Are Non-Muslims Going To Hell?

Are Non-Muslims Going To Hell?


Are non-Muslims going to hell?

Salaam alykum,

I do not know who is going to heaven, and I do not know who is going to hell. I do not pretend to have that information, for that judgment is for God and God alone.

I have a very strong aversion towards those who pretend to know (who goes where), and I feel that those who declare people are bound for hell or heaven display the ultimate arrogance in deciding who goes where.

However, based upon what God enumerates in The Qur’an, I would be inclined to believe that heaven is not only for Muslims, and by Muslims, I mean those who we associated with The Religion of Islam.

I hope that the distinction [I’ve made] is clear between what I believe about the afterlife, and [others] declaring people destined for a certain place in the afterlife.

You see, a Muslim, within the context of The Qur’an, is a far broader conception than we have today. When I say “Muslim” today, we think five prayers, zakat, Hajj, etc. However, the usage of “Muslim” in The Qur’an is far wider than we use it today, not just when you take into account linguistics, but also looking at the actual content of The Qur’an since Prophets who came before The Qur’an was revealed are described as Muslims, precisely because they submit themselves to God. Therefore, from this standpoint alone, we must realize that restricting heaven to only Muslims (as we understand it today) is our human inclination, and denies the links (between those who submit to God) enumerated and underlined by God within The Qur’an itself.

However, all that being said, let us focus on the question of the afterlife, because I have addressed how “Muslim” is a very wide term in The Qur’an before, and I’d like to try and be concise with this answer, insha Allah.

So, let’s go to The Qur’an:

“(128) [And] it is in no wise for thee [O Prophet] to decide whether He shall accept their repentance or chastise them – for, behold, they are but wrongdoers, (129) whereas unto God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth: He forgives whom He wills, and He chastises whom He wills; and God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.” [3:128-9] Muhammad Asad

These two ayat are very significant, because after the Battle of Uhud, The Prophet invoked God’s curse upon the pagan leaders of Quraysh, which is attested to in Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and by Imam Hanbal; when he was on the ground, severely injured, he exclaimed, “How could those people prosper after having done this to their prophet, who but invites them to [acknowledge] their Sustainer?” It was at this point that the two verses were revealed (according to Muslim and Imam Hanbal).

Think about it, The Prophet is injured and he’s not exactly in a “good spot,” and it is at that time, that God underlines that God is the only source of knowledge of who is truly repentant, and that it is God, and God alone, who will decide everyone’s fate.

So, from this standpoint, it becomes abundantly clear that God, and God alone, is The Judge of our destiny, and anyone else who thinks that they are able to determine whether someone is destined for heaven or hell is fooling themselves.

Furthermore, The Qur’an itself rubbishes the idea that only Muslims go to heaven, with the following:

“And, behold, among the followers of earlier revelation there are indeed such as [truly] believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon you as well as in that which has been bestowed upon them. Standing in awe of God, they do not barter away God’s messages for a trifling gain. They shall have their reward with their Sustainer – for, behold, God is swift in reckoning!” [3:199] Muhammad Asad

There it is, quite clear, and I’d like to underline the significance of this ayah, because God underlines that it is not simply those who are “Ahl al-Kitab,” but rather, anyone who follows God’s earlier revelations, which we (today) understand as only Christianity and Judaism, but, I believe that when you consider the following:

“Now every community has had an apostle; and only after their apostle has appeared [and delivered his message] is judgment passed on them, in all equity; and never are they wronged.” [10:47]

“Verily, We have sent thee with the truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner: for there never was any community but a warner has [lived and] passed away in its midst.” [35:24] This verse signifies that that while The Prophet has The Truth, all societies have had their warners, all of whom were mortals and who died.

“And never have We sent forth any apostle otherwise than [with a message] in his own people’s tongue, so that he might make [the truth] clear unto them;” [14:4]

However, The Qur’an also states, without ambiguity, that indeed Christians and Jews can earn their place in heaven:

“Verily, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians – all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds – shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.” [2:62] Muhammad Asad

It is within this ayah that we see that The Qur’an not only confirms that non-Muslims will be able to go to heaven, but it is within this ayah that we see the three components that are required for someone to go to heaven: believe in God, the Last Day, and to do righteous deeds.

This theme is repeated, constantly throughout The Qur’an:

“But unto those who have attained to faith and do good works give the glad tiding that theirs shall be gardens through which running waters flow.” [2:25]

“whereas those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds — they are destined for paradise, therein to abide.” [2:82]

“But those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds We shall bring into gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide beyond the count of time;”[4:57]

“Yet those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds We shall bring into gardens through which running waters flow,” [4:122]

“whereas anyone — be it man or woman — who does [whatever he can] of good deeds and is a believer withal, shall enter paradise, and shall not be wronged by as much as [would fill] the groove of a date-stone.” [4:124]

“God has promised unto those who attain to faith and do good works [that] theirs shall be forgiveness of sins, and a mighty reward;” [5:9]

I think I have made my point, but if you are still in doubt and wish to challenge me, please refer to: 10:9, 11:11, 11:23, 18:107, 22:14, 22:23, 22:50, 31:8, 34:4, 35:7, 41:8, 42:22, 45:30, 47:2, 64:9, 95:6.

There is no mention of belonging to a certain club, there is no mention of ensuring that you pray with your hands by your sides or folded, there is no mention of short pants or beard lengths, The Qur’an is abundantly clear on what is the requirement for heaven, but what I think is most important is this:

The Qur’an does not value belief over actions, it does not give you extra points for all the Sunnah stuff you do (alone), rather, it connects these two concepts, in that, your actions should reflects your acts of worship, otherwise, what is the point of the worship?

Again, I’d like to be clear that I do not know who will go to heaven and who will go to hell, and that I do not pretend to know what the “rubric” (if you will) that God uses, but, The Qur’an does state that non-Muslims will go to heaven, and it does state the requirements for salvation, and it seems that the door for repentance, for God’s mercy and grace, is limitless, and clearly up to God alone, and thus, while we do not know how God will judge on the individual basis, we can affirm that God has made His scope very wide, and that He has underlined this point in The Qur’an, not so that we may judge, rather, so that we may have the modesty to remember that we do not know and that only He does.

Insha Allah, I hope this answers your question, and that if you, or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other topic, please do not hesitate to ask me.

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