Jahannam or Hell is a place made by Allah to punish evildoers in the afterlife. The concept of levels in Jahannam is based on the weight of the sins committed by the sinner. Muslims believe that there are seven levels of Jahannam, just like seven levels of heaven. These are also referred to as the gates to hell and are associated with different kinds of punishments that are both physical and spiritual in nature.
Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings be upon him, is the beloved Prophet of Allah and it is said that his Ummah(people), who are Muslims, will be sent to Jannah after finishing their punishments. It is believed that in the afterlife no one dies and when the human/jinn burned to ashes in Jahannam, they will be returned to the healthy form and will be punished in the same way again. This cycle will go on until Allah forgives them.
In this blog, we look at various beliefs and details regarding the concept of Jahannam in Islam and what each of the seven levels of Jahannam stand for.
The concept of Hell in Islam
It is believed that Jahannam is an ever-flaming pit of fire. The fire in Jahannam is of the highest heat and is black in colour. Jahannam is the place from which every human and jinn are warned and are told to refrain from sins. The punishment in hell is endless for non-believers and back biters, while for Muslims the punishment depends on the sins committed by them.
When the hell was created by Allah, he kept the scorching fire burning in Jahannam for a thousand years. Once the Jahannam was fiery red he kept it burning for another more thousand years till it turned bright white, then finally Allah heated it again for another last thousand years, the flames became pitch black from bright white. It is also believed that the flame of Jahannam is 70 times more harmful than the worldly fire.
Jahannam consists of various venomous and hideous animals such as venomous donkeys whose bites will not be soothed for 40 years in Jahannam. Also, snakes and lizards are present in Jahannam. The sinners in Jahannam will be provided puss, blood, and harsh boiling water to drink and a tree growing there called Zaqqum which has prickly thorny branches to eat. Hence Allah warned humans and Jinns from Jahannam. Jahannam has seven levels, let us take a look at these levels in detail.
Levels of Jahannam
Jahannam is divided into seven levels that are situated below each other based on the gravity of the sinners. So, the least painful level that is level one is at the top and the most painful level is situated in the depths of the Jahannam. The temperature and the severity of the punishment of Jahannam keeps increasing as one descends through the levels. Each level is made for different types of sinners and punishments. Let us have a look at them.
1. Jahannam, or the first level of hell: This level is for Muslims who were sinful in the world. It has the least heat among all the levels and has the least painful punishment for the sinners. As the sinners enter through its gates their faces will be burned and the fire will eat their flesh. Here Allah will renew their flesh everytime after they are burned.
2. Ladah, or the second gate to Jahannam: This level is situated below Jahannam, and it is for people and Jinn who did not believe in Allah, rejected the Prophet’s messages and did not believe in them as the messengers of Allah. The main punishment in this level is that fire will eat away one’s organs one by one both externally and internally, and will finally destroy their body.
3. Saqar, the third level of Jahannam:
The third level of Jahannam and it is situated below Ladah. The punishment for the people here is that fire will eat up their flesh but not bones. The four reasons for which people land up in this level of Jahannam are:
- They did not perform Salah (prayer).
- They did not offer food to the poor.
- They used to talk vainly to those who in vain that is they used to follow the path of unjust and falsehood.
- They refused the existence of the Day of Reward and Resurrection (Qayamat).
4. Al-Hutamah, the fourth gate of hell: In this level, situated below Saqar, it is believed that the fire here will burn the sinners to the bones and emblaze their heart and inner organs. The fire will start from their feet and then go up to their heart. It is believed that the sinners will cry to the point where their tear glands will dry out, the blood will dry out, and their tears will be of the huge amount that even if a ship was to be sailed in the pool of their tears it will do so easily.
5. Jaheem, the fifth level of Jahannam:
It is believed that it lies below Al-Hutamah, which is a big piece of coal and is bigger than the lowest level. Sinners will be thrown here because for three reasons:
- They did not give correct belief to Allah.
- Declined to give the correct right to the creations.
- Did not encourage feeding the poor.
6. Saeer, the sixth level: This level of Jahannam is situated below Jaheem. This level has been kindling since it was made. It consists of 300 castles which have 300 huts each in which there are 300 rooms each and, in each room, there are 300 different types of penalties. The pain here is unimaginable, unbearable and it is very painful. Here there are scorpions, snakes, chain, ropes and whatnot. Also, it has a pit of Agony which is the most painful punishment in the whole Jahannam.
7. Al-Hawwiyah, the last level of Jahhanam: This is the last and the worst level of hell. It is the seventh level of jahannam, situated below Saeer. It is said that no sinner will be released from this level. There is pitch darkness on this level. Backbiters and non-believers are punished here. The sinners in this level will be crushed under mountains with them lying on their faces.The hands of the sinners will be bound to their necks and their necks to their legs. And Zabanniyah( angels of Janhannam) surely will stand on them. The hands of the angels are supposed to be made of strong iron and as punishment to the sinners they will beat the sinners with their bare hands. The Quran says that Al-Hawwiyah is the level in which kindled fire will embrace the sinner as a mother embraces her son.
These are the seven levels of which the jahannam is made of.
Suggested Read: 7 Levels Of Heaven In Islam, Surahs Of Jannah In The Quran
Hadith about Jahannam
Hadhrat Abu Musa Ash’ari narrates that Rasulullaah (SAW) said, “If a rock is dropped into Jahannam, it will remain plummeting for 70 years before touching the pith of Jahannam”.
Rasulullaah (SAW) narrated, “Jahannam was heated for a thousand years and its fire turned red; it was then heated for another thousand years and it became white; it was again heated for another thousand years and it turned black. At present, Jahannam is pitch black and dark.” [Tirmidhi]
Rasulullaah (SAW) said, “Among the men of Jahannam, the least punishment given will be that both his shoes and laces will be made of fire, which will make his head boil like a cauldron such, that he will think that he is receiving the most severe punishment, although his punishment is the least.” [Bukhari, Muslim]
Jahannam in the Quran
لها سبعة أبواب لكل باب منه جزء مقسوم
“Indeed the hell fire is the dwelling place of them all. It has seven gates and within each gate there is an appropriate punishment for each inhabitant…” (Hijr: 44)
قالوا لا تنفروا في الحر قل نار جهنم أشد حرا لو كانوا يفقهون
“They said (i.e. the hypocrites): “Don’t go out for war during the heat!” Say (i.e. Muhammad) the fire of Jahannam is even hotter if you only understood.” (Surah At-Tawbah: 81)
كلما نضجت جلودهم بدلنناهم جلودا غيرها ليذوقوا العذاب
“Every time the fire eats away their flesh We will replace it with new flesh so they can taste the punishment…” (Surah An-Nisaa’:56)
كلا إنها لظى نزاعة للشوى تدعوا من أدبر وتولى وجمع فأوعى…
“There is no way out for them, except the Ladha (i.e. Fierce Blaze) will certainly scorch the inward organs and the outward flesh! It will invite everyone who turned away from following the truth, heedless of it and gathered wealth but refused to spend it in the cause of Allah…” (Ma’arij:15)
كلا لينبذن في الحطمة وماأدراك مالحطمة نار الله الموقدة التي تطلع على الأفئدة إنها عليهم مؤصد فعمد ممددة
“Nay they will be thrown into Al Hutamah (i.e. Crushing Fire). And what will make you know what Al Hutamah is? The fire of Allah kindled by men and stones which scorches the hearts. Surely it is vaulted over them in pillars widely extended.” (Humazah: 4-9)
“And verify, Jahannam is the promised place for them all! Entering into it are seven gates; for each of these gates are assigned class.” [The Quran 15:43-44]
“0 Muslims ! Save yourselves and your families from the Fire whose fuel is men and stones.” [The Quran 66:6]
The concept of hell as well as the gates of hell or the levels of Jahannam are described in quite detail in the the Quran and it warns Muslims to stay away to sins identified in Islam. Asking Allah for forgiveness and repentance in Islam is the way to expiate for sins and stay blessed.
Levels of Jahannam FAQs
How can Jahannam be avoided?
Following the righteous path of Allah and his Prophet(PBUH) can help in avoiding Jahannam.
Is Jahannam a beast?
Jahannam is a roaring flaming pit that is considered a roaring beast.
How many levels does jahannam have?
Jahannam is made up of seven levels.
Will Jahannam be destroyed?
It is said in the Quran that at a certain time jahannam will be destroyed and the sinners will be either admitted to jannah or ceased to exist.
What is the hotness of Jahannam?
According to islamic beliefs the temperature of Jahannam is approximately 140,000 degrees Celsius.