7 Levels of the Fire

Knowledge is light

7 levels of the Fire

Muhammad Jawaid Attari Madani

Allah Almighty has prepared a terrifying and frightening location in the Hereafter to punish the disbelievers, polytheists, hypocrites, and the sinful. This place is the Fire—called al-nār in Arabic and dozakh in Urdu.[1] According to one opinion, it is found under the seventh earth.[2]

The Fire has seven levels, with specific punishments appointed for the denizens of each. These seven were said to be created in correspondence to the seven limbs through which humans sin: eyes, ears, stomach, private parts, hands, and feet. It is also narrated that they have seven doors.[3]

These seven levels are mentioned in the Quran:

لَہَا سَبۡعَۃُ  اَبۡوَابٍ ؕ       لِکُلِّ بَابٍ مِّنۡہُمۡ جُزۡءٌ  مَّقۡسُوۡمٌ  (۴۴)

“It has seven gates; for each gate from amongst them, a portion ˹of denizens˺ is assigned.”[4]

The doors mentioned in this verse refer to the seven levels of the Fire, and they are, in descending order:

1.   Jahannam

2.   Laẓā

3.   Ḥuṭama

4.   Saʿīr

5.   Saqar

6.   Jaḥīm

7.   Hāwiya[5]

According to this verse, Allah Almighty created seven degrees to the Fire, according to the form and severity of people’s disbelief.[6]

جَہَنَّم Jahannam - Hell

The Quran mentions this level seventy-seven times. On the Day of Judgement, it will be said to disbelievers:

قِیۡلَ  ادۡخُلُوۡۤا اَبۡوَابَ جَہَنَّمَ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا ۚ فَبِئۡسَ مَثۡوَی الۡمُتَکَبِّرِیۡنَ (۷۲)

“‘Enter the gates of Hell to remain therein forever.' So, what a despicable dwelling for the arrogant.”[7]

لَظٰی - Laā; “blazing fire”

Regarding this, the Quran says:

کَلَّا ؕ      اِنَّہَا  لَظٰی (ۙ۱۵) نَزَّاعَۃً   لِّلشَّوٰی  (ۚۖ۱۶)

“Never, ˹ i.e. nothing will save him˺! That is actually a blazing fire. The one which strips off the skin is calling.”[8]

حُطَمَہ - uama; the “annihilator”

Tafsīr Jalālayn states:

uama is that which annihilates anything placed into it, and this name was mentioned twice in the Quran. Disbelievers had raised objections against the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and his Companions  عَـلَيْهِمُ الرِّضْوَانْ . Their punishment is described thus in the Quran:

کَلَّا  لَیُنۡۢبَذَنَّ فِی الۡحُطَمَۃِ ۫         (ۖ۴)وَ  مَاۤ  اَدۡرٰىکَ مَا  الۡحُطَمَۃُ ؕ(۵) نَارُ اللّٰہِ الۡمُوۡقَدَۃُ ۙ(۶) الَّتِیۡ  تَطَّلِعُ  عَلَی الۡاَفۡـِٕدَۃِ ؕ(۷)

Never! He will certainly be thrown into the crushing one. And what have you understood what is the crushing one? (It is) the Fire of Allah that is ablaze.  Which will climb on to the hearts.[9]

The ruling found in this verse universally applies to every backbiter.[10]

سَعِیْر Saʿīr; the “blazing section”

This name is mentioned sixteen times in the Quran. In regard to those who wrongfully usurp wealth belonging to orphans, Allah Almighty said:

اِنَّمَا یَاۡکُلُوۡنَ فِیۡ بُطُوۡنِہِمۡ نَارًا ؕ       وَ سَیَصۡلَوۡنَ  سَعِیۡرًا (۱۰)

“They are actually only filling their bellies with fire, and soon they will go into a blazing section (Saʿīr) ˹of the Fire˺.”[11]

سَقَر - Saqar; the “heat and anguish of fire”

The Quran mentions this name four times, and the manner in which disbelievers will be dragged towards the Fire is described as:

یَوۡمَ یُسۡحَبُوۡنَ فِی النَّارِ عَلٰی وُجُوۡہِہِمۡ ؕ ذُوۡقُوۡا مَسَّ سَقَرَ (۴۸)

“On the Day when they will be dragged upon their faces in the Fire, and it will be said to them, 'Taste the heat ˹and anguish of the Fire˺ (Saqar).'”[12]

جَحِیْم - Jaīm; the “roaring fire”

Allah Almighty speaks of this name twenty-six times in the Quran. For example:

ثُمَّ   اِنَّ  مَرۡجِعَہُمۡ  لَا۠       اِلَی  الۡجَحِیۡمِ (۶۸)

“Then indeed, their return is towards the roaring fire (Jaīm).[13]

ہَاوِیَہ - Hāwiya; “pot of flaming fire”

It is stated in Tafsīr Qurubi: “Hāwiya attains its name from the fact that whomsoever shall be cast into it will be turned upside down beforehand (the way a pot is sometimes placed upside down). This is the lowest level of the Fire.”[14]

Some will have their scale of good deeds fall short on the Day of Judgement due to their adherence to falsity. The Quran mentions them as such:

وَ اَمَّا مَنۡ خَفَّتۡ مَوَازِیۡنُہٗ ۙ      (۸) فَاُمُّہٗ  ہَاوِیَۃٌ ؕ(۹)وَ مَاۤ  اَدۡرٰىکَ مَا ہِیَہۡ  (ؕ۱۰) نَارٌ حَامِیَۃٌ (۱۱)

“As for the one whose scales (of good deeds) are light. He is in the lap of the one which causes disgrace. And what have you understood what is the causer of disgrace? ˹It is a pot of˺ flaming fire (Hāwiya).”[15]

Imām Ghazāli رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه writes:

The first level ˹of the Fire˺ is for unitarians (those who believe in Allah’s tawhid). They will be subject to punishment according to their sins. After this, they will removed from it. The second is for Jews, the third for Christians, the fourth for star worshippers, the fifth for Zoroastrians, the sixth for polytheists, and the seventh for hypocrites.

Sayyidunā ʿAlī رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrates, “The Fire has seven levels across its expanse. The first will be filled to the edge, then the second, then third, and so on. This will continue until it is completely full.”[16]

If someone recites, “اَللّٰہُمَّ اَجِرْنِیْ مِنَ النَّارِ[17] (O Allah, save me from the Fire) seven times after Maghrib and Fajr, and passes away on that day or night, Allah Almighty will safeguard him from the Fire.

May Allah Almighty save us from being punished in the grave, on the Day of Judgement and in the Fire.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

[1] Jahannum Kay Khatraat, p. 15

[2] Sharh al-‘Aqaaid al-Nasafiyah, p. 249

[3] Mukashafa ul-Quloob, p. 190

[4] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 14, Surah Al-Hijr, verse 44)

[5] Tafsīr ibn Kathīr, vol. 4, p. 461, Surah Al-Hijr, Ayat 44

[6] Tafsīr al-Khāzin, vol. 3, p. 103

[7] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 24, Surah Al-Zumar, verse 72)

[8] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 29, Surah Al-Ma’aarij, verses 15 - 16)

[9] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 30, Surah Al-Humazah, verses 4 - 7)

[10] Sirat ul Jinaan, vol. 10, p. 822

[11] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Al-Nisa, verse 10)

[12] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 27, Surah Al-Qamar, verse 48)

[13] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 23, Surah Al-Saaffaat, verse 68)

[14] Al-Jami’ li-Ahkam al-Quran, vol. 10, p. 120

[15] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 30, Surah Al-Qaari’ah, verses 8 - 11)

[16] Mukashafa ul-Quloob, p. 190

[17] Sunan Abī Dāwūd, vol. 4, p. 405, hadith 5079




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