My question relates to the punishment for shirk:

Indeed, they who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein. Those are the worst of creatures.
Qur'an 98:6

and the punishment for murdering a believer:

But whoever kills a believer intentionally - his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.
Qur'an 4:93

These two descriptions are almost the same. However, as I understand, shirk is considered the worst sin in Islam, even worse than murder. So it stands to reason that the punishment for shirk should be greater than that for killing a believer, but the above two ayat indicate they're the same.

Question: Is the punishment for shirk (Qur'an 98:6) the same as the punishment for murdering a believer (Qur'an 4:93)?


1 Answer 1


Hell is a big place. It has many levels just like how Heaven has many levels. This is one ayah that confirm this:

النَّارُ يُعْرَضُونَ عَلَيْهَا غُدُوًّا وَعَشِيًّا ۖ وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ أَدْخِلُوا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ أَشَدَّ الْعَذَابِ - 40:46

The Fire, they are exposed to it morning and evening. And the Day the Hour appears [it will be said], "Make the people of Pharaoh enter the severest punishment."

If there is a 'severest punishment' it can't be that all punishments are the same.

Furthermore there are many instances of the Prophet (SAW) describing the punishment of specific people and in general:-

"A man will be brought forth on the Day of Resurrection and thrown into the Fire. Then his entrails will be spilled out into the Fire, and he will be forced to walk around and around like a donkey in a treadmill. The people of Hell will gather around him and say, "O So-and-so, what is wrong with you? Did you not enjoin us to do good and forbid us to do evil?" He will say, "I used to order you to do good, but I did not do it, and I used to forbid you to do evil, but I used to do it." Then he will walk around and around like a donkey in a treadmill" (Bukhari)


Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu Alaihi WaSalaam) said, when his uncle Abu Talib was mentioned:"Maybe my intercession will help him on the Day of Resurrection, so that he may be put in a shallow part of Hell, with fire reaching to his ankles and causing his brain to boil" (Bukhari)


The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi WaSalaam) said, concerning the people of Hell:"There are some whom the Fire will take up to their ankles, others up to their knees, others up to their waists, and others up to their collarbones." (Muslim)

In conclusion, there is no reason to believe Hell is the same throughout, but rather it has specific punishments for specific people according to what they deserve. Allah is The Just. He will be fair and punish everyone accordingly (to a murderer his punishment and to a Mushrik his punishment). And Allah knows best.

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