Will Allah punish those who died while they were on their way to converting to Islam? Would he punish those who were studying Islam and trying to find the truth among all the religions that exist but died before they could officially convert? (shahada)
First thing we have to establish is that Allah is the best of judges and full of mercy.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah had once forgiven a prostitute. She passed by a dog panting near a well. Seeing that thirst had nearly killed him, she took off her shoe, tied it to her scarf, and drew up some water. Allah forgave her for that.” Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3143, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2245
If Allah means good for a slave he will cause the heart of his slave to be humble and guide it. i.e(Taking the shahada at/before death)
This question seems to me as this matter would be strictly between Allah and his slave any discussion further into the judgment of Allah is waste of your time as we do not hold the matters of the unseen, and if someone dies before converting we must understand Allah is wise and has not meant it for his servant.
Allah guides only the doers of good, even if it's a little goodness in them.
Note: if I used the word 'his' as I meant to use it as neutral and did not mean to connotate a gender
AND ALLAH KNOWS BEST, AND ALLAH FORGIVE ME FOR ANY MISTAKES
In Islam you are a muslim when you have accepted the oneness of God and that Prophet Muhammad PBUH is his messenger. Period. No other rituals or studies are required for you to qualify as a muslim. Learning the deen is a life long journey and it has been noted that even the companions of the prophet used to ask him if they will go to Jannah or not. Having this fear in your heart helps a muslim stay on the right path.
Niyyah (intention) is all that Allah sees
Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 1 :: Hadith 1
Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab:
I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.”
Also reported in Sahih Muslim
And Allah knows best!
Islam existed since the time Adam (AS) was created. The message was always the same: Allah is one, God is one, Yahweh is one, etc.
When we die, the first step in our judgement is going to be in the grave. And once you're in the grave, neither your mom, nor your dad is going to be by your side. It's you, what's inside your heart, and Allah.
If you believe in your heart that God is One, with no equal, then you will go to heaven.
Allah is JUST, If your intention is sincere and truly looking for the truth. Allah will guide you to the truth before you die. But one must look in the right place for the truth. Places where Allah says guidance is. Which is Quran.
Read Quran first from beginning to the end, Because this is the last and final revelation from God. And In Shaa Allah, You will find guidance.
No brother. Obviously ALLAH will not punish those who will be on their way of converting to Islam because it is already explained in hadis of Prophet Muhammad that the person who will be on his way of figuring about god and thinking about converting to Islam, Allah will show mercy and forgive his mistake and reward him with paradise.