Who are said to be the believers ? Are Christains/jews/Hindus can be believers even though they are not part of Islam ? How are Hindus different from Christains and Jews ? if a person does not follow Islam but he does good deeds and he is a good soul can he be in heaven ?
What happens to good non-muslims?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
We must make something very very
clear. No race, no people, no religion no sect, no creed, no nationality has
been given exclusive rights to
Allah says in the Holy Quran: Chapter 49 Surah Hujurat verse 13:O mankind, We created you from one man and one woman, and then divided you into nations and tribes so that you may recognize one another. Indeed, the most honorable amongst you in the sight of Allah is he who is most pious (God Fearing) of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
So, please note very carefully, that Allah will not forgive one because of any religion or race, but rather because of his knowledge and recognition of his Creator, and his good deeds, according to the guidance of His Creator. Thus if a person is born into a Hindu family or a Jain family or a Muslim family, or any family for that matter, he has to search for the truth himself.
The Prophet (saws) said in one of his traditions: A baby, when he is born, is born on "fitrah"(on his natural religion), but his parents make him into a Jew, or a Christian.
Now lets see if we can use logic and intelligence to drive the point home. There are many things which are natural (fitrah) of human beings. When they are born, there is absolutely no need of coaching or teaching the newborn baby to suck from his/her mother's breasts. This is absolutely natural. However much science might have advanced, and however much technology may have come up with teaching methods and aids, tell me, how are you going to teach a new born baby to suck life-giving milk from his/her mother's breasts. Just imagine, for a moment, if the baby, for any reason is not able to do this natural thing, he will probably die of starvation!!!
Similarly, also, is the feeling of right and wrong in our hearts, which we have learnt to call "conscience". We know deep down in our conscience whether something is right or wrong. Stealing, cheating, backbiting, slander, adultery, murder, etc. are all considered wrong in any religion and nation. Charity, good manners, obedience to parents, building of hospitals, taking care of orphans, etc. are all good deeds in any religion and nation. One might argue, that these values are taught or acquired, but the fact of the matter is that whatever one does, he knows deep down in his conscience whether it is right or wrong.
So is also the concept of One God. This is a natural phenomena. It does not matter, if the person is a staunch atheist. At the worst point in his life, there comes a time, when he calls out to some supernatural being or force to help him, although he may claim to be an atheist. This phenomena is in-built into the human being by the All-Mighty God. And if you ask most religious beliefs, Who created the heavens and the earth?, Who grows the vegetation?, Who created the sun and the moons and the planets and the galaxy?, Who created human beings and animals?, etc. the answer will always be in one way or another ... the One God.... Creator of the Universe and everything in it.
We can call all these things by any name we want, but the fact is some things are "natural" or "fitrah" of mankind, as termed in the Quran.
So if a baby born in a Hindu family or a Jew family or a Jain family, there will come a time when he attains maturity, when he will try to look for a deeper meaning to this life ... start asking questions about why are we here on this earth? Is it all an accident? Are we here to live for 80-100 years and then die and be burnt or be buried? And thats it!! Or is there anything else after this worldly life? Is there a Creator who created this fantastic world and everything in it? Then comes in the natural thought of a "super-natural" being or "God". These answers, the human being cannot get from experience, and thus he is prone towards a belief or religion.
According to Islam, Allah, not only created man for a purpose, but sent Prophets to guide them and sent books and laws to guide mankind unto salvation. Please also keep in mind here that there are only three divine religions in the world today, in the true sense of the word: Jewism, Christianity and Islam. All the others are either movements or mythology. If the man cannot find answers that apply to his reason and intellect in his born religion, then he begins searching for the Truth, and invariably he will find it.
But the problem with the world today is that we have become too shallow in our thoughts and engrossed in luxuries and collecting wealth. We just dont give due importance to the deeper meanings of life. We use all our intelligence and hard work to live this life, but give little thought to the life hereafter. Maybe we are confused about so many ideologies, all claiming salvation, and give up using logic and reason, and just settle for the religion of our forefathers. For everything else in the world, we do not do anything without reason!! When we wear clothes, we check out the fashion, the material, the price, and then buy them. When we look for a house, we check out the location, the re-sale value, the price and then make our decision. When we buy a car, we check out the company, the car itself, the value, then we make a decision.
A child born into parents who were uneducated, never says or reasons that since his parents are uneducated, he will remain uneducated. He wants to attain the best education possible within his means and outdo his parents in this world.
Similarly if a father had one store he owned and ran all his life, a child never claims that I will not open a chain of stores, because my father had just one store!!
Also the son of a street-cleaner never claims that he will grow up to be a street-cleaner, simply because his father was a street-cleaner!!
Then whey does a child born into any religion, just take up the religion of his parent's choice?
The reason is that when it comes to following religion, most of us just keep our reasoning at home, and blindly follow the religion we are born into. Even though we may not get all the answers to our deeper questions, we just let them be in a corner of our brain, and not "rock the boat", so to speak! We just live this life like animals: eat, sleep, re-produce, and die!!! But our Creator has given us the faculty to think and reason ... but man seldom uses it to search the Truth!!! If he truly does search for the Truth, he will find peace and happiness in Islam, as millions of converts and true Muslims, are living in today.
I have tried to answer your question using logic, and now lets go to the Holy Quran and see if it answers the question.
Islam is a natural religion, and everything is based on logic. There is nothing illogical about Islam and everything in Islam is based on wisdom and common sense. The One God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in between, created man for a reason. He made no mistake in the creation of the heavens and the earth!! He made no mistake in the creation of the sun, its temperature and its distance. Do you know that if the sun was closer to earth by a small distance, we would all die of heat, and if the sun was at a little more distance than it is, we would die of cold!!! He made no mistake in the creation of the moon ... science tells us that the movement of the moon controls the tides of the seas... if the moon moves a couple of degrees away from its course, we would all be submerged in water!!! He made no mistake in the creation of man ... his eyes are perfectly placed! his nose is perfectly placed just above his mouth! His ears and mouth and hands and legs are perfectly placed!! His internal systems are perfectly placed and function to perfection for the appointed time!!! Look at everything else in creation... how perfect it is.... Then how can we imagine, that this Creator who created everything to perfection can make a mistake in guiding mankind unto him!!! In His perfect knowledge
and wisdom, He made mankind and sent him to this earth. To guide him He sent His Messengers and His books.... did He make a mistake here? I think not!!!!
One more thing to note here is a human is not as free as we would like to think. He has to breathe to survive..(no choice here!)he has to eat at some intervals (no choice here!) he has to eat either vegetation or animals (cant eat rocks, stones, etc. no choice here!)..he has relieve himself at some interval (no choice here!) . He has to rest at some intervals (no choice here).his eyes, his nose, his ears, his mouth, his hands, his legs, his organs are places in their places (no choice here!), he has to drink water at intervals to quench his thirst (no choice here!), etc. He has absolutely no choice in most matters. The only choice that the All-Wise God gave us was to choose the Path that leads to His Mercy, and this choice is only for a limited period of maximum 50-80-100 years!! Think about it, that is actually the only choice we have and that too He has commanded and directed us to submit our only will to Him and live our lives according to His Will. And that is the only thing we are being tested upon. Who lives his life in obedience to His Wills and Commands, and who lives his life according to his own whims and fancies, and thus a life of disobedience to Gods commands.
The one who lives his life in obedience to God, will be rewarded in the hereafter. And the one who lives his life independently of God, will fail the test and thus incurred Gods Wrath and Anger upon himself.
One thing also we must understand of the All-Mighty and All-Wise is that He is also All-Just. All beings are His slaves ... they are all equal... He favors no one over another, except the one who is more pious!! Do you think he will be unjust to His slaves? Do you think He will have mercy on somebody simply because he is related to his Prophets? Do you think He will have mercy on somebody simply because he wailed and beat himself in love of a martyr? No... Never.... He is The All Just. He will judge everybody according to the syllabus he has sent down. Whoever follows the syllabus and recognizes it as such, and is God Fearing, that is the one, His mercy is promised upon.
Thus our job as muslims today is to invite mankind to Islam and the Last Book of Allah.. the Al Quran. First and foremost, we must live by it and then invite mankind to it. If they believe in it and do according to the syllabus, fine... they become our brothers in Islam. If not, they are allowed to follow any religion they want to attain salvation, as long as they are convinced that they will stand in the court of the Almighty one day and give account for their beliefs and deeds on this earth.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surah Al Maidah verse 3:Today I (Allah) have perfected your religion for you and completed My blessing on you, and have approved Islam as the way of life for you.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale-Imran verse 85:And whoever adopts any deen other than Islam, that way shall not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he shall be among the losers!
Thus only those who believe and worship Allah alone, associating no partners with Him, follow His Last Messenger, Mohamed (saws), follow the teachings of His Last Book, Al Quran, does righteous deeds, and is God Fearing, Allah has promised him His Mercy and Paradise.
Allah says in Chapter 3 Surah Ale-Imran verse 131-137:And guard yourselves against that Fire which has been prepared for the disbeliveers, and obey Allah and His Messenger: it is expected that you will be shown mercy. Hasten to follow the path that leads to forgiveness from your Lord, and to the Garden, which is as vast as the heavens and the earth, and has been prepared for the God-Fearing people. They are those who spend their wealth freely in the way of Allah, alike in prosperity and in adversity; who control their rage and forgive other people. Allah likes such good people very much, who, if ever they commit a base deed, or wrong their own souls by the commission of a sin, remember Allah instantly and ask for forgiveness from Him for their shortcomings, for who, but Allah, can forgive sins? (The God Fearing people are) those, who do not knowingly persist in the wrongs they did. These will be rewarded with forgiveness from Allah and with Gardens in Paradise beneath which canals flow, and they will reside therein for ever: and how excellent is the reward of those who do good deeds!
Thus the main difference between a true muslim and a non-believer is not of birth or nationality, but rather of knowledge. Allah has blessed us to be Muslims, but unfortunately, we have never appreciated this great blessing and mercy of Allah. We have just never bothered to open and read and understand the message our Lord and Creator has sent for our guidance. May Allah make us of those who appreciate His Bounty and Blessing upon us. May Allah make us of those who read and understand His Message The Holy Quran, so that we can be rightly guided. Ameen.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,