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Islam on the Afterlife

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(To the righteous soul will be said:) "O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! 
Come back thou to thy Lord,- well pleased (thyself), and well-pleasing unto Him!
Enter thou, then, among My devotees!
Yea, enter thou My Heaven!"
Qur'an 89:27 - 89:30


What does Islam teach about the Day of Judgment, Heaven, and Hell?


Islam teaches that after we die, we will be raised up again for judgment by Allah. On the Day of Judgment, all people will either be rewarded with eternity in Heaven, or punished with eternity in Hell. Learn more about how Muslims view sin and the afterlife, heaven and hell.


Day of Judgment

Among Muslims, the Day of Judgment is also known as Yawm Al-Qiyama (The Day of Reckoning). It is a day when all beings are raised to life again to face judgment and learn their fate.


The ultimate goal of all Muslims is to be rewarded with a place in Heaven (Jannah). The Quran describes Heaven as a beautiful garden, close to Allah, filled with dignity and satisfaction.


It would be unfair of Allah to treat believers and disbelievers the same; or to reward those who do good deeds the same as wrong-doers. The fire of Hell awaits those who reject Allah or cause mischief on the earth. Hell is described in the Quran as a miserable existence of constant suffering and shame.

Definition of "Jannah" (Heaven)

Definition: Heaven in Islam, described in the Qur'an as an eternal afterlife of peace and bliss, where the faithful and righteous are rewarded. They will be restful in the presence of God, in "gardens beneath which rivers flow." Jannah comes from an Arabic word which means "to cover or hide something." Heaven, therefore, is a place which is unseen to us.

The Quran describes that Jannah is "...a beautiful place of final return – a garden of eternity, whose doors will always be open to them" (Qur'an 38:49-50). Read more about how the Quran describes Jannah.

People who enter Jannah "...will say, ‘Praise be to Allah who has removed from us (all) sorrow, for our Lord is indeed Oft–Forgiving, appreciative; who has settled us in the house of lasting residence out of His bounty. No toil nor sense of weariness shall touch us therein" (Quran 35:34-35).

Pronunciation: jen-ah

Also Known As: Heaven, Paradise, the Garden

Alternate Spellings: jennah

Examples: All Muslims hope to enter Jannah, God-willing.


Heaven in the Quran

How is heaven (jannah) described?

Throughout our lives, we strive to believe in and serve Allah, with the ultimate goal of being admitted to heaven (jannah). We hope that our eternal lives will be spent there, so of course people are curious about what it is like. Only Allah knows, but He describes some of it for us in the Quran. What will heaven be like?

Islam - The Koran - Steve Allen

Pleasure of Allah

Of course, the greatest reward in Heaven is receiving Allah's pleasure and mercy. This honor is saved for those who believe in Allah and strive to live in accordance with His guidance. The Quran says:

"Say: Shall I give you glad tidings of things Far better than those? For the righteous are Gardens in nearness to their Lord... and the good pleasure of Allah. For in Allah's sight are (all) His servants" (3:15).
"Allah will say: This is a day in which the truthful will profit from their truth. Theirs are gardens, with rivers flowing beneath - their eternal Home. Allah is well-pleased with them, and they with Allah. That is the great salvation" (5:119).
Greetings of "Peace!"

Those who enter Heaven will be greeted by angels with words of peace. In Heaven, one will have only positive emotions and experiences; there will be no hatred, anger, or upset of any kind.

"And We shall remove from their breasts any hatred or sense of injury" (Quran 7:43).
"Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring. Angels shall enter from every gate (with the salutation): 'Peace be with you, that you persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final home!" (Quran 13:23-24).
“They will not hear therein ill speech or commission of sin. But only the saying of: 'Peace! Peace!'" (Quran 56:25-26).


The most significant description of heaven is as a beautiful garden, filled with greenery and flowing water. In fact the Arabic word, jannah, means "garden."

"But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is gardens, beneath which rivers flow" (2:25).
"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous" (3:133)
"Allah hath promised to Believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme felicity" (9:72).

Family / Companions

Both men and women will be admitted to Heaven, and many families will reunite.
"... Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female. You are members, one of another..." (3:195).
"Gardens of perpetual bliss: They shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring. Angels shall enter to them from every gate (with the salutation): 'Peace be with you because you persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final home!'" (13:23-24)
"And whoever obeys God and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom God has bestowed favor – of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions!" (Quran 4:69).

Thrones of Dignity

In Heaven, every comfort will be afforded. The Quran describes:
"They will recline (with ease) on Thrones (of dignity) arranged in ranks..." (52:20).
"They and their associates will be in groves of (cool) shade, reclining on Thrones (of dignity). Every fruit (enjoyment) will be there for them; they shall have whatever they call for" (36:56-57).
"In a lofty Paradise, where they shall neither hear harmful speech nor falsehood. Therein will be a running spring. Therein will be thrones raised high, and cups set at hand. And cushions set in rows, and rich carpets (all) spread out" (88:10-16).

Food / Drink

The Quran's description of Heaven includes plentiful food and drink, without any feelings of satiation or intoxication.
"... Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: 'Why, this is what we were fed before,' for they are given things in similitude..." (2:25).
"Therein you shall have (all) that your inner‑selves desire, and therein you shall have all for which you ask. An entertainment from Allah, the Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” (41:31-32).
“Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent forth (good deeds) in days past!” (69:24).
“... rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes...” (Quran 47:15).

Eternal Home

In Islam, Heaven is understood to be a place of everlasting life.
"But those who have faith and work righteousness, they are companions of the garden. Therein shall they abide forever" (2:82).
"For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath - an eternal dwelling. How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)!" (3:136).


Definition of "Jahannam" (Hell)

Jahannam is what Hell-Fire is called in Islam, described in the Quran as an afterlife of punishment and unhappiness. Wrongdoers and disbelievers will be punished with eternal fire and pain.

Jahannam comes from an Arabic word which has several meanings, including "a stern look," "darkness," and "storm cloud." Jahannam, therefore, is a place which is scary, dark, and unfriendly.

The Quran describes Jahannam using vivid imagery as a warning to those who disbelieve in God. It is described severely as a blazing fire, fueled by "men and stones," with boiling water to drink, and poisonous food to eat that settles in the stomach like molten lead. People will beg to have more time, to return to earth and live again, so that they may correct themselves and believe in the truth of the afterlife. Allah says in the Quran that it will be too late for such people.

"For those who reject their Lord is the Penalty of Hell: and evil is (this) destination. When they are cast therein, they will hear the (terrible) drawing in of its breath even as it blazes forth, almost bursting with fury. Whenever a group is cast into it, its keeper shall ask them: Did there not come to you a warner?" (Qur'an 67:6-8).

"As to those who reject Faith: if they had everything on earth, and twice repeated, to give as ransom for the penalty of the Day of Judgment, it would never be accepted of them. Theirs would be a grievous penalty. Their wish will be to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out. Their penalty will be one that endures" (5:36-37).

Islam teaches that disbelievers will spend eternity in Jahannam, while believers who did wrong during their lives will "taste" of the punishment but will ultimately be forgiven by Allah the Most Merciful. People are judged only by Allah, and they find out their fate on a day known as Yawm Al-Qiyamah (the Day of Reckoning).



Also Known As

Hell, Hell-fire

Alternate Spellings



The Quran teaches that wrongdoers and disbelievers will be eternally punished by God in the Fire of Jahannam.


Hell in the Quran

How is hell (jahannam) described?

All Muslims hope to spend their eternal lives in Heaven (jannah), but many will fall short. Disbelievers and evil-doers face another destination: Hell-Fire (jahannam). The Quran contains many warnings and descriptions of the severity of this eternal punishment.

Jahannam - Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Descriptions of hell (jahannam) in Islam always focus on fire, like this simulated fire in Liverpool, England in 2010. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Blazing Fire

The consistent description of Hell in the Quran is as a blazing fire which is fueled by "men and stones." It is thus often called "hell-fire."

"...fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones,- which is prepared for those who reject Faith" (2:24).
"...Enough is Hell for a burning fire. Those who reject Our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire... For Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise" (4:55-56).
"But he whose balance (of good deeds) is found to be light, will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit. And what will explain to you what this is? A Fire blazing fiercely!" (101:8-11).
Cursed By Allah

The worst punishment for disbelievers and wrongdoers will be the realization that they have failed. They did not heed Allah's guidance and warnings, and thus have earned His wrath. The Arabic word, jahannam, means "a dark storm" or "a stern expression." Both exemplify the seriousness of this punishment. The Quran says:

"Those who reject Faith, and die rejecting,- on them is Allah's curse, and the curse of angels, and of all mankind. They will abide therein: Their penalty will not be lightened, nor will they receive respite" (2:161-162).
"They are (men) whom Allah hath cursed: And those whom Allah Hath cursed, thou wilt find, have no one to help" (4:52).

Boiling Water

Normally water brings relief and puts out a fire. The water in Hell, though, is different.
"...Those who deny (their Lord), for them will be cut out a garment of Fire. Over their heads will be poured out boiling water. With it will be scalded what is within their bodies, as well as (their) skins. In addition there will be maces of iron (to punish) them. Every time they wish to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be forced back, and (it will be said), "Taste the Penalty of Burning!" (22:19-22).
"In front of such a one is Hell, and he is given, for drink, boiling fetid water" (14:16).
"In its midst and in the midst of boiling hot water will they wander round!" (55:44).
Tree of Zaqqum

Whereas the rewards of Heaven include plentiful, fresh fruits and milk, the inhabitants of Hell will eat from the Tree of Zaqqum. The Quran describes it:

"Is that the better entertainment or the Tree of Zaqqum? For We have truly made it (as) a trial for the wrong-doers. It is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-Fire. The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils. Truly they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith. Then on top of that they will be given a mixture made of boiling water. Then shall their return be to the (Blazing) Fire" (37:62-68).
"Verily, the tree of deadly fruit will be the food of the sinful. Like molten lead will it boil in the belly, like the boiling of burning despair" (44:43-46).

No Second Chances

When they are dragged into Hell-Fire, many people will instantly regret the choices they made in their lives, and will beg for another chance. The Quran warns such people:
"And those who followed would say: 'If only We had one more chance...' Thus will Allah show them (the fruits of) their deeds as (nothing but) regrets. Nor will there be a way for them out of the Fire" (2:167)
"As to those who reject Faith: if they had everything on earth, and twice repeated, to give as ransom for the penalty of the Day of Judgment, it would never be accepted of them. Theirs would be a grievous penalty. Their wish will be to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out. Their penalty will be one that endures" (5:36-37).



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