Q. What if you are not a Muslim? Does it mean you will go to hell?
by S. John
Answer By Allama Syed Abdullah Tariq:
It will not be hard for yourself to work out the answer if you knew what Islam is and who is a Muslim. Islam means total submission to the only God of the universe. A Muslim is that who tries to lead the life according to His will after he has taken vow of submission. You would surely want to know what are the requirements of submission but let me first answer your direct question i.e. what happens to those who do not submit.
Assume there is a person of exemplary good conduct and behaviour in your locality. All neighbours can swear to his kind heartedness and humane disposition. Then suddenly one day the police raid his house and it is found that he was the spy of an enemy nation. Can any of all his good works rescue him from being put behind bars forever or till his deportation? No, the faithfulness with the realm you live in is the first condition to let you live freely and happily in the state. All the good works come afterwards. On the other hand a criminal when caught is released after receiving the respective punishment. Loyalty towards the Sole Sovereign of the whole creation is the first condition for the right to live freely and happily forever. This loyalty is called Faith or ‘Imaan’ in Islamic terminology. There is no question of deportation even as there is no other God or Sovereign of any other universe. The sentence for rebels is hell.
There are three main requirements of Faith.
(1) Belief in Oneness of God. He is the sole Creator and Sustainer. He was neither born nor will end. He has no parallel, no equal and no family. He is neither begotten nor begets. He alone is Supreme and eternal. All else is creation. He alone is worthy of worship. Worshipping others besides Him is against loyalty and is considered unpardonable rebellion.
(2) Belief in the truthfulness of all His prophets. For the guidance of the mankind in this short worldly life of probation, he chose from amongst the mankind His prophets and revealed to them His guidance. Till the communication and means of travel were in primitive stage and the mankind had not become one place, He kept sending His revelation through prophets from time to time who were chosen form all nations and people. Whenever people lost the real message of the Lord after the departure of a prophet, he sent another prophet in some other people with the renewal of His guidance. When in the process of brain evolution of man, the world came at the verge of entering the scientific explosion, came the Last Prophet Muhammad (e) with the Final Message Qur’an. The world was about to become one place and with the development of means of safeguarding the records, the Last Message was not to be destroyed, distorted or interpolated for all times to come. The Last Prophet with the Last Word of God verified the truthfulness of all the earlier prophets and told that though all the previous Books of God were true but they could not remain safe from human interpolation. The expiation and redemption is now in believing in all the prophets and Books of God but it is only the Final and only safe Word of God, Qur’an, which is to be followed.
(3) Belief in the Life Hereafter, which is the eternal and real life after the test life of this world. All our actions are being recorded and a Day of Judgment will come when according to their loyalty (Faith/Imaan) and deeds all from the mankind will be judged and rewarded or punished.
These in short are the basic features of Faith and belief without which there is no submission. After the proclamation of Faith the next part (in priority) of submission is deeds according to the Will of God. Again as the events and teachings of the earlier prophets could not remain free from distortion and human interpolation, it is essential that the path of the Last Prophet be followed.
Last but not the least a Muslim is one who submits before the Sole God with Faith and in deeds with conscious mind. Only because someone is born in a Muslim family and says and does what his ancestors had been saying and doing, he is not a Muslim though he may be counted a Muslim in the government census.