First of all please keep in mind that I am not a scholar neither am I an expert in the Qur’an. Do I understand all of the Qur’an; certainly not. Do I have any problem with verse(s) in the Scripture? Sure I do. My doubt is not about the veracity of the Qur’an or the Bible but my doubt is about the veracity of my understanding. Since I rejected my religious leaders precepts that require blindly following the opinion of the scholars and clerics, and since I accepted the God Words as the only source of my religion, whenever I encounter a problem with my understanding of a verse, I follow the divine advice to act patiently in seeking knowledge (Qur’an 20:114, Jeremiah 33:3), ask the experts (Q. 21:7) without following them blindly (Q. 17:36), and know that God is the one who will teach me and ultimately provide explanation (Q. 75:16-19, Q. 2:186, John 14:26). I try to convey the best of what I know and if I make a mistake, please bring it to my notice...
Immortality of the soul
Let us see what the Qur’an says about the immortality of the soul.
We read in Qur’an 32:7
Qur’an 32:7 “Who perfected everything which He created and began the creation of man from clay.”
Qur’an 32:9 “Then He fashioned him and breathed into him of His Spirit; …”
Remember what the Old Testaments says:
Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
God promised eternal life (immortality) in heaven to the righteous:
Qur’an 15:45-48 “The righteous will be amid gardens and fountains of clear flowing water. Their greetings will be 'Enter ye here in peace and security. And we shall remove from their hearts and lurking sence of injury. They will be brothers, joyfully facing each other. There no sense of weariness shall touch them, nor shall they ever be asked to leave.”
Qur’an 50:32-34 [It will be said], "This is what you were promised - for every returner [to Allah] and keeper [of His covenant]. Who feared the Most Merciful unseen and came with a heart returning [in repentance]. "Enter ye therein in Peace and Security; this is a Day of Eternal Life!"
Life in Hell…
The sinner will become the citizens of Hell. Like the heaven or paradise described in symbolic terms too is hell. A man's Hell is within his own heart as in chapter 104:2-7:
Qur’an 104:2 Who pileth up wealth and layeth it by,
Qur’an 104:3 He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal.
Qur’an 104:4 No! He will surely be thrown into the Crusher.
Qur’an 104:5 And what can make you know what is the Crusher?
Qur’an 104:6 (It is) the Fire of Allah kindled,
Qur’an 104:7 Which leaps up over the hearts,
What kind of fire will leaps up over the hearts?
“How do you say goodbye forever? How do you say goodbye to children you have created, loved, gifted, blessed and dreamed about? It did not have to be this way but they still believe the lies about you. Wouldn't you want to take them in your arms one last time and tell them how you felt about them? And as they felt your heart, the realization brings torment unimaginable. This is the torment of Hell, the coals of fire, the torment of a broken relationship for which the pain of physical fire pales into nothingness” (God's Love in the Flames of Hell By Adrian Ebens)
After these wonderful words from Brother Adrian let us read again the Qur’an 104:6-7 “(It is) the Fire of Allah kindled, Which leaps up over the hearts,” It seems brother Adrian understood these verses very well even without reading them from Qur’an, while the Muslims who are reading the Qur’an are failed to got the meaning.
And we also see clearly from these verses that there will be NO immortal soul in hell. Verse 3 says “He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal.” Verse 4 says “No! (he will not be immortal but) “He will surely be thrown into the Crusher.” When he will be thrown into the hell and if he will be a live there forever then he is immortal. Even if its in the hell if he gonna live there forever then he is immortal. But the verse says, his wealth will not make him immortal. Eternal life granted to those who will enter the heaven only.
The word KHuLD (eternal, everlasting) is not used for Hell, but it is used as an adjective to describe Paradise (25:15). On the other hand the same adjective is not used to describe Hell, but to describe the punishment IN HELL (10:52; 41:28).
Remember Jonah. When he escaped from his duty he was swallowed by a whale. “But had he not been of those who glorify, he would have stayed in its belly to the day of resurrection.” (37: 143-144)
It is a fact that neither Jonah nor the whale was immortals that could live to the day of resurrection. God knows this. Thus, this Quranic expression simply informs us that Jonah would die or end up in the belly of the whale. Although both would perish in a short time, whale would be the ultimate destiny of Jonah until the day of resurrection. Had Jonah was not going to be resurrected (together with the whale, 6:38), using the same logic, the verse would state: “he would have stayed in its belly eternally.”
Similarly, verses informing us about disbelievers or idol worshipers staying in Hell eternally do not necessarily mean that the Hell is eternal, unless we are informed that Hell itself is eternal. It simply means that disbelievers and idol worshipers would end up in Hell and nothing else. If Hell together with its inhabitants one day ceased its existence, then the disbelievers or idol worshipers would have stayed in Hell eternally.
Qur’an 8:24 “O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to Whom ye shall (all) be gathered.”
From the above verse, it is fair to infer that those who reject the divine message will lose eternal life. Will they die in Hell? The answer is No:
Qur’an 20:74 “Anyone who comes to His Lord guilty will deserve Hell, wherein he never dies, nor stays alive.”
The verse clearly says “he never dies, nor stays alive” then, the alternative is obvious: total annihilation, ontological extinction together with Hell. After resurrection they will experience a period of diagnosis, justice, regret and then with the creation of a new earth and heaven (Q. 14:48), they will be hurled to non existence together with Hell.
God is Just and Merciful
The Quran repeatedly comfort us by reminding us God's perfect justice. Many verses provide us with a precise idea of God's justice and mercy:
Suffering in an eternal Hell creates a contradiction between this divine justice, since eternity can not be equal to an evil committed in during a limited life span of a human. However, eternal punishment in life time of a non eternal Hell avoids such a contradiction. After receiving an equivalent punishment the chief evil-doers like those referred in verse 4:48, will be eliminated from existence. They will end up in Hell and Hell will end up in nothingness.