gratifying or furnace like those in this world, with only this difference that the fire of hell is much hotter and bigger than any earthly fire or furnace, as may be inferred from some of the books of the Muslim 'Ulama. For instance, Mulla Muhammad Baqir Majlisi in the book entitled 'Ainu'l-Hayat, pp. 164-7, has described hell by saying that for thousand years one blew hell-fire. When it became whitehot it was blown for another thousand years. It then got red. Then it was blown for another thousand years, when it became black. He says that those in hell in place of water are given to drink of the sweat of the people of hell, and the filth and pus of adulterers boiling over in hell-pots, and that hellish exuded matter at the approach of which their mouths burn and the skin and flesh of their faces fall off into it. When they drink it, their livers and intestines, etc., are rent in pieces and fall out. He says also that, on the necks of the people in hell, they put hot chains of huge fetters, each seventy yards long. When the people of hell enter hell, for seventy years they strive to mount upwards, and, when they reach its edge, angels strike them on the necks with iron clubs and hurl them back into the depths of hell. He declares that in hell there are wondrous and enormous snakes and scorpions which gnaw the people of hell and cause them awful pain; and that on their feet there will be fiery shoes, the heat of which will cause their brains to boil. Everything


else which that book contains on the subject of hell is similar. In the Mishkatu'l Masabih1 too in the 'Description of Hell and its Inhabitants,' a similar account is given. In short we learn from these descriptions and others like them that Muslims are taught that all the punishments of hell are material and physical. But, since the spirit is immaterial and is not a fleshly body, and since we are not told that the bodies of the evildoers on the resurrection day will be like man's present perishable body, but are led by the holy Scriptures to suppose that they will be spiritual bodies, it is difficult to think that their punishment in hell will be produced by such fire as exists on earth. Of course, we know too little about the matter to dogmatize, but it is probable that fire is mentioned in the verses which we have already quoted for two reasons: firstly to teach us that the finally impenitent will suffer pain as severe as that which fire causes on earth; and secondly to teach us that, just as fire in olden days used to burn and destroy the bodies of criminals cast into the valley of Hinnom outside the city of Jerusalem, so those who finally reject the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ will suffer eternal destruction.2

From what has up to this point been said, honoured reader, it is clear how evil a thing sin is and how bad and how terrible its results and its

1 pp. 494-7, Haidari Press, Bombay, A.H. 1295. 2 2 Thess. i. 9.