The philosophy of hell, and the reason it is created, is a common question in different cultures. Many people may wonder how the Merciful God can punish His creatures with such a variety of severe punishments in hell. The following points shall answer the question:
- Both the punishments and rewards in the Hereafter are direct results of man’s actions. They are examples of the law of cause and effect. For, one reaps what one sows. They are the reality of man’s actions in this world. In Chapter 66 Ayah 7 we read: “O you unbelievers, make no excuses this Day (the Day of Judgment) you are being requited all that you did.”
- Any law which is not binding will not be followed or executed. Such a law is, in fact, a pseudo-law and will not solve any problems. Imagine a state which is trying to provide security to its citizens without enacting any punishment law. There is no fine for any offence. Both criminals and righteous citizens are provided the same reward and facilities. No doubt, insecurity and injustice will prevail in such a city. This is the major philosophy of the conception of hell and heaven in Divine Religions.
Why an Eternal Hell?
Although not all of those who enter Hell will remain therein forever, there are some groups of people who will suffer in hell for eternity. The eternity in Hell is mentioned in the Quran more than 30 times. Here a question arises about the correlation between the action and the punishment. Let us assume a person has been a criminal for their entire life of 100 years. Is it fair for them to be punished eternally? The answer is, there are two types of punishments: contractual and natural. The contractual punishments are all types of civil fines which vary in different cultures and times. They are types of punishments that are agreed upon for certain offences. The natural punishment is the natural effect of any crime. For instance, prohibited speed in driving may cost two types of penalties for the driver. One is a contractual fine which may be some fiscal penalty and losing some points. The second type of penalty may be a fatal accident.
Religious punishments are also of two types. The Jurisprudential ones which are established for this life are similar to the civil contractual punishments, while the punishments in the Hereafter as well as rewards, are the natural punishments and rewards, for they are nothing more than the reality of deeds, good or bad.