Non-Muslims who are sincere and good at heart may be endowed with God’s grace and enter heaven. Non-Muslims who arrogantly reject Islam while knowing the truth may enter hell.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel!
This lesson may perhaps be the most important topic for a convert to Islam. For those of us who reverted to Islam, many of our family members, if not all of them, are non-Muslims.
A pressing question that comes to mind is the following: if my family doesn’t convert to Islam, does that mean that they will go to hell?
What if I talk to them about Islam and they refuse to convert, will they go to hell?
We are aware that often times black and white answers are given and they tend to be quite alienating. One the one hand, they don’t take into account the gray areas involved in this subject, and on the other, they ignore the fact that God is the only sovereign entity who decides who goes to hell and who doesn’t, so this is not something that can be decided by armchair theorists.
In this lesson, we will discuss the school of Ahl al-Bayt’s (as) view on the subject on the status of non-Muslims in hell.
BODY OF TEXT
O you who have believed, do not put [yourselves] before Allah and His Messenger but fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (Chapter 49, verse 1 of the Holy Qur’an)
A common pain that reverts are usually faced with is loneliness. Many, if not all of their family members, often reject their faith.
Despite this, they see many of their family members as good and decent people, and it is sometimes hard to hear from some Muslims that all non-Muslims will necessarily go to hell.
This raises a few important questions, for example; what if the person just isn’t sincerely convinced? What if a person has never heard of Islam? What if all a person has heard of regarding Islam is just bad stuff and this person has no access to decent sources of information?
Furthermore, isn’t it unfair that some are born in Muslim families and others are not, yet the latter are expected to go to hell if they don’t do their “research” regarding the truth?
And how about people who are victims of their circumstances? What if a person is born in a village somewhere in the mountains of Tibet and has never heard of Islam? Or what about someone who was born in a family of drug addicts and a neighborhood that’s full of crime and is thus not in the right state of mind to figure out religious truths?
Islam teaches us that matters like these are not black and white, but gray.
The school of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) teaches us that there are two kinds of non-Muslims. One is called al-Jāhil al-Qāsir and the other is called al-Jāhil al-Muqassir.
Al-Jāhil al-Qāsir is a non-Muslim who either does not know about Islam, or is a victim of his or her circumstances which do not allow him or her to make proper decisions about the truth. A Jāhil al-Qāsir can also be a person who has had Islam presented to him or her in such a bad way that he or she rejects it.
As such, al-Jāhil al-Qāsir is someone who sincerely does not believe Islam is the truth. Rejection of Islam is not out of malice or spite or love of the world, it is an honest and sincere non-acceptance of the religion.
Such a person, according to the school of Ahl al-Bayt (as), if presented with the true and pure message of Islam, along with its true and intelligent proofs, would undoubtedly accept the religion yet his or her circumstances have not allowed it unfortunately.
In this sense, the Jāhil al-Qāsir, who is also sometimes called a mustaḍʿaf in the Qur’an (namely someone who is in a weakened position who cannot make proper decisions about the truth), is someone whom God may forgive and grant him or her heaven if the person lives in accordance with his or her spiritual nature or fitrah where he or she lives a good and moral life and keeps his or her heart and soul relatively clean. As such, Allah is just and He does not take people to task until the truth is manifest unto them.
Remember that this does not give a person the green light to just reject Islam and accept no responsibility for seeking the truth. God has given us an intellect and some resources. To the best of our abilities, we are still required to search. Taking the easy way out will get a person in trouble on the Day of Judgment and possibly send him or her to hell.
Al-Jāhil al-Muqassir is the very opposite of al-Jāhil al-Qāsir. He or she knows the truth, yet because of arrogance, malice, pride, love of the world, he or she decides to reject Islam. Such a person may find it very, very difficult to find himself or herself in heaven unless he or she is purified either in this world or at some point in the Hereafter.
So if a non-Muslim person goes to hell, it is usually a non-Muslim who is either guilty of evil or is a Jāhil al-Muqassir just like an evil Muslim who may be denied heaven and be sent to hell.
Before we leave you, we’d like to make the following point: notice here that we’ve used the word “may” a lot here. We do this because in the end, every single individual will be judged individually by God for his or her state on the Day of Judgment. Unless the Prophet (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as) or the Qur’an calls out a person specifically, or a person is so blatantly evil until the moment of his or her death that there is little doubt that he or she will go to hell, it is very difficult to try to guess what will happen on the Day of Judgment.
As seen in the beginning verse of this lesson, that is, Chapter 49, verse 1 of the Holy Qur’an, we really don’t know what is in God’s or the Prophet’s mind. So we should leave it up to Allah Himself to judge who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. As caring individuals, we should pray for the salvation and guidance of the good and bad people of this earth.
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
A person who rejects Islam while knowing it is the truth.
A person rejects Islam while not knowing it is the truth.
In the Qur’anic sense, it sometimes refers to someone who is in a weakened position who cannot make proper decisions about the truth.
Do non-Muslims go to hell?
Only God knows, but Allah is just. He only sends to hell people who are evil or who reject the truth knowingly.
Do all Muslims go to heaven?
No, Muslims who are evil may go to hell.
Does hell last forever?
Only for those who do not truly and sincerely want God’s love and forgiveness
Can a non-Muslim enter heaven on the Day of Judgment?
If the non-Muslim is spiritually pure and sincere, and accepts Islam on the Day of Judgment, God may let him or her enter heaven.
What can I do if my family doesn’t convert to Islam?
Be kind and pray for them.
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Faith and Reason by Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani