Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Are non-Muslims condemned to Hell even if they did good and seem to have been genuinely pious?
Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his folk, companions, and followers
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray that this finds you well, and in the best of health and spirits. May Allah grant you all good and success in this life and the next. Please keep me in your duas.
Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an,
“Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam will never have it accepted from him, and shall be of those who have truly failed in the next life.” (Qur’an 3:85)
This is conditioned by His words,
“We do not punish until We send a Messenger.” (Qur’an 17:15)
Shaykh Adib Kallas, a leading Damascene scholar and theologian, put it very well:
“We know that those who reject faith (man aba) are in Hell. It is not decisively established what exactly entails rejection of faith — this is why the scholars of Sunni Islam differed. As for the details, we should concern ourselves with our own fate: Allah will ask us about ourselves, not about what He should do with others.”
Ultimately, if (a) the message of Islam reached someone; and (b) they rejected it, then the verses and hadiths about being eternally in Hell would apply. At the level of individuals, it is a major question as to what reaching and rejecting entail. This is why we cannot judge whether individual non-Muslims are in Hell — or, for that matter, in Heaven.
Rather, we consign their affair to Allah the Merciful and Just, while affirming the above.
And Allah alone gives success.