Narrative regarding God shall Fill Paradise and Hellfire in the Hereafter


روي أنه قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: اختصمت الجنة والنار إلى ربهما. فقالت النار: أوثرت بالمتكبرين والمتجبرين وقالت الجنة: ما لي لا يدخلني إلا ضعفاء الناس وسقطهم وعجزهم. قال الله تبارك وتعالى للجنة: أنت رحمتي، أرحم بك من أشاء من عبادي. وقال للنار: إنما أنت عذابي أعذب بك من أشاء من عبادي. ولكل واحدة منهما ملؤها. فأما النار فيلقون فيها أهل النار فلا تمتلئ وتقول: هل من مزيد؟ حتى يضع رب العالمين رجله عليها، فتقول قط قط قط فهنالك تمتلئ ويزوى بعضها إلى بعض، ولا يظلم الله عز وجل من خلقه أحدا. وأما الجنة فإن الله عز وجل ينشئ لها خلقا.

It is narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: [Once,] paradise and the hellfire presented their case in front of their Lord1: Hellfire said: I am preferred for the arrogant and the oppressing. Paradise said: What is wrong with me, no one enters me except the weak among people, their down trodden and their humble ones. God replied to paradise: You are [the manifestation of] my mercy. Though you, I bestow mercy upon whom I please2 from amongst my servants. Then, He said to Hellfire: You are only My punishment. Through you, I punish whom I please from amongst my servants. Each one of these two shall have their fill3. As for hellfire, people of deserving of it shall be thrown into it, but it shall not be filled and would [keep asking for more and] say: Are there any more?4 Till the time that the Lord of the Universe shall put His foot upon it5 and then it shall cry out: Enough! Enough! Enough! At this, it would be full to its capacity; its parts would contract towards each other6. God would not wrong anyone of His creations [and, thus, would not subject anyone unjustly to the punishment of hellfire]7. And, on the other hand, as for paradise8, God shall raise for it many creations9.

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General Notes:

  1. Such narratives are in fact an allegorical presentation of an important phenomenon. The prophets of God, as teachers for their people resort to such allegories to clarify phenomena in a manner that is most effective and creates a picture of the whole concept that is being explained in the minds of their addressees.

  2. i.e., according to My all-encompassing knowledge, wisdom, mercy and justice.

  3. i.e., on the Day of Judgment, both the paradise and the hellfire shall be filled with those who deserve to enter them.

  4. i.e., there shall be more than enough space in hell to accommodate all those who lived a life of transgression and arrogance.

  5. 'put his foot upon it' means to close it.

  6. This part of the narrative only implies that even after all those deserving to be thrown in hell are put in it, there shall still be enough space in it to accommodate more. At this God would close it down and bring its size down what would be required.

  7. i.e., to fill hell to its capacity, God shall not put anyone in it unjustly.

  8. Like hellfire, paradise too shall continue to have free spaces in it. God shall continuously raise creations to reside in paradise.

  9. The narrative creates an imagery of hellfire and paradise to teach the following points:

  • The arrogant and the oppressing shall be thrown in hellfire;

  • The weak and the humble servants of God, who strived to live their lives in submission to God shall reside blissfully in paradise;

  • Hellfire and paradise are the ultimate manifestation of God's punishment and mercy respectively;

  • Each of the two - hellfire and paradise - shall be filled with their respective inhabitants on the Day of Judgment;

  • God has created both hellfire and paradise to accommodate many times more the number of people that shall deserve to enter them respectively. No one should allow oneself to be deceived by the idea that either of the two shall not be able to accommodate the number of people that shall deserve to enter it;

  • God shall not subject anyone to the punishment of hellfire merely to fill it. On the contrary, when all those who deserve to be thrown into hell have been thrown into it, God shall reduce its size - contracting its sides - to only that which is only sufficient to accommodate its inhabitants;

  • In contrast to hellfire, because paradise is a manifestation of God's all-encompassing mercy, its size shall not be reduced. On the contrary, God shall continuously create new creations to reside in God's mercy.

Notes on the Text of the Narrative

This narrative or a part of it with some variations has been reported in Bukhariy (narrative no. 4567, 4568, 4569, 6284, 6949 and 7011); Muslim (narrative no. 2846, 2846, 2846, 2847, 2848 and 2848); Ibn Hibban (narrative no. 268, 7447 and 7477), Tirmidhi (narrative no. 2557, 2561 and 3272), Nissay's Sunan Al-Kubraa (narrative no. 7719, 7725, 7740 and 11522), Daarmiy (narrative no. 2849), Ahmad ibn Hanbal (narrative no. 7704, 8149, 8803, 9815, 10596, 11114, 11757, 11771, 12403, 12463, 13426, 13482 and 14000), Abu Ya`laa (narrative no. 1313, 3140 and 6290) and Abd Al-Razzaq (narrative no. 20893 and 20894). The preferred text is reported in Bukhariy's narrative no. 4569.

The words "اختصمت الجنة والنار إلى ربهما" (i.e., 'paradise and hellfire presented their case in front of their Lord') have been reported in Bukhariy's narrative no. 7011. In Bukhariy's narrative no. 4569, these words have been replaced with "تحاجت الجنة والنار"(i.e., 'paradise and hellfire argued mutually'); in some narratives, as in Nissaiy's Sunan al-Kubraa's narrative no. 11522, these words have been reported as "احتجت الجنة والنار" (i.e., 'paradise and hellfire presented arguments'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11114, these words have been replaced with "افتخرت الجنة والنار" (i.e., 'paradise and hellfire boasted').

In some narratives, as in Nissaiy's Sunan al-Kubraa's narrative no. 11522, the words "أوثرت بالمتكبرين والمتجبرين" (i.e., 'I am preferred for the arrogant and the oppressing') have been replaced with "يا رب، ما لي لا يدخلني إلا الجبارون والمتكبرون" (i.e., 'My Lord, what is the matter with me that no one enters me except the oppressing and the arrogant'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 10596, these words have been replaced with "يا رب، ما لها يدخلها الجبارون والمتكبرون" (i.e., 'My Lord, what is wrong with it, the oppressing and the arrogant enter it'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11114, these words have been reported as "يا رب يدخلني الجبابرة والمتكبرون والمملوك والأشراف" (i.e., 'My Lord, the oppressing, the arrogant, the kings and the nobles enter me'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11757, these words have been reported as "رب يدخلني الجبابرة والمملوك والعظماء والأشراف" (i.e., 'My Lord, the oppressing, the arrogant, the kings, the greats and the nobles enter me'); in some narratives, as in Ibn Hibban's narrative no. 7477, these words have been reported as "ما بالي يدخلني الجبارون والمتكبرون" (i.e., 'what is the matter with me, the arrogant and the oppressing enter me'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11771, these words have been reported as "في الجبارون والمتكبرون" (i.e., 'in me are the oppressing and the arrogant').

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 7011, the words "قالت الجنة: ما لي لا يدخلني..." (i.e., 'Paradise said: 'What is wrong with me, no one enters me...') have been replaced with "قالت الجنة: ما لها لا يدخلها..." (i.e., 'Paradise said: What is wrong with it, no one enters it...'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 10596, these words have been reported as "قالت الجنة: رب، ما لها لا يدخلها..." (i.e., 'Paradise said: Lord, what is wrong with it, no one enters it...'); in some narratives, as in Ibn Hibban's narrative no. 7477, these words have been reported as "ما بالي يدخلني..." (i.e., 'What is the matter with me, people enter me...'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11771, these words have been reported as "في ضعفاء الناس ومساكينهم" (i.e., 'in me are weak among people and their destitute').

The words "وعجزهم" (i.e., 'their humble') have been reported in Muslim's narrative no. 2846; in an alternative reporting in Muslim's narrative no. 2846, these words have been replaced with "وغرتهم" (i.e., 'their simple ones'); in some narratives, as in Nissaiy's Sunan al-Kubraa's narrative no. .7740, the words "وعجزهم" (i.e., 'their humble') have been replaced with a synonym "وعجزتهم".

In some narratives, as in Nissaiy's Sunan al-Kubraa's narrative no. 11522, the words "ضعفاء الناس وسقطهم وعجزهم" (i.e., 'the weak among people, their down trodden and their humble ones') have been replaced with "فقراء الناس ومساكينهم وسقاطهم" (i.e., 'the poor among people, their destitute and their down trodden'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 8149, these words have been replaced with "ضعفاء الناس وسفلتهم وغرتهم" (i.e., 'the weak among people, their low cast and their simple ones'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11114, these words have been reported as "الضعفاء والفقراء والمساكين" (i.e., 'the weak, the poor and the destitute').

In some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 8149, the words "أنت رحمتي" (i.e., 'you are my mercy') have been replaced with "إنما أنت رحمة" (i.e., 'you are only a mercy'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11114, these words have been reported as "أنت رحمتي وسعت كل شئ" (i.e., 'you are my mercy which encompasses to all things').

In some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 10596, the words "أرحم بك من أشاء من عبادي" (i.e., 'Though you, I bestow mercy upon whom I please from amongst my servants') have been reported as "أصيب بك من أشاء" (i.e., 'Through you, I target [for my mercy] whomsoever I please'); in some narratives, as in Tirmidhi's narrative no. these words have been reported as "أنت رحمتي، أرحم بك من شئت" (i.e., 'you are my mercy, though you I bestow mercy on upon I have pleased'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11771, these words have been replaced with "إنك الجنة رحمتي أرحم بك من أشاء" (i.e., 'you are paradise - My mercy - through you I bestow mercy upon whom I please').

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 7011, the words "إنما أنت عذابي أعذب بك من أشاء" (i.e., 'You are only My punishment. Through you, I punish whom I please') have been replaced with "أنت عذابي أصيب بك من أشاء" (i.e., 'You are My punishment, I target for My punishment whomsoever I please'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 10596, these words have been reported synonymously as "أنت عذابي، أصيب منك من أشاء"; in some narratives, as in Tirmidhi's narrative no. 2561, these words have been reported as "أنت عذابي أنتقم بك ممن شئت" (i.e., 'You are my punishment, through you, I avenge from whomsoever I have decided'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11771, these words have been reported as "إنك النار عذابي، أعذب بك من أشاء" (i.e., 'You are hellfire - My punishment - through you, I punish whom I please').

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 7011, the words "ولكل واجدة منهما ملؤها" (i.e., 'Each one of these two shall have their fill') have been reported as "ولكل واحدة منكما ملؤها" (i.e., 'Each one of the both of you shall be filled'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 10596, these words have been reported as "ولكل واحدة منكن ملؤها" (i.e., 'Each one from among you shall be filled'); in some narratives, as in Ibn Hibban's narrative no. 7477, these words have been reported as "لكل واحدة منهن ملؤها" (i.e., 'Each one of these shall be filled'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11771, these words have been reported as "ولكلاكما على ملؤها" (i.e., 'For each of the two of you [shall be people], till it is filled').

The words "ويلقون فيها أهل النار" (i.e., 'and people of hellfire shall be thrown into it') have been taken from Nissaiy's Sunan al-Kubraa's narrative no. 11522. Similar implication has also been reported in Bukhariy's narrative no. 7011.

The words "وتقول: هل من مزيد؟" (i.e., 'and it would say: Are there any more?') have been taken from Nissaiy's Sunan al-Kubraa's narrative no. 11522. Similar implication has also been reported in Bukhariy's narrative no. 7011.

The words "عليها" (i.e., 'on it') after "يضع رب العالمين رجله" (i.e., 'the Lord of the Universe would put His foot') have been taken from Bukhariy's narrative no. 4568. In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 6949, the words "عليها" (i.e., 'on it') have been replaced with "فيها" (i.e., 'in it').

The words "رب العالمين" (i.e., 'Lord of the Universe') have been reported in Bukhariy's narrative no. 6949.

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 6949, the words "رجله" (i.e., 'His foot') have been replaced with a synonym "قدمه".

In some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11114, the words "قط قط قط" (i.e., 'enough, enough, enough') have been replaced with a synonymous expression "قدي قدي".

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 7011, the words "ويزوى بعضها إلى بعض" (i.e., 'its parts would contract towards each other') have been replaced with "ويرد بعضها إلى بعض" (i.e., 'its parts would return to each other'); in some narratives, as in Abd al-Razzaq's narrative no. 20893, these words have been replaced with "وتنزوي بعضها إلى بعض" (i.e., 'it would contract its parts towards each other'); in some narratives, as in Ibn Hibban's narrative no. 7448, these words have been reported as "وينزوى بعضها إلى بعض" (i.e., 'its parts would contract towards each other'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11114, these words have been reported as "فتزوي" (i.e., 'it would be satiated').

In some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 7704, the words "فأما الجنة، فإن الله ينشئ لها خلقا" (i.e., 'As for paradise, God shall raise creations to reside in it') have been reported as "فإن الله ينشئ لها ما يشاء" (i.e., 'For indeed God shall raise for it, what He pleases'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 10596, these words have been replaced with "فأما الجنة، فإن الله عز وجل لا يظلم من خلقه أحدا وإنها ينشئ لها من خلقه ما شاء" (i.e., 'As for paradise, God shall not wrong anyone from among His creation and He shall raise for it from His creation whatever He would decide'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11114, these words have been reported as "أما الجنة، فيبقى فيها أهلها ما شاء الله أن يبقى فينشئ الله لها خلقا ما يشاء" (i.e., 'As for paradise, its inhabitants shall remain in it till God decides that they remain in it, then God shall also raise for it creations that He decides'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 11757, these words have been reported as "أما الجنة، فتبقى ما شاء الله أن تبقى ثم ينشئ الله لها خلقا بما يشاء" (i.e., 'As for paradise, it shall exist till God decides for it to exist, then God shall raise for it creations that He pleases'); in some narratives, as in Abu Ya`laa's narrative no. 1313, these words have been replaced with "وأما الجنة فيبقى فيها ما شاء الله أن يبقى ثم ينشئ الله لها خلقا مما يشاء" (i.e., 'As for paradise, people shall remain in it till God decides for them to remain in it, then God shall raise for it creations from what He decides').

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 7011, the words "فأما الجنة فإن الله لا يظلم من خلقه أحدا وإنه ينشئ للنار من يشاء فيلقون فيها" (i.e., 'As for paradise, [all those who deserve it shall enter it] for God does not wrong anyone of His creation. And He shall raise for Hellfire whomsoever He decides then they shall be thrown into it') have been reported, which, in the light of the other narratives, seems to be a case of a mix up on the part of some of the narrators of this saying.

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 4568, the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said:

لا يزال يلقى في النار ويقال ﴿لجهنم: هل امتلأت؟ فتقول: هل من مزيد؟﴾ فيضع الرب تبارك وتعالى قدمه عليها فتقول قط قط بعزتك وكرمك. ويزوى بعضها إلى بعض ولا تزال الجنة تفضل حتى ينشئ الله لها خلقا فيسكنهم فضل الجنة.

'People shall be continued to be thrown into the fire and the hell shall be asked: Have you had your fill? It shall [continue to] reply: Are there any more? Then the Lord shall put His foot on it, after which it shall cry out: Enough! Enough! By your honor and your grace. Its parts shall contract towards each other. And [on the other hand,] there shall continue to be free space in paradise till God raises another creation. Then He shall reside them in the free space of paradise.'

The words "لا يزال يلقى في النار" (i.e., 'people shall be continued to be thrown into the fire') have been reported in Bukhariy's narrative no. 6949.

In some narratives, as in Muslim's narrative no. 2484, the words "لا يزال يلقى في النار" (i.e., 'people shall be continued to be thrown into the fire') have been reported as "لا تزال جهنم يلقى فيها" (i.e., 'In hellfire people shall be continued to be thrown'); in some narratives, as in Tirmidhi's narrative no. 3272, these words have been replaced with "لا تزال جهنم تقول: هل من مزيد؟" (i.e., 'Hellfire shall continue to say: Are there any more?'); in some narratives, as in Daarmiy's narrative no. 2849, these words have been reported as "يلقى في النار أهلها" (i.e., 'People of the fire shall be continued to be thrown into it').

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 4567, the portion "ويقال ﴿لجهنم: هل امتلأت؟ فتقول: هل من مزيد؟﴾" (i.e., 'and the hell shall be asked: Have you had your fill? It shall reply: Are there any more?') has been reported as "وتقول: هل من مزيد؟" (i.e., 'It shall say: Are there any more?').

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 4567, the words "فيضع الرب تبارك وتعالى قدمه عليها" (i.e., 'Then the Lord shall put His foot on it') have been reported as "حتى يضع قدمه" (i.e., 'till he puts His foot'); in some narratives, as in Tirmidhi's narrative no. 3272, these words have been reported as "حتى يضع فيها رب العزة قدمه" (i.e., 'till the honorable Lord puts His foot in it'); in some narratives, as in Daarmiy's narrative no. 2849, these words have been reported as "حتى يأتيها ربها فيضع قدمه عليها" (i.e., 'till the Lord comes to it and puts His foot on it'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 12403, "فيدلي فيها رب العالمين قدمه" (i.e., 'the Lord of the Universe hangs His foot in it').

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 6949, the words "قط قط" (i.e., 'enough, enough') have been replaced with a synonym expression "قد قد".

The phrase "بعزتك وكرمك" (i.e., 'By Your honor and Your grace') have been reported in Bukhariy's narrative no. 6949.

In some narratives, as in Bukhariy's narrative no. 6949, the words "ويزوى" (i.e., 'it shall contract') have been reported as "فينزوي" (i.e., it shall contract'); in some narratives, as in Daarmiy's narrative no. 2849, these words have been reported as "فتنزوي" (i.e., 'it shall contract').

The words "ولا تزال الجنة تفضل حتى ينشئ الله لها خلقا فيسكنهم فضل الجنة" (i.e., 'And there shall continue to be extra space in paradise till God raises another creation to reside them in the blessings of paradise') have been taken from Bukhariy's narrative no. 6949.

In some narratives, as in Muslim's narrative no. 2848b, the words "ولا تزال الجنة تفضل" (i.e., 'paradise shall continue to have free space') have been reported as "لا يزال في الجنة فضل" (i.e., 'in paradise there shall continue to be free space'); in some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 12463, these words have been reported as "لا يزال في الجنة فضلا" (i.e., 'in paradise there shall continue to be free space').

In some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 12403, the word "آخر" (i.e., 'other') has been added after "ينشئ لها خلقا" (i.e., 'God shall raise for it other creations').

In some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 12403, the words "فيسكنهم فضل الجنة" (i.e., 'then He shall reside them in the free space of paradise') have been reported as "فيسكنه في فضول الجنة" (i.e., 'then He shall reside it in the free spaces of paradise').

In some narratives, as in Ahmad ibn Hanbal's narrative no. 8803, besides other things, the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said:

يبقى أهل النار فيطرح منهم فيها فوج فيقال: هل امتلأت؟ فتقول: هل من مزيد؟ ثم يطرح فيها فوج فيقال: هل امتلأت؟ وتقول: هل من مزيد؟ حتى إذا أوعبوا فيها وضع الرحمن عز وجل قدمه فيها وزوى بعضها إلى بعض ثم قالت: قط قط قط.

'The people of hellfire shall remain in it, then another group from among them shall be thrown in it and the hellfire shall be asked: Have you had your fill? It shall reply: Are there any more? Then another group shall be cast into it and it shall be asked: Have you had your fill? And it shall once again reply: Are there any more? Till the time that they shall all be gathered in it, the Merciful shall put His foot in it and its parts shall contract towards one another and it shall cry out: Enough! Enough! Enough!'

(This write-up is prepared by the Hadith Cell of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi)

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 December 2010 23:07