The Fire

I have always thought that on Judgement Day we will be judged and then we will go to either the Fire or Jannah eternally. Recently it has been suggested to me that one could go to the Fire temporarily for a prescribed amount of punishment then be rescued, forgiven and sent to Jannah for the rest of Eternity. I have been looking at some verses which describe the Fire and 2:80 and 3:24 seem to suggest this is not possible.

2:79 So woe to those who write the Scripture with their hands then say: “This is from God,” so that they can seek a cheap gain! Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they gained. 

2:80 And they said: “The Fire will not touch us except for a few number of days.” Say: “Have you taken a pledge with God? If so, then God will not break His pledge. Or do you say about God what you do not know?”

3:23 Did you not see those who were given a portion of the Scripture being invited to God’s Scripture to judge between them, then a group of them turns away while they are adverse? 

3:24 That is because they said: “The Fire will not touch us except a few number of days,” and they were arrogant by what they invented in their system. 

“The Fire will not touch us except for a few number of days.”  (lantamassana alnnaru illa ayyamanmaAAdoodatin) is something that the ones who turned away said (yatawallafareequn minhum wahum muAAridoona from 3:23).

On the contrary. It seems the retribution is not reduced (35:36).

35:36 As for those who have rejected, for them is the fire of Hell, where they do not terminate and die, nor is its retribution ever reduced for them. It is such that We requite every rejecter.

Once you are in, you can never leave – (5:37, 32:20 and 2:167).

5:37 They want to get out of the Fire, but they can never leave it; and they will have a permanent retribution.

32:20 And as for those who were wicked, their abode is the Fire. Every time they try to leave it, they will be put back in it, and it will be said to them: “Taste the retribution of the Fire in which you used to deny.”

2:167 And those who followed them said: “If we only could have a chance to disown them as they have disowned us.” It is such that God will show them their works which will be regretted by them; they will not leave the Fire.

You are not able to ward off the fire (21:39).

21:39 If only those who reject knew, that they will not be able to ward off the fire from their faces, nor from their backs, nor will they be helped.

There is no way to avert it (18:53)

18:53 And the criminals saw the Fire, and they realized they will be placed in it, and they did not find any way to avert it.

There are walls surrounding you (18:29).

18:29 And say: “The truth is from your Lord, so let whomever desires believe, and whomever desires reject.” We have prepared for the wicked a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them. And if they cry out, they are given a water like boiling oil which burns their faces. What a miserable place!

I came across some especially intriguing verses – 38:61 and 7:38 say there is double retribution for some.

38:61 They said: “Our Lord, whoever brought this upon us, then double their retribution in the Fire!”
7:38 He said: “Enter with the multitude of nations before you from humans and Jinn to the Fire!” Every time a nation entered, it cursed its sister nation, until they are all gathered inside it; then the last of them says to the first: “Our Lord, these are the ones who have misguided us, so give them double the retribution of the Fire!” He replied: “Each will receive double, but you do not know.”

The verses previously mentioned paint a very grim picture of what the Dwellers of the Fire can expect, and I pray, hope and seek refuge in Allah that we will not be going there, inshaaAllah. This unimaginably terrible punishment in the Fire of Hell seems (to me) to be described as constant, neverending, without cease. The skins will be replaced once they are burnt off 4:56 and the Dwellers of the Fire have garments of tar and fire and have boiling water poured on them (14:50 and 22:19) and they Abide and Dwell there eternally  (2:81; 2:217; 2:257; 2:275; 3:116; 4:14; 6:128; 72:23). Even when the fire dies down, the blaze gets increased back up again (17:97) Please check all verses as these mentioned in brackets are not quoted in full.

The verse in particular from which my investigations stemmed was this one:  40:46

40:46 The Fire, al-nāru which they will be exposed to yuʿ’raḍūna  morning ghuduwwan and evening waʿashiyyan, and on the Day when the Hour is established: “Admit the people of Pharaoh into the most severe of the retribution.”

Just my own thought that cropped up from reading this – it made me think ghuduwwan wa’ashiyyan is another description that compliments and emphasises the other verses about (what seems to me to be described as ) the constant, never ending, unceasing nature of the punishment.

If this is the case, then it could also help to understand these other verses which seem to use a similar phraseology:

7:205 And remember your Lord (Waothkur rabbaka) within yourself, in humility and in reverence; and without loudness in words, during the morning and the evening bi al ghuduwwi wa al-asali. And do not be of the careless ones.

13:15 And to God prostrate (Walillahi yasjudu) all who are in the heavens and the Earth, willingly and unwillingly, as do their shadows in the morning and the evening bi al ghuduwwi wa al-asali.

24:36 In Dwellings that God has allowed to be raised and His name mentioned in them. He is glorified (yusabbihulahu) therein day and night bi al ghuduwwi wa al-asali.

If on the other hand 40:46 is taken literally to mean there are 2 times of day that the punishment happens, mornings and evenings, then it does make me curious to know what happens for the rest of the time in between Punishment times of Morning and Evening.  Though it would seem that if there are only 2 times, then it would maybe assist pondering  the premise of Double the retribution (38:61 and 7:38) – if the standard punishment were to be  2 times per day, then double could be four times per day.

As terrifying as the thought is,  the majority of the verses seem to indicate a less literal meaning for ghuduwwan wa’ashiyyan (morning and evening), if my understanding of the ghuduwwan wa’ashiyyan in 40:46 is not from a verse taken out of context. It should be noted that this is a verse specifically talking about the people of Pharaoh. AND besides that the ghuduwwan wa’ashiyyan is mentioned IN ADDITION to “wayawma taqoomu alssaAAatu” (and on the Day when the Hour is established)


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