In many Christian sects there is a concept/notion usually labeled the "virtuous pagan". That is, those who were not evangelized in life, yet lived beneficent and virtuous lives, can receive salvation come judgement-day.

For instance Pope John Paul II wrote:

The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the Gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.

Is there such a concept in Islam? And if there is, is it likely that the historical Gautama Buddha would take residence in Jannah after judgment?

I'm a not so recent convert to Buddhism from my familially ingrained lukewarm Baptist Christianity. However, I have been reading about Islamic eschatology. From what I've read... I can say with certainty that I'm not not very interested in further conversions. But I'm still interested hearing what you all have to say.


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The tradition of thought (from a textual basis) is no Muslim has the ability to say where a person will end up going, rather only Allah (swt) knows.

It is common for Muslims to say, "Insha'Allah (God willing) I go to heaven", rather than say they will go to heaven. Why? As the Qur'an shows there is no such thing for, "confirmed" salvation from hell, it is pretty clear that it all is in the hands of Allah (swt) not something us mere mortals can pass judgement on. Recall that Islam is submission to the judge-master of all creation, not clerics, not priests, we do not have the ability to cast any ruling on such.

As for non-Muslims going to heaven, while I dislike speculation, Allah (swt) has shown at times kindness to some, for good deeds they do, as can be seen in this hadith:

A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.

- Sahih al-Bukhari 3321, Book 59, Hadith 127

So the logical thought is it possible, remember Qur'anic chapter 49, verse 13:

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.

While there are past examples, righteous in the end is in the eyes of Allah (swt) not ours. (I seem to stress this a lot, but mainly because that is the main idea here.)

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