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Names of Hell-Fire: Saqar

April 4, 2009



Allah azza wa jal describes the state of the Mujrimeen, the criminals, on the Day of Judgment:

يَوْمَ يُسْحَبُونَ فِي النَّارِ عَلَىٰ وُجُوهِهِمْ ذُوقُوا مَسَّ سَقَرَ

The Day they will be dragged on their faces into the Fire (it will be said to them): “Taste the touch of Saqar!” (54:48)

يُسْحَبُونَ, yushaboona, not only means to drag, but it means to drag someone out of disgrace. The criminals will be humiliated by being dragged on their faces–the most honorable part of our bodies and it will be said to them:

ذُوقُوا مَسَّ سَقَرَ, ‘taste the touch of saqar!’ The use of dhooqoo, taste, and mass, touch, show us how the people of Hell-Fire will be dealt with. When we think of ‘taste’, it gives us the connotation of perceiving and experiencing something slowly. How is this tasting different than akala, eating? It is said that tasting refers to a small amount of food while akal refers to a larger portion. So those in the fire will taste the fire: they will endure it bit by bit, slowly and painfully.

Moreover massa means to meet or touch or feel a thing with the hand, without any  interference. Massa also means strike, smite, and befall.

Imagine the difference of feeling the heat of an oven, and then opening the door and experiencing the heat directly on your face. The criminals will feel the fire directly, they will receive this torment first-hand in a slow and penetrating manner.

Saqar, which means to burn, is one of the descriptive names of Hell-Fire and it appears four times in the Qur’an.  Most of the names of Hell-Fire include the definition of burning, but the intricacies in the language show us that each name denotes a different type and description of fire or burning.

What type of burning does Saqar refer too?  The root meaning of Saqar means to injure and change the form of  something by heat and to scorch something.  Saqrah is used for extreme heat of the sun, which causes appearances to change; such as melting. Musmaqir means an intensely hot day and saqaraat, means the violent stroke of the sun. It is said: saqarathu ash-shams, the sun scorched or burned him.

The use of saqar gives two meanings:

1. Extreme heat that will cause alteration in the complexion and skin. (Have you ever received a sun burn?)

2. Extreme heat that will cause pain. (Have you ever received a headache after a long day in the heat?)

From this literal definition, we learn that saqar is extreme heat that melts, changes the nature and appearance of something and in particular changes the skin and surface, as well as extreme heat that causes pain and discomfort.

Allah azza wa jal asks us in Surah Muddaththir,

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا سَقَرُ

And what will make you know (exactly) what Saqar is? (74:27)

Then He ta’ala gives us the definition of Saqar:

لَا تُبْقِي وَلَا تَذَرُ

It spares not, nor does it leave! (74:28)

Saqar does not let anything remain: Everything that goes into this fire will be burned.

And it does not leave behind: This fire will affect everyone and no part of them will be left untouched by the fire.

Furthermore it is:

لَوَّاحَةٌ لِّلْبَشَرِ

Burning and blackening the skins! (74:29)

This Saqar is lawwaahah: laaha is when skin darkens due to exposure to heat, fire, and also from hard work and thirst. This fire will have a terrible effect on the skin of human beings, leaving their skins crisp and black. The structure of this word shows us the continuous effect of the Saqar, it not only burns once, but it continues to burn the skins again and again.

As if this description was not enough to strike fear into our hearts, Allah ta’ala ends these ayaat with a reminder:

عَلَيْهَا تِسْعَةَ عَشَرَ

Over it are nineteen. (74:30)

Upon it are 19 angels, stern and strong, who do not disobey the command of Allah azza wa jal.

Who then, can escape from Saqar?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2009 5:48 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, really powerful

    May Allah aza wa jal save us. amin

  2. April 15, 2009 10:40 am


    Very informative description.
    I would like to add that, according to secret knowledge of Quran, hell is not eternal, contrary to common belief.
    Please read the following article:

  3. April 15, 2009 11:49 am

    wa alaykum salam brother Gerard,

    Jazak Allahu khayran for stopping by.

    I don’t understand your logic, Allah says clearly in the Qur’an that “khaalideena feeha abada” they will abide therein (hell-Fire) eternally.

    Although there are some opinions of the past scholars that Hell-Fire will after a certain time disappear along with those in it, however this is a very minor opinion with no proof in the Qur’an or Sunnah. Allah knows best.

  4. Halimah permalink
    April 15, 2009 9:11 pm

    Assalaamu ‘alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu sis Amatullah.
    Jazaaki Allahu khairan sis for the post. If I just read the Quran and the translation I would not have got a clearer picture without the explanation. However I’m sorry to point out that the reference nos. you give for the verses don’t relate to the verses you give. Since I cannot read the arabic font clearly, I looked it up in the Quran. Only 54.48 is correct.

  5. April 15, 2009 9:22 pm

    wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu sister Halimah,

    Jazaaki Allahu khayran for pointing out that mistake, subhanAllah I did not even catch it!

    I apologize, it is fixed now, the surah is surah Muddaththir–surah 74. I must have mixed up the surah number with the number of ayahs in the surah. (surah Muddaththir has 56 ayahs)

    Jazaaki Allahu khayran again, may Allah increase you in goodness and beneficial knowledge, Ameen. 🙂

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