Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i
MORE Q/A

Are all religious crimes of non-Muslims going to lead them to hell?

Question:
It is a general belief of Muslims that anyone who is a non-Muslim will burn in the hell-fire. But what if someone is a Jew or a Christian and believes in God?

Allah says in the Qur'an that He may forgive all sins except Shirk but some people have not received the message of Muhammad (SAW) properly so would their shirk be considered as serious as the shirk of Kuffar of Makkah?

Response:
The most relevant verse regarding who is going to the paradise and who is destined for the hell is the one mentioned in surah al-A'raf.
It says: "Indeed the one who believes and does good deeds -- We shall not hold anyone accountable beyond his capacity -- such are the people of the paradise; they shall dwell therein forever." (Qur'an; 7:42)

The verse is clarifying that people are going to enter the paradise on the basis of their faith and good conduct and goes on to state that God expects people to perform on both counts on the basis of their capacity. So in case of faith and conduct God will look at the circumstances of the individual before deciding whether he/she performed properly or not. An individual is going to be considered a criminal for not becoming a Muslim only if he didn't convert because of his vested interests. If he didn't realize that Islam was God's message, he wasn't even a criminal and therefore won't be punished. And only God can tell if a person knew or didn't know if Islam was His message.

The question of shirk will also be tackled on the basis of the above-mentioned principle. Shirk (ascribing partners to God) is a big crime like many others. In fact it is the biggest of them all. But the person doing a crime must realize that what he is an act of crime for him to be declared a criminal. I mean, if a person doesn't even know that he is committing a theft, for instance, he will not be considered a thief. And, again, only God can decide whether an act of crime was committed by an individual realizing it to be a crime or didn't even realise that it was evil or whether he felt embarrassed later after doing it or he made attempts to unfairly justify it.

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