A'raf (Arabic: الأعراف‎) is the Muslim separator realm or borderland between heaven and hell,[1] inhabited by the people who are evenly balanced in their sins and virtues. This place may be described as a kind of beneficent purgatory with privation but without suffering. The word is literally translated as "The Heights" in English. The realm is described as a high curtain between hell and paradise.[2] Ibn Kathir described A'raf as a wall that contains a gate.[3] In this high wall lived people who witness the terror of hell and the beauty of paradise. They yearn to enter paradise, but their sins and virtues are evenly balanced. Yet with the mercy of God, they will be among the last people to enter the paradise.[3] The Catholic scholar of Islam Louis Massignon believed, the christian concept of limbo was inspired by the Muslim interpretation of A'raf.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ An Exegical Study of Qur’anic Term Al-A`raf
  2. ^ Questions on Islam - Who are the companions of Araf, which is mentioned in the Surah Al-Araf?
  3. ^ a b The People of Al-A'raf
  4. ^ Cyril Glassé, Huston Smith The New Encyclopedia of Islam Rowman Altamira 2003 ISBN 978-0-759-10190-6 page 60