Questions on the eternality of the hellfire.

“And they say, “Never will the Fire touch us, except for a few days.” Say, “Have you taken a covenant with Allah? For Allah will never break His covenant. Or do you say about Allah that which you do not know?” Yes, whoever earns evil and his sin has encompassed him – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.” (Qur’an 2:80-81)

Allah effaces whatever He wills and retains whatever He wills. With Him is the Mother of the Book.” (Qur’an 13:39)

Some questions/objections were raised by some Muslims on this particular subject.

For me the matter is clear, crystal clear.

  1. The hellfire is eternal for who ever enters it.
  2. Our creed is taken from clear verses and not verses subject to multiple interpretations.
  3. There is not a single verse any where in the Qur’an that believers enter the hellfire.
  4. The Qur’an has to be in harmony with all its verses.

Much of what is addressed here are old discussions that were discussed back and forth at a forum here:

https://www.gawaher.com/topic/168655-is-hell-in-islam-eternal/

“And they say, “Never will the Fire touch us, except for a few days.” Say, “Have you taken a covenant with Allah? For Allah will never break His covenant. Or do you say about Allah that which you do not know?” Yes, whoever earns evil and his sin has encompassed him – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.” (Qur’an 2:80-81)

And this alone should be sufficient.

Why would this be true only for Jews and not for every believer? On what consistent basis is this claim made?

“While the wicked will be in Hell. They will roast on the Day of Judgment. And they will never be absent from it.” (Qur’an 82: 14-16)

This verse above is also clear. It says that they will never be absent from it. Not that they will be there forever and one day maybe not. Never is as clear as it may get.

However we will entertain the comments from the forum: https://www.gawaher.com/topic/168655-is-hell-in-islam-eternal/

“And when the appointed Day comes, no one shall even dare to speak except by the leave of Allah. Then some will be declared wretched, others blessed. As for the wretched, they shall be in the Fire, and in it they shall sigh and groan. They shall abide in it as long as the heavens and the earth endure, unless your Lord may will otherwise. Surely your Lord does whatsoever He wills. And as for those who are blessed, they shall abide in the Garden as long as the heavens and the earth endure, unless your Lord may will otherwise. They shall enjoy an unceasing gift.” (Qur’an 11:105-109)

So the main point of one of the commenters is as follows:

Notice God says “…your Lord carries out whatever He wills…” after the description of potential release from Hell, as if to support this possibility. Yet, after the same statement made in reference to Heaven, God says “…an unceasing gift”. He doesn’t say “…whatever He wills”, which would support the statement that Heaven will end, but rather “unceasing gift” supports the continuation of Heaven.

Point 1. Nothing happens except by the will of Allah who has full and total control over all things.

“As for the Righteous, they will be in bliss; And the Wicked – they will be in the Fire, Which they will enter on the Day of Judgment, And they will not be able to keep away therefrom. And what will explain to you what the Day of Judgment is? Again, what will explain to you what the Day of Judgment is? (It will be) the Day when no soul shall have power (to do) aught for another: For the command, that Day, will be (wholly) with Allah.” (Qur’an 82:13-19)

When does the command stop being with Allah?

Point 2.

They shall abide in (hellfire) it as long as the heavens and the earth endure, unless your Lord may will otherwise.

they shall abide in the Garden as long as the heavens and the earth endure, unless your Lord may will otherwise.

These people are clearly over looking the condition of eternality of the garden and hell based upon the eternality of the new heaven and earth itself.

“On the day when the earth is changed into another earth, as well as the heavens, and they emerged before Allah, the One, the Subduer.” (Qur’an 14:48)

Now let us do a thought experiment. What would be the reason or purpose for someone to leave paradise? Are there any text suggesting that a person would be expelled from or leave paradise after entering it?

“Then We said, “O Adam, you and your wife, both dwell in the Garden and eat to your hearts’ content where from you will, but do not go near this tree otherwise you shall become transgressors” After a time Satan tempted them with that tree to disobey Our Command and brought them out of the state they were in, and We decreed, “Now, go down all of you from here; you are enemies of one another. Henceforth you shall dwell and provide for yourselves on the Earth for a specified period.” At that time Adam learnt appropriate words from his Lord and repented, and his Lord accepted his repentance, for He is very Relenting and very Merciful.” (Quran 2:35-37)

Point 3. The proponents of the idea that people will leave hell seem fixated on the the following endings:

After mentioning hellfire : Surely your Lord does whatsoever He wills.

After mentioning the paradise: They shall enjoy an unceasing gift.

Yet, they seem to forget that both statements are preceding by: unless your Lord may will otherwise.

They seem so desperate to hang on to their position. They want to only focus on ‘They shall enjoy an unceasing gift’ and ignore that the text is preceded by ‘unless your Lord may will otherwise’ as well as ‘as long as heavens and earth pass’.

For example in the English language one may say:

Except as I will, you children may have all the chocolates on the table.

Or

You children may have all the chocolates on the table, except as I will.

Both sentence structures indicate that the children may enjoy as long as I will.

Point 4. Inconsistent methodology.

So using their logic, and if one was to be consistent we would need to understand under what circumstances would those believers who go to heaven not enjoy heaven any longer? In the same vein those who are sent to hellfire under what circumstances would they leave?

Allah (swt) could have removed the “unless your Lord may will otherwise” statement. That would have given the proponents same weight with that verse. Yet, they would still need to contend with the numerous verses in the Qur’an which Allah (swt) clearly indicated his will regarding those in hellfire.

“While the wicked will be in Hell. They will roast on the Day of Judgment. And they will never be absent from it.” (Qur’an 82: 14-16)

So that really looks like someone clutching at straws.

Point 5. Lastly, on that text above. It would not indicate who would leave the hell fire. Remember, there is a belief among Sunni Muslims that believers can enter the hellfire and than taken out. They cannot bring a single verse of the Qur’an to substantiate this. So if we are to use the logic of those who believe that hellfire is not eternal for its inhabitants (contrary to what Allah clearly says), it would mean that the polytheist, mushrik, anyone will eventually leave hell.

For me the matter is clear, crystal clear.

  1. The hellfire is eternal for who ever enters it.
  2. Our creed is taken from clear verses and not verses subject to multiple interpretations.
  3. There is not a single verse any where in the Qur’an that believers enter the hellfire.
  4. The Qur’an has to be in harmony with all its verses.

Next text that was discussed in that forum actually backfires on them as well.

https://www.gawaher.com/topic/168655-is-hell-in-islam-eternal/

“To those who reject Our Signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of Heaven, nor will they enter the Garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle: such is Our reward for those in sin.” (Qur’an 7:40)

In the Tafsir attributed to Ibn Abbas (r.a) Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs it says:

(Lo! they who deny Our revelations) Muhammed (pbuh) and the Qur’an (and scorn them) scorn believing in them, (for them the gates of Heaven will not be opened) to receive their works or souls (nor will they enter the Garden until the camel goes through the needle’s eye) they will not enter Paradise just as a camel cannot pass through the eye of a needle; it is also said that this means: they will not enter Paradise until a rope goes through a needle’s eye. (Thus do We requite the guilty) the idolaters.”

Even our teacher Shaykh Hilal Al Wardi (hafidulah) favours the understanding of rope instead of camel.

Even than as the Shaykh says, it means a big rope and not the thin thread that easily passes through the eye of the needle. The big rope is impossible.

Let us follow through logically.

ALL OF SUNNI Muslims believe that at the very least the unbelievers will go to hellfire. So if the above verse is to be understood as something possible, a rope that can go through the eye of a needle than no one will go to hellfire at all!

Now since we know that this verse is clear. Allah (swt) has made it clear when he states: “Surely your Lord does whatsoever He wills.” That Allah (swt) has not willed for these people anything other than for them to remain in hellfire.

We know that Allah (swt) promise and statements are true.

“But the ones who believe and do righteous deeds – We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. It is the promise of Allah , which is truth, and who is more truthful than Allah in statement.” (Qur’an 4:122)

The only other possible straw for these people to clutch is the evil and heinous position that Allah (swt) can lie. So than when Allah (swt) says:

“While the wicked will be in Hell. They will roast on the Day of Judgment. And they will never be absent from it.” (Qur’an 82: 14-16)

or

“To those who reject Our Signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of Heaven, nor will they enter the Garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle: such is Our reward for those in sin.” (Qur’an 7:40)

We have refuted that vile and godless position here:

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