Since idol worshiping is the greatest sin in Islam and Allah does not forgive an idol worshiper no matter what the situation. What about those people born into families of different religion and may not have the chance to be exposed to Islam. How will Allah punish them? Will they go to Jahannam?
Alhamdulillah for this question. At times, we begin to think about certain things which generate some questions in the mind. And ignorance of things like this could bring about more doubts.
We always think that there are people who aren’t Muslims but they have good characters (doing good and forbidding evil). Are these kind of people going to be punished by Allah on that day?
Well, let’s have a brief look at who a Muslim is according to the Quran and Sunnah.
A Muslim is anybody who submits his/her will to Almighty Allah.
Our beloved Mohammad (ﷺ) said that every child on the face of the earth is born a Muslim. Whether he/she is born into a Christian family, Hindus family or any other religion other than Islam, he submits his/her will to Allah.
Later on, he or she is influenced by his/her elders, parents, teachers or society, and may start to practice idol worshiping or other worships, leading him or her to the wrong path.
That’s why whenever a non-Muslim accept Islam, the correct word for it is revert but not convert. It is considered revert because anybody who accepts Islam has come back to his or her original fate after he has deviated.
Now coming to the question. How will Allah punish someone who was born into a non-Muslim Family? Will they go to Jahannam? And the answer goes as follows;
If a person is born in a non-Muslim family and dies before he reaches the age of maturity, he goes to Jannah Insha’Allah. Because every child submits his or her will to the Allah irrespective of the family they are born in, and also it doesn’t matter the name that they use. As long as he or she is a child and died as a child he goes straight to Jannah.
Now what if it is an adult, where does he belong when he dies?
When a child grew up and becomes an adult, he bears any responsibility for whatever he does. We all strongly agree that a child who does wrong does it out of childishness. But an adult who is stealing knows very well that what he’s doing is wrong.
Now when a person becomes an adult, it is his or her duty to find the truth and it is the duty of us Muslims to convey the message to non-Muslims. But irrespective of whether we the Muslims convey the message or not, Non-believers would be held responsible if they failed to make an effort to search for the truth.
Muslims too also are going to be held responsible if they fail to make an effort to convey the message of Islam to the non-Muslims.
Allah (SWT) mentioned in the Quran which says:
“We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’ân) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?” [41:53].
Allah will directly put the message in the hearts of every human being whether he is a Muslim or a non-Muslim, about the truth, about one God.
Once the message comes, that human being may choose to believe or not. And he may refuse to believe because if he accepts Islam, he may leave behind all the things he likes doing which Islam has forbidden. And this is when he becomes responsible for everything he does that is disliked by Allah.
Therefore Allah says in the Quran that no non-Muslim would ever object to the justice of Allah because some parts of your body will also be a witness on that day (Judgement day), your eyes, your hands, your legs and so on will all speak about you.
So even when disbelievers are going to hell on the Day of Judgment, they will never object to the justice of Allah (SWT). What they can only say is that Allah should give them one more chance which will be too late. Allah will say is too late, you have many chances in this world but you live only once in this world. Allah knows best.
In short, you should note that all the kaafirs who hear the message of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and do not enter Islam will go to Jahannam according to the Quran. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qur’an, and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikoon will abide in the fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures”