What kind of a fire is hellfire?

Now, let us listen to some other verses carefully:

“Has the story reached thee, of the Overwhelming (Event)? Some faces, that Day, will be humiliated, Labouring (hard) weary― The while they enter the Blazing Fire― The while they are given, to drink, of a boiling hot spring, No food will there be for them but a bitter Dhari Which will neither nourish nor satisfy hunger. (al-Ghashiya 1-7)

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following about hellfire:

“Hellfire was burnt for one thousand years. It became red. Then, it was burnt for another one thousand years and it became white. Then, it was burnt for another one thousand years. Now, it is black and dark.” (It was reported from Abu Hurayr. Tirmidhi, Muwatta)

“Hellfire is black and dark like night.” (Bayhaqi)

The Prophet (pbuh) asked Jibril (Gabriel) to describe him hellfire. He described it as follows: “Allah ordered the fire of hell to burn for one thousand years and it became red. Then, it burned for one thousand years and became yellow. Then, it burned for another one thousand years and became black. It is now black and full of darkness; it is scorching hot. If a person burning in it were shown to the people on the earth, they would faint and die due to its bad smell and terrible appearance.” (Ihya Ulum’id-Din)

Now, we will report a long hadith narrated by Abu Darda. Half of this hadith includes verses.  

"The people of Hell are exposed to hunger. It becomes equal to the level of the torture they are exposed to. They ask help against hunger. They are given some thorny plants that are not nutritious and that do not eliminate hunger. They ask for food again. This time, they are given some food that sticks in their throat. It is stuck there; it does not move forward or backward. Then, they remember that they used to drink water when something stuck in their throat in the world and ask for some drink. They are given boiling water in pots with iron hooks. When these pots are approached to their faces, they brand their faces. When the water enters their stomachs, it rips their stomachs to pieces… Those in the Fire will say to the Keepers of Hell, "Pray to your Lord to lighten us the Penalty for a Day (at least)!" The angels will say, "Did there not come to you your messengers with Clear Signs?" They will say, "Yes." They will reply, "Then pray (as ye like) but the Prayer of those without Faith is nothing But (futile wandering) in (mazes of) error.“ They will cry: "O Malik! Would that thy Lord put and end to us!" He will say "Nay but ye shall abide!" A’mash, one of the narrators of the hadith, says, “I was told that one thousand years will pass between the demands of the people of Hell from Malik and Malik's answer to them… This time, the people of Hell will talk to one another and say, “Let us Pray our Lord; there is nobody better than Him for us. They will beg as follows, "Our Lord! Our misfortune overwhelmed us, and we became a people astray! Our Lord! Bring us out of this: if ever we return (to evil), then shall we be wrongdoers indeed!" Lord will say, "Be ye driven into Hell (with ignominy)! and speak ye not to Me! The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Upon this answer, the people of Hell lose all of their hope; they start to sob, repent, beat their chests and tear their clothes.” (Tirmidhi, Jahannam 4)

O my soul! You have heard a bit about the state of the fire that sinners will be exposed to. You have learned about the thorny plants that they will eat and that stick to their throats. You have heard how they begged angels of Hell and God Almighty. You have heard our Lord say to them, "Never speak to me again!" O my soul! Will you still continue committing sins? Will you still insist on rebelling? Can you bear the torture you have heard about? You cannot even put up with hearing that torture. How will you put up with the torture itself? Can you imagine your regret if you die today? What you have heard is true. Allah's promise is true. Come on, repent, shed tears, ask for forgiveness and promise not to commit sins again. Our Lord is the Forgiver and the Generous. He will forgive our sins and accept us as His slaves…

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