Will non-Muslims go to Hell?

Peace be upon you. In today’s article, I wanted to look at a common claim made by Muslims that unless a man converts – or reverts – to the religion of Islam, he will go to Hell. Now, of course, the claim by members of a specific religion or sect that their group is the only one that will enter Heaven is not unique to the Muslims; Christians and Jews claim likewise. Hence, we see the aggressive proselytization by both Christian missionaries and Muslim clergy to convert people to their respective religions. But let us look at what God’s final revelation – the Qur’an – has to say about the matter.

Many among the doctors of the Law wish to turn you back as atheists after your faith out of envy from their souls after the truth has become clear to them. But pardon and forbear until God brings His command; God is over all things powerful.
And uphold the duty, and render the purity; and what good you send ahead for your souls, you will find it with God; God sees what you do.
And they say: “None will enter the Garden save such as hold to Judaism, or are Christians.” Those are their vain desires. Say thou: “Bring your evidence, if you be truthful.”
Verily, whoso submits his face to God and is a doer of good, he has his reward with his Lord; and no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation (2:109-112)

So, it is quite clear that membership to a specific group will not help us on the Day of Judgment. Whosoever “submits his face to God and is a doer of good, he has his reward with his Lord”.

Let us look at some other verses which negate the idea that subscription to a particular religion or sect is required in order to be guided.

And never will the Rabbinic Jews be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, until thou follow their creed; say thou: “The guidance of God, that is guidance”; and if thou follow their vain desires after the knowledge which has come to thee, thou wilt have against God neither ally nor helper.

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation (2:120)

And who is averse to the creed of Abraham save he who befools himself? And We chose him in the World; and in the Hereafter he is among the righteous.
When his Lord said to him: “Submit thou,” he said: “I have submitted to the Lord of All Creation.”
The same did Abraham enjoin upon his sons, as did Jacob: “O my sons: God has chosen the doctrine for you; so die not save when you are submitting.”
If you were witnesses when death was present with Jacob: — when he said to his sons: “What will you serve after me?” — they said: “We will serve thy God, and God of thy fathers Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, One God, and to Him are we submitting.”

That is a community which has passed away; it has what it earned, and you have what you earned; and you will not be questioned about what they did.
And they say: “Be such as hold to Judaism, or Christians — you will be guided.” Say thou: “Nay, the creed of Abraham, inclining to truth; and he was not of the idolaters.”
Say: “We believe in God, and what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob and the Grandsons, and what was given to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to the prophets from their Lord; We make no division between any of them, and to Him are we submitting.”
Then if they believe in the like of that in which you believe, they have been guided; but if they turn away, they are only in schism. And God will suffice thee against them; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.
“The immersion of God––” And who is better than God to immerse? And Him are we serving.
Say thou: “Dispute you with us concerning God when He is our Lord and your Lord? And we have our works, and you have your works; and to Him are we sincere.”
If you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob and the Grandsons were such as hold to Judaism or Christians, say thou: “Know you better, or does God?” And who is more unjust than he who conceals a witness he has from God? And God is not unmindful of what you do.

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation (2:130-140)

Perhaps, unsurprisingly, God has already laid down the criteria for those who are successful in the beginning of the Qur’an. Whoever has read the beginning of the Qur’an already knows that membership to the religion of Islam is not the criteria for deliverance from the Fire on the Day of Judgment.

alif lām mīm

That is the Writ about which there is no doubt, a guidance to those of prudent fear:
Those who believe in the Unseen, and uphold the duty, and of what We have provided them they spend;
And those who believe in what was sent down to thee, and what was sent down before thee, and of the Hereafter they are certain:

Those are upon guidance from their Lord; and it is they who are the successful.

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation (2:1-5)

Now, am I saying that we should not be warning men? On the contrary, as believers in God and the Last Day, it is our duty to warn men of the Last Day. But understand that it is not we who can guide but God guides whom He wills and for most, disbelief has become binding upon them.

Those who ignore warning, it is the same to them whether thou hast warned them or thou hast not warned them; they do not believe:
God has sealed their hearts, and over their hearing and over their sight is a covering; and they have a great punishment.

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation (2:6-7)

O you who heed warning: be lowly and submit, and serve your Lord, and do good that you might be successful;
And strive for God with the striving due Him. He has chosen you, and has not placed upon you in doctrine any distress — the creed of your father Abraham. He named you those submitting before, and in this, that the Messenger might be a witness to you, and that you might be witnesses to men. So uphold the duty, and render the purity, and hold fast to God; He is your protector. Then excellent is the Protector! And excellent is the Helper!

The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation (22:77-78)