The Raised Places (Araaf)
And on the most elevated places there shall be men who know all by their marks, (7:46)
That is some people will be on Araaf who will recognise everyone by looking at their foreheads.
According to the news given by Ahle Bayt (a.s.) Araaf is a high place on Sirat Bridge. God Almighty will allow room for the Holy Prophet and Ahle Bayt there. One with a shining forehead will be recognized as a friend of Aale Muhammad and Ali (a.s.) will allow him to proceed to paradise. Accordingly the meaning of the above verse will be: Muhammad and Ali (a.s.) will recognize everyone passing over the bridge by their faces.
Wall between People of Paradise and People of Hell
Another explanation of Araaf is that it is a wall, which will be erected between people of paradise and people of hell on Sirat as mentioned in Surah Al Hadid. The Lord of the Universe says: (O My Dear Messenger!) On that Day, you will see the Faithful in such a condition that their radiance will enlighten their front and their side. (A voice will be heard): Good tidings to you for you will get the eternal paradise beneath which rivers flow. It is indeed a great success of yours.
On that Day, the hypocrites will tell the Faithful: Just look at us also! We too may benefit from your radiance. They will be told: Return to the world and find out some other light. Then a wall will be raised between the said two groups. There will be a door in that wall. On one side of it will be only Mercy (for the Faithful) and on the other only punishment (for the unbelievers and hypocrites).
Then separation would be brought about between them, with a wall having a door in it; (as for) the inside of it, there shall be mercy in it, and (as for) the outside of it, before it there shall be punishment. (57:13)
One's Radiance (Noor) will be of no use to others
It is mentioned in commentaries that the Radiance is front of believing men and believing women will be the light of their beliefs and love and friendship of Aale Muhammad (a.s.). The Noor at their right will be the radiance of the prayers and worship acts. The Noor of some will be so bright that it will make things visible for eyes and that of some will be sometimes bright and sometimes dim. Such people will go on falling down and getting up and crying:
Our Lord! Make perfect for us our light, (66:8)
Here one's noor will be of no avail to another. Though the hypocrites and the offenders will go on asking for the light of the fortunate ones it will be of no use. A wall will be erected between them and the believers. According to Quranic commentary, it is Araaf.
Be Anxious about that Day's Noor only Today
They will cry out to them: Were we not with you? They shall say: Yea! But you caused yourselves to fall into temptation, and you waited and doubted, and vain desires deceived you till the threatened punishment of Allah came, while the arch deceiver deceived you about Allah.
So today ransom shall not be accepted from you nor from those who disbelieved; your abode is the fire; it is your friend and evil is the resort. (57:14-15)
By the way, let there be some admonition also so that we may worry today about the light of that Day before the arrival of the moment when there will be no remedy or escape.
Araaf, a Place between Paradise and Hell
Third explanation of Araaf is that it is a place (between paradise and hell where those people will dwell who were helpless such as minors, lunatics, and children. Though they will not be as happy as those in paradise, they will be saved from the punishment of hell.
For the fairies of heaven, Araaf is hell. But if you ask the people of hell, they will reply that Araaf is paradise.
Paradise, the Greatest and Everlasting Bounty
The Lord of the universe has reserved a place in the Hereafter for those people who leave this world with fear of God in their heart. There, God has kept innumerable and unimaginably tasteful things for the righteous befitting that highest host. To get an idea of those comforts, tastes and pleasures of that place in the Hereafter is as difficult for the residents of this world now as are the things in this world for an unborn child.
That is why, it is mentioned in the Holy Quran:
So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes; a reward for what they did. (32:17)
It is also said as a general hint about the heavenly bounties:
They have therein what they wish and with Us is more yet. (50:35)
It means, in paradise, there are all those things, which they (the people of paradise) will desire and what is with Us is even more than what they can wish.
At yet another place it is said:
They will not hear its faintest sound, and they shall abide in that which their souls long for. (21:102)
True Abode of Peace (Darus Salaam) is Paradise
In brief, paradise is the place wherein there will be no sign of failure, grief, sorrow, difficulty, hardship, trouble, weakness, old aged, illness, tiredness and idleness. There will be safety and security in every sense. That is why it is named the abode of peace (Darus Salaam). It is the real kingdom, in a sense that man has so much power that whatever he wishes will be available at once. It is available only to the people of paradise.
 Persian Couplet.
And when you see there, you shall see blessings and a great kingdom. (76:20)
Here we hint at some of the heavenly bounties mentioned in the Holy Quran:
And the flesh of fowl such as they desire. (56:21)
And fruits such as they choose, (56:20)
And abundant fruit,
Neither intercepted nor forbidden, (56:32-33)
In both are fruits and palms and pomegranates. (55:68)
In paradise, there will be springs of pure and clean water which will never get depleted and there will be rivers of milk the taste of which has neither changed nor will change and there will be canals of grapes wines which will be pleasing to drinkers (will not be foul smelling as is the case with worldly wines and which are also intoxicating and harmful) rather the heavenly wine will be good, fragrant, tasty, harmless, awakening and purifying.
And their Lord shall make them drink a pure drink. (76:21)
And rivers of honey clarified and for them therein are all fruits and protection from their Lord. (47:15)
Heavenly Rivers mentioned in the Holy Quran
There will also be many springs in paradise. The speciality and tastefulness of each and every one of them will be different. They have been named as per their specialities, for example: The Camphor Spring, The Zanjabil Spring, The Salsabeel and The Tasneem. The most important of them all is The Kauthar which is flowing from beneath the Divine Throne and which is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey, softer than butter. It will contain precious stone pebbles (at the bottom) and they will be of Chrysolite, Ruby and coral. Its grass will be saffron and its mud will be more fragrant than musk. Narrations mention that Kauthar will flow from beneath the Divine Throne; that it is flowing like a river in paradise and that it
takes the shape of a big cistern in the field of Mahshar, as said earlier.
Almighty Allah says in Surah Kahf:
Ornaments shall be given to them therein of bracelets of gold, and they shall wear green robes of fine silk and thick silk brocade interwoven with gold, (18:31)
At another place in the Holy Quran it is mentioned:
They shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and (with) pearls, and their garments therein shall be of silk. (22:23)
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said that when a believer will enter his heavenly palace a crown of glory will be put on his head and he will be made to wear seventy robes of various colours embedded with heavenly precious jewels. It is also mentioned that if any of those dresses is brought to the people of this world they will not be able to gaze at its brightness.
Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said that the Lord of the Universe will provide a miracle to the faithful every Friday in Paradise. On that day, He will send to the believer dresses through an angel. Then that believer will put one of it on his waist and another on his shoulders. Then from wherever that man will pass the entire environment will brighten up with his radiance (Noor).
Palaces and Precincts in Paradise
God has promised in many places in the Holy Quran:
Allah has promised to the believing men and the believing women gardens, beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and goodly dwellings in gardens of perpetual abode; and best of all is Allah's goodly pleasure- that is the grand achievement. (9:72)
God Almighty says:
But (as for) those who are careful of (their duty to) their Lord, they shall have high places, above them higher places, built (for them),
beneath which flow rivers; (this is) the promise of Allah: Allah will not fail in (His) promise. (39:20)
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said that those chambers will be made of pearls, Rubies and Emeralds and their roofs will be golden. There will be two golden gates in every chamber and there will be a guard and a sentry at every gate.
Sample of Heavenly Chambers
According to Quranic commentary the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "There is a palace made of pearls in paradise, in that palace there are seventy apartments made of red topaz, in every apartment seventy halls made of Emeralds. In every hall there are seventy thrones. On every throne there are seventy carpets of various colours. There is a Hourie on every carpet. In every hall there are seventy dining tables. Tasty eatables of seventy kinds are served on every table. There are seventy maids in every hall. Almighty God will grant the faithful strength enough to enjoy all these bounties."
Chairs, Carpets and Vessels in Paradise
Reclining therein on raised couches; excellent the recompense and goodly the resting place. (18:31)
He says in Surah Waqiah:
On thrones decorated,
Reclining on them, facing one another.
He says in Surah Rahman:
Reclining on beds, the inner coverings of which are of silk brocade; and the fruits of the two gardens shall be within reach.
The Holy Quran has named some heavenly attires such as Israbraq, Hareer, Sundus, Rafraf, Namaariq and Zarabiyya which can only be seen and enjoyed as their description is beyond words and description.
Regarding the heavenly vessels or containers. Almighty Lord says:
Round about them shall go youths never altering in age,
With goblets and ewers and a cup of pure drink; (56:17-18)
In paradise handsome lads will be taking rounds with goblets of gold, silver and various jewels for the people of the paradise. Their containers will be overflowing with the wine of grapes. They will enjoy the 'pure drink'.
It is mentioned in Surah Dahr:
And there shall be made to go round about them vessels of silver and goblets which are of glass, (76:15)
The people of paradise will be served drinks in cups made of silver and flint glass, that is, those containers will have the clarity and sheen of flint and softness and whiteness of silver.
Heavenly Women and Houries
Since the greatest physical bounty in paradise are houries the Holy Quran makes a mention of them on various occasions. The houri is called a houri because it denotes a female having a fair body and 'Een' means a large-eyed lady. As both these specialities are found in houries they are called Hourul Een. It also may be so because the whiteness in their eyes will be extremely white and the blackness extremely black and it will make them highly attractive. The reason of naming them Houries can also be that eyes will become 'hairaan' (spellbound) by looking at them.
Almighty Allah says:
And Hoorun Eenun (pure, beautiful ones),
The like of the hidden pearls: (56:22-23)
Meaning: The Houries will be like pearls hidden in shells. There will be no dust on them. Neither any man nor jinn will have touched them.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said that, in paradise, light would flash. The people of paradise will exclaim, "What radiance is this?" A voice will ring, "A Hourie has just smiled to her husband. This light spread from her teeth."
The Lord Almighty also said:
Surely We have made them to grow into a (new) growth,
Then We have made them virgins, (56:35-36)
Meaning: We have created these Houries with Our perfect might (without parents) and We have made them ever youthful.
The Houries would love their husbands. They will be sweet- voiced having pleasing gestures. All of them will be 16 years old. So men in the paradise will be of 33 years of age.
Almighty Allah says:
In them shall be those who restrained their eyes; before them neither man nor jinni shall have touched them. (55:56)
Meaning: There are Houries in heavenly gardens who keep their eyes lowered except before their husbands. They have not been touched by anyone from men or jinn except by their husbands. All of them will be as if carved in Ruby and Pearls.
As though they were rubies and pearls. (55:58)
It is reported that despite wearing seventy robes the inner part of the calf of the Houries will be visible as a white lining is visible from behind a Ruby.
Houries are Very Far from Impurities
The Lord of the Universe says:
And they shall have pure mates in them, and in them, they shall abide. (2:25)
Meaning: For the faithful and righteous people there are Houries in paradise who are pure and clean in every sense. They do not menstruate. They are always free from impurity and uncleanness. They are also not proud and self-centred and they do not envy one another.
It is reported that on the right hand of the houri is written in shining letters:
"Praise be to Allah who has fulfilled what He promised."
And on her left hand:
"Praise be to Allah who has relieved us of grief."
Heavenly Women are Much More Beautiful and Attractive
It must not remain unmentioned that the beauty and charm of those faithful ladies who will die with perfect faith and will enter paradise will have a charm and beauty far more surpassing that of Houries of Paradise. While explaining the meaning of the verse:
In them are goodly things, beautiful ones. (55:70)
It is said that there will be women in the gardens of paradise who will have the best of bodily charm and the best of spiritual excellence. Thereby it is meant only those faithful Muslim and believer women who will be entitled to paradise.
Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) has narrated Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that 'goodly things' means faithful, knowledgeable Shia women who will enter paradise and who will be married to the believers.
The Marriage of the Women of Paradise will be of their Own Choice
It is related that those women who did not marry in this world, or those women whose husbands had not entered Paradise, will be given the freedom to choose the believer whom she desires, and they shall be married to them. But if a woman's husband is present in Paradise, she will be permitted to marry him with her consent. If in the world she married more than once, the man who has the greatest status (in Paradise) and has performed more good deeds will be chosen for her.
Flowers and Scents in Paradise
In Surah Rahman Allah refers to that person who fears standing in front of his Lord for accounting (for his deeds), and thus refrains from sinning:
And for him who fears to stand before his Lord are two gardens. (55:46-47)
It means that one who fears of standing in front of his Lord (that is for the accounting in Qiyamat as mentioned earlier and who will not have sinned) will get two gardens in paradise wherein will be all kinds of bounties and various vegetables, flowers and fruits.
Allamah Majlisi narrates from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that he said, "If one of the 'houries' of Paradise descends on the first heaven on a dark night and looks down towards the earth, the entire universe will be filled with her fragrance."
It is related from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that the fragrance of the perfume of Paradise will reach upto the distance equal to a thousand years. The sand of Paradise is of musk. It is related in many traditions that the walls, doors, and the floor of Paradise are covered with grass of saffron. Fragrance will be emitting from it, and the effect of its fragrance will be such that an old man proceeding towards Paradise will reach such a place which is far from Paradise at a distance of a thousand years, yet he will turn young by just the fragrance.
Light in Paradise
The Lord Almighty says:
They shall find therein neither (the severe heat of) the sun nor intense cold. (76:13)
Which means that people in paradise will not see the sun and its heat nor will they experience cold and chill, that is, they will dwell in a moderate atmosphere. They will not require sun or its heat. Rather their own light of faith and good deeds will be enough for them as has been mentioned earlier.
It is related that the light of the 'houries' will be more than the light of the sun, they will be like walking lanterns. Palaces of Paradise adorned with pearls, corals, rubies, topaz and emeralds will emit a colourful light and make a pleasant environment. The floor, vessels, and dresses will be scattering light, and these glowing lanterns will turn Paradise into an illuminated place.
Songs and Voices in Paradise
The bounties of various kinds which we see in this world and so also all the good tastes and feelings are but only an atom of what is available in the paradise. This applies to good sound and voice too. The best and perfect of it all is found in paradise only. If even a single song of paradise is made to be heard in this world the residents of this world will not be able to hear it and they will die. The voice of the Prophet Dawood (a.s.) is well known as called as 'Lahne Dawudi'. Though this voice was in this world none was able to bear it. When he was reciting Zaboor different kinds of animals used to gather around him and were fainting together and some even died.
Prophet Dawood (a.s.) and the Singing Houries of Paradise
Describing the events of messengers (a.s.) Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) says in one of his speeches in Nahjul Balagha: In Paradise Prophet Dawood will entertain its inhabitants with his pleasant voice, and will be a reciter of Paradise.
It means that he will make the people of paradise hear his recitations. Of course it will be a melodious song of paradise and those in paradise will have the ability to hear it.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have been quoted in Majmaul Bayan: The best of the songs of paradise will be those sung by the houries for pleasing their husbands. Their voice will be so wonderfully pleasing that none before would have ever heard like it. It will not be in the tune of musical instruments but would be based on the glorification and praising of the Lord of the universe, Only One God.
Reward of Discarding Singing in this World
It is mentioned in narrations that the birds of paradise will sing in the best of voices.
People once asked Imam Sadiq (a.s), "Will there be music and songs in the paradise?" He replied, "There is a tree in paradise. God will
order the winds of paradise to move. It will make the tree give out various kinds of songs. The sounds will be such as never heard by anyone in this world from neither any singer nor any musical instrument." Then the Imam said, "This is the reward of discarding music and songs for fear of God in this world."
Spiritual Favours and Tastes
There also will be various kinds of spiritual bounties to imagine which, is beyond our power of understanding. One of them is that veils will be lifted off the eyes, that is, eyes will here witness what we had only known to exist. What one had wished to know from Divine Truths, one would gain it here, especially the sight of and meeting with Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.).
In Tafsir Safi, in explanation of the Holy verse:
Then shall some of them advance to others, questioning each other. (37:50)
It is mentioned that the people of paradise will discuss matters about knowledge and Grace of God and the Holy Prophet with one anther.
Among all other bounties will also be the respect and honour granted by God. For example, everyone who will be fortunate to enter paradise will, by his intercession, keep his parents, wives and children with him, provided they had died with faith and were entitled for paradise.
This will be as a respect to the true faithful, though his parents and wives and children etc were not entitled to the high status. Hence the Lord of the universe says in the Holy Quran:
The gardens of perpetual abode which they will enter along with those who do good from among their parents and their spouses and their offspring; (13:23)
Greetings by Angels and the Honour of Communicating with the Lord of Universe
When the righteous people will reach their respective places in paradise. God Almighty will appoint one thousand angels for visiting them. They will give them greetings. There will be a palace for the believer and that palace will have a thousand doors. There will be an angel at every door to salute the faithfuls.
And the angels will enter in upon them from every gate:
Peace be on you because you were constant, how excellent, is then, the issue of the abode. (13:23-24)
The highest honour available to the faithful will be the honour of communicating with the Lord of the universe. There are many narrations in this respect. But what the Lord in Surah Yasin mentions is sufficient:
"Peace! A word from a Merciful Lord." (36:58)
In Tafsir Minhajus Sadiqeen a narration of Jabir bin Abdullah has been quoted according to which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said that the people of paradise will be immersed in the bounties of gardens when a light will suddenly flash on then giving out a voice 'As Salaamo Alaikum Yaa Ahlal Jannah'. Hence it is said that all those bounties which were available only to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in the world, including having a word with the Almighty Lord, will be made available, to the people of paradise also in the Hereafter.
There are detailed traditions about the divine lights in volume two of Biharul Anwar, one of them being the 'Position of Satisfaction' (Maqame Rizwan), which is mentioned in the Holy Quran too:
Their Lord gives them good news of mercy from Himself and (His) good pleasure and gardens, (9:21)
And best of all is Allah's goodly pleasure- that is the grand achievement. (9:72)
Neighbourhood of the Prophet and his Progeny
Among all other bounties of paradise is the neighbourhood of Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.) and meeting with them. The Holy Prophet has said, "O Ali! Your Shias will be sitting with bright faces on the pulpits of light and all of them will be my neighbours in paradise."
Also among the said bounties is permanent dwelling in paradise. When the faithful will know that these highly precious bounties will never end (nor will they be diminished) they will experience a wonderful delight in their hearts, which is indescribable.
One of the spiritual bounties is that one will be meeting frequently with the messengers, the righteous and faithful persons. Almighty God says in the Holy Quran:
On thrones, facing each other. (37:44)
Meaning they will be sitting on thrones facing one another happily.
Daily Feasts Hosted by the Messengers (a.s.)
It is mentioned that the people of paradise will be going to visit a Messenger (a.s.) daily and they will be their guests. Of course, on every Thursday, they will be the guests of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), the Last Prophet. On every Friday they will be invited to the nearness of the Highest One.
Admonition - Why Do We Not Try To Get Paradise?
Above was a brief narration of the bounties of paradise. We will have to fairly think, will any wise man want to deprive himself of the said spiritual joys and pleasures and high positions?
How much trouble a man takes for getting the worldly positions and ranks even though it is not always certain that he will attain the
 What is meant by this week long hosting? We could not know it because these our worldly weeks will not be there in Hereafter. May be the timing is explained according to our system of calculation.
same. Even if he gets them after suffering and undergoing a lot of difficulties and hardships, there is every possibility of being deprived of the same due to his death. But the same person does not make any effort for getting the exalting places and everlasting bounties even though here it is certain that if he strives he would reach his goal. The reason for this carelessness is man's lack of courage and his drowning in the engagement in the world's short-lived pleasures, passions, lusts and greed even though there are thousands of impurities in them as mentioned in the Holy Quran:
Nay! man desires to give the lie to what is before him. (75:5)
Paradise as Described by the Ever-truthful, Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.)
Ali (a.s.) says in one of his sermons in Nahjul Balagha:
"(O Lord!) I believe You are pure and clean of all those things which are not fitting Your greatness. You are the Creator of all the creation and You are, in the sight of Your creation, the Owner of all secrets concerning nice taste. Accordingly You have created a place named Paradise. Therein You have provided, for Your guests, all niceties of feasts and of dining and beautiful houries and handsome servant boys and highly comfortable apartments, extremely pure and clean springs and rivers of tasty drinks and green fields and gardens and delicious fruits. Then You raised Your representative Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.s.) who goes on inviting people to the said paradise of lasting pleasures. So (it was the misfortune of mankind that) they neither responded to the true caller towards Truth nor did they incline towards the things You called them to nor did they like what You desired them to like and long for. On the contrary, they remained stuck to fraudulent and dead world as a result of which they became disgraced. They befriended one another on the basis of their connection with this valueless world. So whoever befriended this untrustworthy world and became mad after it, became totally blind, so blind that he does not understand what is detrimental and a loss for him. His heart became sick for what was beneficial to him and befitting to him. So he sees with weak and sickly eyes and hears with unhealthy ears. Doubtlessly, worldly desires have made his
heart and soul dead and destroyed his intelligence. He has become a slave of this world and also of everyone who owns anything from the worldly wealth."
In spite of the fact that there are only two paths before us - no third alternative - man will either to go to Paradise or to hell - Now if one does not take and follow God's path He will not only be deprived of all the bounties mentioned by us above briefly, his dwelling place forever will also be only hell which is full of pains. Only an iota of its pain and troubles are described in the following pages.
Hell is a fathomless, wide and spacious pit. God's anger will turn into fire in it. It is the last prison wherein will be various kinds of punishments, chastisements, pains, troubles, hardships and calamities. They will be such that we cannot even imagine them. We cannot even understand them. In fact it is exactly opposite to paradise. In paradise, there will be every kind of comfort, pleasure and joy and not even an iota of pain or trouble. But in hell, there will be nothing except hardships, troubles, sorrows, griefs and sufferings. There will be no room at all for peace, happiness and comfort. Here are some of the tortures being meted out to offenders in hell as mentioned in the Holy Quran:
Then shall you, O you who err and call it a lie!
Most surely eat of a tree of Zaqqoom, (56:51-52)
And fill (your) bellies with it; (56:53)
That is due to sheer hunger you will have to fill your stomachs with it.
Then drink over it of boiling water; (56:54)
That is you will have to drink extremely hot water (due to extreme thirst you will have no alternative but to drink it).
Punishment of Hunger and Thirst in Hell
It is mentioned in traditions that the people of hell will be given the punishment of hunger so that they will willy-nilly eat the fruit of the Zaqqoom. Thereafter they will be made to taste the chastisement of thirst so they may drink more and more from Hameem (boiling hell water):
Like those who abide in the fire and who are made to drink boiling water so it rends their bowels asunder. (47:15)
That water will be so hot that it will tear their intestines into bits. It is related that if a drop of that water be put on a mountain (in this world), it will be reduced to dust.
And drink as drinks the thirsty camel. (56:55)
They will drink that water like a camel who is thirsty for many days, and drinks whilst shivering. 'Heem' (the water referred to in this verse) is the plural of 'Aheem' which means a camel suffering from a disease. This disease is equivalent to dropsy, which usually happens to a camel, in which it keeps drinking water but is not satiated until it dies. this will be the state of the dwellers of hell.
This is their entertainment on the day of requital. (56:56)
This 'Zaqqoom' and 'Hameem' will be given to them in Qiyamat as an introduction to Allah's wrath. And whatever is destined in hell (for the disbelievers) is far more harsh and beyond description.
Zaqqoom - Burning Food for Sinners
The Lord of the universe says:
Surely the tree of the Zaqqoom,
Is the food of the sinful
Like dregs of oil; it shall boil in (their) bellies,
Like the boiling of hot water. (44:43-46)
It is said that they will be unbelievers and inimical fellows and that Zaqqoom is a thing, which will be melted in fire like copper. It is also said that 'Muhl' will be the boiling olive oil, which will boil in stomach like boiling water.
It will Melt the Outer and the Inner Bodies of the Offenders
Zaqqoom will boil in the stomachs of unbelievers like water boiling on fire or like olive oil heated on fierce fire. Then this boiling water will be shed on their heads, which will melt all the outer and inner organs of the sinners:
Then (as to) those who disbelieve, for them are cut out garments of fire, boiling water shall be poured over their heads. (22:19)
It means that We have huge shackles which cannot be unlocked and fiercely leaping fire and foods which will get stuck up in throats and very a painful punishment.
Imam Baqir (a.s.) is reported to have said that the tree of Zaqqoom will rise up from the deep pit of hell. Its leaves, thorns and fruits all will be of fire. It will be bitter than Aloes and worse than a stinking corpse and harder than iron.
Ghisleen, Zaree, Sadeed and Ghassaq
Ghisleen is one of the food to be given in hell:
Nor any food except refuse, (69:36)
It is mentioned in Tafsir Majmaul Bahrain that whatever will come out the stomachs of the people of hell after eating Zaqqoom will be their food once again.
One of the hell foods will also be Zaree. It is said that it will be like a thorn, bitter than aloes and worse smelling than a corpse or carcass and more inflammable than fire itself.
One more hell food is Sadeed:
Hell is before him and he shall be given to drink of festering water (Sadeed): (14:16)
It will be the dirty blood and pus flowing from the private parts of the adulterers in hell.
Another hell food will be Ghassaq:
But boiling and intensely cold water (Ghassaq), (78:25)
Some commentators have written that it is a spring in hell. Poisons of various poisonous animals flow in it.
Dress of the People of Hell
Then (as to) those who disbelieve, for them are cut out garments of fire, (22: 19)
Clothings of fire have been prepared for the people of hell. It is said that it will be a dress made up of molten copper.
Almighty Allah says:
Their shirts made of pitch and the fire covering their faces. (14:50)
Pitch is a black foul-smelling thing, which grows in the skin of a camel afflicted by a disease-causing itch. It is being burnt along with the afflicted part of the animal's skin and it burns out very swiftly.
It is mentioned that if such a dress of hell is made to hang between the sky and earth its foul smell and heat will kill all on the earth.
Discharge, Shackles and Chains
The guilty shall be recognized by their marks, so they shall be seized by the forelocks and the feet. (55:41)
It means that the sinners will be identified by their facial signs, which will be blue eyes and black cheeks. At that time they will be dragged towards hell by catching hold of their forelocks and sometimes their legs; or that some would be caught by their forelocks and some by their legs and flung into hell.
When the fetters and the chains shall be on their necks; they shall be dragged.
Into boiling water, then in the fire shall they be burned; (40:71-72)
And on the day of resurrection you shall see those who lied against Allah; their faces shall be blackened. (39:60)
The fire shall scorch their faces, and they therein shall be in severe affliction. (23:104)
It means that fire will burn their faces and they will become very
ugly. Like the burnt down heads of sheep their teeth will be visible and their lips hanging.
Guardians of Hell
Over it are angels stern and strong, they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded. (66:6)
It means that the Guardian angels of hell will be harsh who will never be kind or soft to the people of hell. They will never do anything against the command of God, which is their duty.
And for them are whips of iron. (22:21)
There will be iron clubs with which they will hit those trying to flee from hell.
About the weight of the said club it is mentioned that even if all the men and jinns join together to lift that club they will not be able to lift it.
It is also mentioned that both the eyes of the said guards of hell will be dazzling like lightning flashes and their pointed teeth will be as big as mountains and flames of fire will be leaping out of their fearsome mouths. The distance between their two shoulders will be equal to a year's journey. They are able to throw seventy persons in hell with one hand at a time.
Hell and its Gates
It has seven gates; for every gate there shall be a separate party of them. (15:44)
Sinners will enter hell through these gates as fixed for them. According to Ali (a.s.) the seven gates of hell are as under:
The last and the lowest level is 'Jahannam'. The zone above it is 'Lazzaa', above it 'Hutamaa', above it 'Hutamaa', above it 'Saqar' and above it 'Jaheem'. Above it is 'Saeer' and above it 'Haaviyah'. There is no doubt that chastisements in all of them will be different in harshness and pain.
Hellfire has Intelligence
The words of the Holy verses indicate that, contrary to this world's fire, the fire in hell possesses sense and intelligence. Almighty Allah says:
On the day that We will say to hell: Are you filled up? And it will say: Are there any more? (50:30)
Meaning: The Day when We will ask hell: Are you full? It will reply: Are there more worthy of punishment still? It means: I still have room to accommodate them and a wish to burn these who are worthy of being burnt.
Moreover, hellfire recognizes those who deserve punishment. It will attack them. It has power of drawing (magnetic attribute). It will also scream.
Almighty Allah says:
When it shall come into their sight from a distant place, they shall hear its vehement raging and roaring. (25:12)
Meaning that when hellfire will see the people of hell from a distance it will, out of anger scream fiercely and it will be heard by the sinners.
The Light of the Faithfuls will Lower Flames of Hell
Almost bursting for fury. (67:8)
It is mentioned in narrations that, when a faithful will be passing over the Sirat Bridge he or she will hear the voice of hell. O faithful! Please pass away quickly from above me as your light is cooling my flames. Since a believer has kindness and hellfire has anger, the Mercy of the Lord overtakes His anger.
O, One Whose Mercy precedes His Anger.
Thus there are many evidences with us to show that hellfire too, like
 Dua Kumail.
all other substances in the Hereafter, possesses life, wisdom and intelligence. It is the friend of the friends of God and the enemy of the enemies of God.
Sinners will Live in a Very Congested Place
On of the attributes is also that despite its ability to accommodate all men and jinn and even then remaining empty, the sinners will live in extreme congestion like a nail in a wall:
And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds, so We shall render them as scattered floating dust. (25:23)
When the sinners will be hurled in the congested corner of hell, bound by chains of fire. Being harshly pressed they will desire death and say: Woe unto us!
As the righteous will be in ease and comfort and spaciousness and in light, those in hell will be in darkness and eternal terror quite like the one who is caught at the bottom of a sea, engulfed by layers of darkness over darkness.
Almighty Allah says:
When he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it; and to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light. (24:40)
That is the darkness will be so grave that he will not be able to see his own hand despite trying to.
Mental or Spiritual Torture
For the people of hell, there will be mental and spiritual tortures too in addition to physical punishments and pains. One of them will be that they will always remember and realize that they have to remain in this terrible condition forever and to bear these troubles endlessly. They will never be saved from this chastisement. This will be the most unbearable thing for the sinners. There is no doubt that those unbelievers and hypocrites who died faithlessly despite the fact that arguments were completed before them, will forever remain in hellfire torture.
Lord Almighty says:
Their reward with their Lord is gardens of perpetuity beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein for ever; Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him; that is for him who fears his Lord. (98:8)
And at another place:
That is the reward of the enemies of Allah- the fire; for them therein shall be the house of long abiding; a reward for their denying Our communications. (41:28)
So the punishment for the enemies of God is hellfire in which they will dwell forever.
Unbeliever will not Enter Paradise
Rather, God has termed the exit of an unbeliever from hell as impossible. He says in the Holy Quran:
Surely (as for) those who reject Our communications and turn away from them haughtily, the doors of heaven shall not be opened for them, nor shall they enter the garden until the camel pass through the eye of the needle; and thus do We reward the guilty. (7:40)
That is, it is impossible, for an unbeliever to enter paradise. There are many traditions in this connection. Anyone who will have even an iota of Faith will not remain in hell forever.
Deprivation from Divine Bounties is the Worst Punishment
Another spiritual torture is that a sinner in hell will always remember and lament that he has been deprived of innumerable Divine bounties of various kinds. Not only that, he will never get God's mercy but only His anger.
Says the Holy Quran:
Nay! most surely they shall on that day be debarred from their Lord. (83:15)
That is, they will not obtain Divine mercy, grace and reward. At
Surely they shall have no portion in the hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them, nor will He look upon them on the day of resurrection nor will He purify them… (3:77)
It means that there is no reward in the Hereafter and God will not even communicate with them and will have no mercy or kindness for them.
Deadly Regrets in Hell
One of the spiritual or mental tortures in hell will be the regret and sorrow, which will make one desirous of death, had it been possible to die there daily. The Lord of the universe says about their grief pointing to their deeds:
Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they shall not come forth from the fire. (2:167)
And the day when the unjust one shall bite his hands saying: O! would that I had taken a way with the Apostle. (25:27)
Imam Sadiq (a.s) is reported to have said that when the people of paradise and the people of hell will be settled in their respective places windows will open up between paradise and hell. An announcer will announce: O people of Paradise! Just look at the situation of the people of hell and their condition. Had you also disobeyed the Divine Commands you too would have been in this state in hell. Then will come another voice: O people of Hell! Look at the high-rise apartments of the people of Paradise. Had you obeyed Allah this comfort would have been for you also. This will make the sinners so gloomy that had it been possible to die in the Hereafter they would have died of their sorrow.
Scolding and Spiritual Punishment in Hell
Among various tortures is the scolding, threatening and humiliation. All of theses will be meted out to the hell dwellers not only by God and Angels but by the people of paradise also, even by satans as
mentioned in the Holy Quran:
O assembly of jinn and men! Did there not come to you apostles from among you, relating to you My communications and warning you of the meeting of this day of yours? They shall say: We bear witness against ourselves; and this world's life deceived them, and they shall bear witness against their own souls that they were unbelievers. (6:130)
Again God says:
Did We not preserve you alive long enough, so that he who would be mindful in it should mind? And there came to you the warner; because for the unjust, there is no helper. (35:37)
There are many other similar addresses: The angels guarding hell will also scold them as mentioned in the Holy Quran:
Whenever a group is cast into it, its keeper shall ask them: Did there not come to you a warner?
They shall say: Yea! indeed there came to us a warner, but we rejected (him) and said: Allah has not revealed anything, you are only in a great error.
And they shall say: Had we but listened or pondered, we should not have been among the inmates of the burning fire.
So they shall acknowledge their sins, but far will be (forgiveness) from the inmates of the burning fire. (67:8-11)
Taunting by Satans and Withholding of Weeping by Hell Dwellers
Even devils will taunt people of hell and they will make a mockery of them. It is mentioned that the sinners will not weep and cry and complain loudly for fear of being mocked by the devils. Says the Lord:
And the Shaitan shall say after the affair is decided: Surely Allah promised you the promise of truth, and I gave you promises, then failed to keep them to you, and I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you obeyed me, therefore do not blame me but blame yourselves: I cannot be your aider (now) nor can you be
my aiders; surely I disbelieved in your associating me with Allah before; surely it is the unjust that shall have the painful punishment. (14: 22)
You too Found it True what was Promised to you
The people of paradise will also scold the hell dwellers. God Almighty says:
And the dwellers of the garden will call out to the inmates of the fire: Surely we have found what our Lord promised us to be true; have you too found what your Lord promised to be true? They will say: Yes. Then a crier will cry out among them that the curse of Allah is on the unjust. (7:44)
Also God says:
So today those who believe shall laugh at the unbelievers; (83:34)
It means that indeed today the faithful will laugh over the unbelievers and make them targets of mockery and humiliation. It will be an answer to what the unbelievers were doing to the believers in the world.
Surely the disbelievers are rewarded as they did. (83:36)
Stay with the Satans in Hell will be a Painful Punishment
Among the spiritual punishments is also that of living with Satans and with all other hell dwellers. While the people of paradise will enjoy one another's company. The hell dwellers will abhor one another and they will be hating one another strongly. This has been hinted at in the Holy Quran:
And whoever turns himself away from the remembrance of the Beneficent God, We appoint for him a Shaitan, so he becomes his associate.
And most surely they turn them away from the path, and they think that they are guided aright: (43:36-37)
It means: "Those who will close their eyes from remembering Allah, We will make Satans overpower them who will be their permanent
companion. Those Satans will restrain them from adopting the true path. But such people will (falsely) imagine that they had found the true path until the unbeliever will, along with his same devil fellow traveller come before Us in the place of punishment. Then he will say to the Satan: Alas! How nice it were had there been a distance of east and west between you and me because you are a bad companion."
It is narrated that both will be bound in one and the same chain and hurled into hell.
They will Deny one another
Regarding the enmity between the helpers of oppressors and the followers of misguiding leaders, the Lord says:
When those who were followed shall renounce those who followed (them), and they see the chastisement and their ties are cut asunder.
And those who followed shall say: Had there been for us a return, then we would renounce them as they have renounced us. Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they shall not come forth from the fire. (2:166-167)
Regarding enmity between hell dwellers, God Almighty says at another place in the Holy Quran:
Then on the resurrection day some of you shall deny others, and some of you shall curse others, and your abode is the fire, and you shall not have any helpers. (29:25)
Again He says:
The friends shall on that day be enemies one to another, except those who guard (against evil). (43:67)
Meaning that those who were friends in the world will become enemies, except faithful and righteous people. They will be friendly with one another as they were in the world.
It is mentioned that a friendship, which was not for the sake of God in the world will turn into enmity in the Hereafter.
Further the Almighty says:
This (shall be so); and most surely there is an evil resort for the inordinate ones; Hell; they shall enter it, so evil is the resting-place. This (shall be so); so let them taste it, boiling and intensely
cold (drink). And other (punishment) of the same kind- of various sorts. (38:55-58)
Blaming One Another in Hell
It is mentioned that when the misguiding leaders will be thrown into hell and when their followers will also be made to join them therein, the leaders will ask: Who are these people? (The keeper of hell will reply): This is a group, which will remain with you in all the hardships of hell. The leaders will say: Bad indeed (ominous) is their arrival. They are people of hell. The followers will reply: But you are ominous because you are the cause of our chastisement. So hell is a bad dwelling place. Then they will say: O our Lord! Give double punishment to those who caused this chastisement to us because they themselves were misguided and they misguided others also.
The events, condition and dialogues quoted above are doubtlessly true. That is how the people of hell will quarrel with one another.
Will this Weak Body be able to bear such Punishments?
Some doubts can possibly arise, in people's minds. We are briefly hinting to them here with their replies. One such question can be how man will be able to bear so much hard and painful punishment the lowest degree of which cannot even be imagined in the world?! He will be finished in the first strike. How hard is the punishment and how weak is man's body?!
Man's Body will also become as Hard as his Heart
The answer to the above mentioned doubt is that though it is quite true that man will have this same body in the Hereafter too, but, by the power of God the Almighty, it will be made so strong that it cannot be compared with its previous form. In fact, in the Hereafter, the physical condition of man will be subject to his spiritual condition, both in hardness and softness. Just as the soul of the faithful was very soft and smooth in the world and it was being affected while facing every truth (as has been said by the Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s) in Nahjul Balagha similarly, in the Hereafter too his body will be soft and smooth like their souls. Likewise bodies of unbelievers will be as hard and tough as their souls were in the
 Surah Saad 38:59.
God says in the Holy Quran:
Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness; (2:74)
Just as it is not bending before truth in the world it will remain harsh and stiff in the Hereafter too (like his heart).
In the Hereafter, Truth will Overtake Appearance
It is mentioned that, in the Hereafter, the teeth of unbelievers become as big as the mountain of Uhad (then what would be his body like?). In other words, in the Hereafter the reality will overcome outward appearance. All facts will come out in the open and the inner and outer will become manifest.
On the day when hidden things shall be made manifest, (86:9)
Qiyamat is the Day of the unveiling of secrets. It is also mentioned that when the inner and outer organs of body will disintegrate and tear up by chastisement (such as eating Zaqqoom and drinking Hameem) all these body parts will recover soon again (rather the skin will be changed a number of times).
The Holy Quran mentions this clearly:
(As for) those who disbelieve in Our communications, We shall make them enter fire; so oft as their skins are thoroughly burned, We will change them for other skins, that they may taste the chastisement; (4:56)
Is Painful Punishment Becoming Divine Justice?
Another doubt, which can come to man's mind, is: Are such severe punishments commensurate with Divine Justice?
Such doubt is the result of thinking that the Divine punishment is like the tortures inflicted by the despotic rulers of this world. But this imaginary likeness is in no way correct because what the worldly tyrants do is for taking personal revenge and for pleasing themselves by punishing their offenders. They want to cool their anger in that way. They frown upon those who oppose them; they boil in anger. In order to subside their wrath they order their imprisonment, torture and even killing etc. But the Divine punishment will not be like that. There, whatever will happen will be caused by what had happened in the world. If the sin is serious its punishment will also be serious and if the error was light its punishment will also be proportionately light. The result of
faithlessness will be to remain in perpetual darkness. Turning away from God will result in permanent sandwiching and squeeze. The result of every trampled right will be everlasting blindness and deafness. The consequence of following devilish leaders will be dwelling with them forever. The essential result of eating the property of an orphan will be flaring of fire in the devilish devourer's stomach. This makes it clear that man will get hell fire by way of his own earning. He will be liable to various punishments in hell only because of his own misdeeds and evil character and misbehaviour. In the light of what is said in the Holy Quran the fuel of hell fire also will be wrongdoer persons:
Then be on your guard against the fire of which men and stones are the fuel; (2:24)
Self Prepared Punishment
It can be understood from the above that the reasons of getting punishments in hell will have been provided by the sinner himself. He had behaved wrongfully, unjustly and oppressively with himself. God never oppresses anyone:
Surely Allah does not do any injustice to men, but men are unjust to themselves. (10:44)
How at all an unbeliever ever be given entrance to paradise which is extremely Holy and soft place while that fellow had indulged in dirtiness, harshness, rebellion, deviation and disobedience to God? Paradise is a very secure and peaceful place where only healthy people can enter who do not have any foul illness. How can a man who is full of internal illnesses like envy, malignity, enmity, stinginess, pride, egotism, be allowed to enter paradise? The residence of such ill people is a hospital of hell, not the paradise that is a place of permanent peace.
Adoration Before the Blind and Singing Before the Deaf!
The truth is that to allow an unbeliever entry to paradise is just like pouring scented oil on the head of a man who has lost his faculty of smelling due to severe cold. It is like putting a thing at an inappropriate place. (It is never commensurate with Divine Wisdom). It is called 'injustice' (zulm) in Arabic. Therefore hurling an unbeliever in hell is in no way against Divine Justice because in
Arabic, Justice (Adl) means to put a thing in its appropriate place (God is Adil=Just). That is why entry of an unbeliever in paradise is impossible. It is totally against divine justice. He (the Unbeliever) can never enjoy paradise because it is just like a beautiful bride who adorns herself for a blind fellow or sings before a deaf person.
What has the Merciful to do with Punishment!
Even after all that has been said above, it is likely that someone may ask: How can God, the Most Merciful, Who loves His creation beyond measure, will put his beloved creation to fierce punishments? The answer is that though God is most soft and lenient, He also is wrathful and mighty. Just as He is 'Rahman' and 'Rahim', so also He is 'Jabbar' and 'Qahhar'. Just as paradise is the manifestation of extreme kindness, so is the hell the manifestation of extreme anger and wrath. "O, One Whose Mercy precedes His Wrath…" is the attribute according to which He is not happy that His creation should become Unbeliever by disobeying Him and go to hell. "He is not pleased with the disbelief of His servants." But when the creation, despite knowing His displeasure, opts for the road leading to hell, He also does not prevent them forcibly because it is against His wisdom. God is absolutely independent of every or any need. He is also not in need of our faith.
Forced Repentance is Useless
Yet He has, on the basis of His mercy and kindness, towards His creation made true repentance the cause of protection from the above-mentioned punishments. He has kept this door open until the last breath of man. But if the creation turns away its face from this kindness also, He also does not force them to repent because a forced repentance will not be repentance at all. Doubtlessly, God is Merciful and Beneficent and it is because of it that He has ordered the creation to follow His commands and to carry out all obligatory and voluntary good deeds leading to paradise and He guided us towards it. Similarly He also commanded us to refrain from all evil, prohibited and indecent things, which take one away from God and make him near to Satan and consequently lead to hellfire. Thus it can be understood that all these religious commands and duties are due to His vast mercy and kindness. Therefore, a faithful person should also take care and he should never lag behind in fulfilling his
religious duties. He must realize that failure to do any obligatory duty is his permanent loss, which is irreparable. In this way he will be depriving himself of divine mercy. No other thing can avert this loss.
A Short Lifespan and Permanent Punishment
One more objection can also be that if an unbeliever got a lifespan of say fifty or sixty (or more) years. Then, how can it be justified that he should suffer forever endlessly in hell? The answer is: The unbeliever who, spent his entire life in disbelief had, in reality, in that very short lifespan by misusing his freedom of action, gathered such a huge and permanent evil that its essential consequence is entrance to everlasting hell. In other words, he opted for such a darkness for himself, where no ray of light can ever reach till eternity. Likewise, the faithful who left this world with piety and fear of God earned in his short life an undiminishing success, that is, he earned an inextinguishable light.
Eternity will be Based on the Intention of Good or Evil
It is mentioned in Biharul Anwar that Abu Hashim asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) why the dwelling in paradise or hell would be permanent? The Imam (a.s.) replied, "The people of hell will live in hell forever because their intention in the world was that had they to live in the world forever they would disobey God forever. Likewise the reason of the people of paradise living therein permanently is also that their intention in the world was that if they had to live in the world forever they would always obey God and would never defy His commandments. So, it is the intention that results in the permanent residence of the people of paradise in paradise and the permanent dwelling of the people of hell in hell. Thus Allah says in the Holy Quran:
Everyone acts according to his intention.