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Assad: 7 Gates of Hell

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.sufi,alt.islam.sufism
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Assad: 7 Gates of Hell (Re: What is an Islamic symbol? )
Date: 3 Jun 1997 16:32:04 -0700


>Just wondering if there is an official list elsewhere in Koran of what the 
>seven gates or  classes of sinners is in the context of those who put 
>themselves in the wrong and follow thee(Iblis)?.  Also more difficult 
>for me to understand is the statement of AllaH:
>"This is for me a straight path." .
> >
>>   "To it are seven Gates;
>>    For each of those Gates
>>    Is a (special) class
>>    (Of sinners) held." --- Qur'an 15:44 (Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation).

Sura 15 or Sura Hijr, according to Muhammad Assad (Leopold Weiss) in 
_Message of the Qur'an_
the title is derived from the mention in verse 80 of the Arabian region
known as al-Hijr, obviously suggested itself to the Prophet's Companion
because of many legends attached to that place-name and not a description
("rocky tract" or, according to some, "forbidden tract") is evident from
the fact that an ancient township of that name, long since non-existent,
is mentioned by Ptolemy as "Hegra" and by Pliny as "Egra".

About the Seven Gates, Assad in his notes wrote:
"Lit., "it has seven gates, [with] an allotted share of them for each gate."
This probably means "seven degrees" of hell, i.e. of the suffering which,
in life to come, awaits the "followers of Satan" in accordance with the
gravity of their sins (Razi; a similar explanation is given by Qatadah,
as quoted by Tabari.) It should also be remembered that the concept of
"hell" as such referred to in the Qur'an under seven different names, all
of them metaphorical (necessarily so, because they relate to what the
Qur'an describes as al-ghayb, "something that is beyond the reach of human
perception"): namely

  nar (fire, which is the general term)
  jahannam ("hell")
  jahim ("blazing fire")
  sa'ir ("blazing flame")
  saqar ("hell-fire")
  laza ("raging flame")
  hutamah ("crushing torment")

Since, as I (Assad) have mentioned, these designations of other-worldly
suffering are obviously allegorical, we may also assume that the "seven
gates of hell" have the same character, and signify "seven approaches [or
"ways"] to hell. Furthermore, it is well known in Semitic languages
-- and most significantly in classical Arabic - the number "seven" is
often used in the sense of "several" or "various" and so the above
Qur'anic phrase may well have the meaning of "various ways leading
to hell" -- in other words many ways of sinning.
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