What are the doors of hell? How many doors are in hell in islam?
Allah has created everything in opposites, all continuing in their own path: belief/disbelief, truth/ falsehood, good/bad, beautiful/ugly and halal/haram (permissible/impermissible).
Human beings have been given free will to choose. They can choose either belief or disbelief, to be a right acting person or a wrong acting person, just or unjust, merciful or merciless, generous or miserly. Everyone chooses their own path which leads them either to the eternal bliss of the Garden or to the eternal torment Fire.
This world is a transitory place in which Allah the Almighty gives sustenance to all creatures without discrimination, believer or disbeliever, obedient or disobedient, they all receive this divine favour of sustenance and they live together seemingly equal but in the next world they will be separated from each other in a crystal clear way. The disbelievers and oppressors will no longer be with the believers. In the following verse Allah states how this separation will take place in the hereafter where all human beings are gathered on the plain of Mahshar (gathering place).
“Keep yourselves apart today, you evildoers!” (Yasin, 36:59). After this the believers will be taken to the Garden and those who committed all kinds of wrong actions will be dragged to into Hell.
In His book, Allah the exalted narrates the following conversation between the people of the Garden and the people of the Fire who were veiled by their lower desires and appetites from obeying the commands of their Lord who created them:
“In Gardens they will ask the evildoers:
‘What caused you to enter Saqar’ (Hell Fire)?” They will say,
‘We were not among those who did Salat (prayer) and we did not feed the poor. We plunged with those who plunged and denied the day of judgement until the certain (death) came to us’
The intercession of the intercessors will not help them.” (Al-Muddaththir, 74:41-48)
Omar Ibn Abdulaziz (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “make your preparations for the Next World according to the place you want to have there.”
There are only two paths, one leading to the Garden and the other leading to the Fire, by their actions in this world, people prepare themselves for one of these destinations. If we want to reach Allah, we should spent our lives yearning to reach Allah. If we want to see the Beauty of Allah in the hereafter, we should strive very hard to deserve this and rush to good actions that are required by Allah the Almighty. That is because our actions and spiritual states will determine our destination in the hereafter.
The following verse states that human beings prepare their own ends with their own hands, either good or bad:
“…..Allah did not wrong them; rather it was themselves they were wronging…” (Al’ Imran, 3:117)
Therefore, the torture of the Hellfire is not the result of any kind of injustice but only a punishment due to the stubbornness of deliberately ignoring divine warnings.
When we experience a calamity such as an earthquake or a flood, we feel fear. We also fear many things in everyday life, many businessmen fear bankruptcy or loss of material wealth. These are all acceptable fears since we are all human. However, the real fear we should feel is towards those things that distance us from Allah the exalted and those forbidden acts which poison our spiritual life.
Yahya Ibn Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) states: “it is surprising that one holds back from spoiled food for the fear of disease but he does not hold back from a wrong action for the fear of the Fire.”
Hence we should fear wrong actions:
We should fear our wrong words:
We should fear being deprived of mercy and love.
We should fear our lack of Husnul Khuluq (good character).
We should fear failing to show a smiling face of Islam to others.
We should fear the terrible consequences of our wrong actions and negligence in the next world that is waiting for us after death. We should fear committing any kind of wrong actions in order to become among those happy believers praised by Allah as “those who are safe from fear and anxiety.”
Allah the Almighty says in the Generous Qur’an:
“…Allah does not love any persistantly ungrateful wrongdoer.” (Al-Baqara, 2:276)
As a result, wrong actions make man destined for hellfire. Hence the need to leave all kinds of wrong doing both the hidden kind and the apparent. Allah, in the following verse forbids both kinds of sins:
“Abandon wrong action, outwrd and inward. Those who commit wrong action will be repaid for what they perpetrated” (Al-An’am, 6:120)
External wronging like drinking, gambling, fornication, theft and injustice, are easy to see but there are also internal sins like jealousy, hatred and ostentation which poison the heart. These internal sins cannot be seen, so therefore people tend to fall into them unknowingly. In addition, people rarely seem to understand the gravity of these inward sicknesses and therefore are not actively engaged in finding solutions to give up them. Cleaning the heart from such spiritual sicknesses like pride, miserliness and jealousy is as important as refraining from outwardly apparent sinful acts. We should refrain from the inwardly hidden faults and know that the sinful actions of the limbs are the result of these internal faults and impurities.
A famous Sufi from the Nakshi Silsilah (chain of teaching), Shaykh Abul Hasan Haraqani, (may Allah have mercy upon him) states:
“Just as praying and fasting is obligatory for the believer, so too is the removal of conceit, jealousy and greed from the heart.”
“If a flame from the oven happens to catch on to your clothes you immediately try to put it out. So how can you allow such evil traits as conceit, envy and ostentation to remain in your heart, when they are like a Fire that will burn your religion?!”
Those who desire the pleasure of Allah the Almighty should refrain from deadly internal sins:
Conceit and pride are both related to self-love and considering yourself better than others and looking down upon others. Both conceit and pride are evil characteristics that bring nothing but misery and suffering in this world and next. Whoever looks down upon a fellow Muslim will suffer terribly in the Next World. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has warned:
“It is enough evil for a Muslim to look down upon his brother.” (Muslim, Birr, 32)
The Qur’an also contains severe warning about conceit and pride being two big obstacles to reaching the Garden:
“That abode of the akhira (hereafter) – we grant it to those who do not seek to exalt themselves in the earth or to cause corruption in it. The successful outcome is for those who have taqwa (fearful awareness of God).” (Al-Qassas, 28:83)
The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also stated on this subject as follows:
“Anyone with half a mustard seed of Kibr (pride) in his heart will not go to the Garden and anyone with half a mustard seed of Iman (belief) will not enter the Fire.” (Muslim, Iman, 148-149)
For eternal bliss, belief is the greatest gift and pride is the greatest calamity that poisons the heart and leads a person to hell. Hearing these words of the Prophet, one companion asked:
“O Messenger of Allah! A man likes to have fine clothing and footwear. Is this included in Kibr?” He responded,
“No, Allah is Beautiful and loves Beauty, Kibr is Batrul Haq (denouncing the truth) and abasing people” (Muslim, Iman, 147; Tirmidhi, Birr, 61)
In another hadith the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) stated that the hard-hearted people who walk with pride and contempt will go to hell:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever lets his garment drag along the ground out of pride, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim, Libas, 42)
Envy can cause disbelief because it causes the individual to feel that Allah has not been fair and objective in how He has distributed His blessings among His creatures. The sign of envy is when a person wants the removal of a blessing from the one he envies and when he sees that the blessing is taken away he becomes happy.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) warned us against envy or Hasad in the following hadith:
“Beware of Hasad, for truly it devours good deeds the way Fire destroys dry wood. (Abu Dawud, Adab, 44/4903)
“Allah’s Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Do not hate one another and do not envy one another and do not desert each other and O slaves of Allah! Be brothers.” (Bukhari, Adab, 57)
Anger is an emotion that can destroy a person’s spiritual balance, it shows man’s weakness and incompetence. Anger disables the power of reason, since when anger comes, reason leaves. Most violent crimes are stem from anger. Anger has written a history of human disasters.
Anger is the best assistant of Satan, making his job easier. When a person gets angry, the Devil plays with them like a child playing with a ball. Hence the wise person is the one who can control himself at the time of anger, since anger is the biggest enemy of reason. When anger comes, the eyes are blind to the truth and when the anger leaves the face is left red in shame.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) emphasizing the difficulty of controlling anger said:
The strong man is not one who is good at wrestling, but the strong man is one who controls himself in a fit of anger. (Bukhari, 76)
Abu Darda said to the Prophet:
“Advise me something that will take me to the Garden!”The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,
“Do not become angry and furious.” (Bukhari, Adab, 76; Tirmdhi, Birr, 73)
Having said that not all anger is bad, if our anger is egoistic and Satanic it is bad, if we get angry for the sake of Allah it becomes a virtue. Getting angry for the sake of Allah is as important as controlling one’s wrath in order to attain the pleasure of Allah.
It is considered as being twofaced, showing off one behaviour and deceitfully hiding another. It is one of the worst characteristics that destroys the rewards of a believer’s actions. Islam never allows its believers to act hypocritically and behave insincerely. Therefore Allah the almighty states in the His mighty book:
“They were only ordered to worship Allah, making their deen (religion) sincerely His and to establish Salat (prayer) and pay Zakat (obligatory annual charity) that is the correct deen.” (Al-Bayyina, 98:5)
Another verse of the Qur’an informs us that the good deeds done for the sake of showing off to others is nothing their complete destruction:
“You who have iman (belief)! Do not nullify your sadaqa (charity) by demands of gratitude or insulting words, like him who spends his wealth, showing off to people and not having iman in Allah and the Last Day. His likeness is that of a smooth rock coated with soil, which, when heavy rain falls on it, is left stripped bare. They have no power over anything they have earned. Allah does not guide kafir (unbelieving) people.” (Al-Baqara, 2: 264)
We should not forget that Iman or belief in the oneness of Allah means that a person can never attribute any partners alongside Allah Almighty. This fact is stated by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in the following hadith on Shirk (worshipping something other than Allah):
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“The thing that I fear most for you is minor shirk.” They said:
“O Messenger of Allah, what is minor shirk?” He said:
“Showing off, for Allah will say on the Day when people are recompensed for their actions: ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off with your deeds in the world and see what reward you find with them.’” (Ahmad, V, 428, 429)
This hadith shows that hypocrisy can even take someone to Shirk or associating partners with Allah almighty, hence it is extremely serious for the nest life in the hereafter. The following hadiths (saying of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) clearly indicated to us the terrible end of those who committed this crime, losing all their sincerity when he told the following news:
“The first person to be judged on the Day of Judgement will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought forth and informed of this blessing his Lord gave him and he will know it. Then his Lord will say to him, ‘What did you do to bring this about?’ And the man will reply, ‘I fought for Your sake until I was martyred.’ Thereupon Allah will say, ‘You lie. Rather you fought so that people might say you were brave and they did indeed say it.’ Then He will command that the man be dragged on his face and cast into the Fire. Then another will come who studied knowledge and taught and recited the Qur’an. He will be brought forth and informed of this blessing his Lord gave him and he will know it. Then his Lord will ask him, ‘What did you do?’ and he will say, ‘I studied and taught knowledge and recited the Qur’an for Your sake,’ So Allah will say, ‘You lie. Rather you studied so that people might say you were a great scholar and reciter and they did indeed say it.’ Then He will command that the man be dragged on his face and cast into the Fire. We seek protection with Allah from that. Then another will come whom Allah made rich and to whom Allah gave all sorts of wealth. He will be brought forth and informed of this blessing his Lord gave him and he will know it. Then his Lord will ask him, ‘What did you do with it?’ and he will reply, ‘I spent my wealth in every single way that you love wealth to be spent.’ So Allah will say, ‘You lie. Rather you did what you did so that people might say that you were a generous man and they did indeed say it.’ Then He will command that the man be dragged on his face and cast into the Fire.” (Muslim, Imara, 152)
It is to spend from what Allah has given you only for yourself, forgetting the rights of others, this is a vice the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) warned us against in the following hadith:
“Two traits are not combined in a believer: Miserliness and bad manners!”(Tirmidhi, Birr, 41/1962)
“Beware of oppression, for oppression will turn into excessive darkness on the Day of Resurrection and beware of niggardliness, for niggardliness destroyed your predecessors.” Related by Muslim.
Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Beware of injustice, for oppression will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection; and beware of stinginess because it doomed those who were before you. It incited them to shed blood and treat the unlawful as lawful.” (Muslim, Birr, 56)
“The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says,
‘O Allah! Compensate every person who spends in Your Cause,’ and the other angel says,
‘O Allah! Destroy every miser.” (Bukhari, Zakat, 27)
Allah glory be to Him, informs us of the terrible fate of stingy and miserly people who selfishly collected wealth and did not spend it for the sake of Allah:
“Woe to every fault finding backbiter who has amassed wealth and hoarded it! He thinks his wealth will make him live for ever. No indeed! He will be flung into the Shatterer. And what will convey to you what the Shatterer is? It is the kindled Fire of Allah reaching right into the heart. (Al-Humaza, 104, 2-7)
Stingy people place their trust in their wealth and not in Allah. They think that their wealth will make them eternal. A friend of Allah explained the vanity of this assumption in the following words:
“Do not ask eternity from the world, how it can give you something of which it does not possess.”
Those who spend their fleeting days to amass wealth blindly will only get a handful of dust in their hands when they are lowered into the grave. The wealth of the world will stay in this world but man will be held accountable for his wealth.
The real success is to make hearts an ocean of mercy through generous, self-sacrificing actions, converting our worldly favours given for a short time into never-ending rewards in the Garden. Therefore, the best wealth is the one we send ahead for ourselves and find in the next world. Similarly, the best life is the one which was spent in the path of Allah’s contentment.
Asad Arbili states in this matter: “When tenants move from one house to another they take all their belongings and leave nothing behind of what they love. This being the case, how strange it is then that when they enter the house of their grave, where they are in need of everything, they are not able to take even a part of their treasured belongings. (why do they not send some of their worldly wealth to the next life by giving charity when they are alive) (Maktubat, s. 16, no: 5)
Wastefulness is the attempt to suppress feelings of inferiority and to present oneself to others through wealth by way of buying repute and esteem. It signifies overstepping the bounds in every respect and transgressing the Divinely-established limits.
It is declared in a Qur’anic verse:
“…and do not be profligate. He does not love the profligate.” (Al-An’am 6:141)
Allah, glorified and exalted be He, declares, “Squanderers are ever brothers of Satans and Satan was ungrateful to his Lord.” (Al-Isra, 17:27)
Wasting the wealth means to spend it in places where Allah the Almighty does not like. Allah gave us material wealth so we can meet our needs, live honourably, without opening our hands to others. Those who waste it away in needless places will one day be dependent on others even for their basic needs. Hence we should spend it wisely and also strive to make it a sustenance in the hereafter by giving charity. One has to start giving charity first to relatives, then to others beginning from those who are. This kind of spending is Halal (allowed) but spending it in places where Allah the Almightyhas forbidden is Haram (forbidden).
The following Qur’anic verse describes the best criteria of spending:
“Those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor mean, but take a stance between the two.” (Al-Furkan, 25:67)
Hence both extravagancy and miserliness are vices that can lead the person astray.
Spying on others
It is to be offensively curious and inquisitive especially about other people’s faults, it originates from one’s baseless suspicions and negative thinking. One of Allah’s names is As-Sattar al-Uyub (the concealer of faults) and therefore He is angered with those who uncover the faults of other people, especially those sins which are not harmful and related to public good. Allah the most high says in the Qur’an:
“Allah does not like evil words being voiced out loud, except in the case of someone who has been wronged. Allah is all Hearing, all Knowing.” (An-Nisa, 4:148)
When the hidden sins and ugliness are spied on and revealed to others it causes them being spread like a contagious disease, hence those who reveal them knowingly or unknowingly advertise these sins. Their spread through advertising is worse than their being committed, since only a few people are affected when they are initially committed but when they are advertised, countless people are negatively influenced. A believer can repair the damage of committing the sin but once it spreads and goes public, no one can eradicate the negative effect it causes. This presents a threat to the public sense of morality.
About this, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “If you search for the faults of people, you will corrupt them, or nearly corrupt them.”
In another Hadith the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) warns us from trying to listen and eavesdrop on people in order to learn their secrets:
“and if somebody listens to the talk of some people who do not want him to listen to or if they run away from him, then molten lead will be poured into his ears on the Day of Resurrection;” (Bukhari, Tabir, 45)
Lying: It is one of the most severe wrong actions that drags man to the Fire, especially when the rights of Muslims trampled on by lies. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
“He who appropriates the right of a Muslim by making a false oath, Allah will make Hell-Fire necessary for him and will declare The Garden forbidden for him. A person said to him: Messenger of Allah, even if it is something insignificant? To which he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied: Yes even if it is a twig of the arak tree. (Muslim, Iman, 218; Muwwatta, Akdiya, 11)
“The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in another hadith said:
“Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to The Garden. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Telling lies leads to al-Fujur (wickedness) and al-Fujur leads to the Fire and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, as a liar.” (Bukhari, Adab, 69)
It is clear that lying is a calamity committed by the tongue and the tongue is the spokesman of the heart. Those who can control their tongues and keep away from lying will protect themselves from a painful punishment.
A believer should not forget that whatever he or she says, will be recorded immediately and stay far from telling a lies. Allah the Almightystates in the holy Qur’an:
“He does not utter a single word, without a watcher by him, pen in hand!” (Qāf, 50:18)
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also warned us against lying and its harsh consequences in the next world:
“The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Whoever claims to have seen a dream which he did not see, will be ordered to make a knot between two barley grains which he will not be able to do;…” (Bukhari, Tabir, 45)
Backbiting is to speak against a Muslim brother or sister in their absence in a manner which he or she would not like if they heard it. Allah the Almighty values man’s honour so much that if someone harms it by revealing his mistakes in his absence, He announces in His holy Book that such an act is a grave wrong. This shows the degree of mercy Allah has for sinners, by protecting their honour.
There is another reason why backbiting is forbidden that is because backbiting harms the peace of society and damages the bond of brotherhood and sisterhood between Muslims. It destroys the solidarity of the Muslims and plants seeds of hatred in the hearts, therefore it is considered one of the major wrong actions in Islam. However, people often tend to justify it by saying that they are only telling the truth not a lie. This is ignorance about backbiting since as described in the hadith of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) it is telling the actual mistakes of a believer in his absence regardless of wether it is true or not, otherwise saying a mistake which is not true is slander. Hence justifying this can only be a false justification which simply increases the weight of wrong on the backbiter and shows their level of ignorance and or heedlessness.
The Prophet one day asked his companions, do you know what backbiting is? They said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Thereupon he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: Backbiting is talking about your brother in a manner which he does not like. It was said to him: What is your opinion about this if I actually find that fault present in my brother which I made a mention of? He said: If that fault is actually found in him as you mentioned, you have still backbitten him, and if it is not in him then it is a slander. (Muslim, Birr, 70; Abu Dawud, Adab, 40/4874)
The following verse of the Holy Qur’an is an enough warning from committing this grave mistake:
“…and do not spy and do not backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat his brother’s dead flesh? No, you would hate it. And have Taqwa (fearful awareness) of Allah, Allah is Ever-Returning, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hujurat, 49:12)
Backbiting is described in the verse as eating the dead flesh of your brother, this shows very clearly the gravity and importance of avoiding it. The flesh of a man is already forbidden even when he is alive, so how can anyone eat a rotten piece of flesh that belongs to a human being willingly? This shows the amount of a person’s moral and spiritual deterioration.
Backbiting burdens the backbiter with shame and the rights of other believers on his shoulders.
The backbiter must go and apologize to the person he spoke badly of and ask for his forgiveness. He should also tell the person what he said: ‘I said so and so about you and there was so and so with me when I said it.’ If his backbiting has already caused a damage in society, he should also ask forgiveness from Allah very often and give charity to seek forgiveness. The backbiter should turn to Allah and ask Him to forgive him with regretful heart.
Backbiting shows the triumph of the ego over one’s soul, it is the manifestation of spiritual sickness in the heart, a spiritual disease that threatens destruction in this life and the next.
Although the Islamic perspective against backbiting is clear, it is very unfortunately people often become immune to it and listen to the backbiting as if they are listening to soothing music, making it a continuous habit. May Allah the Almighty make us aware of this grave matter and make us successful in keeping away from it. May Allah help us in refraining from all open and hidden wrong actions and mistakes.
 Attar, Tazkira, s. 629.
 Harakani, Nuru’l-Ulum, s. 239.