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Torture within Quranist Viewpoint (4): The Quranic Description of Torture/Torment

Torture within Quranist Viewpoint (4): The Quranic Description of Torture/Torment

Published in September 14, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy



1- It is known that the souls of human beings, in this transient life, that taste, sense, and feel torment/torture, and when souls no longer feel their bodies in cases of fainting or being anesthetized, the souls will not feel any pain or torment, because the frail bodies are the only  medium that would make souls be in touch with the physical world and its stimuli felt by the senses: hearing, seeing, and touching.    

2- Things are different in the Hereafter; souls will be without the frail bodies made of clay they used to wear on Earth. Souls in the Hereafter will wear eternal bodies made of the deeds performed within their earthly life. Thus, if these deeds were good, the souls will wear a body of light to enter Paradise to enjoy bliss and happiness for eternity. If the deeds were bad and evil, the souls will wear a body of eternal fire in Hell to be tortured and tormented for eternity.   

3- Hence, it is we who choose, on Earth with our deeds, our future in the Hereafter after the Day of Resurrection. Those who desire to enter into Paradise perform good deeds and preserve and maintain their monotheistic faith in God so that they earn the right to enter into Paradise, as God has promised them, and God does NOT break His promises: "...God will never break His promise." (3:9); "...God never breaks His promise, but most people do not know." (30:6). As for those who forget about the Hereafter and desire only to enjoy in this transient life and commit evil deeds, sins, and injustices, the wrong deeds committed by them will be turned into torment/torture in Hell, and the sinners will be turned into fuel and woods to Hell-Fire, on the Day of Judgment.  

4- In both cases, in Hell and in Paradise, souls will be within eternal bodies that acutely feel and sense everything for eternity as per the deeds done within their earthly lives. Dwellers of Paradise will enjoy their good deeds that turn into sheer bliss and pleasure, and they enjoy fruits of their good deeds first in this transient life: "Say, "O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord in piety. For those who do good in this world, is goodness..." (39:10). They will hear the following in Paradise: "...And it will be proclaimed to them, "This is the Paradise you are made to inherit, on account of what you used to do."" (7:43). As for sinners and disobedient ones, they will be tormented in this world and more in the next one in the Hereafter: "There is for them torment in the worldly life, but the torment of the Hereafter is harsher. And they have no defender against God." (13:34); "We will make them taste the lesser torment, prior to the greater torment, so that they may return." (32:21). Paradise dwellers will enjoy the bliss and pleasure because of their good deeds, whereas criminals and sinners will be tormented in Hell forever because of their bad, evil deeds: "But whoever brings evil - their faces will be tumbled into the Fire. Will you be rewarded except for what you used to do?" (27:90). Thus, deeds turn into bliss or torment forever, as our deeds on Earth are recorded by angels: "On that Day, no soul will be wronged in the least, and you will be recompensed only for what you used to do" (36:54); this will be said to everyone: "You will see every nation on its knees; every nation will be called to its Book: "Today you are being repaid for what you used to do. This Book of Ours speaks about you in truth. We have been transcribing what you have been doing."" (45:28-29).

5- God does not deal with anyone unjustly; dwellers of Hell have committed injustices toward their souls and the same applies to unjust ones smitten and destroyed by God's torment among ancient nations: "As for the sinners, they will be in the torment of Hell forever. It will never be eased for them. In it, they will be devastated. We did them no injustice, but it was they who were the unjust." (43:74-76); "These are of the reports of the towns-We relate them to you. Some are still standing, and some have withered away. We did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves. Their gods, whom they invoked besides Allah, availed them nothing when the command of your Lord arrived. In fact, they added only to their ruin." (11:100-101).

6- After this introduction to the Quranic description of torment in this world and the next one, let us provide some examples in the points below.


Firstly: repeated description of the torment:

1- The adjective (painful) is used several times in the Quranic text to describe the torment.

1/1: God has warned those believers who were reluctant to engage into self-defense fighting in Yathreb: "Unless you mobilize, He will punish you most with painful torment..." (9:39); this is repeated to those who were reluctant to attend Shura/consultation councils in Yathreb: "Do not address the Messenger in the same manner you address one another. God knows those of you who slip away using flimsy excuses. So let those who oppose his orders beware, lest an ordeal strikes them, or a painful torment befalls them." (24:63)

1/2: The adjective (painful) is used to describe God's torment when He had smitten evil disbelievers in this life; e.g., about the destruction of the people of Aad: "...In fact, it is what you were impatient for: a wind in which is painful torment." (46:24); the prophet Saleh warned his people against killing the she-camel: "...and do her no harm, lest a painful torment seizes you." (7:73).  

1/3: We find the same epithet in describing the torment of hypocrites and disbelievers in the Hereafter: "...The disbelievers will have a painful torment." (2:104); "Inform the hypocrites that they will have a painful torment." (4:138).

1/4: We find that the same epithet is used to describe the torment in this world and in the next; e.g., when God warns those who desire to spread sexual immorality in the communities of believers against painful torment in this world and in the next: "Those who love to see immorality spread among the believers - for them is a painful torment, in this life and in the Hereafter..." (24:19). We read this verse about the hypocrites: "...but if they turn away, God will afflict them with a painful torment - in this life and in the Hereafter..." (9:74). 

2- The same epithet is used to describe the torment in this world afflicted by disbelievers on believers; e.g., the people of one town said the following to their three messengers: "They said, "We see an evil omen in you; if you do not give up, we will stone you, and a painful torment from us will befall you."" (36:18). The Potiphar's wife had said the following to her husband about Joseph: "..."What is the penalty for him who desired to dishonor your wife, except imprisonment or a painful torment?"" (12:25). In some verses within one Quranic Chapter, we see the term (humiliating torment) as a synonym for (painful torment) within the same context; e.g., in the Quranic Chapter Two, we read the following: "...And there is a humiliating torment for the disbelievers." (2:90); "...The disbelievers will have a painful torment." (2:104). This indicates that the physical painful torment in Hell is combined with psychological torment of feeling disgrace, shame, and humiliation.     

  Another synonym for (painful torment) is (severe torment):

1- We read this verse about the torment of disbelievers in the Hereafter: "God has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. They will have a severe torment." (2:7); "And do not be like those who separated and disputed after the clear proofs came to them; for them is a severe torment." (3:105); "And do not be saddened by those who rush into disbelief. They will not harm God in the least. God desires to give them no share in the Hereafter. A severe torment awaits them." (3:176).

2- We read this divine warning addressed to contemporaries of Muhammad after the battle of Badr: "Were it not for a predetermined decree from God, a severe torment would have afflicted you for what you have taken." (8:68).

3- We read these verses about how God destroyed ancient nations of sinners and disbelievers: "And do not touch her with harm, lest the torment of a severe day seizes you." (26:156); "But they denied him. So the torment of the day of gloom gripped them. It was the torment of a severe day." (26:189).

 The same synonymy is repeated with the adjective (harsh) in the phrase (harsh torment):

1- This epithet is used to describe torment inflicted in this world by God on those affluent disobedient sinners who control and rule any given society: "There is no city but We will destroy before the Day of Resurrection, or punish it with a harsh torment..." (17:58). 

2- We find the same expression (harsh torment) is used in this verse about the last human generation that will witness the Hour and the destruction of the universe: "On the Day when you will see it: every nursing mother will discard her infant, and every pregnant woman will abort her load, and you will see the people drunk, even though they are not drunk - but the torment of God is harsh." (22:2).

3- Disbelievers are tormented first in this life; e.g., Qorayish tribesmen were tormented twice, and one time was harsher than the first one, as we infer from this verse: "We have already gripped them with torment, but they did not surrender to their Lord, nor did they humble themselves. Until, when We have opened before them a gate of harsh torment, at once they will despair." (23:76-77).

4- The same epithet is used to describe the torment of disbelievers in Hell in the Hereafter: "...Those who have rejected God's verses will have a harsh torment. God is Mighty, Able to take revenge." (3:4).

5- And the same epithet is used to describe the torment of disbelievers in this world and the next one: "As for those who disbelieve, I will punish them with a harsh torment, in this world and the next, and they will have no supporters." (3:56).


Secondly: differences in descriptions of torment:

 Within our earthly existence, there is a limit/threshold to the feeling of pain by souls within our earthly bodies, if this threshold is passed, senselessness is reached as people faint (e.g., in a coma) and their souls enter into Barsakh and feel nothing; thus, torment in this life is momentary and temporary. This is why torment in this world and the next is described as severe, harsh, and painful. Yet, the different aspect in torment in Hell for eternity is that no coma/sleep or any sort of relief will occur to souls of the sinners as their torment will be relentless and reach unimagined degrees, severer and harsher than torment in this life. "There is for them torment in the worldly life, but the torment of the Hereafter is harsher. And they have no defender against God." (13:34); "We will make them taste the lesser torment, prior to the greater torment, so that they may return." (32:21). Let us provide more examples in the points below.

1- We quote the following verse about the corrupt clergy that stop believers from entering houses of worship, as their torment in the Hereafter is severer than their torment/humiliation in this worldly life: "Who is more unjust than him who forbids the remembrance of God's name in places of worship, and contributes to their ruin? These ought not to enter them except in fear. For them is disgrace in this world, and for them is a severe torment in the Hereafter." (2:114).

2- There is no penalty exacted by human beings on others in Islam for rejecting faith/belief, as this is a fabrication invented by imams of the Muhammadans; those who reject faith/belief and resort to disbelief are punished only by God, Who has told Muhammad the following: " O messenger! Do not let those who are quick to disbelief grieve you-from among those who say with their mouths, "We believe," but their hearts do not believe; and from among the Jews-listeners to lies, listeners to other people who did not come to you. They distort words from their places, and they say, "If you are given this, accept it; but if you are not given it, beware." Whomever God has willed to divert, you have nothing for him from God. Those are they whose hearts God does not intend to purify. For them is disgrace in this world, and for them is a severe torment in the Hereafter." (5:41).   

3- We read here about the penalty of terrorists (e.g., murderers and highwaymen) who attack the innocent, peaceful people, as God will inflict disgrace on them in this world and a severer torment in Hell awaits them in the Hereafter: "The punishment for those who fight God and His Messenger, and strive to spread corruption on earth, is that they be killed, or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or be banished from the land. That is to disgrace them in this life; and in the Hereafter they will have a harsh torment." (5:33). 

4- The aggressive polytheistic ones among the People of the Book are warned by God against disgrace in this world and the torment of Hell in the Hereafter: "...What is the reward for those among you who do that but humiliation in this life? And on the Day of Resurrection, they will be assigned to the most severe torment..." (2:85).

5- The same applies to those who reject God's Book, the Quran, to follow and adhere to misguiding hadiths/narratives, as their painful torment in Hell will be harsher and severer than we can imagine in comparison to their torment in this life: "Thus We recompense him who transgresses and does not believe in the verses of his Lord. The punishment of the Hereafter is more severe, and more lasting." (20:127).

6- Those who will suffer the worst type of torment in Hell are those so-called companions who were hypocrites among the Yathreb dwellers who lived near Muhammad and concealed their hypocrisy so as not to be exposed by the Quran; they feigned to be obedient and loyal and Muhammad never knew their real nature. Once Muhammad died, they became the caliphs who committed the two major, grave sins of Arab conquests and Arab civil war. God has warned those criminals with two types of worldly torment and then a severer torment in Hell in the Hereafter. This means they did not repent before their death; rather, they lived in corruption and disobedience after Muhammad's death and they deserve to enter into Hell for eternity: "Among the Desert-Arabs around you there are some hypocrites, and among the inhabitants of the city too. They have become adamant in hypocrisy. You do not know them, but We know them. We will torment them twice; then they will be returned to a severe torment." (9:101). 



 Anyway, God says in the Quran that He does not need to torment people if they believe in Him and be thankful to Him: "What would God accomplish by your torment, if you have given thanks, and have believed? God is Appreciative and Cognizant." (4:147). As always, God says nothing but the Absolute Truth.

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