Where is Hell?
None but God only knows the unseen.
Say: Knowledge is only with God. (67:26)
There are two Hells, one minor, the other major. The minor Hell is under
the earth or in its center. As geology teaches us, heat increases by one degree
centigrade for every 33 meters towards the center of the earth. This means that,
at the center of the earth, there is a temperature of 200,000˚C, given that
the radius of the earth is six thousand kilometers. This is in agreement with
a Prophetic tradition concerning the subject.
The minor Hell is employed to fulfill in this world and the intermediate
one, many of the major Hell�s functions. It will be expanded into the major
Hell in the other world. As the earth will empty out its contents into the place
of mustering, which will be built in the orbit of the earth�s annual movement,
so, too, it will transfer the minor Hell to the major one at the command of
God. What caused some leading figures of the Mu�tazilite school to form the
wrong opinion, namely that Hell would be created later, is that Hell has not
yet been fully expanded so as to contain all its future contents. Besides, the
stations of the other world are veiled from us so that, in order to see them,
we would have to either have eyes as penetrating as star-light or to diminish
the universe into small enough areas. The major Hell however, as implied in
some Prophetic sayings, has some sort of relation with this world. Intense summer
heat, for instance, is described as �coming from the heat of Hell�.
Though we can neither see the major Hell with our eyes nor comprehend it
with the mind�s eye, we can nevertheless glimpse something of its nature through
(the telescope of) the Divine Name, the All-Wise:
The major Hell appears to have deputed to the minor one, which is in the
center of the earth, certain of its functions. The sovereignty of an Omnipotent
One of majesty, a Wise One of perfection, Who owns the absolute power of the
commanding words Be! and it is, has bound
the moon to the earth, and the earth to the sun with perfect wisdom and order,
and set the sun, together with its satellites, moving, according to a theory,
towards the �sun of the suns� with a speed almost as great as the speed of the
earth�s revolution around the sun. He has also made the stars, which may be
likened to the electric lamps people hang up to adorn special occasions, as
luminous evidences for the sovereignty of His Lordship and the greatness of
His Power. It is not impossible for such a power and wisdom to make the major
Hell function as the source of the �heat and fire� of the stars which look to
the heaven of the other world and to illuminate them with the light of Paradise.
He is also able to make some sections of Hell a place of torment and a dungeon
for people who deserve it. It is also not impossible for the power of the Majestic,
All-Wise Creator, who makes a fruit-stone the size of a thumbnail contain
a tree, to make the minor Hell encapsulate the major one until an appointed
In conclusion, Paradise and Hell are two fruits growing on the tip of a branch
extending from the tree of creation far into eternity. They are two opposite
outcomes of the chain of being. The places of these outcomes are on opposite
ends of the chain, the degraded one on the lower end, and the luminous, sublime
one on the upper.
Paradise and Hell are also two storerooms of the flow of worldly events and
the spiritual products of the earth. One of these storerooms, which is being
filled with evil products, is below while its opposite is above. They are also
two pools, where two streams of beings are emptied, one carrying the wicked
and foul ones while the other carries the good and pure. Paradise is the place
where the Divine favor and mercy manifest themselves. And Hell is the place
where the wrath and awe of God are exhibited. The Gracious, All-Merciful One,
Who is the All-Majestic and All-Omnipotent, manifests Himself (through His Names
and Attributes) wherever He wishes.
The existence of Paradise and Hell was clearly argued in the Tenth and Twenty-ninth
Words. We would like to add here only that the existence of the fruit is as
evident as that of the branch, the results as that of the chain, the storeroom
as that of the products, the pool as that of the stream, and the place of manifestation
as that of mercy and wrath.
How will the Place of Mustering be built,
and how will people be gathered together there? Will they be naked? How will
we be able to meet friends there and find God�s noble Messenger to request his
intercession? How will God�s Messenger meet countless people personally? How
will the people of Paradise and Hell be clothed? Who will show us the way?
The answers to those questions are found very clearly in the books of Hadith.
So, I will only mention a few points relevant to our way:
The earth draws a huge circle through its annual movement and empties every
year into the tablets of that circle the immaterial outcome of its yearly life
� the immaterial consequences of what has happened on it throughout the year.
On the Day of Judgment, the total outcome of the earth�s whole life will take
on the form peculiar to the Hereafter. As the earth will submit, on the Last
Day, the minor hell in its center, it will also empty its contents into the
Place of Mustering, which will be built on the annual orbit of the earth.
- It has been decisively proved that the dead will be resurrected on the
Day of Judgment and assembled in the Place of Mustering.
- How a single person � God�s Messenger � will meet everyone has been proved
in the Sixteenth, Thirty-first and Thirty-second Words. Just as a single sun
can be present, by virtue of being a luminary, at the same moment in countless
different places, so too, God�s Messenger can, through the luminosity of his
spirit, be present at the same time in thousands of different places and meet
millions of people.
- God Almighty supplies in this life a natural covering for His living creatures
except man. So, as a requirement of His being All-Wise, He will provide a
natural covering in the Place of Mustering for people who will be naked of
artificial clothes. Man wears artificial clothes in this world not only to
shelter from cold and heat or to cover his private parts but also as a sign
of his commanding position over other species of creation and disposal of
them. If this was not so, he would be clothed quite simply. Without this wisdom,
requiring man to be clothed somewhat elaborately, a man dressed in rags would
be ridiculed among other conscious beings. However, since this wisdom will
not be sought in the Place of Mustering, there will be no need for man to
be dressed in artificial clothes.
- The guide for those who, like you, sheltered in the world under the light
of the Qur�an, will be the Qur�an itself. Look at the opening verses of the
Qur�an beginning with Alif-Lam-Mim, Alif-Lam-Ra and Ha-Mim,
and see what an acceptable intercessor, what a true guide and what a sacred
light, the Qur�-an is.
- Concerning the clothes of the people of Paradise and Hell:
A man of Paradise desires to get, at the same time, uninterrupted pleasure
from every section of Paradise. Paradise has innumerable kinds of beauties
with which he has continual intercourse. So, he clothes himself in specimens
of those beauties, thus each becoming a miniature paradise. In the same way
as a man grows in his own garden a sample of each kind of flower in his country,
or a shopkeeper lists the examples of the items in his shop, or a man makes
a piece of furniture out of the specimens of the creatures with which he has
a relation, a man of Paradise will be dressed by God�s Mercy in a special
garment showing the beauties of Paradise in a way to please each sense and
feeling, and satisfy each faculty, of theirs, especially one who has been
able to worship God in the world with all his senses and faculties and therefore
deserves all the pleasures of Paradise. The garments to be worn by the people
of Paradise will not be of the same kind; every one of them, from the most
outer to the most inner, is of a different level to please senses and feelings
in a different way with its different particular beauties. It is likewise
in accordance with wisdom and justice that, since the people of Hell committed
in the world sins with their eyes, ears, hearts, hands, intellects and so
on, they will be dressed in garments of different kinds which will each cause
them to suffer a special torment and be like a miniature hell for them.