Who guards the gates of hell?
Arabic term for "hell". In the Koran one finds the word with this meaning in 109 places. Further terms in the Koran that indicate a hell in the otherworldly world are the Arabic terms: nār (fire, 129 characters, 111 of which mean eternal hellfire, e.g. sura 4: 56) or saᶜīr (glowing fire, 16 characters, e.g. Sura 4:10, 22: 4). From the high number of expressions for hell in the Quran it becomes clear that reflecting on the time after death and the punishment of sins are a central message of the revelations through the Prophet Muhammad.
In the Qur'an there are also other ideas about hell, e.g. that of an animal (sura 50:30) that howls and stirs (sura 67: 7). The scholar and Koran exegete Abu Muhammad Al-Baghawi (d. 1117 or 1122) speaks in his interpretation of sura 50:30 of a dialogue between God and a fantastic beast, which is guarded by 70,000 angels and is brought about by them on the day of the resurrection .
Similar to the Muslim descriptions of paradise (janna), hell consists of seven descending floors and gates that are guarded by angels. The greatest sinners go to the lowest levels. Much information from the hadith literature supplements the text passages of the Koran. This has resulted in an extensive literature on hell and the torments of hell. The best-known authors on this topic include: B. Ibn Qayyim al-Jschauziyya (d. 1350).
The length of stay for Muslims and non-Muslims and the question of their salvation are discussed among Muslim scholars. Inhabitants of Hell suffer physical and psychological torments, which serve to purify Muslims. Some scholars argue that hell will be dissolved after the last sinner has served his sentences and been redeemed to heaven. Others are of the conviction that hell can only serve Muslims for purification, for non-Muslims it would last forever.
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