Jahannam is the Arabic word for Hell, a place of punishment for those who disobey Allah (SWT) and reject His Messengers. It is one of the Six Articles of Faith in Islam, and Muslims believe that it exists now and will last forever. According to Islamic teachings, Allah (SWT) created Jahannam before any other creation and assigned inhabitants for it. He also created Paradise (Jannat) for those who believe in Him and follow His commands. Allah (SWT) has predetermined the destiny of every human and jinn, whether they will enter Jahannam or Jannat, based on their deeds and intentions.
What is Hell in Islam?
Jahannam is a place of torment where Allah Almighty inflicts various kinds of punishments on the enemies of Islam. It is located on the seventh and lowest earth, and it is an essential part of the Day of Judgment. Those who enter Jahannam will suffer from its fire, which is darker and hotter than any fire on earth.
The duration and intensity of the punishment will vary depending on the level of disbelief, disobedience, and sinfulness of the person. Jahannam is a warning for all human beings and jinn, urging them to avoid it by leading a righteous life.
Jahannam in the Quran and Hadith
The Quran and the Hadith describe many aspects of Jahannam, such as its gates, levels, guardians, food, drink, chains, clothing, and inhabitants. Some of the names of levels of Jahannam are Sa’ir (the blazing fire), Jaheem (the fierce fire), Hutamah (the crusher), Ladha (the flame), Saqar (the scorching fire), and Nata’ (the fire that reaches the hearts).
The Quran also mentions some of the sins that lead to Jahannam, such as associating partners with Allah (SWT), denying His signs, mocking His Messengers, killing innocent people, oppressing others, lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery, consuming interest, and being ungrateful.
Jahannam in the Quran
The Quran describes the concept of Jahannam in Islam, including the levels of Dozakh, warning Muslims to avoid sins. It has seven gates, and a group of them is designated to each.”
It has seven gates, each a group of them designated. [Surah Al-Hijr verse 44]
The Quran also describes the Severity of the punishment in Jahannam, which is proportional to the sins committed. The worst punishment is for those who Reject Allah (SWT) and His Messengers. They will face Allah’s curse and will abide therein forever without any relief or respite.
Surely, those who disbelieve and die as disbelievers are condemned by Allah Almighty, the angels, and all of humanity. They will be in Hell forever. Their punishment will not be lightened, nor will they be delayed from it.[Surah Al-Baqarah verses 161-162]
The Quran also depicts the torment of the people of Jahannam, who suffer from Fire, Boiling water, Maces of iron, Chains, Garments of fire, and Food that chokes. They will also be humiliated by the angels and the believers who will witness their fate. They will also be Remorseful for their deeds and will beg for forgiveness, but it will be too late.
These are two opposing groups that disagree about their Lord: as for the disbelievers, garments of Fire will be cut out for them, and boiling water will be poured over their heads. Melting whatever is in their bellies, along with their skin. And awaiting them are maces of iron. Whenever they try to escape from Hell—out of anguish—they will be forced back into it and will be told, “Taste the torment of burning!”[Surah Al-Hajj verses 19-22]
One of the most dreadful features of Jahannam is the Tree of Zaqqum, which is a cursed tree that springs out of the bottom of Hellfire. The shoots of its fruit stalks are like the heads of devils. The people of Jahannam will be forced to eat from it, which will fill their bellies with fire and cause them more pain.
Surely the fruit of the tree of Zaqqûm. will be the food of the evildoer. Like molten metal, it will boil in the bellies. like the boiling of hot water. [Surah Ad-Dukhan verse 43-46]
Hadith about Jahannam
The Hadiths are the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his companions, which are sources of guidance and inspiration for Muslims. The Hadiths also emphasize the importance of understanding Jahannam and its consequences.
Hazrat Abdullah bin Masud (RA) narrates that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“Hell will be brought forth on that Day (of Resurrection) having seventy thousand bridles, and with every handle will be seventy thousand angels dragging it'”.[Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2573]
Hazrat Abu Huraira narrates that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“The Fire complained to its Lord saying: ‘O my Lord! My different parts eat up each other.’ So He allowed it to take two breaths: one in winter and one in summer. That is why you find extreme heat (in summer) and extreme cold (in winter).”[Sahih al-Bukhari 537]
Narrated by Hazrat Al Hasan (RA):
“While he was on the pulpit – the pulpit of Al-Basrah –Hazrat Utbah bin Ghazwin (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Indeed a giant rock can be thrown from the brink of Hell and it will continue to fall into it for seventy years without reaching the bottom of it.”.He said: “`Hazrat Umar (RA) used to say:’Increase in your remembrance of the Fire, for its heat is extreme, its bottom is distant, and its whips are of Iron.'”[Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2575]
7 Levels of Jahannam in Islam
The severity of punishment in Jahannam varies in accordance with the level of the sinner’s wrongdoing. Let’s explore these seven levels in detail to gain a better understanding of the Islamic concept of Jahannam. Let’s explore these seven levels in detail to gain a better understanding of the Islamic concept of Jahannam.
Jahannam (First level of Hell)
Jahannam is the first level of Hell in Islam. This level is for those who are sinful in the world. It has the least heat among all the other levels and has the least painful punishment for the sinners. As the sinners enter through its gates, their faces will be burned, and the fire will eat their flesh. Here, Allah (SWT) will renew their flesh every time they are burned.
Ladah (Second Level of Jahannam)
This level is below Jahannam, and it is for people and Jinn who did not believe in Allah Almighty rejected the Prophet’s (SAW) messages and did not believe in them as the Messengers of Allah (SWT). The main punishment in this level is that fire will eat away one’s organs one by one, both externally and internally, and will finally destroy the body.
Saqar (Third level of Jahannam)
It is the third level of Jahannam, located below Ladah. The punishment for the people here is that fire will eat up their flesh but not bones. The four reasons why people land up at this level of Jahannam are:
- He did not pray. (salah)
- They did not give food to people with low incomes.
- He used to talk nonsense to those who follow the path of falsehood and falsehood.
- They denied the existence of reward and the Day of Resurrection.
Al-Hutamah (Fourth Level of Jahannam)
In this level, which is located below Saqar, it is believed that the fire will burn the bones of sinners and burn their hearts and internal organs. The fire will start from their feet and reach their heart. The sinners will weep so much that their tear glands dry up, the blood will dry out, and their tears will be of the huge amount that even if a ship were to be sailed in the pool of their tears, it would do so easily.
Jaheem (Fifth level of Jahannam)
It is believed that it lies below Al-Hutamah, which is a big piece of coal and is bigger than the lowest level. Sinners will be thrown here for three reasons:
- They did not give correct belief in Allah.
- Refused to provide due rights to creations.
- Not encouraged to feed the people with low income.
Saeer (Sixth level of Jahannam)
This level of Jahannam is located below Jaheem. This surface has been burning since it was made. It consists of 300 forts with 300 huts, each containing 300 rooms, and each room containing 300 different types of punishments. The pain here is unfathomable, unbearable, and excruciating. There are scorpions, snakes, chains, ropes, and whatnot. Also in it is the Pit of Torment, the most painful punishment in Hell.
Al-Hawwiyah (Last level of Jahhanam)
This is the last and the worst level of Jahannam. It is the seventh level of Jahannam, situated below Saeer. They say that this level will hold every sinner forever. There is pitch darkness on this level. Here, they punish backbiters and non-believers. The sinners in this level will be crushed under mountains with them lying on their faces. The Quran says that Al-Hawwiyah is the level at which kindled fire will embrace the sinner as a mother embraces her son.
Punishments in Jahannam
The Quran and the Sunnah describe dozakh as a place of blazing fire, intense heat, darkness, and torment. The lowest level is reserved for the hypocrites, who will suffer the most severe punishment. The punishments of Jahannam include:
Awaiting them is Hell, and they will be left to drink oozing pus, which they will sip with difficulty and can hardly swallow. Death will overwhelm them from every side, yet they will not be able to die. Awaiting them still is harsher torment. (Surah Ibrahim: 16-17)
As for those bound for misery, they will be in the Fire, where they will be sighing and gasping, staying there forever, as long as the heavens and the earth will endure, except what your Lord wills. Surely, your Lord does what He intends. (Surah Hud: 106-107)
These are some of the punishments that Allah (SWT) has prepared for the people of Jahannam as a just recompense for their disbelief and disobedience. Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
“Surely those who reject Our signs, We will cast them into the Fire. Whenever their skin is burnt completely, We will replace it so they will constantly taste the punishment. Indeed, Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.” (Surah An-Nisa: 56)
Dua for Protection from Jahannam
Who prays, “Our Lord! We have believed, so forgive our sins and protect us from the torment of the Fire.” [Surah Imran verse 16]
“Oh Allah Almighty, protect me from Jahannam.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Quran confirms that Jahannam will be filled with both sinful humans as well as sinful jinn.
The first people to enter Jahannam will be those who did good deeds for the sake of showing off or gaining worldly benefits, such as a martyr, a scholar, and a generous person who did not do their actions sincerely for Allah Almighty.
According to Islamic belief, one day in Jahannam is equivalent to “A thousand years on Earth.”
There are seven levels of Jahannam in Islam. The names of these levels are Jahannam, Ladah, Saqar, Al-Hutamah, Jaheem, Saeer, and Al-Hawwiyah.
Jahannam has seven gates.