Pearl of Wisdom

'The downfall of the upright is lack of piety.'

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Ibid. no. 3937

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Question : #568 Category: Youth Issues
Subject: personal enquiry
Question: Salaam Alaykom.I feel so ashamed to write this but I really need some help. The thing is that lately I've been doubting about the existence of God. Not really about the existence but if islam really is the truth. I know islam is the truth and the most beautiful religion in the world but I cant help but having these thougts. There are some questions I would like to have some answers on.
1.The christians and the jews and the kafirs who didn't know that Islam was the right religon and they didn't have access to any information they go to heaven right? But they don't go to the same heaven as we muslims,and if God is so fair why doesn't He let them be in the same heaven as us ?
2.If God is supposed to love us then why is he going to punish us for our bad actions? And by punish I mean put us in hellfire which is described to be very hot?
3.I think it was a hadith that said that on judgement day one young person will say to Him "Why did you let me die at such a young age?" and Allah will reply that He couldn't bare to see the young person do any bad deeds and go to hell so He let him die before he did anything wrong and then another person will raise up and say "But why didn't you take my lige then?" So if God is supposed to again,be fair why did he just take one person? That isn't fair? I really,really hope from the bottom om my heart that you can answer me as soon as possible. Jazak'Allah khayr.
Answer: Alaykum Salaam,

Non-Muslims being granted to Heaven are verified through the Holy Quran, "This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah" [2:2].

"And relate to them the story of the two sons of Adam with truth when they both offered an offering, but it was accepted from one of them and was not accepted from the other. He said: I will most certainly slay you. (The other) said: Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil)" [5:27] - the last sentence distinguishes who is under the shroud of Allah.

"Surely those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and (those who) desire to make a distinction between Allah and His messengers and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and desire to take a course between (this and) that. These it is that are truly unbelievers, and We have prepared for the unbelievers a disgraceful chastisement." [4:150-151] - here the distinction between a unbeliever/kafir is distinguished.

Your first question's statement isnt correct in Islamic thought, where the distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims is in reality the distinction of one who fears Allah (swt) and one who openly is against accepting it, and not as Muslim to Jews or Christians and etc.

For your section question, the punishment of the Hereafter is eternal only for those who were stubborn against the Truth.

Such people remained stubborn their entire lives, despite being given countless chances to repent and submit to the Truth. In fact, they have reached a stage, where, as the Quran says below, even if they were returned to life after having tasted the fire of Hell, they would still go back to the same sins they used to commit.

"If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: "Would that we were but sent back (to the world)! Then we would not deny the Ayat of our Lord, and we would be of the believers! Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars." [6:27-8]

Their punishment is eternal because, given the chance, they would have done evil eternally. Imam Sadiq (a.s) was asked the same question and he replied:

"Surely, people of Hell are eternally in Hell because their intention was if they lived in this world eternally they would disobey God eternally, likewise people of Paradise will be eternally in Paradise becasue their intention was if they lived in this world eternally they would worship God eternally." [al-Kaafi, vol.2 p.85].

For your third question, I haven’t come across such a ahadith with strong chain of narrations, but let me share the story of Prophet Moses and Prophet Khidr in the Chapter Kahf of the Holy Quran that may provide some insight.

The scholar [al-Khidr] said, 'Verily you will not be patient with me in things that you see me do, the interpretation of which you do not have knowledge about. How can you be patient about something your knowledge does not comprehend?'

Moses promised him that he will be patient and will not disobey him in anything by the will of Allah. The knowledgeable scholar said to him according to what he requested from Moses and what Moses promised him - 'So if you follow me do not ask me regarding anything until I myself tell you about it.'

Moses and the scholar started off on their journey until they boarded a ship that had people on it - and Moses did not have any knowledge of what the intention of the scholar was - and the scholar pierced the ship in such a way that it could not be prevented from sinking. This bewildered Moses and made him forget his promise, so he said to the scholar, 'Did you make a hole in it to drown those aboard it? You have certainly done a monstrous thing!' The knowledgeable man said to him, 'Did I not say, indeed you cannot have patience with me?' Moses apologized to him for the promise he had made [and broken] to be patient, saying, 'Do not take me to task for my forgetting, and do not be hard upon me.'

So they went on until they encountered a boy, and the knowledgeable man killed him. Moses could not control himself from going back on his word, so he reproved the action, saying, 'Did you slay an innocent soul, without [his having slain] anyone?

You have certainly done a dire thing!'

The knowledgeable man said again, 'Did I not tell you, indeed you cannot have patience with me?'

Moses did not have anything to say to apologize and to prevent him from abandoning him, which he would not be content with. So he requested him that if he was to ask another question, he would [be justified to] break off company with him, saying: 'If I question you about anything after this, do not keep me in your company. You have already got sufficient excuse on my part.' And the knowledgeable man accepted.

So they went on, until they came to a town - and they were hungry - so they asked its people for food, but none of them agreed to extend them any hospitality. There was a wall which was about to collapse, so the knowledgeable man erected it.

Moses said to him, 'Had you wished, you could have taken a wage for it so we could have satisfied our hunger with it. We are in need of it and the people do not accommodate us!'

The knowledgeable man said to him, 'This is where you and I shall part. I will inform you about the interpretation of that over which you could not maintain patience.' He then said, 'As for the ship, it belonged to some poor people who work on the sea and earn their living by it. There was a king after them wanting to seize every ship by usurping them, so I damaged it making it faulty so that he would not be interested in it.

As for the boy, he was a disbeliever and his parents were believers. If he was to live he would be overbearing with them with disbelief and rebellion, but the mercy of Allah encompassed them, so He ordered me to kill the boy so that He can give them in exchange one better than him in purity and closer to mercy, therefore I killed him.

As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city. Under it there was a treasure belonging to them, and their father had been a righteous man. 50 He ordered me to raise it so that the wall can be erect in order for them to take out their treasure when they come of age. If the wall was to have fallen the treasure would have been exposed and the people would have looted it.'

He then said, 'I did not do that out of my own accord, rather it is an order from Allah and its interpretation is what I have informed you.' He then left Moses.
[Tafsir al-Mizan, v. 13, p. 350]

From this account between the two Prophets, we understand that certain acts are performed but we the creators are unable to comprehend it all.

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