from time to time, a person may find himself in uncomfortable situations such as on a street corner piled with garbage, in a foul-smelling kitchen or in narrow, dark, dank places. for a believer, even dirty and distressing places have their purpose in creation. these kinds of places remind the believer of hell and of the misery in that place whose filth surpasses any to be found in this world. in the qur'an, allah reveals that the fire is a place of darkness, dirt and filth:
"it is indeed an evil lodging and abode." (surat al-furqan: 66)
and the companions of the left: what of the companions of the left? amid searing blasts and scalding water and the murk of thick black smoke, providing no coolness and no pleasure. (surat al-waqi'a: 41-44)
when they are flung into a narrow place in it, shackled together in chains, they will cry out there for destruction. "do not cry out today for just one destruction, cry out for many destructions!" (surat al-furqan: 13-14)
a person who remembers these verses will immediately pray that the lord will deliver him from the pains of the fire and will ask forgiveness for the things he has done wrong.
according to allah's description in the qur'an, the fire is a foul-smelling, constricted, noisy, dark, sooty, dank smoky place. there are even more dangerous areas within it and a scorching heat that penetrates the cells. the fire has the most disgusting food and drink. garments are made of fire and all its pains are uninterrupted. the fire is a place where the skin is burnt, a place from which people beg to be released and where they even want to die to avoid the pain, although they have already died and cannot die again. in some respects, the fire could be compared to the world as depicted in films after a nuclear war. however, the darkness described in these films cannot compare to the extreme filth and depressing environment of the fire. this is only a comparison and the fire is much worse and more terrible than the very worst place we could imagine in this world.
places in this world that are constricted, dirty, dark and hot are very trying for the human spirit. in the fire, this claustrophobic atmosphere is much worse. those in this world who had developed methods of protection from the heat will be helpless in the fire. it is hotter than the hottest desert, more depressing and dirty than the darkest dankest cell. as our lord indicates in the qur'an, the heat penetrates into a person's smallest cells. for the wrongdoers there is no protection or relief from the searing heat. along with this, in the fire, the senses are much stronger than they are in this world. in this world, most pains grow weaker after a while, wounds heal and even scars from a very serious and painful burn heal with time. a person feels the pangs of the fire continually and very painfully and this pain never ends, unless allah wills it to end.
in the following examples we can show another possible reflection on filthy uncared for places: a place may be dirty because of a person's forgetfulness or neglect. however, as soon as the believer sees this filth, he realises just how merciful allah is towards him and how wrongly he has behaved in return; he recognises that allah has given him an ideal place in which to live and that he is a guest in that place. because of this, he realises that he must protect every blessing given to him meticulously and show his thanks to allah in the work he does. otherwise, he will be acting in a way that does not earn allah's approval. a believer who is aware of this will immediately understand where he went wrong and so turn to allah; he will do the cleaning that has to be done, make up for his mistakes and not fall into the same error again.