What is right after all?
Can a disbeliever be a denizen of paradise or a saint?
Mufti Muhammad Qasim Attari
Muslims having the sole exclusivity to salvation in the Hereafter is a fundamental tenet of the Islamic faith. While disbelievers will remain bereft of salvation in the Hereafter, no matter how many good deeds they do in the world. As an essential aspect of every believer’s creed, Muslims from the earliest period of Islam have unanimously accepted and echoed this belief. Yet, in today’s context, a handful of so-called Muslims and dissenters, propelled by liberal, post-modern, and secular ideologies, have questioned this beliefand can be seen writing against this very belief.
Typically, they will cite the achievements of a non-Muslim scientist or activist, for example, and conclude that their efforts must afford them Allah’s proximity, salvation, and sainthood, completely disregarding the fact that he is a non-Muslim. Allah Almighty, by His justice, has stipulated faith as a prerequisite for attaining rewards and salvation in the Hereafter. If a person does not fulfil this prerequisite, their good acts may be rewarded in this life with honour, wealth, fame, comforts, and other similar bounties. However, their good acts will neither avail anything in the Hereafter nor benefit them in the slightest.
Nevertheless, if Allah Almighty grants a person faith on account of their deeds, whether it be moments before death while we are unaware of it, then this is the will of Allah Almighty. However, the rule will be the same that the one who truly dies upon disbelief will enter Hell and will not receive rewards or salvation in the Hereafter.
I will now present some scriptural proofs which are explicit about this matter:
The Quran is clear that no religion except Islam is accepted in the Court of Allah Almighty:
وَ مَنْ یَّبْتَغِ غَیْرَ الْاِسْلَامِ دِیْنًا فَلَنْ یُّقْبَلَ مِنْهُۚ-وَ هُوَ فِی الْاٰخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخٰسِرِیْنَ(۸۵)
And whoever will desire a religion other than Islam, that will never be accepted from him; and he is amongst the losers in the Hereafter.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part. 3, Surah Aal-e-‘Imraan, Verse 85)
The actions of those who do not bring faith are null and rejected in the Court of Allah Almighty:
اُولٰٓىٕكَ لَمْ یُؤْمِنُوْا فَاَحْبَطَ اللّٰهُ اَعْمَالَهُمْؕ-وَ كَانَ ذٰلِكَ عَلَى اللّٰهِ یَسِیْرًا(۱۹)
These people have not accepted faith; therefore, Allah has nullified their (good) deeds, and this is easy for Allah.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 21, Surah Al-Ahzaab, Verse 19)
In fact, the one who performed virtuous deeds in a state of faith, they were accepted at that time due to his faith, however, if he later left Islam then his previous deeds are erased. Hence, it is stated:
وَ مَنْ یَّرْتَدِدْ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِیْنِهٖ فَیَمُتْ وَ هُوَ كَافِرٌ فَاُولٰٓىٕكَ حَبِطَتْ اَعْمَالُهُمْ فِی الدُّنْیَا وَ الْاٰخِرَةِۚ-وَ اُولٰٓىٕكَ اَصْحٰبُ النَّارِۚ-هُمْ فِیْهَا خٰلِدُوْنَ(۲۱۷)
And whoever amongst you turns away from his faith then dies having become a disbeliever, their (good) deeds are therefore wasted in this world and in the Hereafter, and they are the dwellers of Hell; they are to remain in it forever.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part. 2, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 217)
The unequivocal judgment of Allah Almighty regarding disbelievers is that they will enter Hell; they will neither attain the proximity and sainthood of Allah Almighty nor salvation in the Hereafter. Thus, it is stated in the Quran:
اِنَّ الَّذِیْنَ كَفَرُوْا مِنْ اَهْلِ الْكِتٰبِ وَ الْمُشْرِكِیْنَ فِیْ نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خٰلِدِیْنَ فِیْهَاؕ-اُولٰٓىٕكَ هُمْ شَرُّ الْبَرِیَّةِؕ(۶)
Indeed, all disbelievers amongst the People of the Book and the polytheists are in the fire of Hell, they will remain in it forever; it is they who are the worst of creation.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 30, Surah Al-Bayyinah, Verse 6)
The honour of Allah’s friendship is reserved for the believers. Hence, it is stated:
اَللّٰهُ وَلِیُّ الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْاۙ-
Allah is the Protector of the Muslims
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part. 3, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 257)
Allah Almighty has declared animosity towards the disbelievers; hence it is mentioned in the Holy Quran:
فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَدُوٌّ لِّلْكٰفِرِیْنَ(۹۸)
So, Allah is the enemy of the disbelievers
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 3, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 98)
It is the wordly benefits which disbelievers demand either verbally or by their hearts as reward for their acts. So, disbelievers are rewarded with honour, fame, recognition, wealth, and status but in this world only. The Hereafter neither enters their minds nor do they supplicate for it; therefore, such people do not have a share in the Hereafter. Hence, it is stated in regard to them:
فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ یَّقُوْلُ رَبَّنَاۤ اٰتِنَا فِی الدُّنْیَا وَ مَا لَهٗ فِی الْاٰخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ(۲۰۰)
And amongst the people is the one who says that, ‘O our Lord! Give us (something) in this world,’ and he does not have a share in the Hereafter.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part. 2, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 200)
It is the definitive law of Allah Almighty that only the believer will receive reward in the Hereafter; the one who believes in the Hereafter, who seeks the bounties of the Hereafter, and the one whose actions are driven by the reward of the Hereafter:
وَ مَنْ اَرَادَ الْاٰخِرَةَ وَ سَعٰى لَهَا سَعْیَهَا وَ هُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَاُولٰٓىٕكَ كَانَ سَعْیُهُمْ مَّشْكُوْرًا(۱۹)
And whosoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it as it should be striven for, and is a believer; so, only their effort is appreciated
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part. 15, Surah Bani Israa’eel, Verse 19)
He Almighty also declared:
مَنْ كَانَ یُرِیْدُ حَرْثَ الْاٰخِرَةِ نَزِدْ لَهٗ فِیْ حَرْثِهٖۚ-
Whosoever desires the harvest of the Hereafter, We increase his harvest for him
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part. 25, Surah Al-Shoora, Verse 20)
If the purpose and goal of disbelievers are to attain worldly bounties, then how can they possibly have a share in the Hereafter? If the world is their aim, then it is granted to them in various ways, and this is considered the recompense for their good deeds. Hence, it is stated in the Quran:
وَ مَنْ كَانَ یُرِیْدُ حَرْثَ الدُّنْیَا نُؤْتِهٖ مِنْهَا وَ مَا لَهٗ فِی الْاٰخِرَةِ مِنْ نَّصِیْبٍ(۲۰)
And whoever desires the harvest of this world, We will give him some of it, and he has no share in the Hereafter
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part. 25, Surah Al-Shoora, Verse 20)
Moreover, it is stated:
مَنْ كَانَ یُرِیْدُ الْعَاجِلَةَ عَجَّلْنَا لَهٗ فِیْهَا مَا نَشَآءُ لِمَنْ نُّرِیْدُ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا لَهٗ جَهَنَّمَۚ-یَصْلٰىهَا مَذْمُوْمًا مَّدْحُوْرًا(۱۸)
Whoever desires this quick-passing (enjoyment of this world), We may give him quickly whatever We will, to whomever We will, then assign Hell for him; that therein he enters condemned, pushed around.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part. 15, Surah Bani Israa’eel, Verse 18)
It is further mentioned:
مَنْ كَانَ یُرِیْدُ الْحَیٰوةَ الدُّنْیَا وَ زِیْنَتَهَا نُوَفِّ اِلَیْهِمْ اَعْمَالَهُمْ فِیْهَا وَ هُمْ فِیْهَا لَا یُبْخَسُوْنَ(۱۵) اُولٰٓىٕكَ الَّذِیْنَ لَیْسَ لَهُمْ فِی الْاٰخِرَةِ اِلَّا النَّارُ ﳲ وَ حَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُوْا فِیْهَا وَ بٰطِلٌ مَّا كَانُوْا یَعْمَلُوْنَ(۱۶)
Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornment; We will give them the full reward therein and will not cause any reduction in it. These are the ones for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter except Fire; and whatever they used to do there was wasted and all their deeds became nullified.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part. 12, Surah Hood, Verses 15-16)
(To be continued in the next issue)