As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 6


19 Guardians over Hell-Fire as a trial for the desbelievers

Allah has set angels as guardians of the Hell-Fire and fixed their number 19 as a trial for the disbelievers.

‘And what will make you know exactly what Hell-fire is? It spares not (any sinner), nor does it leave (anything unburnt)! Burning the skins! Over it are nineteen (angels as guardians and keepers of Hell). And We have set none but angels as guardians of the Fire, and We have fixed their number (19) only as a trial for the disbelievers… and that those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) and the disbelievers may say, 'What does Allah intends by this (curious) example?' Thus, Allah leads astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And none can know the hosts of your Lord but He. And this (Hell) is nothing else than a (warning) reminder to mankind.' [Soorah al-Mudhaththir (74): 27-31] Thus, there are nineteen angels guarding the Hellfire; they guard it, preserve it, kindle it, and are entrusted with its affairs.

Some disbelievers said upon hearing the number of the guardian angels of Hellfire - as if to mock their number - that if he was to enter Hell-fire, he would fight them, over power them and escape from the Hell-fire. Allah has refuted them in this verse. Imam Ibn Katheer writes in his Tafseer, 'It is said that Abu al-Ashaddayn and his name was Khaladah ibn Usayd ibn Khalaf, said, 'O people of Quraysh! You defend me against two of them and I will defend you against seventeen of them.' He said this thinking himself to be very great. For they claimed that he achieved such strength that he would stand on a skin of cow hide and ten people would try to pull it out from under his feet, but the skin would be torn to pieces and still not be removed from under him.' [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan writes, 'And We have set none but angels as guardians of the Hellfire.' This means they will not be from among the humans. So, if this person claims that he is strong and that he is able to fight against a number of humans, he will not be able to fight against even one of the angels. Allah says, 'And We have set none but angels as guardians of the Hellfire.' This means, 'We did not make them humans or jinn.' …So they lie and seek to belittle this number. How can this great Hellfire, which contains all of these creatures, only be maintained by nineteen? Allah says, 'And We have not made their number (i.e. 19) except as a trial for those who disbelieve.' Therefore, no one knows the greatness of the angels and no one knows what Allah has with Him from armies in the heavens and the earth except for Allah. Neither these disbelievers nor anyone else knows.' [al-Eeman bil-Malaaikah wa-Athruhu fi-Hayatil-Ummah]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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