Fate of The Unlearned - Islam

Islam

See also: Itmam al-hujjah and Hanif

A similar issue exists in Islam, as different authorities within the faith have issued different theories as to the destiny of those who do not know of Muhammad or Allah. Islam generally rejects the possibility that those who have never heard of the revelations embodied in the Qur'an might automatically merit punishment.

According to Qur'an, the basic criteria for salvation in afterlife are the belief in one God, Last Judgment, acceptance and obedience of what is in the Qur'an and ordained by the prophet and good deeds. As the Qur'an states:

Surely those who believe (Muslims) and those who are Jews and the Sabians and the Christians whoever believes in Allah (God) and the last day and does good-- they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.

The Qur'an also asserts that those who reject the Messengers of God with their best knowledge are damned in afterlife and if they reject in front of the Messenger of God, then they also face dreadful fate in this world and in afterlife (see Itmam al-hujjah). Conversely, a person who discovers monotheism without having been reached by a messenger is called Hanif. But it should be remembered, Islam also states every community in the world, no matter how isolated, had been sent at least one prophet to teach them. So, this belief limits the possibility of people never heard of God's message. Part of Abraham's story in the Qur'an also suggests every man is capable of finding one true God by his own common sense.

To reduce the broad scope of the Islamic tradition to a single answer, however, would be as problematic as to do the same for Christianity – different Muslims have answered this question in different ways at different times. Some Muslims have maintained – and still do – that paradise is only available to those who accept Islam as is suggested by some verses of the Qur'an, and this is a very commonly held view. It is also believed that following religions such as Judaism or Christianity is acceptable only prior to the advent of Islam and only in their original unaltered form in the way they were revealed to their messengers without any distortion or idolatry like present day Christianity.

One view is that "A person who has never heard of Islam or the Prophet... and who has never heard the message in its correct and true form, will not be punished by Allah if he dies in a state of disbelief. If it were asked what his fate will be, the answer will be that Allah will test him on the Day of Resurrection: if he obeys, he will enter Paradise and if he disobeys he will enter Hell." But, even those who have not heard the message will be held to some standard of conduct: "Because everyone is a born Muslim, those who have never heard of Islam are only responsible for not doing what common sense tells him or her to do. Those who knowingly violate God's laws will be punished for their wrongdoing." Under this view, those who have not heard the message are "excused," and Allah "rewards such people for the good they have done, and they enjoy the blessings of Paradise." A similar view is that "if such people find the Creator through the use of reason, even though they do not know His Names or Attributes, they will be saved. If they do not do this, they will not be saved."

Some would extend this mercy to the incompetently evangelized, that is, to people "who have been reached by the name of Muhammad but who have been given a false account," and for whom it is then said that they "have not rejected true Islam but only a distorted version of it and they will therefore be judged in the same category as those people who never heard of Islam in the first place."

The more complicated question of what will happen, for example, to people of religions other than Judaism and Christianity is significantly more controversial. There is particularly controversy over the meaning of the word "Sabians". The long presence of Islam in South Asia, however, has engendered many debates about the status of Hindus, which has run the whole gamut between a more standard dismissal of Hinduism as shirk, or polytheism, to some Muslims, such as Mirza Mazhar Jan-e-Janaan even going so far as to recognize Rama and Krishna as Prophets of Islam not explicitly mentioned in Muslim scripture – thereby making Hindus equivalent to Christians or Jews.

Read more about this topic:  Fate Of The Unlearned

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