Short Answer: One cannot say for sure. Islam holds that anyone who leads a good correct life, here on earth, on the basis that there is a God Who is the Supreme Ruler and Judge of all His creatures, will be rewarded in the hereafter. Judgment lies in the hands of God, as He is the Most Just and even more important, He is the Most Loving and Most Merciful and Compassionate. It is never for us to judge in His place. In fact, it is prohibited in Islam to specify Hell for any human being, no matter what his or her beliefs appear to be. Don’t forget: even Muslims can never be sure whether they will be going to heaven or hell.
Salam Dear Sister,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
We pray that God graces you with the best of health and guidance. Your question is indeed highly important.
Working For A Better World With All Faiths
Muslims all over the world are encouraged to side with the People of other faiths in one front against those who seek the destruction of mankind under misleading campaigns.
Islam also fights injustice and backs its victims from whatever people, race or faith.
So, Muslims should cooperate with whoever supports just causes and back the oppressed and wronged in the world.
In our pursuit to work with people from other faiths for a better world, we should stress the points of agreement, not those of disagreement and difference.
We have to build on broad agreed foundations, which establish ease and generosity among people of different beliefs, but which do not compromise the claims made by each religion to be true.
Only in such an environment can real cooperation for a better world take place.
In Islam we are taught that ‘religion is sincerity’.
If we want to have an environment where people are free to seek a path to the true religion, then the thing that is needed above all is an environment where everyone is free to be sincere and are not compelled to accept ideas against their will.
In response to the question why we as Muslims think that God has chosen only Islam as religion, we Muslims do not think that Prophet Muhammad appeared with some new religion that is different from that of Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham Joseph, Jacob, or Jesus.
We believe in all of these prophets, and that they were all saying the same thing: “Believe in One God and worship only Him.” That’s it – nothing more, nothing less.
In the Quran it is mentioned that Prophet Muhammad is only the final prophet in a long line of prophets.
In his sayings, Prophet Muhammad calls all the other prophets “my brothers”, because he is very aware of the heritage and long tradition of prophethood that he belonged to.
Islam: From God, Not Muhammad
In addition, in the Quran, God tells us:
Say: We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. (Quran 2:136)
That means we believe in the message that Jesus (peace be upon him) received just as we believe in the message that Muhammad (peace be upon him) received.
We do not see Islam as the religion of Muhammad, but rather, it is the religion of God, and it is the same message that all the prophets of God received throughout history.
Islam means submitting to the Creator and believing in all His prophets and messengers, and not picking or choosing some of them alone.
In other words, it is the duty of every follower of Muhammad to believe in all the prophets who came before him (peace be upon them all).
Only Muslims Will Enter Paradise?
Moving to the question why Muslims only will enter paradise, we believe that the judgment lies in the hands of God, as He is the Most Just and even more important, He is the Most Loving and Most Merciful and Compassionate.
It is never for us to judge in His place.
In fact, it is prohibited in Islam to specify Hell for any human being, no matter what his or her beliefs appear to be.
Muslim scholars have also taught that one shouldn’t hold any human being in contempt because he or she might be closer to God than oneself.
Being our Creator, only God knows what is in our hearts, our intentions, our actions, and our speech.
He knows whether we have harmed people or whether we have sought for peace and understanding among His creation.
Allah says in the Quran:
Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Quran 2:62).
Here we find that Islam teaches that all people whether technically Jews or Christians or even Sabians (an ancient religious group) are entitled to be rewarded from God.
That is on the condition that they believe in God and the Day of Judgment and lead a good life.
The Difference Between a “Good Person” and a “Believer”
A non-Muslim, by definition, is a person who does not recognize God as a Sovereign Law giver Who rewards the good and punishes the bad.
For this reason, he has no claim to any reward from God.
He may be doing apparently good deeds; but his good deeds are not based on seeking to do God’s will.
So they can only get the instrumentally good results that they can naturally have in this world, and not the reward of the other world which can only come from morally good acts.
As for Muslims, who apparently hold the right beliefs – they will get the Divine reward only if they lead good lives derived from the right beliefs.
This is quite different than the Jewish and Christian beliefs.
Jews believe that the Children of Israel are the ones specially chosen by God for all His blessings.
Similarly Christians maintain that those who believe in Christ’s atonement are guaranteed of heaven, irrespective of their actions.
Unlike both these groups, Islam holds that anyone who leads a good correct life, here on earth, on the basis that there is a God Who is the Supreme Ruler and Judge of all His creatures, will be rewarded in the hereafter.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)