's head and used to scald the skin and internal organs[15]
  9. Extremely hot, and extremely cold, filthy fluids of pus and blood[21]
  10. Hot stones placed on the nipple that will burn through to the shoulder bone[22]
  11. Dragged by the face through boiling water and fire[23][24]
  12. Burning embers beneath the arches of the feet[25] or shoes of fire[26] that will cause one's brain to boil.
  13. Intestines will come out[27]
  14. Exchangeable skins so that people can be roasted over and over again[28]


  • 99% of human beings,[29] most of them women[30][1]
  • Transgressors[31][32]
  • Haughty and proud people[33]
  • Arrogant people[34]
  • People who reject Allah's signs[35][28]
  • People who commit suicide[36]
  • Hypocrites[37]
  • Jinn who do not submit to Allah[38]
  • Polytheists[39][40]
  • People of the Book[41][42][43]
    • Christians and Jews as replacements for sinful Muslims[44][45]
    • Jews for 'worshipping Ezra as the Son of Allah', and the Christians for worshipping the Messiah as the Son of Allah[43][46]
  • Criminals[47]
  • Ungrateful wives[30][1]
  • Unjust people[48]
  • Tyrants[49]
  • Murderers of Muslims[50]
  • People who persecute or tempt Muslims[51]
  • People who prefer this world and neglect the after-life[52][53]

Sinful Muslims

...When Allah would finish judging His bondsmen and because of His mercy decide to take out of Hell such people as He pleases. He would command the angels to bring out those who had not associated anything with Allah; to whom Allah decided to show mercy. those who would say: There is no god but Allah. They (the angels) would recognise them in the Fire by the marks of prostration, for Hell-fire will devour everything (limb) of the sons of Adam except the marks of prostration. Allah has forbidden the fire to consume the marks of prostration. They will be taken out of the Fire having been burnt, and the water of life would be poured over them, and they will sprout as seed does In the silt carried by flood...

Muhammad's parents

The belief that Muhammad's parents are in Hell is an accepted mainstream Islamic belief[54][55]..

Abu Huraira reported: The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) visited the grave of his mother and he wept, and moved others around him to tears, and said: I sought permission from my Lord to beg forgiveness for her but it was not granted to me, and I sought permission to visit her grave and it was granted to me. So visit the graves, for that makes you mindful of death.
Anas reported: Verily, a person said: Messenger of Allah, where is my father? He said: (He) is in the Fire. When he turned away, he (the Holy Prophet) called him and said: Verily my father and your father are in the Fire.

Muhammad's supporter and uncle Abu Talib

Narrated Said bin Al-Musaiyab from his father: When the time of the death of Abu Talib approached, Allah's Apostle went to him and found Abu Jahl bin Hisham and 'Abdullah bin Abi Umaiya bin Al-Mughira by his side. Allah's Apostle said to Abu Talib, "O uncle! Say: None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, a sentence with which I shall be a witness (i.e. argue) for you before Allah. Abu Jahl and 'Abdullah bin Abi Umaiya said, "O Abu Talib! Are you going to denounce the religion of Abdul Muttalib?" Allah's Apostle kept on inviting Abu Talib to say it (i.e. 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah') while they (Abu Jahl and Abdullah) kept on repeating their statement till Abu Talib said as his last statement that he was on the religion of Abdul Muttalib and refused to say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' (Then Allah's Apostle said, "I will keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for you unless I am forbidden (by Allah) to do so." So Allah revealed (the verse) concerning him (i.e. It is not fitting for the Prophet and those who believe that they should invoke (Allah) for forgiveness for pagans even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of the fire (9.113).

Doctrinal debates


Historical origins


Challenges to Allah's benevolence

Creation of beings predestined for hell

The Qur'an states that Allah the "Omniscient" had the option of giving "every soul its true guidance" but preferred to "fill Hell with jinns and men all altogether".[56][57] This means that Allah creates beings he knows will be tortured.

Unfair punishment

Infinite punishment cannot be properly described as fair punishment for finite sins. This causes eternal torture to be unjust.

Futile punishment

Many if not most of Hell's occupants will never be able to repent, reform, or escape.[58][59][60][61] Since eternal torture is not being used for any constructive purpose after justice has been attained through fair punishment, it is futile.

See Also

  • Hell - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Hell


  • A version of this page is also available in the following languages: Czech. For additional languages, see the sidebar on the left.

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Narrated 'Abdullah bin Abbas: [...] Then I saw the (Hell) Fire, and I have never before, seen such a horrible sight as that, and I saw that the majority of its dwellers were women." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is the reason for that?" He replied, "Because of their ungratefulness." It was said. "Do they disbelieve in Allah (are they ungrateful to Allah)?" He replied, "They are not thankful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors done to them. Even if you do good to one of them all your life, when she seems some harshness from you, she will say, "I have never seen any good from you."" - Sahih Bukhari 7:62:125
  2. B. Lewis; Ch. Pellat; J. Schacht, eds, (1991), "Djahannam", Encyclopaedia of Islam, 3 H-Ir (New Edition [2nd] ed.), Leiden: E.J. Brill, pp. 381-382, ISBN 90 04 07026 5, 1991 
  3. Thomassen, Einar, "Islamic Hell", Numen: International Review for the History of Religions 56 (2/3), 2009 
  4. "Those who reject Faith,- neither their possessions nor their (numerous) progeny will avail them aught against Allah: They are themselves but fuel for the Fire." - Quran 3:10
  5. "To all are degrees (or ranks) according to their deeds: for thy Lord is not unmindful of anything that they do." - Quran 6:132
  6. "Is the man who follows the good pleasure of Allah Like the man who draws on himself the wrath of Allah, and whose abode is in Hell?- A woeful refuge! They are in varying gardens in the sight of Allah, and Allah sees well all that they do." - Quran 3:162-163
  7. "And verily, Hell is the promised abode for them all! To it are seven gates: for each of those gates is a (special) class (of sinners) assigned." - Quran 15:43-44
  8. "O ye who believe! save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded." - Quran 66:6
  9. "Over it are Nineteen. And We have set none but angels as Guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their number only as a trial for Unbelievers,- in order that the People of the Book may arrive at certainty, and the Believers may increase in Faith,- and that no doubts may be left for the People of the Book and the Believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease and the Unbelievers may say, "What symbol doth Allah intend by this?" Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He pleaseth, and guide whom He pleaseth: and none can know the forces of thy Lord, except He and this is no other than a warning to mankind." - Quran 74:30-31
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Nay they deny the hour (of the judgment to come): but We have prepared a blazing fire for such as deny the hour: When it sees them from a place fAr off, they will hear its fury and its ranging sigh. And when they are cast, bound together into a constricted place therein, they will pLead for destruction there and then! "This day plead not for a single destruction: plead for destruction oft-repeated!"" - Quran 25:11-14
  11. "Verily Allah has cursed the Unbelievers and prepared for them a Blazing Fire,- To dwell therein for ever: no protector will they find, nor helper." - Quran 33:64-65
  12. "In hell I saw women hanging by their breasts. They had fathered bastards." - Ishaq:185
  13. 13.0 13.1 "With Us are Fetters (to bind them), and a Fire (to burn them), And a Food that chokes, and a Penalty Grievous." - Quran 73:12-13
  14. 14.0 14.1 "And thou wilt see the sinners that day bound together in fetters;- Their garments of liquid pitch, and their faces covered with Fire;" - Quran 14:49-50
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "These two antagonists dispute with each other about their Lord: But those who deny (their Lord),- for them will be cut out a garment of Fire: over their heads will be poured out boiling water. With it will be scalded what is within their bodies, as well as (their) skins. In addition there will be maces of iron (to punish) them. Every time they wish to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be forced back therein, and (it will be said), "Taste ye the Penalty of Burning!"" - Quran 22:19-22
  16. "The Fire will burn their faces, and they will therein grin, with their lips displaced." - Quran 23:104
  17. "No food will there be for them but a bitter Dhari' Which will neither nourish nor satisfy hunger." - Quran 88:6-7
  18. "Verily the tree of Zaqqum Will be the food of the Sinful,- Like molten brass; it will boil in their insides. Like the boiling of scalding water." - Quran 44:43-46
  19. "Is that the better entertainment or the Tree of Zaqqum? For We have truly made it (as) a trial for the wrong-doers. For it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-Fire: The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils: Truly they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith. Then on top of that they will be given a mixture made of boiling water." - Quran 37:62-67
  20. "The Companions of the Left Hand,- what will be the Companions of the Left Hand? (They will be) in the midst of a Fierce Blast of Fire and in Boiling Water," - Quran 56:41-42
  21. "Yea, such! - then shall they taste it,- a boiling fluid, and a fluid dark, murky, intensely cold!- And other Penalties of a similar kind, to match them!" - Quran 38:57-58
  22. "Narrated Al-Ahnaf bin Qais: While I was sitting with some people from Quraish, a man with very rough hair, clothes, and appearance came and stood in front of us, greeted us and said, "Inform those who hoard wealth, that a stone will be heated in the Hell-fire and will be put on the nipples of their breasts till it comes out from the bones of their shoulders and then put on the bones of their shoulders till it comes through the nipples of their breasts the stone will be moving and hitting." After saying that, the person retreated and sat by the side of the pillar, I followed him and sat beside him, and I did not know who he was. I said to him, "I think the people disliked what you had said." He said, "These people do not understand anything, although my friend told me." I asked, "Who is your friend?" He said, "The Prophet said (to me), ... " - Sahih Bukhari 2:24:489
  23. "The Day they will be dragged through the Fire on their faces, (they will hear:) "Taste ye the touch of Hell!"" - Quran 54:48
  24. "When the yokes (shall be) round their necks, and the chains; they shall be dragged along- In the boiling fetid fluid: then in the Fire shall they be burned;" - Quran 40:71-72
  25. "Narrated An-Nu'man: I heard the Prophet saying, "The person who will have the least punishment from amongst the Hell Fire people on the Day of Resurrection, will be a man under whose arch of the feet a smoldering ember will be placed so that his brain will boil because of it."" - Sahih Bukhari 8:76:566
  26. "Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported: Verily, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: The least tormented of the inhabitants of the Fire would be he who would wear two shoes of Fire and his brain would boil on account of the heat of the shoes." - Sahih Muslim 1:412
  27. "Narrated Abu Wail: [...] He said, "I have heard him [Allah's Apostle] saying, "A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown in the (Hell) Fire, so that his intestines will come out, and he will go around like a donkey goes around a millstone. The people of (Hell) Fire will gather around him and say: O so-and-so! What is wrong with you? Didn't you use to order us to do good deeds and forbid us to do bad deeds?[...]" - Sahih Bukhari 4:54:489
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise." - Quran 4:56
  29. "Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The first man to be called on the Day of Resurrection will be Adam who will be shown his offspring, and it will be said to them, 'This is your father, Adam.' Adam will say (responding to the call), 'Labbaik and Sa'daik' Then Allah will say (to Adam), 'Take out of your offspring, the people of Hell.' Adam will say, 'O Lord, how many should I take out?' Allah will say, 'Take out ninety-nine out of every hundred." They (the Prophet's companions) said, "O Allah's Apostle! If ninety-nine out of every one hundred of us are taken away, what will remain out of us?" He said, "My followers in comparison to the other nations are like a white hair on a black ox."" - Sahih Bukhari 8:76:536
  30. 30.0 30.1 "Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle ?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion."" - Sahih Bukhari 1:6:301
  31. "Truly Hell is as a place of ambush, For the transgressors a place of destination:" - Quran 78:21-22
  32. "Therefore, when there comes the great, overwhelming (Event),- The Day when man shall remember (all) that he strove for, And Hell-Fire shall be placed in full view for (all) to see,- Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds, And had preferred the life of this world, The Abode will be Hell-Fire;" - Quran 79:34-39
  33. "Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as say- ing: There was a dispute between the Hell and the Paradise and it (the Hell) said: The haughty and the proud would find abode in me. And the Paradise said: The meek and the humble would find their abode in me. Thereupon Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, (addressing the Hell) said: You are (the means) of My punishment by which I punish those of My servants whom I wish. (And addressing the Paradise) He said: You are only My Mercy by means of which 1 shall show mercy to those whom I wish, but each one of you would be full." - Sahih Muslim 40:6818
  34. "(To them) will be said: "Enter ye the gates of Hell, to dwell therein: and evil is (this) Abode of the Arrogant!"" - Quran 39:72
  35. "But those who reject Our Signs, they are the (unhappy) Companions of the Left Hand. On them will be Fire vaulted over (all round)." - Quran 90:19-20
  36. "Narrated Thabit bin Ad-Dahhak: The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "Whoever intentionally swears falsely by a religion other than Islam, then he is what he has said, (e.g. if he says, 'If such thing is not true then I am a Jew,' he is really a Jew). '"And whoever commits suicide with piece of iron will be punished with the same piece of iron in the Hell Fire."' Narrated Jundab "the Prophet said, "A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him."" - Sahih Bukhari 2:23:445
  37. "The Hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire: no helper wilt thou find for them;-" - Quran 4:145
  38. "Amongst us are some that submit their wills (to Allah), and some that swerve from justice. Now those who submit their wills - they have sought out (the path) of right conduct: But those who swerve,- they are (but) fuel for Hell-fire" - Quran 72:14-15
  39. "Verily ye, (unbelievers), and the (false) gods that ye worship besides Allah, are (but) fuel for Hell! to it will ye (surely) come! If these had been gods, they would not have got there! but each one will abide therein." - Quran 21:98-99
  40. ""And to those straying in Evil, the Fire will be placed in full view; "And it shall be said to them: 'Where are the (gods) ye worshipped- "'Besides Allah? Can they help you or help themselves?'"Then they will be thrown headlong into the (Fire),- they and those straying in Evil, "And the whole hosts of Iblis together." - Quran 26:91-95
  41. "Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures." - Quran 98:6
  42. "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good)." - Quran 3:85
  43. 43.0 43.1 "The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!" - Quran 9:30
  44. "Abu Musa' reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: When it will be the Day of Resurrection Allah would deliver to every Muslim a Jew or a Christian and say: That is your rescue from Hell-Fire." - Sahih Muslim 37:6665
  45. "Abu Burda reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with as heavy sins as a mountain, and Allah would forgive them and He would place in their stead the Jews and the Christians. (As far as I think), Abu Raub said: I do not know as to who is in doubt. Abu Burda said: I narrated it to 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz, whereupon he said: Was it your father who narrated it to you from Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him)? I said: Yes." - Sahih Muslim 37:6668
  46. "Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri: [...] The Prophet then said, "Somebody will then announce, 'Let every nation follow what they used to worship.' So the companions of the cross will go with their cross, and the idolators (will go) with their idols, and the companions of every god (false deities) (will go) with their god, till there remain those who used to worship Allah, both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, and some of the people of the Scripture. Then Hell will be presented to them as if it were a mirage. Then it will be said to the Jews, "What did you use to worship?' They will reply, 'We used to worship Ezra, the son of Allah.' It will be said to them, 'You are liars, for Allah has neither a wife nor a son. What do you want (now)?' They will reply, 'We want You to provide us with water.' Then it will be said to them 'Drink,' and they will fall down in Hell (instead). Then it will be said to the Christians, 'What did you use to worship?' They will reply, 'We used to worship Messiah, the son of Allah.' It will be said, 'You are liars, for Allah has neither a wife nor a son. What: do you want (now)?' They will say, 'We want You to provide us with water.' It will be said to them, 'Drink,' and they will fall down in Hell (instead). When there remain only those who used to worship Allah (Alone), both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones [...]" - Sahih Bukhari 9:93:532s
  47. "The sinners will be in the Punishment of Hell, to dwell therein (for aye): Nowise will the (Punishment) be lightened for them, and in despair will they be there overwhelmed. Nowise shall We be unjust to them: but it is they who have been unjust themselves." - Quran 43:74-76
  48. "At length will be said to the wrong-doers: 'Taste ye the enduring punishment! ye get but the recompense of what ye earned!" - Quran 10:52
  49. "But they sought victory and decision (there and then), and frustration was the lot of every powerful obstinate transgressor. In front of such a one is Hell, and he is given, for drink, boiling fetid water. In gulps will he sip it, but never will he be near swallowing it down his throat: death will come to him from every quarter, yet will he not die: and in front of him will be a chastisement unrelenting." - Quran 14:15-17
  50. "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him." - Quran 4:93
  51. "Those who persecute (or draw into temptation) the Believers, men and women, and do not turn in repentance, will have the Penalty of Hell: They will have the Penalty of the Burning Fire." - Quran 85:10
  52. "These are the people who buy the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter: their penalty shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped." - Quran 2:86
  53. "If any do wish for the transitory things (of this life), We readily grant them - such things as We will, to such person as We will: in the end have We provided Hell for them: they will burn therein, disgraced and rejected." - Quran 17:18
  54. Are the parents of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in Paradise or in Hell? - Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 47170
  55. How sound is the hadeeth about the parents of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) being brought back to life? - Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 70297
  56. "If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, "I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together."" - Quran 32:13
  57. " Praise be to Allah, to Whom belong all things in the heavens and on earth: to Him be Praise in the Hereafter: and He is Full of Wisdom, acquainted with all things. He knows all that goes into the earth, and all that comes out thereof; all that comes down from the sky and all that ascends thereto and He is the Most Merciful, the Oft-Forgiving. The Unbelievers say, "Never to us will come the Hour": Say, "Nay! but most surely, by my Lord, it will come upon you;- by Him Who knows the unseen,- from Whom is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on earth: Nor is there anything less than that, or greater, but is in the Record Perspicuous:" - Quran 34:1-3
  58. "They will cry: "O Malik! would that thy Lord put an end to us!" He will say, "Nay, but ye shall abide!"" - Quran 43:77
  59. "Therein will they cry aloud (for assistance): "Our Lord! Bring us out: we shall work righteousness, not the (deeds) we used to do!" - "Did We not give you long enough life so that he that would should receive admonition? and (moreover) the warner came to you. So taste ye (the fruits of your deeds): for the wrong-doers there is no helper."" - Quran 35:36-37
  60. "They will say: "our Lord! Our misfortune overwhelmed us, and we became a people astray! "Our Lord! bring us out of this: if ever we return (to Evil), then shall we be wrong-doers indeed!" He will say: "Be ye driven into it (with ignominy)! And speak ye not to Me!" - Quran 23:106-108
  61. "For those who reject their Lord (and Cherisher) is the Penalty of Hell: and evil is (such), Destination. When they are cast therein, they will hear the (terrible) drawing in of its breath even as it blazes forth, Almost bursting with fury: Every time a Group is cast therein, its Keepers will ask, "Did no Warner come to you?" They will say: "Yes indeed; a Warner did come to us, but we rejected him and said, 'Allah never sent down any (Message): ye are nothing but an egregious delusion!'" They will further say: "Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!" They will then confess their sins: but far will be (Forgiveness) from the Companions of the Blazing Fire!" - Quran 67:6-11