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Article appeared Friday, January 29th, 2016 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (412)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

We often talk about heaven and hell. Linked with these concepts we also talk about good deeds
and rewards as well as sin and punishment. We all have our own ideas about these and what
may happen on the Day of Judgment, i.e., if, of course, we acknowledge its existence the day
when we would individually be standing before our Maker and Judge! Amidst all these
conversations, to gain clarity, have we tried to come up with basic definitions of the concepts of
heaven, hell, good deeds, rewards, sin and/or punishment?
To start off, could we come up with a definition of sin? What would be a simple way of defining
the concept? Could we say that a sin is anything that would displease or annoy the Creator?
After all, it is He alone who would judge us on the Day of Judgment. As the Judge, if He
forgives, it is His prerogative. We are totally dependent on His rules and His mercy.
Is there a link between sin and hell? Can we say that hell is the destination of those who sin or
those who displease the Creator? It would therefore be a place given as punishment of those
who displease the Creator during their sojourn on earth. Looking through the Holy Quran for
confirmation, we find the following Verse.
And verily Hell is the promised abode for them all! [15.43]
The subsequent Verse gives additional information regarding hell. It tells us about the entrances
to hell.

15.44 To it are seven gates; for each of those gates is a class (of sinners
assigned).
The article, The Seven Gates of Hell {1} presents Verses from the Quran in an attempt to find
the name and/or purpose of each of the seven gates. For the first gate, it quotes the following
Verse.
Those who were left behind (in the Tabuk expedition) rejoiced in their inaction behind
the back of the apostle of Allah; they hated to strive and fight with their goods and their
persons in the cause of Allah; they said, "Go not forth in the heat. Say, "The fire of Hell
(Jahannam) is fiercer in heat." If only they could understand! [9.81]
The Arabic word used for hell is Jahannam translated simply as hell in the English translation
by Yusuf Ali. The Verse points out that the fire of Jahannam would be much hotter. More than
the comparison, the Verse presents the sin as a cause of concern. The sin is of hypocrisy.
These are people who say they believe, with their lips, yet they are unwilling to support or do
activities that demonstrate their belief in Allah. In addition to hypocrisy, they mislead others by
suggesting that they should also not undergo hardship for the cause of Allah.
The second gate {1} is discussed in terms of the nature of the fire. The Arabic term is Ladha,
translated by Yusuf Ali as The Blazing Fire.
By no means! For it would be the Blazing Fire (Ladha)! Plucking out (his being) down to
the skull! It invites those who turn their backs (to the truth) and turn away their faces
(from the right conduct towards Allah) and collect (wealth) and hide it (from using it for
the needy)! [70.15 70.18]
Again we see that together with a quality of the fire, the focus of the Verse is on the nature of sin
perpetrated. This is the sin of not considering the truth put forward by the Quran, inappropriate
attitude towards Allah and not using given wealth for the needy. Similarly, for the third gate, the
Fire of Hell in Arabic is called Saqar.

"What led you into Hell-Fire (Saqar)?" They will say: "We were not of those who
prayed;" "Nor were we of those who fed the indigent;" "But we used to talk vanities with
vain talkers;" "And we used to deny the Day of Judgment" [74.42 74.46]
The sin here is of avoiding prayers, not feeding the needy, regularly indulging in vain talk and
feeling that there is no Day of Judgment. Similarly, the Verses presented for remaining four
gates or descriptions of the nature of the fire of hell {1} place emphasis on the committed sin.
We therefore present the sins that would lead one to the gates of hell.
Who does more wrong than such as forge a lie against Allah or deny His Signs? But
never will prosper those who sin. [10.17]
Example of forging a lie is given in the subsequent Verse.
They serve besides Allah things that hurt them not nor profit them and they say, "These
are our intercessors with Allah." Say, "Do you indeed inform Allah of something He
knows not in the heavens or on earth? Glory to Him! Far is He above the partners they
ascribe (to Him)!" [10.18]
Power and/or forgiveness is in the hands of Allah alone. He has no intercessors or lawyers who
work on his behalf. Imagining or suggesting that Allah has intercessors is therefore a lie.
So enter the gates of Hell (Jahannam) to dwell therein. Thus evil indeed is the abode of
the arrogant. [16.29]
They will further say, "Had we but listened or used our intelligence we should not (now)
be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire (Saeer)!" [67.10]
Being arrogant and/or not using the given intelligence to establish the truth of the Creator in our
hearts will result in being led to a gate of hell. On the other hand,

15.45 The righteous (will be) amid Gardens and fountains (of clear-flowing
water).
Who are then the righteous?
Allah guides all those who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety and
leads them out of darkness by His Will into the light (knowledge and understanding), by
His Permission, and guides them to a path that is straight. [5.16]

15.46 (Their greeting will be): "Enter here in peace and security."
15.47 And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury: (they
will be) brothers (joyfully) facing each other on thrones (of dignity).
15.48 There no sense of fatigue shall touch them nor shall they (ever) be asked
to leave.
15.49 Tell My servants that I am indeed the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful;
The sins of those who use their intelligence to work out the existence and reality of the Creator
and turn to Him actively seeking His pleasure will be forgiven while those who persist in sin will
be in serious trouble with Him.

15.50 And that My Penalty will be indeed the most grievous Penalty.
------{Notes}:
{1} https://theislampost.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/the-seven-gates-of-hell-2/