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Are Heaven and Hell eternal?

Nothing is eternal except for Allah Almighty. Neither the human soul nor any human experience, be it of heaven or hell, is eternal in and of itself. Just as the human soul had a starting point before which it did not exist, it is only natural that it have an ending point after which it does not exist, except if Allah wills. Allah Almighty says:

How can you disbelieve in Allah? When you were without life, He gave you life, and then He will cause you to die, then restore you to life, and then to Him shall you be made to return.

(Surah al-Baqarah, 2:29)

If the human soul is given eternal life into the future, despite not having inherently eternal life in the past, then it is only a special favor of Allah Almighty; but it cannot be said that the soul has the inherent capacity of eternal life. The Promised Messiah as said:

The doctrine which the Quran teaches is that as God has created the soul, He also has the power to make it non-existent, and that the human soul is bestowed immortality by the bounty and grace of God, and not on account of any inherent quality of its own.

(Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 20, p. 372; Essence of Islam, vol. 2, p. 398)

Eternal life is only bestowed on the human soul because it loses itself in Allah Almighty. As Allah Almighty is eternal, so the soul is estowed a type of eternity as a result of its submission to and worship of the eternal being. The Promised Messiah as wrote:

As nothing except God is self-existing, so, nothing except God is inherently immune from destruction or death. As Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:

All things will perish except Himself (Surah al-Qasas, 28:89).

This means that everything will die except for the being of God, for He is above death. In another verse, Allah Almighty says:

All that is on it (earth) will pass away (Surah al-Rahman, 55:27).

In the verse:

He has created all things (Surah al-An‘am, 6:102).

God Almighty has used the word كل “all”, which expresses all-comprehensiveness, by which everything except Himself is included within His creation. Similarly, by using the word “all” in the verse:

All things will perish except Himself (Surah al-Qasas, 28:89).


All that is on it (earth) will pass away (Surah al-Rahman, 55:27).

He declares death to be inevitable for everything except Himself. Hence, just as the body suffers death as a result of physical disorganization, so, the soul suffers death through the spiritual qualities undergoing a change. However, people who die after they have given themselves up entirely to God are made to live again because of the identity between them and God, and their life is a shadow of the “life” of God.

(Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 23, p. 166)

This is why the Holy Quran has described the duration of heaven differently as opposed to the duration of hell. In the Holy Quran 11:107–108, Allah Almighty describes the duration of Hell with the following words:

They shall be in the Fire, wherein there shall be for them sighing and sobbing, Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, excepting what thy Lord may will.

(Surah Hud, 11:107-108)

About heaven, Allah Almighty says in the next verse:

They shall be in Heaven; abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, excepting what thy Lord may will—a gift that shall not be cut off.

(Surah Hud,11:109)

With the words مجذوذ غير, meaning “shall not be cut off ”, Allah Almighty describes a distinct difference between heaven and hell—hell is not eternal whereas heaven is. This has also been described in various ahadith. The Holy Prophet sas said:

Then Allah, Exalted and Great, would say: The angels have interceded, the apostles have interceded and the believers have interceded, and no one remains (to grant pardon) but the Most Merciful of the mercifuls. He will then take a handful from Fire and bring out from it people who never did any good and who had been turned into charcoal, and will cast them into a river called the river of life, on the outskirts of Paradise.

(Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 361)

Then Allah will finish the judgments among the people, and there will remain one man facing the (Hell) Fire and he will be the last person among the people of Hell to enter Paradise.

(Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 97, Hadith 64)
Updated on February 2, 2019

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