Basic Definition:

Punishment is done for correction or as retribution for a wrongdoing.

Torture is done specifically to cause suffering with no good outcome.

The Issue:

As we know people who do sin will be punished by God in Hell. However, if you look at the concept, it's not punishment but a meaningless torture because the person will not have a second chance to avoid those sins, his suffering will not help him rectify his mistake in future which makes this act pure torture and not punishment.

Common understanding:

A common response is "People are already told about the future hell fire which makes it justifiable" but burning someone doesn't help them be more resentful to their past experience, specially when no one get's to see that punishment until after death, it's simple human nature & God is the creator of this nature so can't blame humans for it as explained in this picture:

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  • 2
    It is torture but not really meaningless for the torture is a direct consequence of vices and the sins committed by the person.
    – infatuated
    Mar 9, 2015 at 13:27
  • Also not everyone will spend in hell for eternity, many will suffer enough until they are purified provided they have some redeeming quality.
    – infatuated
    Mar 9, 2015 at 13:28
  • Not everyone but some will & no-matter how big the sin is you can not justify eternity of torture, it feels wrong and evil & What do you mean by purified? Can some one commit crime in Heaven for which he should be purified before going to it after torture? Mar 9, 2015 at 14:44
  • It really depends on the nature of sin. Sins such as rebellion against God and committing atrocities against other men will bring eternal damnation. But in case of believers who are generally inclined towards good but occasionally commit mistakes under the influence of their desires the suffering would be proportional to their sins and would last only so long until they are purified from their vices before enjoying the rewards for their virtues and good deeds.
    – infatuated
    Mar 9, 2015 at 15:16
  • 1
    To be honest we can never justify punishment of hell
    – Makky
    Aug 8, 2016 at 12:09

3 Answers 3


Hell is neither punishment nor torture but is repayment.

Suppose you write an exam, and suppose you fail in it. The consequences thereof are because of your heedlessness, and you suffer with a low quality future. Or the right word is you just face the consequences whether it be suffer or enjoy(if you passed the exam). But as a bonus, you're being punished alongside i.e. so that you don't repeat it again(as long as you live). And that is because you still have some future left where in you can decide.


You're viewing hell from a wrong angle. It is not

people who do sin will be punished by God in hell.

But it is

People who are heedless will face the consequences(good/paradise or bad/hell) accordingly.

No picture of the word torture. And also, no picture of punishment too. Because, as in your exam which you failed, you are punished because you've a future ahead which you can decide for yourself. But, once, that privilege is taken away from you, i.e. in hell, there is no future....

because he loves us he might not actually put us in hell but he just and wants to scare us because there is no future in hell where you can decide and also God had to bring order to the chaos created by the will of man hence he had to bring the concept of hell into play and also to proof that he is not a liar he might actually burn people in hell for thousands of years or eternity for the sin they cannot commit again.

May the creator guide us all.

  • "Rape does emotional damage but so does burning in fire for 100's of years" yes and hence justified. Isn't it. "Adley ka badla" :) Mar 10, 2015 at 23:22
  • But "heedless people" are heedless because they are created that way by the Creator. Than why does Him punish them for being what they are? This is the point that the question is trying to make. See also: How can life be a Test if Allah is all-knowing?
    – user23913
    Aug 18, 2017 at 19:30
  • Also, how can eternal suffering be "repayment"? Who gains from such a thing?
    – user23913
    Aug 18, 2017 at 19:38

Its more like a torture, but not meaningless. It definitely includes retribution for a wrongdoing, but we can't say it includes correction for everyone.

Think about 3 criminals. 1 of them is a thief, 1 of them is a murderer and the last of them is both a murderer and a raper. Lets say according to the laws of this imaginary state, the punishments for crimes are as fallows:

  • 30 days of torture for thievery
  • Death penalty for murder
  • 100 days of torture for rape

Now, according to these laws, the thief must be punished with torture, but only 30 days, then he will be free. The 2nd prisoner must be executed. The 3rd prisoner must be executed too, but he must also be tortured before execution for 100 days for rape crime.

They knew the laws and punishments, still they committed crimes. Therefore, these punishments are not for their correction, but as a payment for what they had done. Because the deed is harmful, the payment is harmful too.

We can only say correction is exist in the case of the thief. But about other two, we can only say they are beyond correction now, and remember they were the ones who crossed the unreturnable line.

Just as this example, there are different levels of hell and different kinds of prisoners. Some of them will be punished for their crimes, will be repent, then they will be rewarded for their good deeds. We may say for those, there is a correction. But I believe, the real corrections for wrongdoings are in this world. The diseases, the natural disasters etc. They are the warnings, and the hell part is just a payment. About the other two, their suffering will be different, will be adjusted according to their crimes. They will repent too, but there will be no turning back for those. Because they crossed the red line willingly and they knew the consequences.


By the way, Allah doesn't lie. If he mentions about hell, there is a hell. Lying is one of the major sins in Islam. Allah doesn't behave opposite of he ordered.

  • 1
    Retribution in this context is pure vengeance (not punishment) & God himself doesn’t like vengeance and it’s a trait of evil. Even If I agree with you that retribution is important, it’s also about the intensity of torture, no sin done in a limited time can deserve an infinite amount of torture. Mar 13, 2015 at 8:10
  • 1
    They knew the laws and punishments: If I put a chocolate in front of a kid and tell him not to eat it and if he does I will put him in boiling oil until he dies does not makes the act justified. (Punishment is unjust because it’s much more than what the kid deserved). Mar 13, 2015 at 8:11
  • No point in torturing the person who is already sentenced to death. The only thing you can gain is creating fear in other criminals but this criteria doesn't exists in Hell & however the fear is put in to peoples before the occurrence of retribution & at the end the only reason God will burn peoples is to proof he doesn't lie. Mar 13, 2015 at 8:13
  • At the end there are either millions of peoples burning in hell OR a God that lied for better good, which one is more evil? Note: Evil & Sins are just words used for actions which cause pain to any living being in any way, physical, emotional etc. Mar 13, 2015 at 8:14
  • Man even if they knew the laws, they'll be blinded by the lust at that particular moment. The evil dominates them at that time, after they sin, when the satan leaves them, they realize that they've sinned, and hence they suffer. It's just a mere play of Satan. Mar 14, 2015 at 5:49

Hell and Paradise is nothing but our deeds -in their real faces.

On the Day when every person will be confronted with all the good he has done, and all the evil he has done, he will wish that there were a great distance between him and his evil. ... (3:30)

So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. (99:7-8)

As the Aya says, hell and paradise, and all those suffers and enjoyments described in Quran, are just the real face of our own deeds.

The following Aya makes it clear:

On the Day when that (Al-Kanz: money, gold and silver, etc., the Zakat of which has not been paid) will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them): "This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard." (9:35)

Yes. The fire, the hot metals and stones in hell, are not only equals or equivalents for our sins; They are exactly the sins itself. The same for paradise. For example, I steal some chocolates from someone's pocket. In this world, I eat the chocolates and it has a delicious taste to me. But when I die and then get back to God, I'll see the real face inside my action, and I'll realize what an evil my deed was, and this tortures me. Now it tastes so terrible, as Quran describes the hell and what is ate there.

This analogy might help: Imagine you are a lover of Physics science. Some day, you happen to be traveling a long way by train, and a man is sitting aside you. At end of the journey, you notice the man was the biggest physicist of all time, but it's too late and you no longer have access to him. If you knew who he was, you'd learn a lot from him, about his experience, his field, and so. Now that your eyes are open, and you see that you missed the chance, you are upset. You tell yourself "Why didn't I notice" and you feel a burn in fire of your own negligence. Hell is the same. You see your sins, and it's enough to burn in fire. Both mentally and physically.

Summary: God doesn't need to vent his anger on some poor people, neither doesn't need people to worship him. Hell and Paradise is nothing but our deeds as seen through an open, awake eye.

  • Are you trying to say the fire is just a metaphor and there wont be any physical fire in hell? "What do you mean when you say we will see our deeds as seen through an open, awaken eye." Will we be experiencing the other side of our sin.. i.e feeling the feelings of the guy from whom chocolate was stolen ? Mar 15, 2015 at 19:40
  • I'm sorry, "metaphor" was a bad word selection. I have to remove it from my answer. Physical fire does exist as well as mental fire (as Quran clearly says). But it's not something else than our sins. It's just another dimension of them. Back to chocolate thief: When he dies and then gets back to God, he can see the truth of his deed. Now he can "see" what a dirty job he did. Stealing others' effort. Making his God angry. Mar 15, 2015 at 20:24

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