Jahannam (Arabic: جهنم (etymologically related to Hebrew גיהנום Gehennom and Greek: γέεννα) is one of the names for the Islamic concept of Hell. Other names for hell (or the different gates of hell) occurring in the Quran include: al-Nar النار ("The Fire"), Jaheem جحيم ("Blazing Fire"), Hatamah حطم ("That which Breaks to Pieces" ), Haawiyah هاوية ("The Abyss"), Ladthaa لظى, Sa’eer سعير ("The Blaze"), Saqar سقر. The hadith of Islamic prophet Muhammad, and some writings of later Islamic scholars also describe Jahannam.
According to the Qur'an, on the Last Day[Note 1] the world will be destroyed and all people and jinn will be raised from the dead to be judged by God as to whether they deserve to be sent to paradise (Jannah) or hell. Hell will be occupied by those who do not believe in God (Tawhid), have disobeyed His laws, and/or reject His messengers.
Suffering in hell is both physical and spiritual, and varies according to the sins of the condemned. As described in the Quran, Hell has seven levels (each one more severe than the one above it); seven gates (each for a specific group of sinners); a blazing fire, boiling water, and the Tree of Zaqqum. Not all Muslims and scholars agree whether hell is an eternal destination or whether some or even all of the condemned will eventually be forgiven and allowed to enter paradise.
Most of how Muslims picture and think about Jahannam comes from the Qur'an, according to scholar Einar Thomassen, who found nearly 500 references to Jahannam/hell (using a variety of names) in the Qur'an.
The Hadiths (the corpus of the reports of the teachings, deeds and sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad) introduce punishments, reasons and revelations not mentioned in the Quran. In both Quranic verses and hadiths, "the Fire" (Jahannam) is "a gruesome place of punishment that is always contrasted with Jannah, "the Garden" (paradise). Whatever characteristic "the Garden offered, the Fire usually offered the opposite conditions." Several hadith describes a part of hell that is extremely cold rather than hot, known as Zamhareer.
In addition to the Quran and hadith are "Eschatological manuals". These were written after the other two sources and developed descriptions of Jahannam "in more deliberate ways". While the Quran and hadith tend to describe punishments that unbelievers are forced to give themselves, the manuals illustrate external and more dramatic punishment, through devils, scorpions, and snakes.
Manuals dedicated solely to the subject of Jahannam include Ibn Abi al-Dunya's Sifat al-nar, and al-Maqdisi's Dhikr al-nar. Other manuals—such as texts by al-Ghazali, the influential Muslim theologian of the 9th century, and 12th century scholar Qadi Ayyad -- "dramatise life in the Fire", and present "new punishments, different types of sinners, and the appearance of a multitude of devils," to exhort the faithful to piety. His hell has a structure with a specific place for each type of sinners.
Like al-Ghazali, the thirteenth-century Muslim scholar Al-Qurtubi describes hell as a gigantic sentient being, rather than a place. In Paradise and Hell-fire in Imam al Qurtubi, Qurtubi writes, "On the Day of Judgment, hell will be brought with seventy thousand reins. A single rein will be held by seventy thousand angels…"
In 'The Soul’s Journey After Death, Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, a theologian in the 14th century, writes explicitly of punishments faced by sinners and unbelievers in Jahannam. These are directly related to the wrongdoer’s earthly transgressions.
Concepts of JahannamEdit
The Qur'an uses a number of different terms and phrases to refer to hell. Al-nar (the fire) is used 125 times, jahannam 77 times, jaheem (blazing flames) 26 times. The description of Jahannam as a place of blazing fire appears in almost every verse in the Qur'an describing hell. Jahannam is described as being located below heaven,[Note 2] having seven gates, each for a specific group or at least a different "portion" or "party" of sinners. The Quran also mentions wrongdoers having "degrees (or ranks) according to their deeds" which scholar believe refers to the seven gates. The one mention of levels of hell is that hypocrites will be found in its very bottom.
The Quran describes Jahannam as having "nineteen" angels. The keeper named "Maalik" explains to hell's inhabitants who appeal to him to be let out that they must remain in Hell. One collection of Quranic descriptions of hell include "rather specific indications of the tortures of the Fire": flames that crackle and roar; fierce, boiling waters  scorching wind, and black smoke, roaring and boiling as if it would burst with rage. Its wretched inhabitants sigh and wail, their scorched skins are constantly exchanged for new ones so that they can taste the torment anew, food that is full of thorns and fails to relieve hunger or sustain a person (88:6); (Ḍari‘, a dry desert plant),  drink festering water and though death appears on all sides they cannot die, are linked together in chains of 70 cubits, wearing pitch for clothing and fire on their faces, have boiling water that will be poured over their heads, melting their insides as well as their skins, and hooks of iron to drag them back should they try to escape, their remorseful admissions of wrongdoing and pleading for forgiveness are in vain.
The fuel for the fire of Jahannam, according to the Quran, are sinners, disbelieving Jinn, and stones. The fire burns their skins, changing their colour to black due to its intensity. Jahannam has a shadow of smoke ascending "in three columns", but this provides "no shade of coolness". Its sparks are described to be as "huge as a palace."
A tree called Zaqqum is mentioned in 17:60, 37:62-68, 44:43, and 56:52, of the Quran with fruits looking like the heads of demons. Quran 4:168 and Quran 37:23 talk of a road that leads to hell. 
Jahannam inhales and has "breath" according to verse 67:7, and a "voice" according to verse 50:30, where God asks Jahannam on Judgment Day if it is full and Jahannam answers: "Are there any more (to come)?"
In a metaphysical understanding, Jahannam is the state of being-away from the unity with God, therefore the inhabits, consequently to their behavior, realizing the selfs own enslavement.
The 7 levels of hellEdit
- 1) A fire for sinners among the Muslims
- 2) Inferno interim for the sinner among the Christians
- 3) Provisional destination for sinners among the Jewish
- 4) The burning fire for renegades
- 5) A place for witches and fortunetellers
- 6) Furnace for the disbelievers
- 7) A bottomless abyss for hypocrites, like the Pharaoh and people who disbelieves after Isa's table or Muslims who are outwardly believers but inwardly infidels.
According to some Sunni opinions, the punishment of hell just ends for Muslims.
Otherwise the part "except as God (or your Lord) wills it" is considered as a possible end of the eternity of hell.
Some Hadith point the release of all the inhabitants of Hell. Muhammad is quoted as saying "Allah will bring out people from the Fire and admit them into Paradise."[Note 3] Also he is quoted as saying "Surely a time will come over hell when its gates shall be blown by wind, there shall be none in it, and this shall be after they have remained therein for many years." In another Hadith, it is related that on or after Judgement Day Muhammad and then Allah will intercede to remove sinners from Jahannam. These include "any who sincerely professed the Shahada," and then anyone with "even an atom’s measure of goodness in his or her heart". Exempt from intercession will be anyone who participated in shirk (polytheism). Scholar Qazi Thanaa Ullah in a work of Hanafi fiqh states "unbelievers" will "undergo eternal torment in Jahannam", while wrongdoing Muslims will be released to paradise "after either a long or short duration" in Jahannam, as appropriate.
According to some Islamic philosophers, like Al Kindi, and views from Sufism, hell itself will cease to exist. When God may uncreate, the inhabits of hell, who will not be saved or the whole creation, which emanated from God will return and be restored. With the end of hell, the whole creation goes back to oneness and even the devil, will return to Gods grace. According to some Muʿtazila scholars, hell can not exist forever, since nothing is eternal but God.
Author Phil Parshall quotes other Hadith telling similar stories of sinning believers being taken out of hell and allowed into heaven, which he compares to the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.
Hadithliteratur expanded descriptions of hell. Accordingly hell is perceived to be so deep that if a stone were thrown into it, it would fall for 70 years before reaching the bottom. (According to one calculation this would make it over 190,000,000 km deep, a far greater distance than the diameter of Earth.)[Note 4] The breadth of each of Hell's walls is equivalent to a distance covered by a walking journey of 40 years. Malik in Hadith quotes Mohammed as saying that the fire of Jahannam was seventy times greater than fire on earth. He also described that fire as "blacker than tar".
In book 87 Hadith 155, "Interpretation of Dreams" of Sahih al-Bukhari, Muhammad talked of angels each with "a mace of iron" who guarded hell, and then expanded on the Qur'an’s discourse describing Jahannam by recounting it as a place that
"was built inside like a well and it had side posts like those of a well, and beside each post there was an angel carrying an iron mace. I saw therein many people hanging upside down with iron chains, and I recognized therein some men from the Quraish".
The Quran gives several names for hell: Jaheem ("Blazing Fire"), Hatamah ("That which Breaks to Pieces",), Haawiyah ("The Abyss"), Ladthaa, Sa’eer ("the blaze"), Saqar.  In an eschatological manual by Qadi Ayyad, (Daqa'iq al-akhbarfi dhikr al-janna wa-l-nar), these are names for the different gates of hell, which each specialize in a type of condemned (polytheists, Christian, Jews, Zorastrians, etc.).
Ahmadiyya concept of JahannamEdit
According to Ahmadiyya Islam, afterlife places are images of man's own spiritual life during lifetime, the fire a manifestation of his sins. The main purpose on Jahannam is therefore regarded to purge man from his evil deeds. Punishment therefore exists for perpetual spiritual advancement of human. Muslims and Non-Muslims both may enter or avoid hell depending on their deeds.
Judgement and condemnationEdit
The period of time between a person's death and the Day of Judgement, is known in Islam as barzakh. Although not yet in hell, it is believed that the sinners and unbelievers destined for it will suffer during this time.[Note 5]
According to Leor Halevi, between the moment of death and the time of their burial ceremony, "the spirit of a deceased Muslim takes a quick journey to Heaven and Hell, where it beholds visions of the bliss and torture awaiting humanity at the end of days".
By the time corpse handlers are ready to wash the body, the spirit returns to earth to observe the preparations for burial and to accompany the procession toward the cemetery. But then, before earth is piled upon the freshly dug grave, an unusual reunion takes place: The spirit returns to dwell within the body.
In the grave, the deceased Muslim - this composite of spirit and corpse - encounters two terrifying angels, Munkar and Nakir, recognized by their bluish faces, their huge teeth and their wild hair, test the faith of the dead in their graves.
These angels carry out a trial to probe the soundness of a Muslim's faith. Asking "Who is your Lord?", "Who is your Prophet?, "What is your religion?." If the dead Muslim answers their questions convincingly and if he has no sin on record, then the grave is transformed into a luxurious space that makes bearable the long wait until the final judgment.
According to theologian Al-Ghazali, Afterlife will start with the "Day of the Arising" and a trumpet blast which will wake the dead from their graves. "The Perspiration" —when all created beings, including men, angels, jinn, devils and animals gather and sweat unshaded from the sun—will follow. Sinners and unbelievers will suffer and sweat longer on this day, which lasts for "50,000 years".
God will judge each soul, accept no excuses, and examine every act and intention—no matter how small. It is believed those whose good deeds outweigh the bad will be assigned to Jannah (heaven), and those whose bad deeds outweigh the good to Jahannam.
Finally the souls will traverse over hellfire via the bridge of sirat. For sinners, it is believed the bridge will be thinner than hair and sharper than the sharpest sword, impossible to walk on without falling below to arrive at their destination.
The people that end up in Hell will be "the companions of the left hand".[Quran 56:9] Various groups of people described by the Quran as being in Jahannam include: disbelievers, hypocrites (Munafiq), polytheists, the People of the Book who reject the truth, arrogant rejectors of truth, sinners and criminals, tyrants, the unjust, transgressors, concealers of God's revelations, persecutors of believers, and murderers (of believers).
The suffering of the hypocrites and disbelievers is emphasized in the Qur'an:
- "surely Allah will gather together the hypocrites and the unbelievers all in hell."[Quran 4:140]
- "surely those who disbelieve from among the followers of the Book and the polytheists shall be in the fire of hell, abiding therein; they are the worst of men."[Quran 98:6]
The idea that hypocrites are the worst class of sinners in Islam has been traced to the verse stating: "The Hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire."[Quran 4:145] Those who commit shirk (polytheists) are singled out for special mention in 9:63.
Some prominent people in, or destined to arrive in, hell mentioned in the Hadith and Quran are: Fir'awn (viz., the pharaoh of The Exodus, mentioned in Surah Yunus (specifically Q10:90-92), the wives of Nuh and Lut (mentioned in Surah At-Tahrim, specifically Q:66-10), and Abu Lahab and his wife (who were contemporaries and enemies of Muhammad and mentioned in Surah Al-Masadd, specifically Q:111).
Inhabitants in hadithEdit
Other people mentioned in Hadith include, but are not limited to, the mighty, the proud and the haughty.
Sahih Muslim quotes Muhammad as saying that suicides would reside in Jahannam forever. According to Hadith collector Muwatta Imam Malik (Imam Malik), Muhammad said: "Truly a man utters words to which he attaches no importance, and by them he falls into the fire of Jahannam."
Al-Bukhari in book 72:834 added to the list of dwellers in Jahannam: "The people who will receive the severest punishment from Allah will be the picture makers". Use of utensils made of precious metals could also land its users in Jahannam: "A person who drinks from a silver vessel brings the fire of Jahannam into his belly". As could starving a cat to death: "A woman was tortured and was put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger."  (An extreme penalty according to one Christian critic.)
At least one hadith indicates the importance of faith in avoiding hell, stating: "... no one will enter Hell in whose heart is an atom’s weight of faith.”[Note 6]
Unlike the hell often depicted in Christian culture,[Note 7] Jahannam is not the seat of the devil (Iblis), but simply a place created by God to punish sinners and to imprison demons during Ramadan, although the devil governs hell until the Day of Judgment. Meanwhile, the devil is released to chastises his fiends or passes over to the mortal world to promote evil.
The Book of Revelation describes a "lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death", which most Christians believe to be a description of Hell. While the Quran describes Jahannam as having seven levels, each for different sins, the Bible (as regards the issue of levels), speaks of the "lowest Hell (Sheol)". It also refers to a "bottomless pit", though it does not say this is Hell, while Dante's Inferno and other non-Biblical Christian-based writings speak of hell as being divided into multiple "circles". Some Jewish sources such as Jerahmeel provide descriptive detail of hell-like places, divided into multiple levels; usually Sheol, which is translated as a grave or pit, is the place where humans descend upon death.
Arabic texts written by Jews in Judeo-Arabic script (particularly those which are identified with the Isra'iliyyat genre in the study of hadith) also feature descriptions of Jahannam (or Jahannahum). These seem to have been strongly influenced by the Islamic environment in which they were composed, and may be considered as holding many of the same concepts as those today identified with Islamic eschatology. A Judeo-Arabic version of a popular narrative known as The Story of the Skull (whose earliest version is attributed to Ka'ab al-Ahbar) offers a detailed picture of the concept of Jahannam. Here, Malak al-Mawt (the Angel of Death) and a number of sixty angels seize the soul of the dead and begin torturing him with fire and iron hooks. Two black angels named Nākir and Nakīr (identified with Munkar and Nakir in Islamic eschatology) strike the dead with a whip of fire and take him to the lowest level of Jahannam. Then, they order the Earth to swallow and crush the dead inside its womb, saying: "Seize him and take revenge, because he has stolen Allāh’s wealth and worshipped others than Him". Following this, the dead is brought before the dais of God where a herald calls for throwing the dead into Jahannam. There he is put in shackles sixty cubits long and into a leather sackcloth full of snakes and scorpions.
The Judeo-Arabic legend in question explains that the dead is set free from the painful perogatory after twenty-four years. In a final quote alluding to Isaiah 58.8, the narrative states that "nothing will help Man on the last day except good and loving actions, deeds of giving charity to widows, orphans, the poor and the unfortunate."
Like Zoroastrianism, Muslims believe that on Judgement Day all souls will pass over a bridge over hell (As-Sirāt in Islam, Chinvat Bridge in Zorastrianism) which those destined for hell will find too narrow and fall below into their new abode.
Some descriptions of Jahannam resemble buddhist descriptions of Naraka from Mahayana sutras in regard of destroying inhabitants of hell physically, while their consciousness still remains and after once the body is destroyed, it will regenerate again, thus the punishment will repeat. However according to Buddhism belief, the inhabitants are able to gain good Karma and in certain circumstances leave hell again.
- Last Day is also called the Day of Standing Up, Day of Separation, Day of Reckoning, Day of Awakening, Day of Judgment, The Encompassing Day or The Hour 
- "The companions of the Fire will call to the Companions of the Garden: ‘Pour down to us water or anything that God doth provide’"
- Jabir reported that he had heard with his ears the Apostle (ﷺ) saying: Allah will bring out people from the Fire and admit them into Paradise.
- Assuming Earth gravity, an Earth-like atmosphere, and an 89.5 m/s terminal velocity, a distance of about 197,708,364,000 meters, or about the average diameter of the orbit of the planet Venus
- Until the Day of Judgment, deceased souls remain in their graves awaiting the resurrection. However, they begin to feel immediately a taste of their destiny to come. Those bound for hell will suffer in their graves, while those bound for heaven will be in peace until that time.
- hadith At-Tirmidhi (1999), Abu Dawood (4091) and Ibn Maajah (59) narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “No one will enter Paradise in whose heart is an atom’s weight of arrogance and no one will enter Hell in whose heart is an atom’s weight of faith.”
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Books and journal articlesEdit
- Ghazali, Abu Hamid Muhammad (1989). On the Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife. Winter, T. J. (Translator). Cambridge, U.K.: Islamic Texts Society.
- Kaltner, John, ed. (2011). Introducing the Qur'an: For Today's Reader. Fortress Press. pp. 228–234. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Rustomji, Nerina (2009). The Garden and the Fire: Heaven and Hell in Islamic Culture. Columbia University Press. Retrieved 25 December 2014.