I find it difficult believing in a God who would create the possibility of eternal damnation/suffering for any created being/soul. I do believe that we reap what we sow though, and that we will live out the consequences of our choices/actions/ommissions, for and against our selves and others, for however long that will take; and it may well be a hellish experience, seemingly 'eternal' experience. Even in this life we can experience real degrees of pain, hellish type pain, from choices we make. Reincarnation and karma would make far greater 'sense', as much as any of these things can seem sensible to us, and would seem at least a tad more 'just,' than a place of eternal torment and suffering. Or even annihilation. It just seems that if eternal hell is possible, then 'evil', the pull of evil is greater, at least in some instances, than the call/pull/power of God's goodness and love, mercy and compassion. I find that the majority of people who believe in eternal hell, tend to believe everyone else is hellbound, except them. I think that perhaps a faith based in fear is not real faith at all. Maybe it is possible to 'reject' God, and choose eternal separation from that God. But I don't see how it can be possible for mere mortals, in this life, to choose to reject something they cannot remotely begin to really 'know' - certainly not in this one short lifetime anyway. You cannot wholly reject something you don't, can not, have not wholly know/n, it seems. This was an answer from a Muslim on Yahoo which seems to give more perspectives on Qur'anic possibilities for universal salvation. "Why do some Muslims believe Hell is eternal when.....? ...Islam clearly teaches that it is not forever ? For example... Allah says (7:156) 'I will inflict My punishment on whom I will; but My mercy encompasses all things.' If Allah's MERCY encompasses all things, despite His punishment, then shouldn't that mean that His Mercy will encompass those who are being punished in Hell? IF Hell is forever, then it would mean that Allah's Mercy does NOT encompass all things. Hazrat Omar (ra) states: "Even if the dwellers in hell may be numberless as the sand of the desert, surely a day would come when they will be taken out of it" (Tafsir Fath-ul-Byan, the Fathuo Bari, Durr-e- Mansur and Hadil Arwah of Ibn-i-Qayyum). and... "Verily a day would come over hell when there shall not be a single human being in it" (Kanzul Ummal Vol. VII, page 245; Fatah-ul-Bayan fi Maqasid-ul-Quran by Siddiq ibn Hasan). Also, Allah only uses the word "forever" (abada) in reference to Heaven but never ONCE in reference to Hell. 2 years ago Additional Details Ranoush - Good verses. But what of the verse where Allah says HIs Mercy encompasses his punishment? And what of Hazrat Umar (rz) saying that Hell isn't eternal? 2 years ago Ranoush - Also, check your translations 5:37 - the word is "lasting" not forever 2:167 - the word "forever" is not used again 4:168-160 - the arabic word is "long time" - not "forever" 72:23 - again, the arabic word is "long period" not forever My point exactly, a person may go to Hell for a very long time, but a long time and eternity are two different things. Allah never says "abada" about hell as He does many places for Heaven. 2 years ago Brother Isa - Study the arabic please. The words that are being translated as "forever" are "Khaledeena Feehe" - This is used in reference to hell and means "a very long time" However, in reference to Heaven Allah says "Khaledeena Feehe Abada" - which means "they will remain forever" As I said before, Allah uses "Abada" in reference to Heaven, but never in reference to Hell. Abada = Forever. Also, even if we were to accept that Hell is forever, then it would mean that Allah's Mercy does NOT outlast His Punishment, which is un true. His Mercy does outlast His punishment per His own admission. Go check your translation Brother, it is incorrect. The word Abada does not appear and hence translating the verse as "forever" is a gross mistranslation. 2 years ago Aside from the fact that your answer does not answer my question, you only further make clear that the point of you view that you hold that Allah cannot or will not forgive is against the teachings of Islam. Second of all, the Hadeeth and more importantly the Holy Qur'an make clear that Prophets can still come, as long as they are slaves of Muhammad (sa), and do not change the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. Third of all, do you have an answer to this question or no? 2 years ago Ranoush - good research. But that still doesn't provide an explanation for the quote of Hazrat Umar (rz). Of course he knew Islam better than I or you or anyone alive today. Why would he say that hell would be empty one day? He doesn't make any specific reference to believers. He just says people in general. Also Allah still says (7:156) 'I will inflict My punishment on whom I will; but My mercy encompasses all things.' Here Allah is specifically talking about how His punishment will come on who He wills, but even then, His mercy will still encompass it. How can His mercy encompass "all things" if He will send someone to hell for eternity? If that were the case, then it would mean His punishment encompasses His Mercy because His Mercy would not have been enough to eventually save the person from punishment. I will add one verse also which suggest hell could NOT be eternal : - Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, EXCEPT as your Lord please; surely your Lord is the mighty doer of what He intends. 11:107" ://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080613143831AAIf2uY Sometimes in life I have wished, and sincerely so, in my pain and anger, that a certain individual would 'burn in hell' for the things done. I could have sent him on a one way ticket there myself at times. But as the years passed, in time, I understood why he did what he did, why the child he had been, became the man who did what he did, and I was able to get past that and forgive. Mercy really is greater, because it's in mercy that we know real and lasting healing, and wholeness again. I realised in that in my anger, but 'for the grace of God' as it were, that I could have done things as 'bad,' and become no better than he had seemed to be. To have wished hell on this person was to wish hell for my self. Why we are told, 'judge not that you be not judged' - cause in judging others, we really do judge ourselves. I think the Qur'an says that when you kill one human being, you kill humanity. This speaks of a similar idea I think. If we can learn this lesson as human beings - how much greater is not God's mercy, compassion and understanding - having 'created' us, known/knowing us - being 'closer to you than your jugular vein'. i like to give an all merciful, compassionate and loving God the benefit of the doubt. I do believe mercy is greater than 'justice' because it is through mercy that we are truly healed, that all things are restored to wholeness, to what God intended. One thing for sure. We'll all find out one day. Or maybe there is a big nothing after this. If God exists, I'd think God would rather we wish the good for the sake of it, that it is its own reward; than for some reward later on. If life is a 'test' - that's the real 'test' - learning to be able to wish the good for the sake of it, even this life is all there is. To leave the world no worse for having been here for the short time we are here. As me granny always said, "What doesn't kill ya, makes ya stronger." I read some of that Tentmaker site and find it very interesting.