Question: Atheists say, "Because the Islamic religion came to a hot region, people were frightened with fire. If it had come to the poles, cold torments would have been mentioned. Why are cold torments not mentioned in religious books now?" Some people, on the other hand, say, "Since the Devil was created from fire, the Hellfire cannot burn him. This is the reason why the Devil is in flagrant defiance." Similarly, a man says, "Though disbelievers deserve punishment because of their evil deeds, they, after suffering the punishment for their evil deeds, will strike up a friendship with the Fire as time passes by, and the Fire will not torment them anymore." What does our religion say on this matter?
To start with, this should be known: Allahu ta'ala's power is infinite. The one who has a limited power cannot be a god. Allahu ta'ala is not incapable of inflicting torment on disbelievers. The torments inflicted on disbelievers will not be lightened, but will be made even severer. As a matter of fact, some pertinent Qur'anic verses are as follows:
(Their torment will never be lightened.) [Al-Baqarah 86]
(They will remain therein forever. Their torment will not be lightened, nor will it be delayed.) [Al-i 'Imran 88]
(The curse of Allah, of angels, and of all people is on those who die while they are disbelievers. They will abide in the curse forever. Their torment will not be reduced, nor will it be delayed.) [Al-Baqarah 161, 162]
(Their torment will not be lightened, nor will it be delayed.) [An-Nahl 85]
(Disbelievers will not be killed, so that they should die. Nor will the torment of Hell ever be reduced for them.) [Fatir 36]
(Those in the Fire will say to the keepers of Hell, "Call on your Lord to lighten our torment just for one day at least." But the plea of disbelievers is of no avail.) [Al-Mu'min 49, 50]
(They will abide therein forever. Their torment will not be lightened, nor will they have any hope of salvation.) [Az-Zukhruf 75]
Fire is not the sole means of torment in Hell. There are manifold means of torment, some of which are as follows:
1. Cold torment,
2. Torment by the stinging and biting of animals such as snakes and scorpions,
3. Torment by hitting people over their heads with maces,
4. Torment by hunger,
5. Torment by making people eat zaqqum, which will shatter their bowels,
6. Torment by enlarging bodies to intensify the pain,
7. Torment by making people drink purulent water,
8. Torment by throwing people into the well of Ghayya,
9. Torment by rolling people down cliffs,
10. Torment inflicted in pitch-dark,
11. Torment by exposing people to torturous, nasty smells,
12. Torment that will multiply every day,
13. Torment that will be inflicted eternally.
Kadi zada Ahmad Effendi states:
A certain place in Hell is called Zamharir or Zamhari, which is awfully cold Hell. Its cold is so vehement that it cannot be endured even for a moment. Disbelievers will be tormented by being thrown once into the cold Hell and then once into the hot one, and then again into the cold one and then again into the hot one. (Amantu Sharhi)
The fact that there are extremely cold torments of Zamhari in Hell is written in the books Kimya-i sa'adat and Durrat-ul-fakhira. Furthermore, it is written in Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah, and other books of hadith that the heat of summer is from the breath of hot Hell and the cold of winter is from the breath of Zamhari Hell. It is written in the book Rashahat, "The torment of cold Hell called Zamhari is very severe."
The first human was created from soil. Bodies of all other people are made up of earthen substances. But humans are flesh and bone, not soil. So is the case with the Devil. Though he was created from fire and air, he is not fire or air. (Ashbah)
Allahu ta'ala certainly has the power to inflict torment on the Devil both in cold Hell and in hot Hell. Just as an iron hacksaw made by incapable man cuts iron, so fire can burn fire. Those who are well acquainted with science today know the fact that objects are composed of elements. For example, water forms when hydrogen gas, which is flammable, chemically combines with oxygen gas, which supports combustion. However, water is in no way similar to its constituents, oxygen and hydrogen. Likewise, though man was created from soil and genies and the Devil were created from fire and air, they do not resemble substances used in their creation.
In many places of the Qur'an al-karim, it is said, "Wa huwa 'ala kulli shay'in qadir," which means, "He is capable of all things." Two Qur'anic verses say (what means):
(You certainly know that the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah. He torments whomever He wills, and He forgives whomever He wills. Allah is capable of all things.) [Al-Ma'idah 40]
(If Allah afflicts you with some distress, none can relieve you of it but He. If He gives you some good, none can deprive you of it. He is capable of all things.) [Al-An'am 17]
The torments in Hell are many different kinds. The Qur'an al-karim says (what means):
(Beware of the Fire whose fuel is humans and stones. That Fire has been prepared for disbelievers.) [Al-Baqarah 24]
(The tree of Zaqqum is the food of the sinful. It boils in bellies like molten metal, like boiling water. It will be said, "Seize the guilty one. Drag him to the middle of Hell, and then pour onto his head boiling water as torment.") [Ad-Dukhan 43-48]
(You will certainly eat from the tree of Zaqqum and fill your bellies with it. You will drink from boiling water like thirsty camels attacking water. Such will be their feast on the Day of Requital.) [Al-Waqi'ah 52-56]
(He will be made to drink purulent water in Hell. He will sip that water but will not be able swallow it. Death [lethal torment] will come to him from every direction, but he will not die and get off. From behind him will come a rigorous chastisement.) [Ibrahim 16, 17]
(We will put those who reject Our aayaat into the Fire. Every time their skins are burnt off, We will replace them with new skins so that they feel more pain. Allah is Mighty and Hakim.) [An-Nisa' 56] (Even if their skins were not replaced, Allahu ta'ala would still be capable of tormenting them. But He will torment them by creating new skins.)
(We will increase their torment many times more.) [An-Nahl 88] (Just as the blessings in Paradise will be increased for Believers by adding many more blessings every day, so torment will be added over torment every day for disbelievers in Hell. The torments, which will multiply, will go on in this way forever. This is not difficult for Allahu ta'ala. It suffices for Him to say, "Be!")
(Guard yourselves and your families against a Fire whose fuel is humans and stones.) [At-Tahrim 6] (Think: does the Fire that burns stones strike up a friendship with the skin?)
When a youth who had listened to this Qur'anic verse asked our master the Messenger the qualities of those stones, he stated, "If one of those stones were thrown at a mountain, all mountains [the entire world] would burn to ashes" (Ibn Abi ad-Dunya).
Of the Prophetic sayings that clarify the above-mentioned Qur'anic verses, some are as follows:
(When none of the wishes of disbelievers are fulfilled in Hell, they will say, "O Malik, let your Lord at least finish us off." He will say, "You will always remain in torment without ever dying.") [Tirmidhi] (The 77th verse of Zukhruf Sura and the 49th and 50th verses of Mu'min Sura state the same fact.)
(When the Fire touches the inhabitants of Hell, it will burn them and turn them to coal.) [Muslim]
(If a drop of water came from Hell, it would have a destructive effect on the earth.) [Bayhaqi]
(All the flesh of a disbeliever whom the snake of Hell bites will fall off. When the scorpions of Hell sting a disbeliever, the pain its venom causes will make him forget the Hellfire.) [Hakim]
(If a drop from the Zaqqum, which is the food of people of Hell, mixed into waters, it would poison all of them and make them undrinkable. Then imagine the states of those whose only food is zaqqum.) [Hakim, Tirmidhi]
(A person who is bitten by a snake in Hell will suffer agony for 70 years.) [Imam-i Ahmad, Tabarani, Hakim]
(If a mountain were struck a blow with the iron mace of Hell, the mountain would be broken into pieces and reduced to ashes.) [Hakim]
(If someone came to the world from Hell, everybody would die because of his terrifying appearance and the obnoxious smell he spreads.) [Ibn Abi ad-Dunya]
(One tooth of a disbeliever will be as big as Mount Uhud.) [Muslim]
(The distance between the two shoulders of a disbeliever will be as much as the distance that a horse rider takes in three days.) [Bukhari]
The Qur'anic verses and Prophetic sayings written above show that Allahu ta'ala is capable of all things, that He is not powerless to inflict torment, and that He will inflict different kinds of torment on disbelievers forever by always increasing them. The one who does not have power to perform some actions cannot be the god. If the statement "The skin will strike up a friendship with the Fire, so it will not burn it anymore" is said by a wali by inspiration, the relevant person is regarded as excusable. However, those who follow and believe him cannot escape disaster, for inspiration is not proof or documentary evidence in Islam.
Question: The 13th verse of Insan Sura describes Paradise, saying, "Muslims will sit on couches in Paradise, finding therein neither scorching heat nor freezing cold." Does this verse not indicate that there are fire and freezing cold in Hell?
We do not have the authority to interpret this verse. However, Islamic scholars state that there is a bitterly cold Hell called Zamhari. The meaning of a hadith-i sharif written in Kutub-i Sitta is as follows:
(Allahu ta'ala permitted the Fire to take two breaths: one is in summer and the other is in winter. The severest heat of summer and the bitterest cold of winter are its two breaths.) [Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Nasai]
The torment for the Devil
Question: Can the Devil, who was created from fire, suffer torment in Hell?
Is Allahu ta'ala incapable (never!) of inflicting torment on the Devil? It is written in Islamic books:
A certain place in Hell is called Zamharir. That is, it is cold Hell. Its cold is so vehement that it cannot be endured even for a moment. The faithless will be tormented by being thrown once into the cold Hell and then once into the hot one, and then again into the cold one and then again into the hot one. (Faraid-ul-fawaid)
It is written in Kimya-i Sa'adat and in other books by Hadrat Imam-i Ghazali that there are cold Zamharir torments in Hell. The first human was created from soil. Bodies of all other people are made up of earthen substances. But humans are flesh and bone, not soil. So is the case with genies. Though they are created from fire and air, they are not fire or air. Likewise, though the Devil was created
from fire and air, he is not fire or air. (Akam-il-Marjan)
Allahu ta'ala's power is infinite. He is not impotent. He can inflict torment on the Devil both in hot Hell and in cold Hell. Just as an iron hacksaw cuts iron, so fire can burn fire. Nothing is difficult for Allahu ta'ala. The Hellfire is so fierce that if a spark from it came to the world it would burn all things and reduce them to ashes. (Targhib)
Those who are well acquainted with science today know the fact that objects are composed of elements. For example, water forms when hydrogen gas, which is flammable, chemically combines with oxygen gas, which supports combustion. However, water is in no way similar to its constituents, oxygen and hydrogen. Likewise, though man was created from soil and genies and the Devil were created from fire and air, they do not resemble substances used in their creation.
In short, Allahu ta'ala is not incapable of punishing the unjust. He can punish them with fire or anything else, as well as with cold. The fire will not be the sole means of torment in Hell. Rather, there will be different kinds of torment.