Refutation: The Quran on Muslims Entering Hell


بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Missionaries often like to claim that the Qur’an says all Muslims will go to hell. There is one Missionary/ Christian polemic who bases a significant portion of his writings on this argument. Sam Shamoun not only things that the Qur’an says this[1][2], he also claims the Qur’an contradicts itself about this particular verse[3], it reads:

And not one of you but shall pass over it: it is for thy Lord an ordinance decreed.

There are two opinions on this verse, namely:

  1. The believers and disbelievers will go across a bridge above the fire, the disbelievers will fall in (thus the bridge is the entry to the fire), and the believers will cross without punishment.
  2. The believers and disbelievers may have to enter the fire, but the believers will walk away without damage, as Abraham [alayhi as salaam] walked away from the fire of Nimrod without any mark, pain, or suffering.

Muslims are also aware that according to Sunni sources [4][5], Muslims who have less good deeds than bad, may be sent to the fire to pay for their sins, upon which they will then be allowed to enter Jannah, there acceptance into heaven dependant upon their levels of ‘Iman:

Then it will be said, ‘O Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be listened to; and ask, for your will be granted (your request); and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.’ I will say, ‘O Lord, my followers! My followers!’ And then it will be said, ‘Go and take out of Hell (Fire) all those who have faith in their hearts, equal to the weight of a barley grain.’ I will go and do so and return to praise Him with the same praises, and fall down (prostrate) before Him. Then it will be said, ‘O Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be listened to, and ask, for you will be granted (your request); and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.’ I will say, ‘O Lord, my followers! My followers!’ It will be said, ‘Go and take out of it all those who have faith in their hearts equal to the weight of a small ant or a mustard seed.’ I will go and do so and return to praise Him with the same praises, and fall down in prostration before Him. It will be said, ‘O, Muhammad, raise your head and speak, for you will be listened to, and ask, for you will be granted (your request); and intercede, for your intercession will be accepted.’ I will say, ‘O Lord, my followers!’ Then He will say, ‘Go and take out (all those) in whose hearts there is faith even to the lightest, lightest mustard seed. (Take them) out of the Fire.’ I will go and do so.”‘

From this, we understand that Muslims, even with a mustard’s seed of ‘Iman will be allowed into Jannah due to the intercession of the Prophet Muhammad [sallalahu alayhi wa sallam]. Sam Shamoun however, concludes otherwise:

These traditions demonstrate the plausibility of interpreting 19:71 to mean that every Muslim will enter hell. After all, if Allah allows bad Muslims to enter hell and then come out due to Muhammad’s intercession, then he can also allow good Muslims to enter there as well. More importantly, these hadiths do not necessarily state that Muhammad is interceding simply for bad Muslims.

Unfortunately, Sam logic betrays his arguments. These ahadith demonstrate the opposite of Sam’s claim, you will notice that the ahadith specifically mentions the level of ‘Iman of which those people in the fire possess. What happens to those with a higher level of ‘Iman? The level of ‘Iman for which those Muslims entered the fire, was equal or less than to the first mentioned criteria: a grain of barley, other narrations mention the weight of a dinar. Therefore Sam’s argument is debunked by simply understanding the hadith. Does Sam believe that Muslims will a barley’s grain of faith, are not bad Muslims? Logic contradicts Sam’s claim. Up to this point, what can we conclude?

  1. Some Muslims will not enter hell (the will cross the entrance – the bridge across hell), the fire will not burn them while they cross into heaven.
  2. Some Muslims will enter hell, these are essentially weak Muslims who have sinned, the minimum criteria is considered to have a barley grain’s worth of ‘Iman.

Sam is therefore proposing a gross generalization, in his mind he thinks that if a hadith or ayah says some Muslims go to hell, that it means all Muslims go to hell. He is essentially forcing his understanding upon the sources which directly claim otherwise as I have duly demonstrated. We will now read what some of the commentators of the Qur’an have to say:

Ibn Kathir [6] says in his Tafsir:

Ibn Jarir reported from `Abdullah that he said concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿وَإِن مِّنكُمْ إِلاَّ وَارِدُهَا﴾

(There is not one of you but will pass over it.) “The bridge over Hell is like the sharp edge of a sword. The first group to cross it will pass like a flash of lightning. The second group will pass like the wind. The third group will pass like the fastest horse. The fourth group will pass like the fastest cow. Then, the rest will pass while the angels will be saying, `O Allah save them, save them.’ ” This narration has supporting narrations similar to it from the Prophet in the Two Sahihs and other collections as well. These narrations have been related by Anas, Abu Sa`id, Abu Hurayrah, Jabir and other Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all. Ahmad also recorded that Umm Mubashshar, the wife of Zayd bin Harithah, said, “The Messenger of Allah was in the house of Hafsah when he said,

«لَا يَدْخُلُ النَّارَ أَحَدٌ شَهِدَ بَدْرًا وَالْحُدَيْبِيَّة»

(No one who was present at the battles of Badr and Hudaybiyyah (of the Muslims) will enter into the Hellfire.) Then, Hafsah said, “Doesn’t Allah say,

﴿وَإِن مِّنكُمْ إِلاَّ وَارِدُهَا﴾

(There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell);) The Messenger of Allah replied by reciting,

﴿ثُمَّ نُنَجِّى الَّذِينَ اتَّقَواْ﴾

(Then We shall save those who had Taqwa.) In the Two Sahihs there is a Hadith reported from Az-Zuhri, from Sa`id from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,

«لَا يَمُوتُ لِأَحَدٍ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ ثَلَاثَةٌ مِنَ الْوَلَدِ تَمَسُّهُ النَّارُ إِلَّا تَحِلَّةَ الْقَسَم»

(No one of the Muslims who has had three children, who all died, will be touched by the Hellfire, except for an oath that must be fulfilled.) `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam commented on Allah’s statement,

﴿وَإِن مِّنكُمْ إِلاَّ وَارِدُهَا﴾

(There is not one of you but will pass over it;) “The passing of the Muslims (over the Hellfire) means their passing over a bridge that is over it. But the passing of the idolators over the Hellfire refers to their admission to the Fire.” As-Suddi reported from Murrah, from Ibn Mas`ud, that he said concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿كَانَ عَلَى رَبِّكَ حَتْماً مَّقْضِيّاً﴾

(this is with your Lord; a Hatman decree.) “An oath that must be fulfilled.” Mujahid said, “Hatman means preordainment.” Ibn Jurayj said the same. Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿ثُمَّ نُنَجِّى الَّذِينَ اتَّقَواْ﴾

(Then We shall save those who had Taqwa. ) When all of the creatures passed over the Hellfire, and those disbelievers and the disobedient people who are destined to fall into it because of their disobedience, Allah will save the believers and the righteous people from it because of their deeds. Therefore, their passing over the bridge and their speed will be based upon their deeds that they did in this life. Then, the believers who performed major sins will be allowed intercession. The angels, the Prophets and the believers will all intercede. Thus, a large number of the sinners will be allowed to come out of Hell. The fire will have devoured much of their bodies, except the places of prostration on their faces. Their removal from the Hellfire will be due to the faith in their hearts. The first to come out will be he who has the weight of a Dinar of faith in his heart. Then, whoever has the next least amount after him. Then, whoever is next to that after him, and so forth. This will continue until the one who has the tiniest hint of faith in his heart, equal to the weight of an atom. Then, Allah will take out of the Fire whoever said “La ilaha illallah,” even one day of his entire life, even if he never performed any good deed. After this, no one will remain in the Hellfire, except those it is obligatory upon to remain in the Hellfire forever. This has been reported in many authentic Hadiths from the Messenger of Allah.

Mufti Shafi Uthmani [alayhi rahma] says in his Tafsir [7]:

This means that everybody – be he a believer or an infidel – will go across Hell. However, this does not mean that they would go to stay in it; they would only go across it. But even if the word means “entry, then the pious believers on entry into Hell will feel no discomfort because its fires will cool down and will do no harm to them. Sayyidna Abu Sumayya has related that The Holy Prophet once said that:

“Everybody whether he is a pious man or a sinner will initially enter Hell, but for the pious believers the fire will cool down just as the fire of Namrud cooled down when Sayyidna Ibrahim (A.S) was cast into it. Thereafter, the believers will be taken to Paradise.”

Tanwir al Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas [8]:

(There is not one of you but shall approach it) there is not a single one of you, to the exclusion of prophets and messengers, save that he will enter it, i.e. hell. (That is a fixed ordinance of your Lord) it is a decree that must necessarily take place.

Author’s comments: This tafsir takes the second view as presented above in Maar’iful Qur’an, that if the believers do enter, no harm will come to them. 

Tafsir al Qurtubi and Tafsir at Tabari were also referenced by Sam Shamoun, but they also hold on to the second opinion as indicated in Tafsir Maar’iful Qur’an. Commenting on these tafsirs, Shaykh Gibril says [9]:

Yes, it is the madhhab of al-Hasan al-Basri, Qatada and a group of the lexicographers, strengthened by certain authentic hadiths, that the “wurud” mentioned in verse 19:71 does not denote “entering” (which is the madhhab of Ibn `Abbas and is related from him and other Companions, yet none of the 23 English translations I consulted dared translate it this way) but either “crossing over”, in order to agree with the hadith of the believers crossing the bridge over hellfire at various speeds, some like light and others slower, or “coming into sight of and approaching”.

Others said the verse refers only to the disbelievers; others said the entering of the believers is not antithetical to their safety from the greater harm therein. The Holy Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, himself explained the verse: “All people shall ‘yariduha’, then they shall be blocked from it by their works”, as narrated in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad and the Sunan of Imam al-Tirmidhi, Allah have mercy on them. The “then” can mean that they enter it first, and it can mean that they come into sight of it only, and Allah knows best.

Al-Qurtubi discussed this in his Tafsir and, more at length, in al-Tadhkira. Shaykh Muhammad al-Amin al-Shinqiti gave a magisterial treatment to this controversial issue in his great Tafsir entitled Adwa’ al-Bayan fi Idah al-Qur’an bil-Qur’an (4:436-443). In his view the Quranic context most frequently provided by other verses mentioning such wurud confirms Ibn `Abbas’s position that the meaning here is “to enter.” At the very least some will enter it, as evinced by the countless authentic hadiths on intercession, by means of which they shall be brought out in droves, and this very verse was used by Ibn `Abbas, Allah be well-pleased with him and his father, as a proof for the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna against the Khariji Nafi` b. al-Azraq, since Kharijis believe once in, never out. The angels’ dua on that day is: “Allahumma sallim, sallim!” (grant safety) on behalf of the believers, for which we ask here and hereafter.

Summary:

Based on this, we can conclude the following –

  1. Some will cross over the bridge over the fire quickly into heaven.
  2. Some will have difficulty crossing the bridge and may approach the fire where they will not be burned by it.
  3. Some will enter the fire, be burned for a while and based on their level of ‘Iman are removed from it and enter heaven.
  4. Some will enter into it and never leave {disbelievers}.

An Alleged Contradiction:

I’m not sure if Sam Shamoun knows what the word ‘contradiction’ meant, but it is evident from his usage in the aforementioned article that he does not truly understand the meaning of the world. He claims that Qur’an 3:192 means the following:

“According to the Quran, entering the fire is a sign of a person being shamed, humiliated, disgraced by Allah. Since the Quran says that Muslims shall enter hell, this means that Allah has decreed that all Muslims must experience shame, humiliation, and disgrace!

Note the implications here:

  • Entering hell is a sign of disgrace, humiliation and shame.
  • Allah has decreed that all Muslims will enter hell.
  • Therefore, all Muslims will be disgraced, humiliated and shamed by Allah.

Allah obviously delights in humiliating his followers since he has decreed their descent into hell.”

It is strange that he only partially quoted the verse, and unlike the other verses, he did not quote a tafsir/ commentary in this case. The verse actually says [10]:

Our Lord verily whomsoever Thou makest to enter into the Fire, him Thou hast surely humiliated and for the wrong-doers there shall be no helpers.

Rather, the context of the verse is removed by the deceptive misquote by Sam Shamoun (which is expected of him). The entering of the fire as referred to in the above verse, is contextualised by the verse preceding it which reads [11]:

Those who remember Allah when standing, sitting, and on their sides, and contemplate upon the creation of the heavens and the earth (saying:) ‘Lord, You have not created these in falsehood. Exaltations to You! Guard us against the punishment of the Fire

Therefore the context is that those who will enter into the fire for punishment, will be disgraced and humiliated and those who were not entered for punishment, i.e. going over the bridge (recall: the bridge is the entrance as from the bridge you either fall into the fire or cross into heaven), will not be burned from the fire. In fact Sam made a grave error in judgement, he jumped to Qur’an 66:7-8 which reads according to Sam’s article[12]:

“… the Day that God will not permit to be humiliated the Prophet and those who believe with him… Y. Ali”

If he had stuck with a thorough reading of 3:192 and onwards, he would not have need to invent a contradiction, for the verses after it state [13]:

Our Lord, give us what You promised us by Your Messengers, and do not abase us on the Day of Resurrection. You do not break Your promise‘. And indeed their Lord answers them: ‘I do not waste the labor of any that labors among you, male or female you are from each other. And those who emigrated, and were expelled from their houses, those who suffered hurt in My way, and fought, and were killed those I shall surely acquit of their evil deeds, and I shall admit them to Gardens underneath which rivers flow’ A reward from Allah, and Allah with Him is the best reward.

According to the context of the verse, God will surely save them from humiliation by forgiving them of their sins and allowing them to enter into the heaven. Thus they are the people who will cross over the bridge into heaven. If Sam had stuck with the continuing of the verses, he would not have forced his incorrect understanding upon them. Sadly, this is the deception that missionaries like him must employ to appease his Lord. To rework and correct Sam’s argument, the true argument can thus be laid out as such:

  • Entering and being punished by the fires of hell is a sign of disgrace humiliation and shame.
  • Some Muslims will be disgraced because of their evil sins and bad deeds by the punishment of hell.
  • Therefore those evil Muslims will be shamed but eventually forgiven and sent to heaven.

In the second part of this article we will examine the case of Christians and their place in hell according to the Bible.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

[1] – “Will All Muslims Go to Hell”, Qur’an Contradiction, Sam Shamoun.
[2] – “The Quran on Muslims Entering Hell”, Sam Shamoun.
[3] – Qur’an 19:71.
[4] – Sahih al Bukhari, Book #93, Hadith #601. Sahih al Muslim (Ibid), Book #1, Hadith #377. Hadith Qudsi #36.
[5] – According to the Interpretation of Shaykh Salih al Munajjid, Islamqa. It is a must read in understanding this topic.
[6] – “Qur’an 19:71-72“, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, by Imam Ibn Kathir [alayhi rahma].
[7] – “Qur’an 19:71“, Tafsir Mar’iful Qur’aan, by Mufti Shafi Uthmani [alayhi rahma].
[8] – “Qur’an 19:71“, Tanwir al Miqbas min Tafsir ibn Abbas, allegedly by Ibn ‘Abbas [radi allahu anhu].
[9] – “Will the Believer Enter the Fire or Just See It?“, Seeker’s Guidance, Shaykh Gibril.
[10] – Qur’an 3:192.
[11] – Qur’an 3:191.
[12] – “The Quran on Muslims Entering Hell”, Sam Shamoun.
[13] – Qur’an 3:194-195.

11 comments

  • Very informative, here’s Dr. Shabir Ally’s answer

  • Jazakallah Khayr, he sums up what I wrote, I should probably add this to the article inshaAllaah.

  • Bro Ijaz thanks for the article . You should also include in the article the argument from the Arabic language .

    Many scholars who are well versed in Arabic say that the actual meaning of the verse, in line with the Arabic grammar should be like what iam mentioning below.

    The context of verse 71 starts from verse 69

    19:69 ” Then we will pick out from each group the most ardent opponent of the Most Gracious.”

    Here God says he will pick from each group of humans people who are most ardent opponents of God

    Then comes verse 70

    19:70 ” We know full well those who are most deserving of burning therein. ”

    In this verse God says he knows people who deserve burning in hell .

    Finally comes the verse in question

    19:71 ” Every single one of you must see it; this is an irrevocable decision of your Lord ”

    In this verse God says ‘ every one of you will see hell ‘ , every one of you in this verse means those people referred to in verse 70 i:e who are most deserving of burning in hell , NOT ALL HUMAN BEINGS .

    IN ARABIC THE VERSES 70 AND 71 are

    ٦٩﴾ ثُمَّ لَنَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِالَّذِينَ هُمْ أَوْلَىٰ بِهَا صِلِيًّا ﴿٧٠﴾ وَإِن مِّنكُمْ إِلَّا وَارِدُهَا ۚ كَانَ عَلَىٰ رَبِّكَ حَتْمًا مَّقْضِيًّا

    The noun comes in verse 70 , i:e those people who God knows are worthy of burning in hell.Then the pronoun comes in verse 71 ‘ وَإِن مِّنكُمْ ‘ i:e the pronoun refers to those in verse 70 not all human beings.

  • Hi Ijaz
    Does Allah need double payment for the sins of Muslims?

    Are these Hadith true? Is this what awaits Christians? Why isn’t spoken from the mouth of Allah in the koran but rather 200 years later through tradition written down by men who are not eye witnesses

    Abu Musa’ reported that Allah’s Messenger said: When it will be the Day of Resurrection Allah would deliver to every Muslim a Jew or a Christian and say: That is your RESCUE from Hell-Fire. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6665)

    Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Apostle said: No Muslim would die but Allah would admit IN HIS STEAD a Jew or a Christian in Hell-Fire. ‘Umar b. Abd al-‘Aziz took an oath: By One besides Whom there is no god but He, thrice that his father had narrated that to him from Allah’s Messenger. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6666)

    Abu Burda reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: There would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with AS HEAVY SINS AS A MOUNTAIN, and Allah would FORGIVE THEM and He would PLACE IN THEIR STEAD the Jews and the Christians. (As far as I think), Abu Raub said: I do not know as to who is in doubt. Abu Burda said: I narrated it to ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, whereupon he said: Was it your father who narrated it to you from Allah’s Apostle? I said: Yes. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037, Number 6668)

    432. Abu Musa al-Ash’ari reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “On the Day of Rising, Allah will hand over a Jew or a Christian to every Muslim and say, ‘Here is your redemption from the Fire’.” [Muslim]

  • Hi Henry,

    Nope He does not need anything. These ahadith are true, your understanding of them is not. I’ve explained this in detail in another post:

    https://callingchristians.com/2012/01/08/refutation-muslim-dawagandist-paul-williams-asks-a-question/

    In short:

    1. Everyone has either a destination in heaven or hell.
    2. Everyone will only end up in one of these destinations.
    3. If a Muslim enters heaven, then his place in hell is surrendered as there is no need for it.
    4. As more people enter hell, the places once held for those who went to heaven will be given to others.
    5. In this case, the place in heaven destined for the Jew or Christian is surrendered and given to a believer.
    6. Since this has happened, the disbeliever will occupy a place in hell.

    Also, as a Christian, do you not believe that I am destined for the fires of eternal perdition (i.e., hell?). So why do you have a problem if Muslims believe that disbelievers in their religion are going to hell? Don’t you believe that disbelievers in your religion are also going to hell? Hypocrisy and inconsistency is your modus operandi as it would seem.

  • Hi Ijaz
    I don’t have a problem with the hell issue what I do have a problem with is the idea of someone going to hell for my sins, in the bible Jesus says people will answer for what they have done and when the judgement is made he doesn’t say lets grab an unbeliever and throw them in hell in place of me.

    I am not being hypocritical or inconsistent as we both believe in hell but you believe the place in heaven for Christian who does not believe is taken by a Muslim and swap is made.

    I believe anyone can go to hell I don’t see myself above anyone God is no respecter of persons he will judge everyone.

    This is what I find quite strange you can believe an unbeliever can be a sacrifice or scapegoat for you in regards to hell,Yet you find it strange that Jesus can be a sacrifice for our sins.

    So are you saying that Muslims go to hell for a while and then leave and a Christian or Jew will take their place? Because it sounds like you believe in a type of purgatory.

    Where were the Jews and Christians going after they die 600 years before Muhammad turned up with his message?

    The only prophets I read about in the Koran are the Jewish ones and am I supposed to believe that they disobeyed Allah and started preaching their own thing?

  • Hi Henry,

    I suggest you read my comment again, and the post which accompanies it. For starters the ahadith do not say this:

    and when the judgement is made he doesn’t say lets grab an unbeliever and throw them in hell in place of me.

    They also do not say this, nor do we believe this:

    but you believe the place in heaven for Christian who does not believe is taken by a Muslim and swap is made.

    We also do not believe this:

    This is what I find quite strange you can believe an unbeliever can be a sacrifice or scapegoat for you in regards to hell

    No, we do not believe in one taking the place of another. At this point I have to conclude that you are either playing games or that you refused to understand what I have explained.

    So are you saying that Muslims go to hell for a while and then leave and a Christian or Jew will take their place? Because it sounds like you believe in a type of purgatory.

    Again, understand what I have said:

    You can either go to heaven or hell.
    I can either go to heave or hell.
    For each of us there is a place set aside for us in heaven and hell.
    If you we both go to heaven, then our places in hell are abandoned/ forsaken.
    If we both go to hell, our places in heaven are abandoned/ forsaken.

    No substitution has occurred, no one has swapped places. No one pays for the sins of another. In other words, if you go to either or, then your place in either or is vacated and what would have been your destined place, is nullified because your destiny has become certainty and someone else’s destiny has become certain and they will take up their destined place according to God’s divine will. You also said:

    Where were the Jews and Christians going after they die 600 years before Muhammad turned up with his message?

    Each Ummah is judged on their Prophet, his Sunnah and the revelation/ commandments given to him. So Prophet Moses’ people will be judged by his sunnah, and the Torah. Prophet Jesus’ people will be judged by his sunnah and his Injil. You also said:

    The only prophets I read about in the Koran are the Jewish ones and am I supposed to believe that they disobeyed Allah and started preaching their own thing?

    You are confusing Jewish as a religion and as a ethnicity. Most are Jewish by ethnicity, but Judah-ism, is the ‘belief of the people of Judah’. Moses himself nor any of the ‘Jewish’ prophets ever referred to their faith as Judaism.

  • There is more information in a report narrated in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad and the Sunan of al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah, where Abu Umaamah is reported to have said that the Prophet Muhammad sallalahu alaihi wa sallam said: “My Lord promised me that seventy thousand of my ummah will enter Paradise without being brought to account or being punished; with each thousand of them will be another seventy thousand, plus three handfuls of the handfuls of my Lord, may He be glorified.”

  • Pingback: All Christians will Enter Hell – Bible | Calling Christians

  • Sam Shame-on (May God’s Curse Be Upon Him) will surely know how all of this punishment will fall upon him when he will die. Only then he will understand that there is no contradiction in the Islamic text at all. I find it strange that how Sam Shame-on (May God’s Curse Be upon Him) misinterprets Islamic texts by taking them completely out of their proper context.