What happens to people who have never heard of Islam?

Is a man sent to hell because he is not a believer of Islam? Imagine this man is a good man on Earth and did some good things. Imagine this man is from Australia and he chose his religion based on his parents or environment he lives on or he didn't even heard of Islam.


5 Answers 5


What happens to people who have never heard of Islam?

Those who have never heard of Islam will not be punished for their sins if they died in the state of disbelief. Allah says (what means):

Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger. - Qur'an 17:15

"And never would We punish until We sent a messenger" means that Allah won't punish those who never received the massage of Islam. Ibn Kathir explained this in the tafsir of the verse quoted above:

Allah tells us that out of His justice, He does not punish anyone until He has established proof against him by sending a Messenger to him, as He says:

(Every time a group is cast therein, its keeper will ask: "Did no warner come to you'' They will say: "Yes, indeed a warner did come to us, but we belied him and said: `Allah never sent down anything (of revelation); you are only in great error.''') (67:8-9) And,

(And those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in groups, till, when they reach it, the gates thereof will be opened. And its keepers will say, "Did not the Messengers come to you from yourselves - reciting to you the verses of your Lord, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours'' They will say: "Yes,'' but the Word of torment has been justified against the disbelievers!) (39:71) And,

(Therein they will cry: "Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not (the evil deeds) that we used to do.'' (Allah will reply:) "Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition could receive it And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the wrongdoers there is no helper.'') (35:37) There are other Ayat which indicate that Allah will not make anyone enter Hell except after sending a Messenger to them.

If they won't be punished, then what will happen to them?

According to this (IslamQA) fatawa, they will be tested again in the day of resurrection. It cited the following hadith as its basis:

Al-Aswad ibn Saree reported that the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“There are four (who will protest) to Allaah on the Day of Resurrection: the deaf man who never heard anything, the insane man, the very old man, and the man who died during the fatrah (the interval between the time of ‘Eesaa (Jesus, upon whom be peace) and the time of Muhammad SAWS (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

The deaf man will say, ‘O Lord, Islam came but I never heard anything.’ The insane man will say, ‘O Lord, Islam came but the children ran after me and threw stones at me.’ The very old man will say, ‘O Lord, Islam came but I did not understand anything.’ The man who died during the fatrah will say, ‘O Lord, no Messenger from You came to me.’ He will accept their promises of obedience, then word will be sent to them to enter the Fire. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if they enter it, it will be cool and safe for them.”


Your question have been used by this brilliant Islamic researcher by the name of Hassan Farhan Al-Maliki who adressed this issue using a similar example. In one of his "controversial" interviews in a sectarian based TV show. [Link by the end of the post]

He gave the example of an old woman living in her farm in Srilanka, and who only heard of Islam explosions and terrorisms. How would she believe or even be interested?

The idea of the judgement of such people can be extracted from the statutory verses in the Quran.

I'd first like to address some points. Every human being has a duty to fulfill in a way that God would NEVER be unjust to ANYONE. This is very important to consider.

2:286 God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear....

Among the many misconceptions are that Quran is for Muslims and that God and the Prophet are for the Muslims. Or even that the Arabic language is the language of God.

21:107 And thus, (O Prophet) We have sent you as a mercy for the worlds.( i.e all mankind)

7:54 VERILY, your Sustainer is God, who has created the heavens and the earth in six aeons, and is established on the throne of His almightiness.43 He covers the day with the night in swift pursuit, with the sun and the moon and the stars subservient to His command: oh, verily, His is all creation and all command. Hallowed is God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!

Who is going to Hell ?

1-The act of Shirk(association): In the context of someone who received the scripture and is a submitter to God, everything can be forgiven except association

4:47-48 O You to whom the scripture was given! Believe in what We have now revealed, that confirms the truth in what you already have, before We efface the whole beings such that they turn back in utter confusion. Thus had We rejected the Sabbath breakers. The commandment of God is always executed. God does not forgive that divinity be ascribed to other than Him. But He may forgive anything else, to whom He wills. Whoever associates partners with God, has thus, devised a tremendous drag on his own person.

9:17 Those who associate others with God, (whether idols, dead saints, religious or temporal leaders), shall not administer God’s Masjids, the Centers of the Divine System – while they witness against their own ‘self’ - denial of truth. All their works are in vain and they will abide in the fire.

2- Rejecters (Kufar): It's a sensitive definition that got twisted into "if you are not Muslims you are a "kafir" and you are going to hell", usually mistranslated to "disbeliever". However, according to the Quran Kufar are those who Acknowledge the truth and deny it or cover it. And they are going to hell forever. they are also refered to as Hypocrites.

2:89 And when a Book came to them from God, authenticating what is with them; while before that they were mocking those who rejected; so when what they knew came to them, they rejected it(Kufr)! The curse of God be upon the rejecters.

The Hypocrites: Usually goes hand in hand with the Kufar, could be a trait of the Kufar too.

9:68 God promises the hypocrite men and women, and the rejecters, the fire of Hell for their abode. It suffices them. They deprive themselves of the grace of God, and theirs is the lasting torment.

Who is going to Heaven?

Anyone can go to Heaven by the judgement of God only, in a way or another, besides the clear cases stated above.

Some sects among muslims don't hesitate to make people Kufar and make themselves people of Heaven. Leaving no judgement to God. That is WRONG according to the Quran itself.

4:49 Did you not see those who ascribe purity to themselves? No, it is God who purifies whom He wills, and they will not be wronged in the least. See how they invent lies about God! And that is enough as a clear sin.

I hope this answer clarifies the issue.

This is the interview:Can atheists go to heaven in Islam ?

  • 2
    can the downvoter make an effort to explain himself ? I mean it's easy to downvote.
    – user19208
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 8:05
  • "Some sects among muslims don't hesitate to make people Kufar and make themselves people of Heaven" I've always found these kinds of statements unsustainable how could they say so while they quote that even people we highly respect such as teh four caliphes and others always lived with the fear of going to hell because of any possible sin they could commit! This is self-contradictory.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 10:59

Prophet and messengers were sent to every people:

"For We assuredly sent amongst every People an apostle, (with the Command), "Serve God, and eschew Evil": of the People were some whom God guided, and some on whom error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth). (The Noble Quran, 16:36)"

"To every people (was sent) an apostle: when their apostle comes (before them), the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged. (The Noble Quran, 10:47)"

"We sent not an apostle except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them. Now God leaves straying those whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: and He is Exalted in power, full of Wisdom. (The Noble Quran, 14:4)"

"Verily We have sent thee in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner: and there never was a people, without a warner having lived among them (in the past). (The Noble Quran, 35:24)"

"We did send apostles before thee, and appointed for them wives and children: and it was never the part of an apostle to bring a sign except as God permitted (or commanded). For each period is a Book (revealed). (The Noble Quran, 13:38)"

Some will argue that the above Ayat refers to people of the past, but what about current people?

Well, put it this way, if I give a homeless person $1, he/she will thank me, that's for $1, now compare that to what Allah (swt) has given us, it is incomparable, yet people enjoy this existence without ever thanking the one that gave them everything. This same group of people, when faced with calamity, that's when they remember god, some are guided, the rest curse god and continue in their ignorant paths.

Being conscious of what you have been given, and giving credit where it is due is the key, but people are arrogant in today's age, they think everything that they have are the product of their own making, or the product of random events. This is the product of their arrogance, claiming ignorance false.


Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves - [the angels] will say, "In what [condition] were you?" They will say, "We were oppressed in the land." The angels will say, "Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?" For those, their refuge is Hell - and evil it is as a destination. http://tanzil.net/#4:97

And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious. http://tanzil.net/#9:122

According to Islam any human has the duty to seek truth using his wisdom ability. It depends if he has done enough seeking and research in finding truth or not. If he has done enough research for example by immigrating for finding truth or any effort needed and still could not find truth so he is forgiven. But if he did not fulfill this duty during his life so he will be punished.

Those who had enough effort but did not have the opportunity to learn about Islam also others like those who do not have wisdom like insane people will be tested by God at Judgement day. For example God makes a big fire and commands them to enter into fire. Those who obeyed God they will enter paradise and those who disobeyed will enter Hell.




In this day and age it is highly unlikely that anyone that watches television has not heard about Islam especially after the free publicity that news channels do for Islam.

It is human nature to seek knowledge of the unknown and gain new skills. Allah (SWT) has built us and he knows the best. It is highly unlikely that in a modern age one that does not know anything about Islam will not search for it or look it up on Google. It is a different thing to choose not to.

The next tier of responsibility lies on the believers around him. They must invite and enlighten him about the correct path.

And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e., do not worship Taghut besides Allah)." Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth). (Qur'ân 16:36)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .