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JAHANNAM

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The word jahannam is derived from jihinnam means a deep pit, and as it is said in Arabic: bir'un jahannam'un means a well whose depth is very great. The word jahannam occurs 77 times in the Koran. Another name for hell, which bears a similar significance, but occurs only once in the Koran, is hawiya (101:9) means an abyss or a pit having no bottom, the root being hawa which means falling down to a depth from a highest and hence according to Raghib, it refers to low desires. Four names of hell are taken from the analogy of fire, viz. jahim, derived from jahm signifying the burning or blazing of fire, but this word is applied to the fury of war as well as of fire, while tajahhama, another measure from the same root means he burned with vehemence of desire or covetousness and niggardliness also he became strained in disposition, occurring 23 times in the Koran. Sa'ir is derived from sa'r means the kindling of fire, and it is metaphorically applied to the raging of war or outbreak of disease, occurring 8 times in the Koran. Su'ur is used in the sense of distress (54:24). Saqar is derived from saqara, means the heat of the sun scorched a man, occurring 4 times in the Koran. Laza means flame, and in one form talazza is metaphorically used for burning with anger, occurring only once in the Koran (92:14). Hutama is derived from hutam means the crushing or grinding of everything to powder or the breaking of a thing, also rendering infirm or weak with age, while hutama means a vehement fire, occurring twice in the same context (104:4-5). The most common description, al-nar (fire) occurs 125 times in the Koran. Besides, hell has lahab means flames (77:31), and it punishes by combustion, aza'b al-hariq (3:181). The nar hamiya (101:11) means a raging fire.
The topography of hell

""The fire is spread out above and below in layers (39:16), enclosed (90:20), with sparks as big as forts (77:32). Its fuel is human beings and stones (2:24, 66:6), especially, unbelievers (3:10), the unjust (72:15), and polytheists and whatever they worship besides God (21:98). With the fire comes black smoke (yahmum, 56:43), three columns of shadow that do not protect against the flames (77:30-1), boiling water (hamim, 56:42) and the poisonous hot wind (samum, 52:27, 56:42). People's faces are turned upside down in the fire (33:66); they are dragged through it on their faces (54:48), unable to keep it away from their faces or their backs (21:39). Several times hell is called "an evil bed" (bi'sa l-mihad, 2:206), one with canopies (7:41). The sinners wander about between hell and boiling water (55:43-4).

Hell is reached by a road (sirat al-jahim, 37:23), later constructed as a bridge, and by seven gates, one for each class of sinners (15:44). Heaven is separated from hell by a wall with a gate; inside is mercy, and all along the outside is torment (aza'b, 57:13). Yet despite that barrier and the veil between them (7:46), the inhabitants of heaven and hell can see and call to each other. They compare experience: both have found their Lord's promises to be true (7:44). The "companions of the fire cry out to the companions of the garden,


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