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Why Is the Word Jahannam (جهنم) Written Without the Al (ال)?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum. Why is the word Jahannam (جهنم) always written without the al (ال) in the holy Quran, although it is not indefinite?


Wa ‘alaykum assaalm wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

The word Jahannam is a proper noun. It does not need an ‘al’ to make it definite, similar to the word Makka. It is definite.

There is a difference over its etymological root. Some said it is an Arabised Persian word. Others said it is an Arabic word on the pattern فعنل. This is the stronger position, and, according to it, the word is derived from the word which means to frown or a word which describes a deep well. The nuances of anger and depth can be inferred from its contextual Qur’anic meanings.

In any case, we ask Allah to keep us as far away from it as possible. Amin. (Raghib al-Asfahani, Mufradat al-Qur’an, Mustafawi, al-Tahqiq).

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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