Jahannam is the home of the punishment in the hereafter for the one who earns it whilst in this life. We Muslims grow up with the concept of Hell being drilled in as a consequence for those who live a purposeless life indulging in sin, transgression and oppression.  

In this short Quranic lesson, we will look at the description of the Hellfire, from one of the names of the Hellfire السَّعِيرِ. More importantly we will focus on what the people of Jahannam will discuss when they find themselves in Hell.

If we’re honest with ourselves we humans love to hear what other people are experiencing, that peer influence is something we all look for. So, Allah subhanahu ta’ala knows this as He created us. He knows that we love to hear the gossip, and we love to hear how other people feel or experience life generally.

However, this time we take a peek into the afterlife as this is not about life in the dunya. The Hellfire or life in As-sa’eer السَّعِيرِ is the worst of torments. Allah subhanahu ta’ala calls the Hellfire Jahannam and this is only one of the names of the Hellfire.

In the Quran in Surah Al Mulk, verse 10, Allah swt says:

                                 وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِير

And they say, ‘had we listened or reasoned, we would not have found ourselves with the companions of As-sa’eer.

 

Here Allah swt gives us a glimpse into their lives in hell, where they will speak to each other only as Allah will not allow them to see him in the hereafter. That in itself will be a form of punishment.

They say to each other, if only we had listened, if only we had used our intellect, had we been reasonable people, then we would never have ended up amongst these people, the ashaab As-sa’eer أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ.

Sa’eer is one of the Names and descriptions of the Hell fire

The word As-sa’eer السَّعِيرِ comes on, what we call the pattern of fa’eel فَعِىل.

Now if you are not an Arabic student don’t worry you will get the gist of it. The pattern, fa’eel فَعِىل, is an exaggerated form in the Arabic language. And what it means is that any word that is formed on this pattern, has it’s route meaning exaggerated. So, the basic meaning of the word is exaggerated in meaning to the the most extreme meaning.

So, for example you know the name of Allah is Ar-Rahim الرَّحِيْمِ.  Allah is the most merciful.

Ar Rahim الرَّحِيْمِ comes from the route meaning of rah’ma رَحمَة, which is mercy. The word Ar-Rahim it comes on this pattern of fae’el فَعِىل, (just like sae’er السَّعِيرِ) .

What this does is that it describes Allah, Ar Rahim الرَّحِيْمِ  as the most merciful. If you imagine that Allah is so merciful that there is actually no limit to His mercy, it is so vast and expansive, there is no limit to the mercy of Allah.

So if we take it to the extreme meaning of mercy, if there was someone who is extremely merciful, more merciful than any of the creation, it is the Lord of mercy.

Now just in the same way when Allah describes the hellfire with the name As-sa’eer السَّعِيرِ the route meaning of the word is being exaggerated to the furthest extext.

Sae’er السَّعِيرِ, it comes from the root meaning of سعر, which means a blaze or a flame or a fire. But Allah describes the Hellfire as not been like any other fire, Allah describes the Hellfire as being the most extreme fire, no fire that you have ever experienced in this world, because the fire of the Hell, as it has been narrated, it is more than 70 times the heat of the fire of this dunya.

So imagine, the hottest thing in the dunya, maybe like molten rock, the lava that comes out of a volcano which comes from the core of the earth.  this is the hottest there is probably unless you go to the Sun. The Sun because as soon as you come close to it you disintegrate due it being so intensely hot. These are still the fires of this world.

The heat of the Hellfire is far worse than this and Allah describes it asae’er السَّعِيرِ, in this verse of Surah Al Mulk because it describes a fire of extreme heat which will be a severe punishment for evil doers.

The word As-sa’eer السَّعِيرِ comes on, what we call the pattern of fa’eel فَعِىل.

Now if you are not an Arabic student don’t worry you will get the gist of it. The pattern, fa’eel فَعِىل, is an exaggerated form in the Arabic language. And what it means is that any word that is formed on this pattern, has it’s route meaning exaggerated. So, the basic meaning of the word is exaggerated in meaning to the the most extreme meaning.

So, for example you know the name of Allah is Ar-Rahim الرَّحِيْمِ.  Allah is the most merciful.

Ar Rahim الرَّحِيْمِ comes from the route meaning of rah’ma رَحمَة, which is mercy. The word Ar-Rahim it comes on this pattern of fae’el فَعِىل, (just like sae’er السَّعِيرِ) .

What this does is that it describes Allah, Ar Rahim الرَّحِيْمِ  as the most merciful. If you imagine that Allah is so merciful that there is actually no limit to His mercy, it is so vast and expansive, there is no limit to the mercy of Allah.

So if we take it to the extreme meaning of mercy, if there was someone who is extremely merciful, more merciful than any of the creation, it is the Lord of mercy.

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Now just in the same way when Allah describes the hellfire with the name As-sa’eer السَّعِيرِ the route meaning of the word is being exaggerated to the furthest extext.

Sae’er السَّعِيرِ, it comes from the root meaning of سعر, which means a blaze or a flame or a fire. But Allah describes the Hellfire as not been like any other fire, Allah describes the Hellfire as being the most extreme fire, no fire that you have ever experienced in this world, because the fire of the Hell, as it has been narrated, it is more than 70 times the heat of the fire of this dunya.

So imagine, the hottest thing in the dunya, maybe like molten rock, the lava that comes out of a volcano which comes from the core of the earth.  this is the hottest there is probably unless you go to the Sun. The Sun because as soon as you come close to it you disintegrate due it being so intensely hot. These are still the fires of this world.

The heat of the Hellfire is far worse than this and Allah describes it asae’er السَّعِيرِ, in this verse of Surah Al Mulk because it describes a fire of extreme heat which will be a severe punishment for evil doers.

So, what is the conversation that the people of the Hellfire will have?

Lesson 1: Allah says that they, the people of the Hellfire, will say, لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ, if only we had listened.

Lesson 2: or Used our intellect, أَوْ نَعْقِلُ

These are the two things that they failed to do in life and it caused them to end up in the Hellfire. 

If you want to avoid being like these people, ending up in an awful place where you would hate to live out the rest of your eternity, then we must really take a close look at these two causes that land the people in Jahannam. That’s the whole reason that Allah gives us this look in on the lives of these people.

Insha’Allah you will become one of these people, we will work together to understand the guidance of Allah in the Quran so that we can avoid such a terrible ending.

What did the People of Jahannam Do wrong?

I cannot think of a torment that never ends except the Hellfire as it has been described. For us. Of course you and I, we are not headed there insha’Allah and that is the whole reason we are extracting these Quranic lessons. So be positive ?

So what do we learn from this verse? The people of the Hellfire, they are having this conversation, they are saying to each other, if only I had listened. So what did they not do in this dunya while they are alive? They did not listen, the guidance of Allah it came to them and they did not listen.  They heard people talking about it but they did not listen, they just wanted to continue to enjoy themselves, so they blocked their ears.

When someone said to them حَيَّ عَلَى ٱلصَّلَاة, come to the prayer, they blocked their ears, they did not want to pray. When Allah’s commands came to them and they were commanded do not do the Haram (illegal), they did not want to listen, they blocked their ears and they continued to do the Haram. As a result, they ended up blocking their ears and blocking their senses and their hearts. The consequence of that is that they end up not attaining paradise. You lose if you do not listen.

So the first lesson to take away is to become an attentive listener. Listen, do not be a talker. Like many, I have the same problem. We love to talk and we hate to listen. We love to listen to our own voices and we do not love to listen to reason. The greatest loss is when we ignore the guidance of Allah and live in ignorance.

You see, you can go through life and you find people that just talk and talk and you sit with them and they just do not stop. You feel as though I wish I had not sat with them. Imagine that people who talk and never listen, it’s like a one-way conversation. When you cannot have a two-way conversation, how does that feel? feels horrible, right? but we do exactly that with the words and guidance of Allah subhanahu ta’ala. This is why the people of Jahannam will say, we did not listen, if only we had listened.

So when Allah is talking to you, when the verses of Allah come out to you, are you listening? or do you block your ears because it is talking about something that you are doing wrong and you want to continue to do it?

Allah subhanahu ta’ala is teaching us a very important lesson and that lesson is that if you do not listen, you could end up like the ashabas’sae’er أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ, the people of that torturous fire of hell, having that same conversation.

What did the people of Jahannam not do?

Allah subhanahu ta’ala says, ‘if only we had used our intellect’. Al‘aqal اَلْعَقْلْ is the intellect and the verb used in this verse in indicating an action, one we should be taking regularly. And that is to you our minds to reason and to think.

In Islam, we are not taught to just blindly follow. Rather, we are taught to seek knowledge and to use our intellect, to rationalize and make ourselves understand through the use of the intellect.

Allah subhanahu ta’ala always talks about this. The very first of Revelation was Iqra اقرأ‎ read. Why? Because your intellect will get the food that it needs if you read.  Allah subhanahu ta’ala always talks about   أفـلا يـتـدبـرون, do they not think, do they not reflect. 

Reflect on what? Reflect on the verses of Allah and reflect on that guidance that is coming to you through this Quran and Sunnah.

The people of the Hellfire, they will say to each other in absolute ‘I did not listen or think’. 

In this verse, Allah does not even refer to thinking. Instead, He swt says they don’t even use their intellect. If you do not use your intellect you could become like the people of sae’er السَّعِيرِ, like the people of Jahannam, the people of the Hellfire.

I know I don’t want to become like the people of the Hellfire, no one does. It’s crazy to even think that anyone would actually want this. But actions speak louder than words.

Your actions need to be like the actions of the people of Paradise, the people of Jannah. These are the people that, when the commands of Allah come to them, they listen attentively.

When the commands of Allah come to them, they think about it, they use their intellect. Allah has given us an intellect for that very reason.

You see, that intellect is what raises you above all of creation. Allah subhanahu ta’ala has given us the ability to dominate this Earth and to dominate everything on this Earth. We have that power because of the intellect.

The moment you stop using that intellect because you are following your stomach, then you lose the intellect. When I say your stomach I do not literally mean food, I mean your desires, because we are greedy for our desires and the people of asae’er السَّعِيرِ, the companions of the fire, they are people that spent their lives in chasing their desires, and just feeding their stomach, and feeding their greed for the dunya. 

They spend their life chasing after everything material leaving out the things that will help them in the hereafter. This doesn’t mean that you cannot have the dunya as well. If you make the dunya and akhira your goal you will win both.

You see, the people of Jahannam are having a conversation about the predicament they find themselves in. Out of regret, they’re saying “if only we had done this, if only we had done these two things, listened and used our intellect, we would not be here”.

That is a very difficult thing to deal with but it is too late for them, they are already in the fire of hell. 

What Can you do to enter Paradise and Avoid Jahannam?

Allah is pre-warning you, do not do what these people are doing because they will end up in the fire and they will have that conversation. Allah says immediately after that verse, فَاعْتَرَفُوا بِذَنبِهِمْ “they acknowledge and they admit their sins”.

That’s right they are now confessing their deeds, confessing their sins, but it is too late because now they are in the final home of Jahannam. Having that conversation now will not help them, they are not going to be able to get out, at least not until they have been punished for what the evil they did in their lives.

So Allah teaches us a lesson by giving us a conversation from the people of the fire, giving us a scenario, a glimpse into the future.

For you and I, it is not too late, we are still in the dunya and while you are in the dunya, all you have to do is listen, use your intellect, and take those steps to the obedience of Allah.

Obey Allah subhanahu ta’ala and do not be of the disobedient ones. The disobedient people, they have a disease that causes them to fall into this terrible state of negligence. Allah swt says, فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا, in their hearts, is a disease and that disease will be increased if they continue to commit those sins.

So if you are falling foul, we are human and you do not need to beat yourself up about it but stop yourself. Stop yourself and ask yourself these two questions, are you listening to the guidance of Allah, the Quran? Are you listening to the commands of Allah?

And secondly ask yourself, are you using your intellect? or is your stomach ruling you, is your desires leading you? Because if you are not using your intellect and you are led by your desires, then you could possibly end up (Allah protect us all) as one of the ashaab As-sa’eer أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ, The people of Jahannam, the people of the fire.

Allah does not want that and that is why Allah gives us this conversation and this glimpse into the conversation so that we will understand and take admonition from this.

What is the one thing you can take away? this is Surah Al Mulk verse 10 and I would say, you need to think about these two things, are you listening and are you using your intellect?

Are you seeking knowledge? Because that knowledge is what is going to raise you above where you are right now.  Your intellect requires food, and the food of the intellect is knowledge.

You’ve got to seek knowledge. It is not good enough just to stroll through life with a few reminders here in there, you have to seek knowledge so that you are in control of your life.

Take your steps to understanding the Quran and Allah subhanahu ta’ala will give you paradise in this life, before you get to the hereafter and Inshaallah Ta’ala you and I, we can achieve that.

You can do it, I believe in you ?

May Allah swt give you the greatest connection to his words and guidance.

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