Some people avoid thinking about the hell although they are aware of the existence of the hereafter. Pondering the bitter grief of the hell surely ensures a life devoted to Allah. This in turn urges one to reorient all one's deeds and the conduct of one's life in submission to the will of Allah. Otherwise, one will feel profound remorse. In the attempt to liberate themselves from this remorse, people ignore the existence of the hell. They attempt to alleviate the seriousness of the matter by statements like, " I don't think one would go to hell" or "I do not believe that Allah would punish His servants so severely." These are surely lies. Furthermore, they attempt to base these lies on the mercy of Allah. The fact is that, these people only plead ignorance about it.
Hell is the place where Allah's attribute of justice is fully manifest. Surely the rewards of those who live to earn the good pleasure of Allah all through their lives will not be the same as of those who obey evil and revolt against Allah. Allah will reward His true servants with the paradise where they will remain for all eternity. On the other hand, disbelievers will be punished in hell, a place of unbearable torment.
Allah is surely compassionate; yet pondering only His mercy and forgiveness would make one fail to recognise His other attributes. One should also be cognisant of the Creator's other attributes: Allah takes revenge from His rebellious servants and He punishes. The hell is the place where Allah will manifest these two attributes. In other words, even if people endeavour to forget, the reality of the hell is always there to encompass all disbelievers and those who seek another way than the way of Allah.
So never plead ignorance about the existence of the hereafter. Endeavouring not to think about it, or ignoring it, will not save anyone from the grievous punishment. On the contrary, people who ignore this fact and hence follow their own desires will go to hell, if Allah wills. The hell will be "the meeting place" of all these people. (Surat al-Hijr: 43)
Allah created the paradise, embellished with His favours, for His true servants who make serious efforts to attain His good pleasure throughout their lives. Allah relates the beauty of the paradise in many verses:
Platters and cups of gold will be passed around among them and they will have there all that their hearts desire and their eyes find delight in. You will remain in it timelessly, for ever. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 71)
The beauty and glory of the paradise are beyond one's imagination. The Qur'anic words describing all kinds of delights (Surat ar-Rahman: 48) surely illustrate a vivid picture of the real nature of the paradise. There exist great possessions for the believers. The paradise is the place Allah specially prepared for the believers. In it there are beautiful mansions, thrones embellished with precious stones, clothes fashioned from beads of silver, gold and pearls, rivers of honey, and never-ending fruits. They are all given to the service of believers in the paradise. The paradise is an eternal reward for believers and a manifestation of Allah's power of creation. So, never plead ignorance of the fact that the paradise abounds with glorious favours that are incomparable with their counterparts in this life.
Surely, there is another place manifesting Allah's matchless power of creation. The hell, created for the disbelievers, is surely another manifestation of Allah's justice. The hell is specifically created for people who disregard the fact of the hereafter, live for this world, and rebel against Allah. Just as how the paradise is adorned with remarkable favours, the hell will likewise be equipped with various types of torment.
Disbelievers will be punished for all the immoral conduct in which they engaged in this life. The punishment will surely reflect the glory of Allah. In hell, people will be subject to severe torture at every moment. With skin rent, flesh burned, the only drink of the people of hell will be blood and pus. Their shirts will be made of fire. Likewise, they will lie on beds of fire. In brief, every moment in hell will be full of anguish.
Allah, in the Qur'an, gives a detailed account of the torture disbelievers will undergo in the hell. Disregarding this fact is by no means a way to escape. On the contrary, being aware of this fact and accordingly, feeling fear for Allah is the only way to eternal salvation of mankind.
Allah describes hell in Surat al-Baqarah as follows:
They say: "The Fire will only touch us for a number of days." Say, "Have you made a contract with Allah - then Allah will not break His contract - or are you rather saying about Allah what you do not know?" No indeed! Those who accumulate bad actions and are surrounded by their mistakes, such people are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, for ever; whereas those who believe and do right actions, such people are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. (Surat al-Baqarah: 80-82)
As the verses suggest, punishment in the hell for relentless disbelievers is eternal. The people of paradise will remain there. Allah relates in the following verses:
Hell lies in wait - a homecoming for the profligate remaining in it for countless aeons. (Surat an-Naba: 21-23)
Allah's decree about this subject is certain. That is why you must never plead ignorance that as long as you do not adhere to the Qur'an, there will be no salvation from hell. Those who revolt against Allah, and hence deserve the hell will remain there.
The way a person conducts himself during the course of his short life will lead him to the place he will stay in his eternal life. Surely, this is an important consequence. Accepting to be punished in the hell just because of a life limited to 60-70 years is an OBVIOUS disaster. This OBVIOUS disaster is definitely known by every individual. However, what people fail to comprehend is the concept of "eternity."
The word "eternity" expresses a period of time that will never end. Disbelievers who go to hell, will not get out of it: for ten years, thousands of years, billions of years, trillions of years. Trillions of years are surely insignificant next to eternity. Allah expresses this period of time in the verse above, saying, "remaining in it for countless aeons." (Surat an-Naba: 23)
Therefore we should not compare the trouble we undergo in this world with the torment to be suffered in the hell. The severest pain in this world is limited to only six or seven decades. Even the most serious diseases have a cure, yet, the torment in the hell will never end. Therefore, never plead ignorance of what the concept "eternal" means. Compare the brevity of this life with such an endless period of life. Try to comprehend a period of time that will never end.
When you have the opportunity to remain in paradise for all eternity, avoid being punished eternally in hell, a place of total burning and destruction.