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AhmadiAnswers | Is Hell Eternal?
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Is Hell Eternal?

An allegation which is quite often raised against the teachings of the true Islam, Ahmadiyyat, are that we believe that hell is not eternal. The non Ahmadi Muslims misunderstand the Qur’an, and because of this they raise such a foolish allegation which in reality becomes a mockery, not only against the Qur’an and the ahadith, but at the same time a mockery against Allah. One of the main verses that the anti Ahmadi Muslims who accuse the true Islam raise is from Chapter 11 Verse 108 to 109. Allah States:

 

خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا مَا دَامَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ رَبُّكَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ فَعَّالٌ لِمَا يُرِيدُ {108} وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ سُعِدُوا فَفِي الْجَنَّةِ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا مَا دَامَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ رَبُّكَ ۖ عَطَاءً غَيْرَ مَجْذُوذٍ {109}

 

Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, excepting what thy Lord may will. Surely, thy Lord does bring about what He pleases. But as for those who will prove fortunate, they shall be in Heaven; abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, excepting what thy Lord may will — a gift that shall not be cut off. (Chapter 11 Verse 108-109)

 

In the commentary of these verses, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra states:

 

“The present verses and that which precedes it throw light on an important question in which Islam differs from other religions, viz. the question of salvation. According to the Hindu religion, both Heaven and Hell (i.e reward and punishment) possess a limited duration; and man, after undergoing the punishment, or reaping the reward of his deeds, is sent back to this world. Although some Hindu sects disagree among themselves regarding certain details, they are all agreed on the fundamental principle that both the punishments and rewards of the next world are temporary. Of the Semitic Religions, Judaism denies Paradise to all non Jews while Jews are regarded as almost free from the torture of hell, for according to Judaism, no Jew will remain in Hell for more than 11 months, whereas non Jews will abide in it forever. According to Christians, both Heaven and Hell are eternal, although some of their sects hold the belief that heaven at last will come to an end (Tafsir Kabir). Islam, however fundamentally differs from all these religions. The great leaders of Muslim religious thought in their past have generally believed and Hazrat Ahmad the Promised Messiah, in our own age has particularly insisted that Heaven is eternal and everlasting, while Hell is temporary and of limited duration. The sayings of the Holy Prophet support this view. For instance, Ahmad bin Hanbal quotes a saying of the Holy Prophet, as reported by Abdullah Bin Amr Bin al-As to the effect:

 

i.e “There will come on Hell a day when its shutters will strike against each other and there will be none in it. That will happen after the inmates of Hell will have lived in it for centuries.” (Musnad Ahmad). Thus according to this tradition, the word abiding used with regards to hell only means “remaining for long centuries”. The same view was held by Ibn Masud and Abu Huraira. According to Ibn Taimiya, Umar, Ibn Abbas Anas and many commentators are of the same opinion. With reference to the word abiding used in the Qur’an in connection with Hell some eminent religious authorities think that it does mean “abiding forever”. They however, hold that though wicked disbelievers will deserve to be kept in Hell forever, Hell itself will one day cease to exist through God’s mercy, and when there is no Hell, there will naturally be no dwllers in it. Among the supporters of this view are Ibn Taimiya and Ibn al Qayyim (Fath).

 

The saying of the Holy Prophet quoted above on the authority of Abdullah bin Amr is also reported by Abu Hurairah, which fact adds to its weight and authenticity. In another tradition, Ibn Masud says : “THere will certainly come upon Hell a time when its shutters will strike against each other,” meaning that it will be untenanted. Jabir, Abu Sa’id Khudri and Abdullah bin Umar are also reported to have said a similar statement (Fath)

 

Abu Sa’id Khudri quotes a long hadith of the Holy Prophet which clearly shows that Hell is not eternal. According to this tradition the Holy Prophet is reported to have said that on the day of judgement God would give permission to different high-placed persons to intercede for sinners. At last common believers also will be given permission to intercede on their behalf. At first, they will intercede for those whom they know. Then with Gods permission, they will also intercede for other sinners who have some faith left in their hearts. Then only those will be left behind in Hell who had never done anything good. Then will God say : “The angels have interceded, and the Prophets and the Faithful have interceded and now it is My Turn, the Most Merciful of the merciful ones.” Then will God take a handful from the fire and take out of it even those who never had done any good deed (Bukhari and Muslim)

 

This hadith hints that finally a time will come when all men will be taken out of Hell, for when even those who never did any good deed are removed from the fire, who else will remain behind? Moreover, God’s handful is not a physical thing. The word implies indefinite comprehensiveness and nothing can be considered to have been left out of it. It also appears from this saying that sinners will be punished first for their sins and, when they have been washed of their sins, they will be rewarded for their good deed which,  till then, will have been kept in reserve. The verse, whoso does good an atom’s weight will see it (99:8) also points to the same conclusion.

 

The different traditions quoted above show that many Companions of the Holy Prophet and their immediate successors held the view that Hell is not eternal and the Qur’an also supports this view. The following are some of the Qur’anic proofs in support of it:

 

1) Though the words, excepting what thy Lord may will, have been used with regard to both Heaven and Hell (Verse 108 and 109), in the case of Heaven the words, a gift that shall not be cut off, have been specifically added in verse 109 in order to show that there is no limitation upon the eternity of Heaven. In the case of Hell, on the other hand, they are followed by the clause, surely the Lord does bring about what He pleases (verse 108). These words are very emphatic and imply that the inmates of Hell must necessarily be taken out of Hell one day. If they are not to be taken out of Hell at all it was unnecessary to make the declaration so emphatic by using three words of emphasis…”

 

“Again, if Hell, like Heaven, was to be eternal, then its mention should also have been followed by some such words “as a punishment that shall not be cut off”. It is true that as about Hell, so with regard to Heaven, it has been said that its inmates will abide in it as long as God wills, but in the case of the dwellers of Heaven it has been clearly added that God’s eternal will is that they should never be deprived of this favour and that their stay in heaven should know no end. But no such declaration has been made with regard to Hell. This differentiation is so clear that even Ibn Hajr, whose view is opposed to Ibn Taimiyas’s with regard to Hell being not eternal, has been compelled to admit that whereas with regards to the inmates of Heaven God has made known His will which is that they shall abide therein for ever, with respect to the dwellers of Hell He has remained silent. But even the statement that God has remained silent with regard to the inmates of Hell is not correct, for by saying, Surely thy Lord does bring about what He wills, the Qur’an declares that in the case of the inmates of Hell God will carry out His wish which is implied in the words, excepting what thy Lord may will.

 

2) The second evidence of the limited duration of Hell is furnished by the words except those whom thy Lord show mercy and for this has He created them (11:120). It has been admitted by eminent authorities such as Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Dahhak, Qatada and Ikrima that the pronoun Dhalika in the above words refer to rahmah meaning that God has created men in order to show mercy to them (Kathir, Manthur, and Tahavi). Now, if it be supposed that some men will remain he Hell forever and will never be taken out of it, then these wretched people cannot be said to have been shown any mercy.

 

3) Whereas elsewhere in the Qur’an one meets with such expressions about Heaven, as they will surely have a reward that will never end (41:9, 84:26, 95:7), no such expression has been used with regard to Hell, which points to a clear distinction between the duration of the rewards of Heaven and the punishment of Hell.

 

4) The Qur’anic expression My mercy encompasses all things (7:157) also shows that the punishment of Hell is only an intermediate condition and a transitory state and that even those whom God punishes will in the end become covered by His mercy and will be forgiven. The above expression represents God’s mercy as comprehending not only all human beings, but also all other things. The same idea is expressed in 40:8 , where it is said that God comprehends all things in His mercy and knowledge. If it be supposed that certain persons can remain out of the mercy of God by being subjected to everlasting punishment, it will have to be admitted that certain things can also escape the knowledge of God, for knowledge and mercy have been mentioned in the verse side by side. But it is absurd to suppose that anything can escape the knowledge of God; therefore it is equally absurd to believe that any thing will remain permanently deprived of God’s mercy.

 

5) The following verses of the Qur’an also support this view: I have created the Jinn and men only that they serve me (51:57) and Enter then among My garden (89:30,31). Now if all men in the end are to become God’s servants, for man cannot permanently be kept away from the object for which he has been created, and if all God’s servants will eventually enter Heaven and the falsity of the view that Hell is eternal becomes quite clear.

 

6) The sixth evidence of the limited character of Hell is to be found in the verse, Whoso does an atom’s weight of good will see it (99:8). Now a mere alleviation of punishment cannot be truly called the “seeing” of one’s good works. Hence, in order that men see their works in completed, i.e should meet with the reward of their good actions, it is necessary that they should first be punished for their evil deeds by way of reformation and should afterwards receive the reward of their good actions.

 

7) The verse, As for him who scales are light, Hell will be his mother (101:9,10), constitutes further strong evidence in support of the view that Hell is not eternal. In this verse Hel is compared to a mother and it is well known that the child does not remain in the mother’s womb for ever. It only remains there until the formation of its body and organs becomes complete. Similarly, those unfortunate persons who are cast into Hell will remain there until the time when the faculties which fit them for seeing the beautiful face of the Lord have become fully developed. This verse thus makes it clear that Hell is not eternal and that the word abiding in the verse under comment does not denote an unending time but only a long time, as is also clear from the verse, who will tarry therein for ages (78:24). ”

 

This is taken from the five volume commentary which has the writings of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra. He has beautifully explained the true concept of Heaven and Hell in Islam. The ahadith also support that hell is not eternal as well if studied carefully.

 

It is stated:

 

وَحَدَّثَنِي سُوَيْدُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي حَفْصُ بْنُ مَيْسَرَةَ، عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَسْلَمَ، عَنْ عَطَاءِ بْنِ يَسَارٍ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، أَنَّ نَاسًا، فِي زَمَنِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَلْ نَرَى رَبَّنَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ نَعَمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ هَلْ تُضَارُّونَ فِي رُؤْيَةِ الشَّمْسِ بِالظَّهِيرَةِ صَحْوًا لَيْسَ مَعَهَا سَحَابٌ وَهَلْ تُضَارُّونَ فِي رُؤْيَةِ الْقَمَرِ لَيْلَةَ الْبَدْرِ صَحْوًا لَيْسَ فِيهَا سَحَابٌ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا لاَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ مَا تُضَارُّونَ فِي رُؤْيَةِ اللَّهِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِلاَّ كَمَا تُضَارُّونَ فِي رُؤْيَةِ أَحَدِهِمَا إِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ أَذَّنَ مُؤَذِّنٌ لِيَتَّبِعْ كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ مَا كَانَتْ تَعْبُدُ ‏.‏ فَلاَ يَبْقَى أَحَدٌ كَانَ يَعْبُدُ غَيْرَ اللَّهِ سُبْحَانَهُ مِنَ الأَصْنَامِ وَالأَنْصَابِ إِلاَّ يَتَسَاقَطُونَ فِي النَّارِ حَتَّى إِذَا لَمْ يَبْقَ إِلاَّ مَنْ كَانَ يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ مِنْ بَرٍّ وَفَاجِرٍ وَغُبَّرِ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ فَيُدْعَى الْيَهُودُ فَيُقَالُ لَهُمْ مَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْبُدُونَ قَالُوا كُنَّا نَعْبُدُ عُزَيْرَ ابْنَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ فَيُقَالُ كَذَبْتُمْ مَا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ مِنْ صَاحِبَةٍ وَلاَ وَلَدٍ فَمَاذَا تَبْغُونَ قَالُوا عَطِشْنَا يَا رَبَّنَا فَاسْقِنَا ‏.‏ فَيُشَارُ إِلَيْهِمْ أَلاَ تَرِدُونَ فَيُحْشَرُونَ إِلَى النَّارِ كَأَنَّهَا سَرَابٌ يَحْطِمُ بَعْضُهَا بَعْضًا فَيَتَسَاقَطُونَ فِي النَّارِ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ يُدْعَى النَّصَارَى فَيُقَالُ لَهُمْ مَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْبُدُونَ قَالُوا كُنَّا نَعْبُدُ الْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ فَيُقَالُ لَهُمْ كَذَبْتُمْ ‏.‏ مَا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ مِنْ صَاحِبَةٍ وَلاَ وَلَدٍ ‏.‏ فَيُقَالُ لَهُمْ مَاذَا تَبْغُونَ فَيَقُولُونَ عَطِشْنَا يَا رَبَّنَا فَاسْقِنَا ‏.‏ – قَالَ – فَيُشَارُ إِلَيْهِمْ أَلاَ تَرِدُونَ فَيُحْشَرُونَ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ كَأَنَّهَا سَرَابٌ يَحْطِمُ بَعْضُهَا بَعْضًا فَيَتَسَاقَطُونَ فِي النَّارِ حَتَّى إِذَا لَمْ يَبْقَ إِلاَّ مَنْ كَانَ يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى مِنْ بَرٍّ وَفَاجِرٍ أَتَاهُمْ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى فِي أَدْنَى صُورَةٍ مِنَ الَّتِي رَأَوْهُ فِيهَا ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَا تَنْتَظِرُونَ تَتْبَعُ كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ مَا كَانَتْ تَعْبُدُ ‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَبَّنَا فَارَقْنَا النَّاسَ فِي الدُّنْيَا أَفْقَرَ مَا كُنَّا إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَمْ نُصَاحِبْهُمْ ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ أَنَا رَبُّكُمْ ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُونَ نَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنْكَ لاَ نُشْرِكُ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا – مَرَّتَيْنِ أَوْ ثَلاَثًا – حَتَّى إِنَّ بَعْضَهُمْ لَيَكَادُ أَنْ يَنْقَلِبَ ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ هَلْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُ آيَةٌ فَتَعْرِفُونَهُ بِهَا فَيَقُولُونَ نَعَمْ ‏.‏ فَيُكْشَفُ عَنْ سَاقٍ فَلاَ يَبْقَى مَنْ كَانَ يَسْجُدُ لِلَّهِ مِنْ تِلْقَاءِ نَفْسِهِ إِلاَّ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ لَهُ بِالسُّجُودِ وَلاَ يَبْقَى مَنْ كَانَ يَسْجُدُ اتِّقَاءً وَرِيَاءً إِلاَّ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ ظَهْرَهُ طَبَقَةً وَاحِدَةً كُلَّمَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَسْجُدَ خَرَّ عَلَى قَفَاهُ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُونَ رُءُوسَهُمْ وَقَدْ تَحَوَّلَ فِي صُورَتِهِ الَّتِي رَأَوْهُ فِيهَا أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ فَقَالَ أَنَا رَبُّكُمْ ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُونَ أَنْتَ رَبُّنَا ‏.‏ ثُمَّ يُضْرَبُ الْجِسْرُ عَلَى جَهَنَّمَ وَتَحِلُّ الشَّفَاعَةُ وَيَقُولُونَ اللَّهُمَّ سَلِّمْ سَلِّمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قِيلَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا الْجِسْرُ قَالَ ‏”‏ دَحْضٌ مَزِلَّةٌ ‏.‏ فِيهِ خَطَاطِيفُ وَكَلاَلِيبُ وَحَسَكٌ تَكُونُ بِنَجْدٍ فِيهَا شُوَيْكَةٌ يُقَالُ لَهَا السَّعْدَانُ فَيَمُرُّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ كَطَرْفِ الْعَيْنِ وَكَالْبَرْقِ وَكَالرِّيحِ وَكَالطَّيْرِ وَكَأَجَاوِيدِ الْخَيْلِ وَالرِّكَابِ فَنَاجٍ مُسَلَّمٌ وَمَخْدُوشٌ مُرْسَلٌ وَمَكْدُوسٌ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ ‏.‏ حَتَّى إِذَا خَلَصَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ مِنَ النَّارِ فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ مَا مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ بِأَشَدَّ مُنَاشَدَةً لِلَّهِ فِي اسْتِقْصَاءِ الْحَقِّ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِلَّهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لإِخْوَانِهِمُ الَّذِينَ فِي النَّارِ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا كَانُوا يَصُومُونَ مَعَنَا وَيُصَلُّونَ وَيَحُجُّونَ ‏.‏ فَيُقَالُ لَهُمْ أَخْرِجُوا مَنْ عَرَفْتُمْ ‏.‏ فَتُحَرَّمُ صُوَرُهُمْ عَلَى النَّارِ فَيُخْرِجُونَ خَلْقًا كَثيرًا قَدْ أَخَذَتِ النَّارُ إِلَى نِصْفِ سَاقَيْهِ وَإِلَى رُكْبَتَيْهِ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا مَا بَقِيَ فِيهَا أَحَدٌ مِمَّنْ أَمَرْتَنَا بِهِ ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ ارْجِعُوا فَمَنْ وَجَدْتُمْ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالَ دِينَارٍ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَأَخْرِجُوهُ ‏.‏ فَيُخْرِجُونَ خَلْقًا كَثِيرًا ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا لَمْ نَذَرْ فِيهَا أَحَدًا مِمَّنْ أَمَرْتَنَا ‏.‏ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ ارْجِعُوا فَمَنْ وَجَدْتُمْ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالَ نِصْفِ دِينَارٍ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَأَخْرِجُوهُ ‏.‏ فَيُخْرِجُونَ خَلْقًا كَثِيرًا ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا لَمْ نَذَرْ فِيهَا مِمَّنْ أَمَرْتَنَا أَحَدًا ‏.‏ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ ارْجِعُوا فَمَنْ وَجَدْتُمْ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَأَخْرِجُوهُ ‏.‏ فَيُخْرِجُونَ خَلْقًا كَثِيرًا ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا لَمْ نَذَرْ فِيهَا خَيْرًا ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَكَانَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيُّ يَقُولُ إِنْ لَمْ تُصَدِّقُونِي بِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ فَاقْرَءُوا إِنْ شِئْتُمْ ‏{‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِنْ تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِنْ لَدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا‏}‏ ‏”‏ فَيَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ شَفَعَتِ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ وَشَفَعَ النَّبِيُّونَ وَشَفَعَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَلَمْ يَبْقَ إِلاَّ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ فَيَقْبِضُ قَبْضَةً مِنَ النَّارِ فَيُخْرِجُ مِنْهَا قَوْمًا لَمْ يَعْمَلُوا خَيْرًا قَطُّ قَدْ عَادُوا حُمَمًا فَيُلْقِيهِمْ فِي نَهْرٍ فِي أَفْوَاهِ الْجَنَّةِ يُقَالُ لَهُ نَهْرُ الْحَيَاةِ فَيَخْرُجُونَ كَمَا تَخْرُجُ الْحِبَّةُ فِي حَمِيلِ السَّيْلِ أَلاَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَكُونُ إِلَى الْحَجَرِ أَوْ إِلَى الشَّجَرِ مَا يَكُونُ إِلَى الشَّمْسِ أُصَيْفِرُ وَأُخَيْضِرُ وَمَا يَكُونُ مِنْهَا إِلَى الظِّلِّ يَكُونُ أَبْيَضَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَقَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ كَأَنَّكَ كُنْتَ تَرْعَى بِالْبَادِيَةِ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَيَخْرُجُونَ كَاللُّؤْلُؤِ فِي رِقَابِهِمُ الْخَوَاتِمُ يَعْرِفُهُمْ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ هَؤُلاَءِ عُتَقَاءُ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ أَدْخَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ الْجَنَّةَ بِغَيْرِ عَمَلٍ عَمِلُوهُ وَلاَ خَيْرٍ قَدَّمُوهُ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ ادْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ فَمَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُ فَهُوَ لَكُمْ ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَعْطَيْتَنَا مَا لَمْ تُعْطِ أَحَدًا مِنَ الْعَالَمِينَ ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ لَكُمْ عِنْدِي أَفْضَلُ مِنْ هَذَا فَيَقُولُونَ يَا رَبَّنَا أَىُّ شَىْءٍ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ هَذَا ‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ رِضَاىَ فَلاَ أَسْخَطُ عَلَيْكُمْ بَعْدَهُ أَبَدًا ‏”‏ ‏.‏

 

Narrated Sa’id Al Khudri: Some people during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Messenger of Allah! shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection? The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Yes, and added: Do you feel any trouble in seeing the sun at noon with no cloud over it, and do you feel trouble in seeing the moon (open) in the full moonlit night with no cloud over it? They said: No, Messenger of Allah! He (the Holy Prophet) said: You will not feel any trouble in seeing Allah on the Day of Resurrection any more than you do in seeing any one of them. When the Day of Resurrection comes a Mu’adhdhin (a proclaimer) would proclaim: Let every people follow what they used to worship. Then all who worshipped idols and stones besides Allah would fall into the Fire, till only the righteous and the vicious and some of the people of the Book who worshipped Allah are left. Then the Jews would be summoned, and it would be said to them: What did you worship? They will say: We worshipped ‘Uzair, son of Allah. It would be said to them: You tell a lie; Allah had never had a spouse or a son. What do you want now? They would say: We feel thirsty, O our Lord! Quench our thirst. They would be directed (to a certain direction) and asked: Why don’t you go there to drink water? Then they would be pushed towards the Fire (and they would find to their great dismay that) it was but a mirage (and the raging flames of fire) would be consuming one another, and they would fall into the Fire. Then the Christians would be summoned and it would be said to them: What did you worship? They would say: We worshipped Jesus, son of Allah. It would be said to them: You tell a lie; Allah did not take for Himself either a spouse or a son. Then it would be said to them: What do you want? They would say: Thirsty we are, O our Lord! Quench our thirst. They would be directed (to a certain direction) and asked: Why don’t you go there to get water? But they would be pushed and gathered together towards the Hell, which was like a mirage to them, and the flames would consume one another. They would fall Into the Fire, till no one is left except he who worshipped Allah, be he pious or sinful. The Lord of the Universe, Glorified and Exalted, would come to them in a form recognisable to them and say; What are you looking for? Every people follow that which they worshipped. They would say: Our Lord, we kept ourselves separate from the people in the world, though we felt great need of them; we, however, did not associate ourselves with them.

 

He would say: I am your Lord. They would say: We take refuge with Allah from thee and do not associate anything with Allah. They would repeat it twice or thrice, till some of them would be about to return. It would be said: Is there any sign between you and Him by which you will recognise Him? They would say: Yes. and the things would be laid bare. Those who used to prostrate themselves before God of their own accord would be permitted by God to prostrate themselves. But there would remain none who used to prostrate out of fear (of people) and ostentation but Allah would make his back as one piece, and whenever he would attempt to prostrate he would fall on his back. Then they would raise their heads and He would assume the Form in which they had seen Him the first time and would say: I am your Lord. They would say: Thou art our Lord. Then the bridge would be set up over the Hell and intercession would be allowed and they will say: O God, keep safe, keep safe. It was asked: Messenger of Allah, what is this bridge? He said: The void in which one Is likely to slip. There would be hooks, tongs, spits like the thorn that is found in Najd and is known as Sa’dan. The believers would then pass over within the twinkling of an eye, like lightning, like wind, like a bird, like the finest horses and camels. Some will escape and be safe, some will be lacerated and let go, and some will be pushed into the fire of Hell till the believers will find rescue from the Fire. By One in Whose hand is my life, there will be none among you more eager to claim a right than the believers on the Day of Resurrection for (saying their) brethren in the Fire who would say: O our Lord, they were fasting along with us, and praying and performing pilgrimage. It will be said to them: Take out those whom you recognise. Then their persons would be forbidden to the Fire; and they would take out a large number of people who had been overtaken by Fire up to the middle of the shank or up to the knees. They would then say: O our Lord I not one of those about whom Thou didst give us command remains in it. He will then say: Go back and bring out those in whose hearts you find good of the weight of a dinar Then they will take out a large number of people. Then they would say: O our Lord! we have not left anyone about whom You commanded us.

 

He will then say: Go back and bring out those in whose hearts you find as much as half a dinar of good. Then they will take out a large number of people, and would say: O our Lord! not one of those about whom Thou commanded us we have left in it. Then He would say: Go back and in whose heart you find good to the weight of a particle bring him out. They would bring out a large number of people, and would then say: O our Lord, now we have not left anyone in it (Hell) having any good in him. Abu Sa’id Khudri said: If you don’t testify me in this hadith, then recite if you like:” Surely Allah wrongs not the weight of an atom; and if it is a good deed. He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward” (al-Qur’an, iv. 40). Then Allah, Exalted and Great, would say: The angels have interceded, the apostles have interceded and the believers have interceded, and no one remains (to grant pardon) but the Most Merciful of the mercifuls. He will then take a handful from Fire and bring out from it people who never did any good and who had been turned into charcoal, and will cast them into a river called the river of life, on the outskirts of Paradise. They will come out as a seed comes cut from the silt carried by flood. You see it near the stone or near the tree. That which is exposed to the sun is yellowish or greenish and which is under the shade is white. They said: Messenger of Allah! it seems as if you had been tending a flock in the jungle. He (the Holy Prophet) said: They will come forth like pearls with seals on their necks. The inhabitants of Paradise would recognise them (and say): Those are who have been set free by the Compassionate One. Who has admitted them into Paradise without any (good) deed that they did or any good that they sent in advance Then He would say: Enter the Paradise; whatever you see in it is yours. They would say: O Lord, Thou hast bestowed upon us (favours) which Thou didst not bestow upon anyone else in the world. He would say: There is with Me (a favour) for you better than this. They would say: O our Lord! which thing is better than this? He would say: It is My pleasure. I will never be angry with you after this (Sahih Muslim 183 a)

 

How can one deny such a beautiful hadith like this which is also completely authentic and in line with the true interpretation of the Qur’an? Furthermore another hadith states:

 

حَدَّثَنَا عُثْمَانُ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا جَرِيرٌ، عَنْ مَنْصُورٍ، عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، عَنْ عَبِيدَةَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِنِّي لأَعْلَمُ آخِرَ أَهْلِ النَّارِ خُرُوجًا مِنْهَا، وَآخِرَ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ دُخُولاً رَجُلٌ يَخْرُجُ مِنَ النَّارِ كَبْوًا، فَيَقُولُ اللَّهُ اذْهَبْ فَادْخُلِ الْجَنَّةَ‏.‏ فَيَأْتِيهَا فَيُخَيَّلُ إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهَا مَلأَى، فَيَرْجِعُ فَيَقُولُ يَا رَبِّ وَجَدْتُهَا مَلأَى، فَيَقُولُ اذْهَبْ فَادْخُلِ الْجَنَّةَ‏.‏ فَيَأْتِيهَا فَيُخَيَّلُ إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهَا مَلأَى‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ يَا رَبِّ وَجَدْتُهَا مَلأَى، فَيَقُولُ اذْهَبْ فَادْخُلِ الْجَنَّةَ، فَإِنَّ لَكَ مِثْلَ الدُّنْيَا وَعَشَرَةَ أَمْثَالِهَا‏.‏ أَوْ إِنَّ لَكَ مِثْلَ عَشَرَةِ أَمْثَالِ الدُّنْيَا‏.‏ فَيَقُولُ تَسْخَرُ مِنِّي، أَوْ تَضْحَكُ مِنِّي وَأَنْتَ الْمَلِكُ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَلَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ضَحِكَ حَتَّى بَدَتْ نَوَاجِذُهُ، وَكَانَ يُقَالُ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ مَنْزِلَةً‏.‏

 

Narrated `Abdullah:The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I know the person who will be the last to come out of the (Hell) Fire, and the last to enter Paradise. He will be a man who will come out of the (Hell) Fire crawling, and Allah will say to him, ‘Go and enter Paradise.’ He will go to it, but he will imagine that it had been filled, and then he will return and say, ‘O Lord, I have found it full.’ Allah will say, ‘Go and enter Paradise, and you will have what equals the world and ten times as much (or, you will have as much as ten times the like of the world).’ On that, the man will say, ‘Do you mock at me (or laugh at me) though You are the King?” I saw Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) (while saying that) smiling that his premolar teeth became visible. It is said that will be the lowest in degree amongst the people of Paradise.(Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith #6571)

 

The non Ahmadi Muslims try to misinterpret this clear hadith as well to claim that despite the Holy Prophetsaw saying the last to come out of the fire, there would be more people still left but this contradicts the earlier Sahih Muslim Hadith as well and the Qur’an itself. Another hadith states:

 

“Verily a day would come over hell when there shall not be a single human being in it” (Kanzul Ummal Vol. VII, page 245).

 

And : “A time will come when no one will be left in Hell; winds will blow and the windows and doors of Hell will make a rattling noise on account of the blowing winds.” (Tafsir-ul-Maalam-ul-Tanzil under verse Hud:107)

 

It upsets me that a lot of anti Ahmadis raise such allegations against the jamaat when their own scholars deny that hell is eternal themselves. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas the latter day Messiah and Mahdi stated:

 

” It is unreasonable and is contrary to the perfect attributes of God, the Glorious, that once a person has been condemned to hell, only the Divine attributes of chastisement should be manifested in his case and the attributes of mercy and forgiveness should be suspended forever and should not come into operation. From what God Almighty has said in His Book, it appears that those condemned to hell shall dwell therein for a long period which is metaphorically described as forever, but then the attribute of mercy will be manifested and, as is mentioned in a Hadith, God will stretch forth His hand into hell and all those who fall into His grip will be taken out of hell. This Hadith indicates that in the end all will attain salvation as the hand of God is unlimited and no one can be left out of it. ” (Chashma Masihi, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 20, Page 369)

 

When we look at the Qur’an and look at all of the verses in regards to heaven and hell, it becomes clear that heaven  is a place where the people will stay forever, but hell is not. The first Arabic word we should focus on is the verb Khalada. It has been used for both the people of heaven and hell. If we focus on this word and look at for example Lanes Lexicon, it becomes clear that this word is translated as : abode, long, he remained, endlessly or forever, caused him to remain, or endlessly or forever. It is either a long duration or a eternal duration.

 

The second Arabic word which has confused many is the word Abadan . It can mean eternal duration but also a long duration according to Lanes Lexicon. When we look at all verses in context it is clear that hell is not eternal. Allah States:

 

لَابِثِينَ فِيهَا أَحْقَابًا {24}

 

Allah States in regards to Hell : In which they will remain for ages (Chapter 78 verse 24)

 

The Arabic word Ahqaba only means a period of time. According to Lanes Lexicon it means a long time, and it is also stated that it means eighty years, or some say seventy. No non Ahmadi who has any knowledge should claim that ahqaba means eternally as this word is used by Moses as well in the Qur’an. Allah States:

 

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِفَتَاهُ لَا أَبْرَحُ حَتَّىٰ أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ أَوْ أَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا {61}

 

And [mention] when Moses said to his servant, “I will not cease [traveling] until I reach the junction of the two seas or continue for a long period.” (Chapter 18 Verse 60- Sahih International)

 

Allah also makes it Clear that Hell itself is not eternal for the people as He States:

 

وَيَوْمَ يَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ قَدِ اسْتَكْثَرْتُمْ مِنَ الْإِنْسِ ۖ وَقَالَ أَوْلِيَاؤُهُمْ مِنَ الْإِنْسِ رَبَّنَا اسْتَمْتَعَ بَعْضُنَا بِبَعْضٍ وَبَلَغْنَا أَجَلَنَا الَّذِي أَجَّلْتَ لَنَا ۚ قَالَ النَّارُ مَثْوَاكُمْ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٌ {129}

 

And [mention, O Muhammad], the Day when He will gather them together [and say], “O company of jinn, you have [misled] many of mankind.” And their allies among mankind will say, “Our Lord, some of us made use of others, and we have [now] reached our term, which you appointed for us.” He will say, “The Fire is your residence, wherein you will abide eternally, except for what Allah wills. Indeed, your Lord is Wise and Knowing.”(Chapter 6 Verse 129)

 

And:

 

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ شَقُوا فَفِي النَّارِ لَهُمْ فِيهَا زَفِيرٌ وَشَهِيقٌ {107} خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا مَا دَامَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ رَبُّكَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ فَعَّالٌ لِمَا يُرِيدُ {108} وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ سُعِدُوا فَفِي الْجَنَّةِ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا مَا دَامَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ رَبُّكَ ۖ عَطَاءً غَيْرَ مَجْذُوذٍ {109}

 

As for those who will prove unfortunate, they shall be in the Fire, wherein there shall be for them sighing and sobbing, Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, excepting what thy Lord may will. Surely, thy Lord does bring about what He pleases. But as for those who will prove fortunate, they shall be in Heaven; abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, excepting what thy Lord may will — a gift that shall not be cut off. (Chapter 11 Verse 107-109)

 

Now sadly the non Ahmadi Muslims also misunderstand what or who Iblis is. Ahmadi Muslims and non Ahmadi Muslims disagree on the concept of Iblis. The Qur’an clearly shows us that human beings were on earth before Hazrat Adamas but they were not able to understand the law. Qur’an calls them by the name of Jinn because they lived in caves and in mountain fastnesses. Jinn can basically refer to those that dwell out of sight and we do not support the fable interpretations of the non Ahmadi Muslims. It is clear that when Adamas and his people went out of the garden which was on the region of the earth rather than physical paradise which some people confuse it with, God warned the people against Iblis who was one of the Jinn and told them to be careful in regards to him and his people and they would be living with them which was on earth as the Qur’an also tells us in Chapter 7 Verses 26-28. In reality the Jinn of the time of Adamas and their leader Iblis were of the human  race. Since our concept of Iblis is different, the anti Ahmadis do not understand our view on heaven and hell at times as well.

 

We are also told of some Jinns in Medina who accepted Islam, these were also Human beings. They were from a tribe and it is narrated:

 

وَحَدَّثَنَا زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَجْلاَنَ، حَدَّثَنِي صَيْفِيٌّ، عَنْ أَبِي السَّائِبِ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُهُ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِنَّ بِالْمَدِينَةِ نَفَرًا مِنَ الْجِنِّ قَدْ أَسْلَمُوا فَمَنْ رَأَى شَيْئًا مِنْ هَذِهِ الْعَوَامِرِ فَلْيُؤْذِنْهُ ثَلاَثًا فَإِنْ بَدَا لَهُ بَعْدُ فَلْيَقْتُلْهُ فَإِنَّهُ شَيْطَانٌ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

 

Abu Sa’id Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger having said:There is a group of jinns in Medina who accepted Islam, so he who would see anything from these occupants should warn him three times; and if he appears after that, he should kill him for he is a satan. (Sahih Muslim 2236 C)

 

Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh states:

 

REPARE NOW to undertake a journey upon the wings of scientific vision into the ancient past to explore the nature and identity of the jinn. The Quranic concept of jinn has been briefly discussed before in Life in the Perspective of Quranic Revelations. Arabic lexicon mentions the following as the possible meanings of the word jinn. It literally means anything which has the connotation of concealment, invisibility, seclusion and remoteness. It also has the connotation of thick shades and dark shadows. That is why the word ‘jannah‘ (from the same root word) is employed by the Quran to denote paradise, which would be full of thick, heavily shaded gardens. The word jinnis also applicable to snakes which habitually remain hidden from common view and live a life secluded from other animals in rock crevices and earthen holes. It is also applied to women who observe segregation and to such chieftains as keep their distance from the common people. The inhabitants of remote, inaccessible mountains are likewise referred to as jinn. Hence, anything which lies beyond the reach of common sight or is invisible to the unaided naked eye, could well be described by this word.

 

This proposition is fully endorsed by a tradition of the Holy Prophetsa in which he strongly admonishes people not to use dried up lumps of dung or bones of dead animals for cleaning themselves after attending to the call of nature because they are food for the jinn. As we use toilet paper now, at that time people used lumps of earth, stones or any dry article close at hand to clean themselves. We can safely infer therefore, that what he referred to as jinn was nothing other than some invisible organisms, which feed on rotting bones, dung etc. Remember that the concept of bacteria and viruses was not till then born. No man had even the vaguest idea about the existence of such invisible tiny creatures. Amazingly it is to these that the Holy Prophetsa referred. The Arabic language could offer him no better, more appropriate expression than the word jinn.

 

Another important observation made by the Quran is in relation to the creation of the jinn. They are described as having been born out of blasts of fire (from the cosmos).

 

And the Jinn We created before that (the creation of man) from blasts of fire (naris-samum). 1

 

Here the adjective used to describe the nature of the particular fire from which the jinn were created is Samum, which means a blazing fire or a blast that has no smoke. 2 We find a similar statement in another Quranic verse:

 

And the Jinn He created from the flame of fire. 3

 

Having established that the word jinn applies here to some type of bacterial organisms, let us again turn our attention to the verses quoted above that speak of the jinn as having been created out of fire. The prime candidates for the application of these verses seem to be such minute organisms as drew the energy for their existence directly from hot blazes of lightning—Samum—and cosmic radiation.

 

Dickerson inadvertently agrees with the Quranic view when he observes that the most ancient organisms:—

 

‘… would have lived on the energy of lightning and ultraviolet radiation …’ 4

 

This scenario of cosmic radiation is not specifically mentioned in the work of other scientists in their search for the pre-biotic organisms. But they too have corroborated the idea that whatever organisms existed before biotic evolution must have drawn their energy directly from heat. Of all the categories of bacteria classified as the most ancient only ‘prokaryotes’ and ‘eukaryotes’ were mentioned by previous generations of scientists. However, that conclusion proved to be a hastily drawn one, according to Karl R. Woese and his colleagues. They observed:

 

‘Simply because there are two types of cells at the microscopic level it does not follow that there must be only two types at the molecular level.’ 5

 

For the benefit of the lay reader the difference between the two bacteria, known as the prokaryotes and eukaryotes, is explained in terms as simple as possible. It relates to the presence or absence of a nucleus in them. The prokaryote type of bacteria, despite having a well-defined cell membrane, have no distinct nucleus. The eukaryotes on the other hand, possess well-defined and well-developed nuclei occupying the centre of each cell.

 

It was considered that these were the only two ancient forms of bacteria which gave birth to others and evolved into organisms which could be referred to as the ancestors of life. However, Woese published the findings of his pioneer research in Scientific American, June 1981, claiming that archaebacteria, could be rightly considered as the earliest form of organisms. He and his colleagues informed the scientific community that they were a third distinct line which preceded all others. Thus it is they who should be entitled as the most ancient ancestors of life. Woese and his collaborators continued to pour strong evidence into this discovery and as the ice began to thaw, according to Woese:

 

‘Although a few biologists still dispute our interpretation, the idea that archaebacteria represent a separate grouping at the highest level is becoming generally accepted.’ 6

 

Again he writes:

 

‘This implies that the methanogens are as old as or older than any other bacterial group.’ 6

 

According to The Hutchinson Dictionary of Science:

 

‘… the archaebacteria are related to the earliest life forms, which appeared about 4 billion years ago, when there was little oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere.’ 7

 

But the author of Genetics a Molecular Approach states:

 

‘Since 1977 more and more differences between archaebacteria and other prokaryotes have been found, so much so that microbiologists now favour the term archaea, to emphasize that these organisms are distinct from bacteria.’ 8

 

HE ORGANISMS REFERRED TO AS JINN in the Quran seem to fit the above description. But, though scientists unanimously describe these bacteria as possessing the potential of drawing their energy from heat, they are not mentioned as having been originally created directly by the cosmic rays and blasts of lightning by any scientist other than Dickerson. The rest however, continue to throw more light on their various modes of dependence on heat for their survival:

 

‘… in undersea vents, hot springs, the Dead Sea, and salt pans, and have even adapted to refuse tips.’ 9

 

On the issue of antiquity though, Woese and his colleagues have no doubt that the archaebacteria are the prime claimants. According to some scientists they may have evolved from some unknown parenthood simultaneously.

 

But these are issues which fall outside the domain of this exercise. Whether the other bacteria evolved out of them or not is irrelevant to the discussion. The relevant point is that all forms of most ancient bacteria draw their energy directly from heat. This is a tribute of no small magnitude to the Quranic declaration made over fourteen hundred years ago:

 

And the Jinn We created before that from blasts of fire (naris-samum). 10

 

According to the accepted scientific studies, direct heat from fire had to play a vital role in the creation and maintenance of pre-biotic organisms. This, in fact was the only mode of transfer of energy for the consumption of organized forms of existence during this era. As they multiplied during their uninterrupted proliferation lasting over billions of years, their death must have polluted the oceans while they decayed and fermented turning the oceans into the primordial soup. This will be discussed at greater length in the following chapter.

 

REFERENCES

  1. Translation of 15:28 by the author.
  2. LANE, E.W. (1984) Arabic-English Lexicon. Islamic Text Society, William & Norgate. Cambridge.
  3. Translation of 55:16 by Maulawi Sher Ali.
  4. DICKERSON, R.E. (September 1978) Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life. Scientific American, p.80
  5. WOESE, C.R. (June, 1981) Archaebacteria. Scientific American, p.104
  6. WOESE, C.R. (June, 1981) Archaebacteria. Scientific American, p.114
  7. The Hutchinson Dictionary of Science (1993) Helicon Publishing Ltd. Oxford. p.37
  8. BROWN, T.A. (1992) Genetics A Molecular Approach. Chapman & Hall. London, p.245
  9. The Hutchinson Dictionary of Science (1993) Helicon Publishing Ltd. Oxford. p.37
  10. Translation of 15:28 by the author.

 

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra sates in regards to the delegation of Jinn before the Holy Prophetsaw:

 

“With relevance to the journey of Ṭā’if, it is narrated that when the Holy Prophetsa was returning from his journey, during the night at a place called Nakhlah, when the Holy Prophetsa was occupied in reciting the Holy Qur’ān, a party of Jinn, composed of seven entities, who came from a city in Syria named Naṣībain, passed by the Holy Prophetsa, listened to his recitation, and were moved. When these Jinn returned to their people, they mentioned the prophethood of the Holy Prophetsa and the Holy Qur’ān. This occurrence is mentioned twice in the Holy Qur’ān, and from both these instances, it is apparent that the Holy Prophetsa was not directly aware of the arrival of these Jinn. Instead, after their departure, the Holy Prophetsa was given knowledge of this occurrence by the revelation of God that a party of Jinn listened to your recitation and left. This occurrence has been mentioned in various places in Ḥadīth. In finer points, although the descriptions of historical accounts vary from that of Ḥadīth, the primary notion is the same, which is, that a delegation of Jinn listened to the recitation of the Holy Prophetsa in a state of travel, and they returned to their people deeply impressed. It is possible that this occurrence took place more than once, due to which there seems to be a contradiction in various narrations. However, at this place, we are not concerned with the apparent details of this occurrence. Rather, the purpose is to briefly expound the meaning of Jinn in this context, and to understand what primary purpose they came out for in search of the Holy Prophetsa, listened to the recitation of the Holy Qur’ān, and then set back.

 

Therefore, it should be known that belief in the existence of Jinn is an issue which can be found in practically every nation of the world. It can be found in both religious and secular literature, but there is much disaccord in its details. In the literature of some nations, a sort of supernatural power has been attributed to Jinn, and they have been held worthy of worship. In other nations, without exception, it has been labeled an evil species, and has been thought of as Satan and Iblīs. However, Islām rejects both of these ideologies, and teaches that Jinn are a hidden species of Allāh the Exalted, which are composed of both good and evil beings. However, the realm of this species is completely separate from humans and they live in a world of their own. Albeit, by the will of Allāh the Exalted, at times, the existence of Jinn is shown to exclusive people in an allegorical form. However, physically, both of these species are completely separate, and they have no relation or connection to one another. In the Holy Qur’ān, Jinn have been mentioned at 26 different places. The same implication is not meant by the word ‘Jinn’ at all of these places, because as we shall now elaborate, this word is used in the Arabic language to express different meanings. However, the knowledge that is derived by the collective study of these 26 places is that Jinn are a hidden species of God the Almighty, which like humans (although in its details are much different), possess the ability to progress and degenerate. Moreover, within its appointed limits, it has been endowed the freedom of choice to tread a path of good and evil in its deeds. However, as we have just mentioned, the word ‘Jinn’ has not been used to refer to this hidden species in every instance, rather, in certain places this word has been utilized in its conventional form.

 

In actuality, ‘Jinn’ is an Arabic word, the root of which possesses the meanings of being hidden, hiding, to be out of sight, to be veiled, to come under protection, or to create shadow or darkness. Therefore, in the Arabic language, ‘Jannah’ is a garden, because its trees create a shadow beneath it, and hide the land. ‘Janīn’ refers to a child which is still in the womb of a mother, because it is hidden in the veils of the womb. ‘Majannah’ is a shield, because a soldier in combat finds protection behind it during war. ‘Junūn’ refers to madness, because it puts a veil over one’s senses. The heart is called ‘Jannān’, because it is hidden in the breast. Similarily, ‘Jannān’ also refers to the night or clothing, because they are a means of causing darkness or covering. The grave or a shroud is called a ‘Janan’, because both of them cover the deceased. ‘Jānn’ refers to a snake, because it generally lives a life in the hidden lairs of the earth. ‘Junnah’ is a woman’s mantle, because it swathes the head and breast, so on and so forth.1 According to this principle, at times, in the Arabic idiom, the word ‘Jinn’ is used to refer to leaders and Chieftains, who on account of their leadership, high status and pride, do not intermingle with the general society, and live their lives in complete separation. Therefore, many a time, in the Holy Qur’ān, the word ‘Jinn’ has been used in contrast to ‘Ins’. In other words, in contrast to the common people it has been used to refer to the upper-class, and in these meanings, the word is used in a negative connotation. Similarly, the word ‘Jinn’ is said to refer to a people who reside in such a secluded and isolated place as it is not possible for them to interact with other people. In light of these very two meanings, the implication derived by various research scholars regarding the delegation of Jinn, which visited the Holy Prophetsa is that, either these people belonged to the upper-class, who abstained from visiting the Holy Prophetsa publicly, or they were a people who belonged to a far-off and barren land, who due to their environment, may have lived in complete separation and seclusion from other people.

 

We do not hesitate in accepting this interpretation at all and if the implication of a delegation of Jinn to Nakhlah actually means that a delegation of the upper-class visited, or a people of an isolated far-off and barren land presented themselves before the Holy Prophetsa, then in this, the indication of God Almighty would be that, O Messenger! Do not feel worried or grieved, for the time quickly approaches when, what to talk of the common people, magnificent and grand chieftains shall come beneath your banner and people of far-off barren lands shall place the necklace of your obedience round their necks. However, if by Jinn, the implication is a secret species, the details of which are hidden to us, but its existence is substantiated by the text of the Holy Qur’ān, even then there is no room for a logical person to be skeptical. The power of God the Almighty and the sphere of His creation are so extensive that the sight of any of His creation cannot reach its limit. In addition to humans, in this physical world, there are thousands, tens of thousands, nay, millions of other species that exist, among which, despite being physically visible, some remain hidden from our weak sight; even though, medicine and other faculties of science definitely and categorically affirm their existence. Then what hesitation can there be in accepting that there may be a species of Allāh the Exalted known as Jinn, which despite being hidden from the human eye, exists and lives in the same way as humans, and exist in their own realm. Undoubtedly, Islām does not give us teachings of Jinn such as we should believe in a species the like of imaginary monsters, which despite being hidden from the human eye, move about as spectacles, and cause a means of happiness or fear to humans by coming before them in different forms. Such thoughts are the product of ignorant suspicions, evidence of which cannot be found in Islāmic history, Ḥadīth or the Holy Qur’ān.

 

However, just as there are an infinite number of other creations of Allāh the Exalted in this world, which include many minute, filthy and pure, visible and invisible creations, in the same way, one creation of Allāh the Exalted is that of Jinn. As the name reveals, it is hidden from the sights of man, belongs to a separate world, and in normal circumstances has nothing to do with humans. This belief is one upon which no rational individual can object. The remaining question is that, in light of these interpretations, what was the implied intent in the case of the delegation of Jinn that visited the Holy Prophetsa. As such, in this case, the following occurrence shall be a divinely inspirational sight. Its implication is that during this era of apprehension and helplessness, by showing the Holy Prophetsa this sight, Allāh the Exalted is indicating that, O Messenger! Although our succour is always by your side, but just as an excess of heat attracts clouds, in the same way, the time has now come that our hidden powers shall begin to work extraordinarily in the assistance of your mission. Therefore, after this, it was not long before conditions were transformed. With the unveiling of the migration to Yathrab, the hidden manifestations of God took the banner of Islām to great heights.

 

Moreover, use of the word ‘seven’ in these narrations is also an insinuation towards the absolute manifestation of hidden powers. In Arabic the number seven is used in the expression of absolutism. By alluding to the city of Naṣībain in Syria, it appears as if the indication is that after Arabia, Islāmic victories shall be brought about from Syria”

 

To understand the concept of Jinn properly one should refer to the answer of the fourth khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh: