The Touch Of Saqar
Allaah, The Most High, says:
“I will cast him into Saqar. And what will make you know exactly what Saqar is? It spares not (any sinner), nor does it leave (anything unburnt)! Burning the skins!” [al-Mudatthir (74):26-29]
Indeed Saqar (the Burner) is the Fire of Hell. It is the ‘Bottomless Well’ (Jahannam), ‘The Blazing Fire’ (al-Jaheem), ‘The Prison’ (Sijjeen), ‘The Crusher’ (Al-Hutamah) and ‘The Abode Of Destruction’ (Daarul-Bawaar).2
From all of Allaah’s creation that we know, Hell is, by far, the most hideous. It is ugly, dirty, gloomy, wrathful, painful, harmful, bottomless, and ruthless. Even the most terrifying thing that we can imagine or dream of will not equal a brief moment in Hell.
This Hell is never ending, lasting eternally.3 There will be no end to its torture or its disbelieving inhabitants. It is an extremely deep abyss such that if a rock is thrown into it, it would take seventy years to reach the bottom.4 It can see 5 and talk.6 It will rage furiously at the sight of the disbelievers.7 It will act like a predator sighting its prey. It is seventy times stronger than the fire of this world 8 and uses people and stones for fuel.9
The inhabitants of Hell will vary in their amount of punishment. The person of lightest punishment in Hell 10 will have a burning coal placed under his feet causing his brain to boil.11 The guards of Hell are harsh and severe and have no regard or sympathy towards its inhabitants, keep it hot and burning for the evil people.12
The people of Hell will not be allowed to die and rest, because death will have already been slain in front of their eyes.13 Thus, they will live an eternal life of misery and humiliation – a life worse than death.14
The people of Hell will be gigantic in size. The vast amount of skin that will cover their enormous bodies, and the immense thickness of their skin, will cause them a greater exposure to the Fire and, consequently, much more pain. In Hell, the disbelievers’ shoulders will have the distance between them like three days travel distance for a fast rider 15 and their molar teeth will be as large as the mountain of Uhud.16 And his skin will be as thick as a three nights travel distance 17 or forty two cubits measured by a giants arm.18 His seat in Hell will be like the distance between Makkah and Madeenah.19 Despite their thickness, the skins of the disbelievers will completely be burnt. Those vast and thick skins will continuously be renewed so that the disbelievers will continue to taste the pain.20
If their skin is completely burnt without being replaced, they would stop feeling the pain. But they will not be given such a favour.
The people of Hell will eat a poisonous thorny plant and deadly fruit from the tree of Zaqqoom issuing from the bottom of the Hellfire. Like molten lead will it boil in their bellies. Their drink is a mixture made from boiling fluids. It will be so hot that it will burn and cut their stomach and intestines into pieces. Their food and drink will not satisfy their hunger nor quench their thirst.21 Rather they will both add to their pain and suffering. In addition to their extreme heat their food will be filthy.22 When they beg for something to cool down their roasting bodies, they will only receive more dirty boiling water on their heads and faces that will add to
They will be confined in garments of fire 24 and iron shackles upon their necks 25 and set into a chain whose length is seventy cubits.26 They will have for their bedding Fire,27 and will wail continuously over their intense and non-ending suffering, their sobs and moans quite audible for whoever can hear.28 They will weep without break but, instead of tears coming out of their eyes, blood will
come out in great amounts such that ships could float on their tears.29
They will be treated with the utmost humiliation, shackled, neglected and tortured. Their faces will be rubbed in the filth and heat of Hell and be told:
“Taste the touch of Saqar (the Burner).” [Al-Qamar (54):48]
They will encounter torture upon torture, both physical and emotional. Their emotional suffering will be in different ways:
They will regret disobeying Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) and His Messengers, they will hate their leaders who diverted them from the right path,30 they will hate their ancestors and family members wishing that their children, wives, brothers and nearest kinsfolk who used to shelter him in the dunya can be ransom from their punishment,31 they will quarrel and have fierce arguments with other disbelievers whom they are allowed to approach asking Allaah to give them additional punishment.32
They will beg for relief from their agonies. Their begging the guarding angels will be answered by pouring boiling water over their heads. Their begging of Maalik, the keeper of Hell, to end their lives will be totally ignored.33 At some point they will be able to see the believers which will add to their grief and they will beg of the believers for some water or whatever Allaah has provided them. They will reply:
“…’Indeed, Allaah has forbidden them both to the disbelievers – those who took their religion as distraction and amusement, and who were fooled by the worldly life.” So today We will forget them just as they forgot the meeting of this Day of theirs and for having rejected Our messages.”
[al-A’raaf (7): 50-51]
Hell is the most gruesome place. Its torture is worse than anything we can imagine. It is ugly and loathsome beyond description, but the path to it is surrounded by deceitful desires and temptations.34 Yet, those who earnestly work to avoid it will surely be saved from it.
Hell, without any doubt, is a place where we never want to be. We do not even want to have a slight taste of it. We want to be of those who will swiftly cross the Siraat (the bridge that will hang over Hell in the next life which all those who claim to be true believers have to cross) that will be extended over it. So, let us strive by all our might to avoid it, and let us make sincere du’aa to Allaah to protect us from it. Anas (radiyallaahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“When a person asks Allaah three times to admit him into Jannah, Jannah says,” O Allaah, admit him to Jannah.” And when a person asks Allaah three times to protect him from Hell, Hell says, “O Allaah, protect him from Hell.” 35
“Our Lord, give us in this world good and in the hereafter good, and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” [Al-Baqarah (2):201]
1 This paper was compiled relying heavily on the excellent book of Abu Abdillaah Muhammad Al-Jibaaly: Ma’rifatul-Yawmil-Akhir (Knowing The Last Day).
2 These are some of the names of Hell which can be found in the Qur’aan. They are descriptive, describing various aspects of Hell’s torture.
3 “They will dwell therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord wills…” [Hood (11):107] Note the exception in this ayah, according to the scholars refers to those believers who committed major sins for which they need to be punished before entering Jannah.
4 As occurs in the hadeeth reported by Aboo Moosaa al-Ash’aree (radiyallaahu anhu) recorded by Aboo Ya’laa, Ibn Hibbaan, and others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albaanee (as-Saheehah no.2165)
5 “When it (Hell) sees them from a far place.. ” [al-Furqaan (25):12]
6 “On the Day when We will say to Hell: “Are you filled?” It will say: “Are there any more (to come)?” [al-Qaaf 50:30]
7 “When it (Hell) sees them from a far place they will hear its raging and its roaring.” [al-Furqaan (25):12]
8 As occurs in the hadeeth reported by Aboo Hurayrah (radiyallaahu anhu) recorded by al- Bukharee, Muslim and others.
9 “Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones.” [at-Tahreem (66):6]
10 It is reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from Aboo Sa’eed al-Khudree (radiyallaahu anhu) that this person is Aboo Taalib, the Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) uncle.
11 As occurs in the hadeeth reported by an-Nu’maan bin Basheer (radiyallaahu anhu) recorded by al-Bukhaaree
12 “…over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do that which they are commanded.” [at-Tahreem (66):6]
13 as evidenced in the hadeeth reported by ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Umar (radiyallaahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “When the people of Jannah will have entered it, and the people of the Fire will have entered it, death will be brought (in the form of a horned ram), will be placed between Jannah and Hell, and will then be slain. An announcement will be made, “O people of Jannah, you will live eternally without death, and, O people of Hell, you will live eternally without death…” [Bukhaaree, Muslim and Ahmad]
14 “But those who disbelieve, for them will be the Fire of Hell. Neither it will have a complete killing effect on them so that they die, nor shall its torment be lightened for them…” [Faatir (35):36] “But it will be avoided by the wretched, Who will enter the great Fire and made to taste its burning, Wherein he will neither die (to be in rest) nor live (a good living).” [al-A’laa (87):11-13]
15 as occurs in the hadeeth reported by Aboo Hurayrah (radiyallaahu anhu) and recorded by Muslim.
16 as occurs in the hadeeth reported by Aboo Hurayrah (radiyallaahu anhu) and recorded by Muslim, at-Tirmidhee and others.
18 as occurs in the hadeeth reported by Aboo Hurayrah (radiyallaahu anhu) and recorded by Ahmad, at-Tirmidhee and others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albaanee (as-Saheehah no.1105).
20 “We shall burn them in Fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for other skins that they may taste the punishment.” [an-Nisaa’ (4):56]
21 “No food will there be for them but a poisonous thorny plant, Which will neither nourish nor avail against hunger.” [al-Ghaashiyah (88):6-7], “Is that (Paradise) better entertainment or the tree of Zaqqoom (a horrible tree in Hell)? Truly We have made it (as) a trial for the wrong-doers. Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-fire, the shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils; Truly, they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith. Then on the top of that they will be given boiling water to drink so that it becomes a mixture (of boiling water and Zaqqoom in their bellies).” [as-Saffaat (37):62-67] “Verily, the tree of Zaqqoom, Will be the food of the sinners, Like boiling oil, it will boil in the bellies, Like the boiling of scalding water. (It will be said) “Seize him and drag him into the midst of blazing Fire, “Then pour over his head the torment of boiling water, “Taste you (this)! Verily, you were (pretending to be) the mighty, the generous!” [ad-Dukhaan (44):43-49], “(Are these) like those who shall dwell for ever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels?” [Muhammad (47):15]
22 “So no friend has he here this Day, Nor any food except filth from the washing of wounds.” [al-Haaqqah (69):35-36]
23 “We have prepared for the wrong-doers, a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them. And if they ask for help (relief, water, etc.) they will be granted water like boiling oil, that will scald their faces. Terrible the drink, and an evil dwelling place!” [al-Kahf (18):29]
24 “..then as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them..” [al-Hajj (22):19]
25 “…They are those who disbelieve in their Lord! They are those who will have shackles upon their necks…” [ar-Ra’d 13:5]
26 “(It will be said): “Seize him and fetter him, Then throw him in the blazing Fire. Then fasten him with a chain whereof the length is seventy cubits!” Verily, He used not to believe in Allaah, the Most Great..” [al-Haqaqqah (69):30-33]
27 “Theirs will be a bed of Hell (Fire), and over them coverings (of Hell-fire). Thus do We recompense the wrongdoers.” [al-A’raaf (7):41]
28 “As for those who are wretched, they will be in the Fire, sighing in a high and low tone..” [Hood (11):106-107]
29 as found in the hadeeth reported by ‘Abdullaah bin Qays (radiyallaahu anhu), recorded by al-Haakim and verified to be Hasan (good) by al-Albaanee (as-Saheehah no. 1679)
30 “On the Day when their faces will be turned over in the Fire, they will say: “Oh, would that we had obeyed Allaah and obeyed the Messenger.” And they will say: “Our Lord! Verily, we obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us from the (Right) Way. Our Lord! Give them double torment and curse them with a mighty curse!” [al-Ahzaab (33):66-68]
31 “Though they shall be made to see one another [(i.e. on the Day of Resurrection), there will be none but see his father, children and relatives, but he will neither speak to them nor will ask them for any help)], – the criminal would desire to ransom himself from the punishment of that Day by his children. And his wife and his brother, And his kindred who sheltered him, And all that are in the earth, so that it might save him.” [al-Ma’aarij (70):11-14]
32 “Who is more unjust than one who invents a lie against Allaah or rejects His Verses? For such their appointed portion (good things of this worldly life and their period of stay therein) will reach them from the Book (of Decrees) until, when Our Messengers (the angel of death and his assistants) come to them to take their souls, they (the angels) will say: “Where are those whom you used to invoke and worship besides Allaah,” they will reply, “They have vanished and deserted us.” And they will bear witness against themselves, that they were disbelievers. (Allaah) will say: “Enter you in the company of nations who passed away before you, of men and jinns, into the Fire.” Every time a new nation enters, it curses its sister nation (that went before), until they will be gathered all together in the Fire. The last of them will say to the first of them: “Our Lord! These misled us, so give them a double torment of the Fire.” He will say: “For each one there is double (torment), but you know not.” The first of them will say to the last of them: “You were not better than us, so taste the torment for what you used to earn.” [ al- A’raaf (7):37-39]
33 “And they will cry: “O Maalik (Keeper of Hell)! Let your Lord make an end of us.” He will say: “Verily you shall abide forever.” [az-Zukhruf (43):77-78]
34 see the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radiyallaahu anhu) about the creation of Hell: “..So Allaah surrounded Hell with desires then told Jibreel…” [Aboo Dawood, at-Tirmidhee, and other. Verified to be authentic by al-Albaanee (al-Mishkaat no. 5625)
35 At-Tirmidhee, an Nasaa’ee, and others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albaanee (al-Mishkaat no.2412)