Fatwa: # 19372
Category: Beliefs
Country: South Africa
Date: 12th July 2011

Title

What will be the fate of those ancient people who haven't received the message of a Prophet, how will they be judged on the day of judgment?

Question

"1. What will be the fate of those ancient people (as Incas, Maya, Aztecs in South America) who haven't received the message of a Prophet, how will they be judged on the day of judgment?
Or was a Prophet sent also to them?
2. What will be the fate of those people who were born after the revelation of the Holy Qur'an, but lived in far away places which were (are) not reached by the message of Islam? For example the general people in Europe during the "middle age": they were very ignorant about Islam and only fed up with erroneous and deceitful information about Islam by their popes and christian kings, "forced" by them to belief in wrong things, and living isolated from broader cultural phenomena and thus without proper access to knowledge about Islam: what will their fate in the afterlife be?
3. What will be the fate of non-Muslim children (i.e. born to non-Muslim parents and died before reaching the puberty, will they be in Jannah on Jahannam? And what will be their situation in the qabr?".
 

Answer

Assalāmu `alaikum Warahmatullāhi Wabrakatuh,

1.) The basic belief in Tauhīd (the oneness of Allah) did exist in the ancient people as a result of the efforts made my either by the Messengers of Allah or through their deputies and students.

As a result, no region or people were left unvisited since either directly (through the Messengers) or indirectly (through their students and learned men) the prophetic light was carried to every corner of the world. [i] [ii]

Allah mentions in the Quran:

 

“And for every people there is a messenger...”

(Surah Yunus: 47)

 

“...And for every people there is a guide.”

(Surah Al-Ra'd: 7)

 

“And we did raise a messenger among every people, with the message,

'Worship Allah and stay away from the Rebel...' ”

(Surah Al-Nahl: 36)

 

“And there is no group of people among whom there has not been a warner”

(Surah Al-Fatir: 24)

 

2. Allah is the Most Just, the Most Merciful, and the Wisest and Best of Judges.

Allah does not enter anyone into Hellfire unless the proof is established against them and they become deserving of the punishment of the Fire. [iii]

He says:

 

“...And it is not Our way to punish (anyone) unless We send a Messenger.”

(Surah Al-Isrā: 15)

 

Thus, those that lived in far away places and do not receive the message of Islam will be saved as long as they believed in the Oneness of Allah. This is also the view of Imam Abu Hanifah.[iv]

As for those whom the message of Islam did reach but it was rife with false and misleading accounts then they, by the will of Allah will be covered by His Mercy and forgiven as long as they believed in Allah and did not associate anyone with Him such as the Ahl-ul-Kitāb (People of the Book).This is because they are like those who never heard of Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) since they did not hear the true account but lies and propaganda which were opposite to the true character of our Prophet (salallahu alahi wa sallam). Thus, this group is like those who never heard of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) and will Insha-Allah also be excused since the information they received was incorrect and full of lies.[v]

3.) Those non-Muslim children that died before attaining the age of maturity have been mentioned by some commentators of the Quran as being from amongst the Ashāb al-'Arāf (the people of the Heights). The Ashāb al-'Arāfare those whose good and bad deeds are equal such as in the case of these non-Muslim children who did not have the capability to perform good or bad deeds conscientiously. This view has been recorded by Imam Baghawi (rahmataullahi alayhi) in his tafsīr. The Ashāb al-'Arāfstand delivered from the Hellfire but have not entered Paradise yet, which they eventually will through the intercession of Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam).[vi] [vii]

The focus of our own lives should be on how our end will be, and what efforts we can make to please Allah in the time we have remaining on this Earth. Those that come before us and after us will be judged and rewarded or punished accordingly by Allah, who is the Most-Just. He says:

 

“Those are a people who have passed away. For them what they earned, and for you

what your earned. And you shall not be questioned as to what they have been doing.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah: 141)

 

 

 

And Allah knows best.

Ml. Sohail ibn Arif
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

 

وَإِنْ مِنْ أُمَّةٍ إِلا خَلا فِيهَا نَذِيرٌ) أي: وما من أمة خلت من بني آدم إلا وقد بعث الله إليهم النُّذر) [i]

 وأزاح عنهم العلل

تفسير إبن كثير٦/ ٥٤٣دار طيبة للنشر والتوزيع

  معارف القران، ٥/ ١٩٣-١٩٤مكتبة دار العلوم كراتشي[ii]

 وأما النار فإنها دار عدل، لا يدخلها أحد إلا بعد الإعذار إليه وقيام الحجة عليه[iii]

تفسير إبن كثير ٥/ ٥٤دار طيبة للنشر والتوزيع

[iv]معارف القران، ٥/ ٤٧٥-٤٧٦مكتبة دار العلوم كراتشي

[v]وصنف: ثالث بين الدرجتين، بلغهم اسم محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولم يبلغهم نعته وصفته، بل سمعوا أيضاً منذ الصبا أن كذاباً ملبساً اسمه محمد ادعى النبوة، كما سمع صبياننا أن كذاباً يقال له المقفع، ادعى أن الله بعثه وتحدى بالنبوة كاذباً. فهؤلاء عندي في معنى الصنف الأول، فإنهم مع أنهم سمعوا اسمه، سمعوا ضد أوصافه، وهذا لا يحرك داعية النظر في الطلب.

فيصل التفرقة بين الإسلام والزندقة، ص. ٨٤، محمود بيجو

                   وقيل : هم أطفال المشركين[vi]

                   تفسير البغوي

وأصحاب الأعراف يدخلونها بشفاعة النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم وقد تقدم قريبا أن أرجح الأقوال[vii]

 في أصحاب الأعراف انهم قوم استوت حسناتهم وسيئاتهم

فتح الباري, ١١/ ٤٢٨دار المعرفة

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