In many religious traditions, Hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict Hell as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict Hell as an intermediary period between incarnations. Typically these traditions locate Hell under the Earth’s external surface and often include entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations include Heaven, Purgatory, Paradise and Limbo.
Other traditions, which do not conceive of the afterlife as a place of punishment or reward, merely describe Hell as an abode of the dead – a neutral place located under the surface of Earth. Modern understandings of Hell often depict it abstractly, as a state of loss rather than as fiery torture literally underground, but this view of Hell can, in fact, be traced back into the ancient and medieval periods as well. Hell is often portrayed as populated with demons who torment the damned. Many are ruled by a death god such as Nergal, Hades, Enma or the Christian/Islamic Devil (Satan or Lucifer). In Islam, the Devil does not actually reside in Hell.