The Intensity of Its Heat and the Vastness of Its Smoke and Sparks
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says:
“And those on the left hand – who will be those on the Left Hand? In fierce hot wind and boiling water. And shadow of black smoke, [that shadow] neither cool, nor [even] good”. (56:41-44)
This aayah includes all of the things that people avail themselves of in this world when it is too hot; these three things are: water, air and shade. But the aayah states that these three things will be of no help whatsoever to the people of Hell.
The shade referred to in the aayah “and the shadow of black smoke” (56:43) is the shade cast by the smoke of Hell. Shade usually makes one feel cool and comfortable, and people love to feel it, but this shade [in Hell] will neither be cool nor pleasant; it is the shadow of black smoke.
The Qur’an tells us that this shade is the smoke of Hell which rises above the Fire:
“”Depart you to a shadow [of smoke ascending] in three columns, [which yields] no shade of coolness and is of no use against the Fierce Blaze”. Indeed! It [Hell] throws about sparks [huge] as forts, as if there were [a string of] yellow camels [marching swiftly].” (77:30-33)
This aayah states that the smoke that rises from Hell is so great that it is divided into three columns. It gives shade, but it is not cooling and it offers no protection from the Raging Fire. The sparks that fly from this Fire are like huge castles, and they are likened to yellow or black camels.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) explained how strong this Fire is, and how it affects the tormented:
“Soon I will cast him into Hellfire. And what will explain to you exactly what Hellfire is? Naught does it permit to endure, and naught does it leave alone! Darkening and changing the colour of man!” (74:26-29)
The Fire consumes all, destroying everything and leaving nothing untouched. It burns skin, reaching to the bone, melting the contents of the stomach and exposing what is innermost.
The Prophet (Salallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) told us: “ Fire as we know it is one-seventieth part of the Fire of Hell.” Someone said, “O Messenger of Allah (Salallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam ), it is enough as it is!” He said, ” It [the fire of Hell] is as if sixty nine equal portions were added to the fire as we know it.” (al-Bukhaari)
This Fire never dies down, no matter how much time passes:
“…whenever it abates, We shall increase for them the fierceness of the Fire”. (17:97)
The disbelievers will not taste the luxury of respite, and the torment will not be lessened for them no matter how long it lasts:
“Their torment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped”. (2:86)