I Need Guidance
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr Khalid Zaheer

Question: I am PhD student at CUNY New York. Recently I am struggling with a question posed by some colleagues as well as my 7 yrs old son. In our Islamic center, one guest Islamic scholar said that we have no right of saying that the ahl-i kitab are going to Hellfire. Let Allah decide who is going to Hellfire and who is going to paradise.

 One guy in the audience raised the point quoting from the Qur’an and Hadith literature that whoever do not believe in Prophet Muhammad (sws) and oneness of Allah will go to Hell, despite his good deeds, and this should be part of our iman. They started arguing with each other and some harsh conversation developed. Since then I am thinking on this issue. 

Will a classmate of my son, who is growing up in a typical Christian or Jewish family, going regularly to church or synagogue, getting all teaching from his parent, not receiving true message of Islam from anyone, will go to Hell?

 The colleague in the Islamic center replied to me that “these days there is no one who doesn’t know about Islam due to media and internet”. But I am wondering that majority of people are receiving negative news/views about Islam. If they didn’t receive the rue message, how come they are accountable?


Everyone is accountable to God Almighty on the basis of what he/she knows. “Allah doesn’t burden a soul more than what it can bear” (2:286).

Muslims are therefore going to be accountable for what they know about the message they acknowledge to be from God: Islam. Non-Muslims are going to be accountable, likewise, for what they honestly thought to be from God.

There are three areas of understanding about which, according to the Qur’an, all humans are informed a priori, to a lesser of greater extent: God, Hereafter, and good deeds. Therefore, the Qur’an says: “Indeed the believers [Muslims], the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabeans, whoever amongst them believes in God, Hereafter, and does good deeds, for him is a reward with his Lord: he will neither fear for the future nor would he have regrets for the past” (2:62).

What it implies is that if a person gets convinced that a certain message is from God, then it would be a part of the expectation from him that he submits himself before that message. If he wouldn’t do that, his belief in God would be questionable. However, we have no right to claim that a certain individual hasn’t accepted the message of God knowingly. It’s the All-Knowing God only Who can decide about it.

God Almighty has informed us that the people who chose to remain non-Muslims during the times of the prophets were kafir (the one who rejects God’s message despite knowing it to be from Him). All kafirs are destined to Hell. I don’t know whether non-Muslims of other times are guilty of the same crime or not, nor does anyone else know about it for sure. We should therefore not form any opinions on it. Our job is to understand the message of God, follow it, and present it intelligently to the non-Muslims. The rest should be left in the Hands of the Almighty, Who is the best of judge.

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