What will be the position of the People of the Book in the hereafter? Will their belief in Allah enable them to go to Paradise?

The Details of the Question
What will be the position of the People of the Book in the hereafter? Will their belief in Allah enable them to go to Paradise?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Hell has several levels. The torture of a munafiq, who is at the lowest level or an atheist, who does not believe in any religion, will not be the same as that of a sinful Muslim, who is at the highest level. Non-Muslims are one level below sinful Muslims. However, sinful Muslims will go to Paradise after their punishment ends. The others will not go to Paradise. However, Allah does not leave any good service or good deed without rewards. He can give this reward even in Hell or relieve the torture there. (Allah knows the best)

As it is known, religions are divided into three in terms of one classification: Heavenly religions; distorted religions and wrong religions.

"The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will)." (Aal-i Imran, 3/19)

According to the clear decree of the verse, wrong religions that are the products of the human mind and the religions of Judaism and Christianity, which lost the characteristics of heavenliness due to distortion of the Torah and the Gospel (the Bible), are not valid in the eye of Allah:

"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah) never will it be accepted of him." (Aal-i Imran, 3/85)

When religion is in question, first creed then worshipping comes to mind. Accordingly, it means that belief in Allah, the concepts of angels, books and prophets, the understanding of the hereafter and qadar (destiny) do not comply with the truth fully. 

The rule "the existence of something requires the existence of all of its parts" is famous. There are certain indispensable requirements, characteristics, conditions for a thing. For instance, when spirit is mentioned, life is its indispensable requirement; you cannot separate life from spirit.  

Another important rule of creed is as follows: "Belief cannot be divided." That is, the truths of belief are a whole; if a person does not believe in only one of the truths, he exits the religion. A person who does not believe in even only one of them is not called a believer. For instance, a person who believes in Allah but does not believe in the hereafter is not a believer. It is not possible to make a dual classification for this man like "he is a believer in terms of his belief in Allah" but "he is an unbeliever in terms of his belief in the hereafter". Similarly, belief in Allah cannot be divided. That is, a person who says,"I believe in the existence of Allah but I do not accept that He is pre-eternal” does not believe in Allah but believes in a deity that he forms in his mind. 

A believer who believes in Allah needs to believe in His book, the Quran, so that he will know his Lord with a true creed. Human mind can know only himself and that there is a creator who created this realm but he cannot know the Creator's attributes, deeds, names, orders and prohibitions, eternal land and ways to  Paradise unless Allah informs him about them. Then, it is not possible to think of belief in Allah and belief in the Quran as separate things. A person who believes in the Quran is to believe in the prophethood of Hz. Muhammad and the angel of revelation, Jibril.  This is the first and biggest step of belief in the prophets and angels. A person who believes in the Quran and the Prophet believes in all of the realities informed by the Quran and taught by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and fulfills worshipping.

The group of people that can attain salvation by only believing in Allah are the people that lived in the period of interregnum, that were not aware of any religions and prophets, and that were not informed about revelation and worshipping. 

According to these two rules, it is necessary to believe in all of the six principles of belief as they are informed by the Quran for a sound belief in Allah. For, it is the last and perfect book that informs people and jinn about Allah; it is also the only heavenly book that did not undergo any distortion and change. 

As it is known, the attributes of Allah Almighty are divided into two as Sifat as-Salbiyya (Negative Attributes) and Sifat as-Subutiyya (Positive Attributes).

Sifat as-Salbiyya are the attributes of “Wujud (Existence), Qidam (Pre-eternity), Baqa (Everlastingness), Mukhalafa lil-Hawadith (Non-resemblance to the creatures), Qiyam bi Nafsihi (Self-existence) and Wahdaniyyah (Oneness, having no partners). The deity that ‘is an obligatory being', ‘is pre-eternal and post-eternal’, ‘does not resemble any being, ‘is self-existent and does not need anybody else’ and 'that is one' is only Allah.

Sifat as-Subutiyyaare the attributes of “Hayah (life), Ilm (Knowledge), Irada (Will),  Qudrah (Power), Sam' (Hearing), Basar (Seeing), (Speech) andTakwin (Creating) Thedeity that has the attributes of“Hayah (life), Ilm (Knowledge), Irada (Will),  Qudrah (Power), Sam' (Hearing), Basar (Seeing), (Speech), Takwin (Creating)” personally is only Allah.

When we say, “La ilaha illallah (There is no god but Allah)”, we express all of those meanings. When we say belief in Allah, belief in all of those attributes is understood. If a person does not believe in only one of them, his belief is not regarded as belief in the sense that the Quran defines. 

When we have a look at the verses that include the decree “There is no god but Him”, we see that different messages are given before or after this message.

Let us quote some of them:

“They disbelieve who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God.” (al-Maida, 5/73)

That is, those who believe in trinity deny the truth and move away from the truth.

“…to Him belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He that giveth both life and death.” (al-A’raf, 7/158)

Then, the belief of a person who accepts a being that is not the sovereign of the heavens and the earth, that is bound to die and that needs Allah in the hereafter so as to be resurrected as a deity or who accepts this being as a deity along with Allah is not real belief in Allah

“Allah! There is no god but He: of a surety He will gather you together on the Day of Judgment.” (an-Nisa, 4/87)

A being that cannot gather the people together on the Day of Judgment cannot be a deity.

“He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He pleases. There is no god but He.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/6)

A being that is shaped by Allah in the womb as He pleases cannot be called a deity.

“There is no god but He. Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face. To him belongs the Command, and to him will ye (all) be brought back.” (al-Qasas, 28/88)

No being that is bound to perish can be a deity. 

“Is there a Creator, other than Allah, to give you Sustenance from heaven or earth? There is no god but He.” (Fatir, 35/3)

Allah, who operates the earth and the sky regularly like a factory and creates our sustenance is one. A being that does not have this power cannot be accepted as a deity.  

“Say: "He is my Lord! There is no god but He! On Him is my trust and to Him do I turn!” (Ra’d, 13/30)

The belief of those who think that slaves  (human beings) can forgive sins and repent in front of them is not regarded as belief in the sense that the Quran defines. Another verse about oneness is as follows:

“He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Hidden and He has full knowledge of all things.” (al-Hadid, 57/3)

A being that has a beginning and an end and that is under the control and management of Allah with his inside, outside and everything cannot be called a deity.

There are a lot of lessons for those who believe in trinity to be taken from those verses. First of all,  Hz. Isa (Jesus) is a human being who was given the honor of prophethood. His mother was a righteous woman who was given the grace of being the mother of a prophet. It is clear that those who go to extremes to accept them as deities cannot have belief in the sense that the Quran defines.

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