Preface and Comparison with the Bible
One of the more significant differences between the Bible and the Qur'an is the emphasis placed on Hell. The Bible’s New Testament only mentions Hell fourteen times. None of the references contain a great deal of specifics. Even though the Qur'an is a shorter text than the New Testament, Hell is mentioned ninety-five times (repetitious verses are not covered in this collection of forty-seven verses). Mohammed often used references to Hell as a threat to those who would reject the Qur'an.
The Bible associates Hell with Gehenna, which was the garbage dump outside of Jerusalem where the trash constantly burned. It generally described it as a place of outer darkness, weeping and fire. The Bible proclaims that Hell is the inevitable end of people unless God rescues them. God loved the world so much that he came in Christ Jesus to suffer death and Hell as a substitute for all those who would accept his forgiveness and eternal life. One person rescued was the thief who was crucified next to Jesus. He simply defended the Lord against the mocking of the other criminal and asked to be remembered when Jesus came into his kingdom. The Lord Jesus promised him that they would be together in Paradise (Luke 23:39-43).
The Qur'an repeats the Biblical principle of a fiery Hell, but goes further to describe very physical aspects of torture. The specific details include beatings by angels and marching in chains. It gets so detailed that it contradicts itself at times. For example, it says that the only food in Hell will be “dari” or a bitter plant. Then the Qur'an states that the only food would be filth, and later it states that their food will be the fruit from the Zaqqum tree. Another conflicting portrayal has to do with chains. The lost will either march pulling a heavy load, be dragged through boiling water and fire, or linked together with others in a pit.
One of the main objections that Muslims have with the Bible is the free gift of forgiveness offered by God (Ephesians 2:8-10). The Bible reveals that the cross of Christ and the victory of his resurrection defeated the powers of Hell for those who believe, which gives them the motivation and ability to live for God. Muslims insist that the threat of Hell must always be in front of everyone, even Muslims, so that they will live good lives.
The Qur'an Says ...
Fill HellIf Allah had willed he could have given everyone true guidance, but the word of Allah is that he will fill Hell with men and genies (32:13, 11:119, 7:18).
FireThe wicked will burn in Hell (82:14). The fire is kindled by Allah and will be chest high, vaulted above them and surrounding them in columns (104:6-9). On the Day of Judgment, people will be shoved into the fire of Hell as they are told that it is the fire they denied existed and they will burn there as a result of their deeds (52:11-16).
DrinkThe unbelievers on Judgment Day will be given boiling water to drink (88:5).
FoodThe only food will be “dari” (a bitter and thorny plant which looks and smells bad). It will not satisfy their hunger (88:6). The only food will be the filth, which comes from the washing of wounds (69:36). Their food will be from the Zaqqum tree which grows on the edge of Hell with fruit resembling the devil’s head on which they will eat their fill, drink boiling water and be thrown back into Hell (37:62-68).
ChainsPeople will be made to march in chains seventy cubits long (69:32). Those that disagree with any of the Scriptures (Bible or Qur'an) that the apostles have been given will have shackles put on their necks and be dragged through boiling water and thrown into fire on the Judgment Day (40:69-72). They will be chained together and thrown in a narrow place where they will beg for death (25:13).
Mocking QuestionsThe sinners will be questioned by those in the garden Paradise, “What did you do to be sent to Hell?” The answer will be that they did not pray or feed the hungry, gossiped and denied belief in the Day of Judgment (74:40-46). The occupants of Paradise will mock those in Hell (7:44-50).
Never EndingThe torment will never stop nor will those in Hell ever be reprieved (16:85).
Beaten by AngelsWhen an unbeliever dies, angels carry off his soul as they beat him in the face and across his back saying, “Taste the torment of Hell’s fire” (8:50).
Rods of IronThe unbelievers will be whipped with rods of iron (22:21).