The Vast Extent of Hell
Hell is huge and vast and immensely deep, as is proven by several things:
(1) Those who will enter Hell are innumerable, yet one of them will be so huge that his molars will be as big as Mount Uhud, and the distance between his shoulders will be equivalent to three days walking. Nevertheless, Hell will accommodate the huge number of Kuffaar and evildoers who have existed throughout history, in spite of their huge size, and there will still be room for more, as Allah says in the Qur’an:
“On the Day when We will say to Hell: “Are you filled?” It will say: “Are there any more to come?” (50:30)
The Fire of Hell is like a mill to which are brought thousands upon thousands of tons of grain, which it grinds tirelessly until it is all done, then waits for more. In the hadith that describes the debate between Paradise and Hell, it says that Allah (swt) said to Hell, “You are My Punishment; I will punish in you whomsoever I will”. Both Paradise and Hell will be filled, but Hell will not be filled until Allah (swt) places His foot in it and it will say, “Enough, enough!”. Then it will be filled and its different parts will come closer to one another. Allah (swt) will not wrong any one of His Creation. Reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (ra) (Jaami’ al-Usool, 10/544). [See the narration from Anas in al-Bukhaari, Muslim and Mishkaat ul-Masaabeeh, 3/109 with a similar meaning].
(2) Another indication of its vast depth is the fact that a stone thrown from the top of Hell takes a very long time to reach the bottom. Muslim reports that Abu Hurayrah (ra) said:
“We were with the Messenger of Allah (saw) and we heard the sound of something falling. The Prophet (saw) said, “Do you know what that was?” We said, “Allah and His Messenger know best”. He said, “That was a stone that was thrown into Hell seventy years ago and it was falling through Hell until now”. (Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, Baab fi shiddat haar an-naar, 4/2184 no. 2844)
Haakim reports from Abu Hurayrah, and Tabaraani from Mu’aadh and Abu Umamah (ra) that the Prophet (Saw) said, “If there was a huge stone as big as seven khalifaat stones, and it was thrown from the edge of Hell it would fly through it for seventy years before it reached the bottom”. (Saheeh al-Jaami’ as-Sagheer, 5/58, no. 5124, Its isnaad is saheeh).
(3) The great number of angels who will bring Hell forth on the Day of Resurrection.
The Messenger (saw) described how Hell will be brought forth on the Day of Resurrection, concerning which Allah (swt) said,
“And Hell will be brought near that Day”. (89:23)
The Prophet (saw) said,
“Hell will be brought forth that Day by means of seventy thousand ropes, each of which will be held by seventy thousand angels.” (reported by Muslim from ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ud, 4/2184 no.2842)
We can only image the vastness of this terrifying creation that requires such a huge number of strong and powerful angels whose strength is known only to Allah!
(4) Another indication of the vastness of Hell is the fact that two great creations like the sun and moon will be two rolled-up bulls in Hell. at-Tahhaawee reports, in Mishkil al-Aathaar, that Salamah ibn ‘Abdur-Rahman said, “Abu Hurayrah told us that the Prophet (saw) said:
“The sun and moon will be two rolled-up bulls in Hell on the Day of Resurrection” al-Bayhaqi also reported this in “al-Ba’th wal-Nushur”, as did al-Bazzaar, al-Isma’ili and al-Khattaabi, with an isnaad that is saheeh according to the conditions of al-Bukhaari, who reported in al-Saheeh al-Mukhtasar, with the wording “The sun and moon will be rolled up in Hell of the day of Resurrection”. (Sheikh Naasir ud-Deen al-Albaani narrated this hadeeth in Silsilah al-ahadeeth as-Saheehah, 1/32, hadith no:124)