The Torment Disbelievers Confront in Hell
Those who reject their Lord will have the punishment of Hell. What an evil destination! When they are flung into it they will hear it gasping harshly as it seethes. It all but bursts with rage. Each time a group is flung into it its custodians will question them: "Did no warner come to you?" They will say, "Yes indeed, a warner did come to us but we denied him and said, "Allah has sent nothing down. You are just greatly misguided." They will say, "If only we had really listened and used our intellect, we would not have been Companions of the Blaze." Then they will acknowledge their wrong actions. Away with the Companions of the Blaze! (Surat al-Mulk: 6-11)
As Allah stated in the verses, when they are flung into Hell, they hear a terrible noise. Allah describes this noise in the seventh verse of the Surat al-Mulk as "gasping harshly as it seethes." This terrible sound inflicts a dreadful distress and fear on disbelievers. In another verse, Allah describes Hellfire as a fire which almost bursts with rage (Surat al-Mulk: 8). The rejecters witnessing this horrible event will feel desperate because they will understand the punishment they will face. And as our Lord stated above, they will talk about their regret for their failure to have had a grasp of all while they were still in the world.
Such distress is comprehensible because the penalty they will confront will be extremely horrible and painful. In the verses, it is stated that Hell is the worst place to stay in.
...What an evil destination! (Surah Al 'Imran: 162)
...What an evil refuge! (Surat an-Nisa: 115)
Their shelter will be the Fire. How evil is the abode of the wrongdoers! (Surah Al 'Imran: 151)
Hell, where they will roast. What an evil place to stay! (Surah Ibrahim: 29)
Hell is depicted in a similar way in the hadiths of the Prophet (saas):
Among the people of Hell are there those who will be emersed in fire to their ankels, some to their knees, some to their waists, and some to their throats. (Muslim)
The dwellers of Hell will be thrown down into this evil refuge in crowds. In a verse Allah states this as "They will be bundled into it head first, they and the misled" (Surat ash-Shu'ara: 94) From the verse, it is understood that all disbelievers including those who were arrogant, had wealth and were held in esteem, will be thrown into the fire as worthless masses. In reply to their arrogance in the world on that day, they will be humiliated and despised.
In Hell, they will never be held in esteem and never will they receive mercy. As the firewood of Hell, they will live in pain and grief for all eternity. Allah reveals this fact in the verses as follows:
You and what you worship besides Allah are fuel for Hell. You will go down into it. (Surat al-Anbiya': 98)
...They are fuel for the Fire. (Surah Al 'Imran: 10)
Allah informs us in the Qur'an of various forms of punishment in Hell. Most of the people will dwell there, as the verse points out, "for ages." In other words, they will be tormented forever. We can describe some of these punishments as follows:
In the thirteenth verse of Surat al-Furqan, Allah relates that disbelievers will be cast "into a narrow place in Hell shackled together in chains." Being left closed in a narrow space even for a few minutes makes one tense. Even the thought of being surrounded by four walls is often an unbearable thought. The torment of Hell, however, is incomparable to the one of the world. Confined in that narrow space, they will also be subjected to fire. Moreover, shackled together in chains, they will even not be able to move, let alone escaping from the fire. Even imagining such a scene is painful.
In another verse, Allah informs that disbelievers will remain in "shades of pitch-black smoke" (Surat al-Waqia: 43). In general, the word "shade" reminds one coolness. However, this is not the case with Hell. In Hell, Allah informs us that this shade is neither cool nor refreshing.
Another form of punishment in Hell is the impossibility of death. Death is way of deliverance. For this reason, Allah will not allow the people of Hell to die as He maintains in the verse, "death will come to them from every side, yet they cannot die" (Surah Ibrahim: 17). They will experience every sort of assault which would, under normal conditions, result in death. Despite this, they will not die, but will instead continue to suffer more torment as long as Allah wills in their eternal afterlife.
The fact that there will be no other death in the hereafter was also stated by the Prophet Muhammad (saas):
When the inhabitants of the Garden have gone to the Garden and the inmates of the Fire have gone to the Fire, death will be called and placed between the Garden and the Fire. Afterward the following announcement will be made: "Inhabitants of the Garden! There is no more death! Inmates of the Fire! There is no more death!" This will increase the delight of the inhabitants of the Garden and the grief of the inmates of the Fire. (Muslim)
In this world, severe burns result in death in a short while. One can hardly endure fire. Even if one does not die but is only injured, it takes a long time for the wounds to heal properly. But in Hell, the torment of fire will be incomparable to the fire we know in this world. In Hell, skins are replaced as they are burned off just to make the condemned taste more anguish. (Surat an-Nisa: 56) In brief, in Hell, one would suffer from never-ending pain caused by fire as long as Allah wills.
Allah describes another form of torment caused by fire in the thirteenth verse of Surat adh-Dhariyat where He says that the Companions of the Fire will be tormented by the Fire. It is unlikely to comprehend the pain such a state would cause. Considering the minor pain an ordinary burn gives in this world, one would discern the great pain this torment would give. While all these happen, man will also experience the following:
Then will be bound in a chain... (Surat al-Haqqa: 32)
They will be shackled and chained. (Surat al-Insan: 4)
They will be beaten with cudgels made of iron. (Surat al-Hajj: 21)
Their foreheads, sides and backs are branded with the fire of Hell. (Surat at-Tawba: 35)
Boiling water will be poured over their heads, (Surat al-Hajj: 19)
They will have garments of fire cut out for them, and they will be wearing shirts of tar, (Surah Ibrahim: 50)
They will not find a cool, refreshing drink. On that day only boiling water (Surat al-Sad: 57) and blood and pus (Surat al-Haqqa: 36) will be available.
The only nourishment the people of Hell have, on the other hand, are the fruits of the bitter thorn and the tree of zaqqum. Allah informs how zaqqum will turn out to be a torment for disbelievers:
The Tree of az-Zaqqum is the food of the wicked, seething in the belly like molten brass, as boiling water bubbles and seethes. "Seize him and drag him bodily into the middle of the Blazing Fire. Then pour the punishment of boiling water on his head." "Taste that! You are the mighty one, the noble one! This is the very thing you used to doubt." (Surat ad-Dukhan: 43-50)
From the descriptions in the Qur'an, we know that food in Hell will have a choking effect on people. They will try to sip the drink of fester water in gulps, but to no avail; they will never manage to swallow it. Pus, which is the most disgusting thing in this world with its appearance and odor, will also be among the nourishment of the people in Hell. This will inflict great pain on the people of Hell but, out of starvation, they will have no other choice but to eat. Nevertheless, what they eat will not satisfy their hunger. They will also suffer the pain of hunger forever.
They have no food but a bitter thorny bush which neither nourishes nor satisfies. (Surat al-Ghashiyya: 6-7)
Allah gives other descriptions in the Qur'an regarding the torment in Hell:
There will be sighing for them in it (Surat al-Anbiya': 100)
...(they will be) remaining in it for countless aeons... (Surat an-Naba: 23)
...Their punishment will not be lightened. They will be granted no reprieve... (Surah Al 'Imran: 88)
They will want to get out of the Fire but they will not be able to. (Surat al-Maida: 37)
These torments will inflict indefinable suffering and regret on disbelievers. For salvation, they will plead many times and even consent to their souls being taken. Allah relates the conversations of the people in Hell in the Qur'an as follows:
They will call out, "Malik (Master), let your Lord put an end to us!" He will say, "You will stay the way you are. We brought you the truth but most of you hated the truth." (Surat az-Zukhruf: 77-78)
Turning away from the religion (deen) and failing to take heed of the warnings will be to the detriment of these people, as Allah relates in the Qur'an. Allah, in return, will not answer the calls of these people and He will keep them in their torment for as long as He wills.
These are only some of the torments which will be inflicted on those who denied Allah and the Hereafter and ignored the warnings about the existence of Hell and Paradise. In addition, there is another torment, one which will always remain with disbelievers. This is the feeling of regret, one would not be able to forget for a moment. This feeling will even more deepen with the distress caused by the fact that one would be sent to Hell, the most horrifying place one could ever see. Every moment disbelievers experience the suffering, they will remember that, had they complied with the right way, none of these would befall them. There is no way to avoid from this regret.