Are Non Muslims Going to Hell According to the Qur’an?

 

Surely, those who believe, those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians, – whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, and works righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Qur’an 5:69)

Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Qur’an 2:62)

They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord, and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.” (Qur’an 5:72)

Indeed, those who ungrateful-kafaru and die while they are ungrateful-kuffarun– upon them will be the curse of Allah and of the angels and the people, all together.” (Qur’an 2:161)

“Whoever is guided is only guided for the benefit of his own soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.” (Qur’an 17:15)

For We assuredly sent among every People a Messenger, (with the Command), “Serve Allah, and eschew Evil”: of the People were some whom Allah guided, and some on whom error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth).” (Qur’an 16:36)

“Have they not traveled through the earth and observed how was the end of those before them? They were greater than them in power, and they plowed the earth and built it up more than they have built it up, and their messengers came to them with clear evidence. And Allah would not have wronged them, but they were wronging themselves.” (Qur’an 30:9)

Surely, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after what the knowledge had come to them through transgression among themselves. Allah will be swift in reckoning with those who deny His revelations. If they dispute with you, say, I have submitted my whole being to Allah and so have those who follow me. And ask those who have been given the Book, as well as the unlettered, Do you submit yourselves to Allah in the same way? If they submit themselves to Him, they are on the right path; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the message. Allah is observant of all His servants.” (Qur’an 3:19-20)

We as Muslims take the Qur’an in total.  We look at verses within their immediate context as well as look at verses in light of other verses.  This helps give us an overall picture of what Allah (swt) is conveying to us.

 

There are usually two extreme views among Muslims.  I don’t think any of them find support in the Qur’an.

The first view is that anyone who has not heard of the message of Islam will automatically go to paradise.  -Those who didn’t hear about Islam will automatically gain paradise.

The second view is that anyone who has not heard of the message of Islam will automatically go to hell.  All non-Muslims will automatically burn in hellfire.

 

Addressing the first view:

First, Allah (swt) has already told us that a messenger has been sent to everyone.

For We assuredly sent among every People a Messenger.” (Qur’an 16:36)

Second, logically speaking to say that everyone who has not heard of the message of Islam clearly will automatically enter paradise would make Islam some type of curse. Wouldn’t it be better to not hear about Islam and enter into paradise without a doubt than to enter Islam and have that chance drastically reduced?

So let’s think this through. According to Islamic tradition, some 124,000 prophets were sent to mankind.  There is a period of purity and clarity in the message and teaching and then a period of distortion and corruption. Thus is it fair to judge the people of the period of ignorance for what the people did during the period of revelation?

“That was a nation which has passed on. It will have what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do.” (Qur’an 2:133-134)

 

“And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they say, “Rather, we will follow that upon which we found our fathers.” Even if Satan was inviting them to the punishment of the Blaze?” (Qur’an 31:21)

This verse is crystal clear that during the period of distortion and corruption or when no messenger was sent it was still likely for Satan to suggest things to their base selves that would lead them to hellfire.

“On a Day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them as to what they used to do.” (Qur’an 24:24)

This is a very powerful verse. It is not possible to punish people who do not what is lawful and prohibited as it concerns diet and many indigenous people in the past as well as present have no concept that nudity does not equate to shame.  How to properly perform prayers etc…

However, everywhere one travels on this Earth there is certainly an understanding of selfishness, injustice, cruelty, and malice towards others. One’s own consciousness is a witness against his/her self.

“So stand firm in the primordial nature upon what Allah has instilled in all people. There is no altering the creation of Allah; that is the upright religion but most of mankind know not.” (Qur’an 30:30)

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet,(saw), said, “No child is born but that he is upon natural instinct. His parents make him a Jew, or a Christian, or Magian. As an animal delivers a child with limbs intact, do you detect any flaw?” Then, Abu Huraira recited the verse, “The nature of Allah upon which he has set people,(30:30). Source: (al-Bukhārī 1292, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2658)

“Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian, but he was a “Hanif” (an upright man) who had surrendered, and not of the idolaters.” (Qur’an 3:67)

“We will soon show them Our signs in the Universe and in their own souls until it will become quite clear to them that it is the truth. Is it not sufficient as regards your Lord that He is a witness over all things?” (Qur’an 41:53)

These people can still come to the conclusion that Allah is one. Those among them will be judged based upon how they lived their lives in the same way Muslims will be judged based upon how we lived our lives. Human beings have been given intellect and with this intellect, a person would realize that they were created. As this Creator has created me it is a right of the Creator that I worship him. 

This is in regards to the Aqidah/Belief side.  When it comes to the Fiqh/Jurisprudence they are excused.

Those among them (non-Muslims) who committed shirk they will be in the hellfire.

 

“And the earth shines bright with the light of her Lord, and the Book is set up, and the prophets and the witnesses are brought, and it is judged between them with truth, and they are not wronged. And every soul shall be paid back fully what it has done, and He knows best what they do.” (Qur’an 39:70)

“And We will set up a just balance on the day of resurrection, so no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least; and though there be the weight of a grain of mustard seed, (yet) will We bring it, and sufficient are We to take account.” (Qur’an 21:47)

So these verses are sufficient to prove that.

  1. Allah has sent a messenger to every people.
  2. In the event of a period of corruption and distortion, the people will still be judged based upon what they have done.
  3. In the event of a period of corruption and distortion or no messenger received that Satan could still suggest to people to do vile acts of injustice, selfishness, and cruelty, etc..

Conclusion: Guidance is a blessing and not a curse. Guidance is both for serenity in this life as well as increases the probability of entering into paradise.

“Not equal are the blind and the seeing man, those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, and the wrong-doer. Little do you reflect.” (Qur’an 40:58)

 

Addressing the second view:

The following verses of the Qur’an are often quoted to support the second view.

Examination of (Qur’an chapter 3:85- 91)

The main thrust of the argument is in verse 85, however, what happens is that the verses are taken out of context and people do not continue to read the verses after verse 85

And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter, he will be one of the losers. How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their belief and after they bore witness that the Messenger (Muhammed) is true and after clear proofs had come unto them? And Allah guides not the people who are unjust. They are those whose recompense is that on them rest the curse of Allah, of the angels, and of all mankind. They will abide therein (Hell).l Neither will their torment be lightened, nor will it be delayed or postponed. Except for those who repent after that and do righteous deeds.

Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Verily, those who disbelieved after their Belief and then went on increasing in their disbelief  – never will their repentance be accepted. And they are those who are astray. Verily, those who disbelieved, and died while they were disbelievers, the (whole) earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom. For them is a painful torment and they will have no helpers.”

First point.

It is very clear in the context that those people Allah mentions going to hell in verse 85 are those who disbelieved after their belief. This verse is addressing apostate Muslims. Because the only people who could believe that Muhammed (saw) is a messenger are Muslims.

The context of these verses categorically states that it is in reference to the Muslims who leave Islam that they will be a loser. Those people will be in eternal hellfire. 

Second point.

Notice the part that says, clear proofs had come unto them.” Now obviously there are millions of people on this planet who have not even heard a clear message of Islam.

If we claim as we always do on our media programs that our religion is the most misunderstood than it becomes readily apparent that these same people cannot turn around and latch on to the proclamation that the non-Muslims will go to hell simply on the basis of being ‘Non-Muslims‘. Although they can still go to hell for many other reasons. Obviously ‘clear proofs’ have not reached such people.

Third point

With all the doom and gloom mentioned the context itself says, “ Except for those who repent after that.” 

That alone shows that verse 85 has a context that too many people ignore.

Conclusion: The verses above have nothing to do with non-Muslims. It is talking about Muslims who reject Islam. It is talking about apostates and that their reward in the hereafter is hellfire.

The verses that establish that Islam is the religion before Allah (swt)are the following:

Surely, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after what the knowledge had come to them through transgression among themselves. Allah will be swift in reckoning with those who deny His revelations. If they dispute with you, say, I have submitted my whole being to Allah and so have those who follow me. And ask those who have been given the Book, as well as the unlettered, Do you submit yourselves to Allah in the same way? If they submit themselves to Him, they are on the right path; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the message. Allah is observant of all His servants.” (Qur’an 3:19-20)

What is important is the above verses put the following verses into context. 

Surely, those who believe, those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians, – whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, and works righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Qur’an 5:69)

Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Qur’an 2:62) 

These verses are regarding the Jews, Christians, and Sabians PRIOR to the advent of Islam. After the arrival of Islam, those religions were abrogated. They are NOT valid vehicles of salvation any longer. So those Christians or Jews or Sabians who belong to the first group we mentioned at the beginning of the article if they enter heaven it is in spite of their Christianity, Judaism, or Sabian beliefs. It is certainly not DUE to those beliefs.   Any Jew, Christian, or Sabian that Islam has reached them and they have been given a clear presentation of Islam, and they reject it, they will be in the hellfire forever.

 

First point. The belief in Allah.  whoever believes in Allah

So let us think about that. This does not include the belief in many gods or polytheism. This is important because there are people who have good intentions but very bad theology. Omnism, Universalism, and some forms of Perennialism are examples of this.

In many cases, those who hold these views are the very theological tyrants they accuse those of us who uphold our faith traditions to be.

Often they will blur the lines between faith traditions. For example, I know many Hindus who do not want their faith to be identified with monotheism or watered down to make it a part of the ‘Abrahamic Tradition‘.  To force monotheistic theological views on their tradition is not only a gross misrepresentation of their tradition but a total disregard for it.

The second point. The belief in the Last Day. and the Last Day

So let us think about that. As these texts above are often used by interfaith conferences to play on the phrases, ‘Sabians‘ and ‘whoever’. There are obviously other traditions in this world that do not believe in the ‘last day‘. They believe in endless cycles of birth and death or as another tradition believes the cycle continues until one reaches nirvana and escapes this cycle.  It’s only disrespect of such traditions and not allowing them to define their beliefs on their own terms that one would desperately try and turn the ‘last day‘ into ‘the day one enters nirvana‘.

The Third point. Does righteous good deeds.

The fourth point. Does not die in kufr ni’ama- a state of ingratitude, doing major sins without the expiation or repentance.

The fifth point. They did not hear a clear explanation of the message of Islam in its current manifestation and then reject it.

The reason why these two verses above cannot be taken in general is due to the following:

They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord, and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.” (Qur’an 5:72)

Certainly, a great many Christians hold this view. So the above verses need to be understood in the context of what 5:72 is saying above.

Next, the verse says: “Whoever joins other gods with Allah,-Allah will forbid him the garden and the Fire will be his abode.” -This verse certainly rules out polytheism or any belief in multiple deities.

Next, the following verse makes it clear what is acceptable before Allah.

Surely, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after what the knowledge had come to them through transgression among themselves. Allah will be swift in reckoning with those who deny His revelations. If they dispute with you, say, I have submitted my whole being to Allah and so have those who follow me. And ask those who have been given the Book, as well as the unlettered, Do you submit yourselves to Allah in the same way? If they submit themselves to Him, they are on the right path; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the message. Allah is observant of all His servants.” (Qur’an 3:19-20)

  1. The religion with Allah is Islam.
  2. Allah is swift in dealing with those who deny his revelations, the Qur’an included.
  3. Do you submit yourselves to Allah in the same way? If they submit themselves to Him, they are on the right path.

 

 

“Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidence, and guidance, which We have sent down after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse. Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” (Qur’an 2:159-160)

We see very clearly from this verse that Islam is an evidenced-based way of life.

We as Muslims can not or should not make statements of certainty about our faith without being prepared to bring forth a proof, argument, justification, or evidence of that claim. I did not say there are no differences of opinion. I simply am saying that anyone who makes a claim should have some basis for it.

Otherwise, if you have no foundation upon which you make a case then anyone can say anything.

And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger”  (Qur’an Chapter 17:15)

How fair and just is our Lord and Creator? Subhan’Allah! (Glory be to Allah!)

Again this problem also comes about because of two huge theological errors not supported by the  Qur’an.

1 Many Muslims believe that just because we are a Muslim or wear the title of ‘Muslim’ that we will be guaranteed paradise.

2 Non-Muslims are all Kafir and thus are going to hell.

Addressing the first point. 

“O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of being Muslim.” (Qur’an 3:102)

status and station and condition 

People can die as a dentist or a lawyer. You can die single or married. These are all status.  You could also die while swimming, driving a car, or sleeping.  These are all states one could die in. You could die healthy or sick. These are all conditions.

So what Allah is asking us to die in a state of being Muslim.

There is a whole article written that rejects this claim that just because one is a Muslim they will eventually enter paradise.

https://primaquran.com/2020/08/03/the-position-of-the-ibadi-school-on-muslims-who-commit-major-sins/

 

Addressing the second point. Is it not true that all Non-Muslims are Kafir/Kufr?

Answer: The term Kafir is derived from an Arabic word kaf faa raa that is usually translated into English as “infidel” or “unbeliever.”

The word kāfir is the active participle of the Semitic root K-F-R “to cover“. As a pre-Islamic term it described farmers burying seeds in the ground, covering them with soil while planting. Thus, the word kāfir implies the meaning “a person who hides or covers”.

Use of the word kufr in the Qur’an to support the above assertion.

Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose plant growth pleases the tillers (kuffara) ; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except for the enjoyment of delusion? (Qur’an 57:20)

Another meaning of kafir is to be ungrateful to show ingratitude.

And when your Lord made it known: If you are grateful (shakartum), I would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful (kafartum) ,  then My torment will be severe. (Qur’an 14:7)

So here Allah (swt) contrasted gratefulness with kafar (ungrateful). He also again warned us that his ‘torment will be severe‘ for those who are ungrateful.

How is it you are ungrateful (takfurūna) to Allah? You had been lifeless, then, He gave you life. again, He will cause you to die. Again, He will give you life. And, again, you are returned to Him.” (Qur’an 2:28)

So when they ride in the ships they call upon Allah, being sincerely obedient to Him, but when He brings them safely to the land, lo! they associate others (yush’rikūna) with Him; being ungrateful (liyakfuru) for what We gave them. So let them take joy for soon they will know!” (Qur’an 29:65-66)

So with all these verses in mind, it should be known that in the Ibadi school we understand Kufr -as a denial of truth, covering up the truth, and ingratitude-either by one’s actions or inaction.

So in our view, anyone who associates a partner with Allah (swt) is a kafir-one who is ungrateful.

However, those Muslims who commit the major sins are also in a state of kufr ni’mah, and if they do not repent and reform themselves before they die they will be in hellfire forever.

Here is another passage of the Qur’an that is often misquoted.

“Say you, Who reject faith I worship not that you worship. And nor you worship that I worship. And I shall not worship what you worship. And nor shall you worship what I worship. For you, your way of life. And for me my way of life.” (Qur’an chapter 109:1-6)

Question for Muslims:


How do you reject something that has never been presented to you? Or how do you reject something that has not been presented to you with clear proofs, evidence, arguments?

I think some Muslims need to rethink some of the more widely held opinions. Of course, this blog has a comments section and I open to being refuted. In fact, if a fellow Muslim believes I am spreading false information about the faith it becomes an obligation upon them to refute and correct my errant ways.

 

Conclusion:

This article could have easily been titled,  ‘Are All Non-Muslims going to hell”.    The problem is that when we deal with absolutes we tend to make absolute judgments on the other.

I am sure there are people who are not Muslims that are going to hell. However, I am not going to believe this is simply because of their being Non-Muslim. I believe it is because of the lifestyle they choose to live.  I also believe that there are people who call themselves, “Muslims” who will be going to hell. Again because of the lifestyle they choose to live and the way they choose to treat other people. If they committed a major sin and did not repent they will die as a kafir (ungrateful disobedient one). 

I believe this entry has shown the fallacy in believing that just because a person has not heard of Islam it means a free pass into paradise. I also believe that this entry has shown the fallacy of believing that just because a person is a non-Muslim that they will automatically be going to hellfire.

and Allah knows best.

“He singles out for His mercy whomever He wills. His grace is boundless.”  (Qur’an 3:74)

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “Are Non Muslims Going to Hell According to the Qur’an?

  1. Omer

    Very thought provoking. Thanks much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s