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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Hell

A Muslim wrote:-

Some Muslims and others believe that Hell is a myth or that Hell is not forever. These are false ideas:-

"And then they say: Hell fire shall not touch us save for a few number of days. Say: Have you taken a covenant with Allah? But Allah breaks not His covenant. Or do you say of Allah that which you do not know? Nay, whoever gains an evil gain, and is encompassed by his sins, those are the fellows of the Fire, and they shall dwell therein for ever. But such as act aright, those are the fellows of Paradise, and they shall dwell therein for ever." 2:80-82

.......etc etc


Comment:-

I do not think things are quite as simple as that.

There are many degrees of Hell.One needs to look at all the verses that mention Hell.Here are a few that give a different picture:-

"They shall dwell therein - the torment shall not be lightened from them, nor shall they have respite; Save those who repent after that, and do right (or make amends), for verily, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. " 3:88-89

".... He will say: The Fire is your home, dwell therein for ever, except as Allah wills." Verily, your Lord is Wise and Aware." 6:129

"There is not one of you who will not go down to it (the Fire), that is a fixed Decree of thy Lord. Then We will save those who fear Us; but We will leave the evildoers therein on their knees." 19:71-72"

Surely hell lies in ambush, A destination for those who transgress the bounds, abiding therein for ages." 78:21-23

"O man! Verily, thou are toiling on towards thy Lord, painfully toiling; wherefore shalt thou meet Him!" 84:6

"So I do call as witness the glow of sunset, or the night, and its homing, or the moon in her fullness, ye shall surely travel from stage to stage! What ails them that they believe not? " 84:16-20

One needs to understand what Eternity is.Hell may be a state rather than place, though evil doers make the place in which they are into a Hell.Hell may be Eternal but those put in it may not be there forever.

Some people depending on their deeds could be in Hell forever while others are not.

The evil doers and disbelievers will remain in Hell forever, but if they repent they are no longer evil doers, and it no longer applies to them.

It might be that it seems eternal for those in it.Hell and Paradise are clearly symbolic representations about something outside normal experience. But as the Quran tells us there are conditions on earth which are pale reflections or resemblances of things in heaven.

I do not think we should be dogmatic in this connection.

How would you interpret the following verses:-

"Of them are some who say: Grant me exemption, and draw me not into trial (or temptation). Have they not fallen into the trial already, but Hell surrounds the misbelievers." 9:49"

Verily, he who comes to his Lord guilty, verily, for him is hell; he shall therein neither die nor live." 20:74

"They ask thee to hurry on the doom, but, verily, hell encompasses the misbelievers!" 29:54

Hamid S. Aziz

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