The following are excerpts from a lecture by Iraqi sheik Ahmad Al-Kubaysi about hell:
Lafh is a flame that scorches the skin. When you pass through the fire, its flames and poisons burn the skin of your body from the outside, and this is called lafh. One of the results of the lafh is the lawh [scorching], whereby the skin is scorched and changes its color. [The Koran says:] "It scorches the skin." "On Judgment Day you will see those who fabricated lies against Allah with their faces blackened."
The kay [branding] is burning, using something hot, like iron, or some other material, in a specific place so as to mark the person. The kay is used on Judgment Day to mark that this tortured person, who is branded, was a usurer, that one was a money loaner, this other tortured person was a thief, that one a murderer, this one a polytheist. Like we do in this world. Like camel herders and shepherds brand their animals so that everyone will know they belong to so-and-so. Every shepherd and owner has his own brand. On Judgment Day, every criminal in hell will be branded with a specific mark, so that it will be known what the offense and the crime of this tortured person was; his forehead, sides, and back are branded. This is the torture of those who hoard money and don't spend it in the cause of Allah. Shay
is broiling on heat without a fire, whereas silah
is roasting on a fire. Imagine that you have some lamb and you put it on a skewer, and then you rotate it over the fire in the flames, so that it will cook. So the silah
is over fire and coals, whereas shay is with heat but without fire or coals.
The naz'. [The Koran says:] "the flaying (naza'a) of the shawa." The shawa are the body's extremities, facial features, the beard, the fingers, hands, etc. One of the things this fire does, because it is so hot, is to cause the body's limbs to fall off. Then there is the kalh [twisting]. The Koran says, "they will be twisted with torment."
One of the consequences of the fire is that because of its intensity the upper lip rises and rises until it reaches the top of the head, while the lower lip drops more and more until it reaches the tip of the beard. Imagine how this man looks when, from the intensity of the fire, the roasting, the burning, the broiling, the scorching and the branding, his lips get further and further apart and his teeth stick out like this… His facial expression displays fright, misery, and gloom as a result of the pain.
Sahr [melting] is constant scalding in boiling water… or in ghusaq and ghaslin [body fluids that emanate from hell-dwellers] This is a marvelous thing. It's like, today, with acid. This acid, when you put a person in it - he melts. We all read about the torture methods in some of the Arab prisons, according to the reports. They bind the prisoner and put him somewhere like an animal, on all fours, completely naked. Then, they bring a bottle and sprinkle fluid on him, and after a few minutes all the flesh oozes off and only the bones are left. This is the sahr and that is what happens on Judgment Day.
The difference between Judgment Day and this world is that in this world, he dies and that's it, but in the world to come he doesn't die – he melts and then is resurrected, melts and then is resurrected, and so on. Sahr, then, is when the tortured person is dissolved and the flesh comes off his bones.
Sajr [immolation] is when someone is ignited, like what we see on television in this world when some people set themselves on fire in front of a crowd and TV cameras, to protest a certain issue. He pours petrol on himself or something like that, then he strikes a match, goes up in flames, and starts whirling around, trying to draw the world's attention to his cause. On Judgment Day this is one of the types of tortures that some will undergo. He is set on fire every day and then he is resurrected and so on and so forth until, Allah willing, a solution is found for him.
In short, every time we hear about hell we imagine it like some sort of cinema, or garage, or banquet hall, or courtyard. No, no, hell is an entire planet, a parallel world to that of heaven. Just as there are many types of heaven, there are many types of hell. That is to say, let us assume that hell is a planet like Earth, but it is billions of times larger. Like on Earth, there are valleys, cities, rivers, mountains, plains, and deserts, scorpion-infested valleys, and snake-infested valleys. There are also snowy places. Just as in this world there is a north pole and a south pole, in hell, too, there are valleys and even entire continents that are frozen, into which are cast some of the prisoners in hell so that they may be tortured with freezing cold: "But if even a breath of the chastisement of thy Lord …" The "breath" is torture by freezing cold.
You must imagine hell as an entire planet among the planets of the world to come, many times larger than Earth, and it is constantly expanding, since, as I've said, every cell is alive in the world to come, and every substance is alive. Also, everything there talks, like the Koran says: "On that day We will ask hell: Art you filled up…?" If they are thrown there "they will hear its raging and roaring." "Raging" means cursing them. Therefore, hell is composed of entire continents making up a planet of immense proportions, in comparison with which Earth is no more than a street, not even a village.
This is hell and its tribulations. People live there like they live in this world, but it burns. We know that when planet Earth broke off from the moon it was in flames and it continued to burn for millions of years. Thejinns lived on it, because Allah created the jinns out of fire and therefore they succeeded in adjusting and acclimatizing to the burning Earth. When planet Earth cooled down, Allah created Man.
The Prophet Muhammad said that people in hell expand, meaning that they grow bigger. The Prophet said that in hell, the distance between a man's shoulders is a three days' journey – whether by horse or by car, I don't know. That's the distance between the two shoulders. How can we understand this? A man's tooth in hell is the size of Mount Uhud.
Hell was made for infidels. This means that this hell, with all its different types, forms, levels, and scales, is variegated. The hypocrites are found in the lowest level of hell. This means that in hell there are many levels, like prisons in this world: one person might be jailed for two days in the police station, and another is in prison for a year and he receives visitors, and another is in a torture dungeon that the world has just begun to discover, horrifying places. There are things that are done there that are unthinkable, and they cause the person to go crazy, to die, or to collapse. The same is true of Judgment Day: the tortures there are according to one's crimes, and there are different kinds of crimes. Therefore the Prophet said…
Of course when I spoke of the silah I said that the roasting is when you are immersed in the fire, on all sides. This roasting is the punishment of those who do not believe in Allah alone, those who are not monotheists.
The lightest punishment in the world to come, is when a coal is placed under the foot of a person, and his head boils. When this happens he thinks that no one in hell is suffering a worse torture. The first that the fire will burn on Judgment Day will be a cleric, one who gives charity, and a martyr. Anybody who does one of the major good deeds, whether he is a Mujaheed, a martyr, a cleric, a philanthropist for the cause of Allah, but he does these things for the sake of his reputation – they are the first to be consumed by fire, and they could easily have avoided this. They say: "by Allah, we were in manifest error when we held you as equal with the Lord of the World." I pray, wage Jihad, fight, teach people, or contribute my money so that so-and-so will hear about me?! Who is this so-and-so? He is a miserable human being who came out twice from the piss-hole: he came out of his mother's piss-hole and from his father's piss-hole. He goes to the bathroom everyday and empties out all of the filth that is in his stomach. I do good deeds for the sake of such a person, and forget Allah, Creator of the universe?!
Allah knows that everyone oppresses others from time to time. Oppression is a tendency in the soul, this is human nature. But there is a difference between someone who oppresses someone else once, twice, or three times, and someone who oppresses non-stop, like all of today's Muslim rulers, who sated their peoples with massacres, tortures, and expulsions, and betrayed them, deceived them, misled them, stole their money and tortured them, to the point where the citizen hopes to die, except for those to whom Allah has shown mercy in a very small number of countries. Such [a ruler] must be tortured. It is divine justice that he be tortured. He is tortured like he tortured an entire people.
A woman went to hell for caging a cat. A good woman who fasted and prayed had a cat which was a trouble-maker, it stole meat or scratched her, and she got sick of it, grabbed it and locked it up until it died. If this good woman was thrown into hell because of this cat, how much more so with someone who imprisoned an entire people, starved an entire people, tortured an entire people. Prisons in the Islamic world have come to occupy a place of shame.
Why do we criticize others, we should criticize ourselves first and foremost. Therefore, a Muslim leader of an Islamic country, who has betrayed an Islamic people, misled it, tortured it, murdered it, annihilated it, and that was it, this people was cast out of history – I think it is divine justice and even mercy that this oppressor be tortured.