Christians, Jews and Muslims in Heaven (Qur'an 2:62)

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This article analyzes the apologetic claim, often used by the Ahmadiyya,[1] that according to Islam, Christians and Jews who adhere to their faiths will enter Paradise alongside Muslims. It also explains what Islamic texts actually say about Christians and Jews in the Hearafter.

Qur'an[edit]

Surah 2:62[edit]

This verse is often quoted in an effort to prove Islam is tolerant and inclusive of other faiths. After all, how much more tolerant can a faith be than to allow the followers of other faiths into its vision of Paradise?

Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

Others[edit]

Surah 5:69[edit]

Less quoted, but very similar to the previous verse:

Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabians and the Christians whoever believes in Allah and the last day and does good-- they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.

Analysis[edit]

Qur'an[edit]

Muhammad[edit]

The Qur'an makes it an article of faith to believe in Allah and all the messengers. This includes Prophet Muhammad. According to the Qur'an, when Moses came with the Taurat, it was necessary to follow him, when Jesus came with the Injil, it was necessary to leave the laws of Moses and follow him. Finally, when Muhammad came with the Qur'an, it became necessary to leave the teachings of Jesus and follow Islam.

And who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and they are sure of the hereafter. These are on a right course from their Lord and these it is that shall be successful.
Say: O followers of the Book! you follow no good till you keep up the Taurat and the Injeel and that which is revealed to you from your Lord; and surely that which has been revealed to you from your Lord shall make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; grieve not therefore for the unbelieving people.
And those who believe in Allah and His messengers and do not make a distinction between any of them-- Allah will grant them their rewards; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Several verses explicitly define "believers" as those who accept the prophethood of Muhammad. "Disbelievers" who do not, are told they are in error and condemned to the "burning fire".

The messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers; We make no difference between any of His messengers; and they say: We hear and obey, our Lord! Thy forgiveness (do we crave), and to Thee is the eventual course.
O you who believe! believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger and the Book which He revealed before; and whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His messengers and the last day, he indeed strays off into a remote error.
And whoever does not believe in Allah and His Messenger, then surely We have prepared burning fire for the unbelievers.

Islam[edit]

The Qur'an clearly states that any religion other than Islam will not be accepted by Allah in the Hereafter.

Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam, and those to whom the Book had been given did not show opposition but after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves; and whoever disbelieves in the communications of Allah then surely Allah is quick in reckoning.
And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.

To accept the interpretation of verse 2:62 presented by Ahmadis and apologists, would also mean having to accept the Qur'an contains a blatant contradiction. However, as most Muslims will already be aware, this is not a contradiction if one takes the doctrine of abrogation into consideration.

Commentaries[edit]

The following are what the Tafsir and Fiqh literature have to say on verse 2:62 and its meaning.

Tafsir Ibn Abbas[edit]

Then Allah went on to mention the believers among them, saying: (Lo! Those who believe) in Moses and all the other prophets, these earn their reward from their Lord in Paradise; they shall have no fear perpetually and they shall perpetually not grieve. It is said that this means that no fear will come upon them concerning torment in the future life nor will they grieve about anything they have left behind. And it is also said that this means: they shall have no fear when death is slain and hell is closed. Then He mentioned those who did not believe in Moses or the other prophets, saying: (and those who are Jews) who deviated from the religion of Moses, (and Christians) those who became Christians (and Sabaeans) a Christian sect whose members shave the middle of their heads, read the Gospel, worship the angels and say: " our hearts have returned (saba'at) unto Allah " , (whoever believeth) from amongst them (in Allah and the Last Day and does right) in that which is between them and their Lord, (surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve).
Surah 2 Ayah 62
Tafsir Ibn 'Abbas, trans. Mokrane Guezzou, Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought

Tafsir Ibn Kathir[edit]

After Allah described the condition - and punishment - of those who defy His commands, fall into His prohibitions and transgress set limits by committing prohibited acts, He stated that the earlier nations who were righteous and obedient received the rewards for their good deeds. This shall be the case, until the Day of Judgment. Therefore, whoever follows the unlettered Messenger and Prophet shall acquire eternal happiness and shall neither fear from what will happen in the future nor become sad for what has been lost in the past. Similarly, Allah said,

(No doubt! Verily, the Awliya' of Allah, no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve) (10:62). The angels will proclaim to the dying believers, as mentioned,

(Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is Allah (alone)," and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!"). (41:30)
`Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn `Abbas, about,

(Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day) that Allah revealed the following Ayah afterwards, (And whoever seeks religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers) (3:85).

This statement by Ibn `Abbas indicates that Allah does not accept any deed or work from anyone, unless it conforms to the Law of Muhammad that is, after Allah sent Muhammad . Before that, every person who followed the guidance of his own Prophet was on the correct path, following the correct guidance and was saved.

When Allah sent Muhammad as the Last and Final Prophet and Messenger to all of the Children of Adam, mankind was required to believe in him, obey him and refrain from what he prohibited them; those who do this are true believers. The Ummah of Muhammad was called `Mu'minin' (believers), because of the depth of their faith and certainty, and because they believe in all of the previous Prophets and matters of the Unseen.

Tafsir Al-Jalalayn[edit]

Surely those who believe, [who believed] before, in the prophets, and those of Jewry, the Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans, a Christian or Jewish sect, whoever, from among them, believes in God and the Last Day, in the time of our Prophet, and performs righteous deeds, according to the Law given to him — their wage, that is, the reward for their deeds, is with their Lord, and no fear shall befall them, neither shall they grieve (the [singular] person of the verbs āmana, ‘believes’, and ‘amila, ‘performs’, takes account of the [singular] form of man, ‘whoever’, but in what comes afterwards [of the plural pronouns] its [plural] meaning [is taken into account]).
Surah 2 Ayah 62
Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza, Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought

Maariful Quran[edit]

In order to dispel such a misgiving, the present verse lays down a general principle: no matter how a man has been behaving earlier, so long as he submits himself fully to the commandments of Allah in his beliefs and in his deeds both, he is acceptable to Allah, and will get his reward. It is obvious enough that after the revelation of the Holy Qur'an, which is the last message of Allah, perfect obedience to Allah can only mean accepting Islam and following the Last Prophet Muhammad.

One might also ask why the verse mentions the Muslims, for if it is an invitation to Islam, there is no need to extend the invitation to those who have already accepted Islam. But if we keep in mind the richly concentrated style of the Holy Qur'an,and try to look beyond the literal sense of the words into the implications and suggestions contained in the verse, we would find that the inclusion of the Muslim factor has added a new dimension to the meaning. It is es if a king should,in a similar situation,say that his laws are impartially applicable to all his subjects, and that whosoever obeys them shall receive his reward for obedience irrespective of whether he has earlier been a friend or a foe.

We had better dispel another misunderstanding which is likely to arise from the wordings of the present verse -- and, which is actually being promoted by certain 'modernizers'. The verse mentions only two articles of faith of the Islamic creed -- faith in Allah and faith in the Day of Judgment. This should not be taken to mean that in order to attain salvation it is enough to have faith only in Allah and in the Day of Judgment. Fcr, the Holy Qur'an repeatedly declares that he who does not believe in the prophets, in angels and in the Books of Allah is not a Muslim. Faith in Allah is the first article in the Islamic creed, while faith in the Day of Judgment is the last. By mentioning only these two, the verse intends to say in a succinct manner that it is necessary to have faith in all the articles of the creed, from the first to the last. Moreover, it is through the prophets and the Books of Allah alone that man can acquire any knowledge of the essence and the attributes of Allah and of what is to happen on the Day of Judgment, while the Books of Allah are revealed to the prophets through an angel. So, it is not possible to have faith in Allah and the Day of Judgment until and unless one has faith in the angels, in the Books of Allah and in the prophets.
Surah 2 Ayah 62
Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, trans. Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim

Response to "modernizers" in the footnotes to the commentary:

23.Contrary to the flaccid fancies of some "modernizers" who are very happy with themselves over their "liberalism" and "tolerance", the present verse does not open the way to salvation for each and every "man of good will" irrespective of the creed he follows. If one reads the verse in its proper context and along with other relevant verses of the Holy Qur'an, one will easily see that the verse, in fact, promises salvation in the other world only to those who accept Islam. It is a n invitation to Islam extended to the Jews, the Christians, the Sabeans and, as a matter of fact, to the followers of all possible religions, and even to non-believers -- specific names only serve as examples.
Surah 2 Ayah 62
Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, trans. Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim

Biyan-ul-Quran[edit]

Some wrong headed and evil mongers in our time have tried to deceive people arguing erroneously from this ayah. They say that to achieve salvation one does not need to believe in the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the two articles of faith discussed here i.e. belief in Allah (SWT) and in the hereafter, are enough for ones salvation. On the other hand this ayah makes it clear that it is not giving the detail of all the articles of faith which one should believe in. Those are mentioned elsewhere at numerous places. In fact this ayah clarifies the misconception that the Jews had, that they are the chosen ones and only they would enter the Paradise. On the contrary Allah (SWT) says that your salvation does not depend upon your lineage or your race but on the basis whether you are righteous or not. As far as the belief in Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is concerned, we would like to point out the fact that, in the sixth ruku of this surah, Allah (SWT) invites the Jews to accept Islam by believing in the Prophethood of Muhammad (SAW) in order to achieve salvation and eternal bliss. So how can it be that the belief of a person is complete without believing in Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The context of this ayah clarifies that those people who were Jews, Christians or Sabians, and followed their own Prophet before the advent of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and they believed in Allah (SWT) and the hereafter, did righteous deeds will have their rewards from Allah (SWT). But once Allah (SWT) revealed Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), it has become incumbent on a person to believe in him and the last revealed Book, along with other articles of faith.
Surah 2 Ayah 62
Dr. Israr Ahmed, Biyan-ul-Quran

Dawat ul Quran[edit]

Another very important point must be made clear here. It would be wrong to interpret the verse as implying that salvation depends upon virtuous conduct alone.According to such a view , one who observed one’s own religion, believed in Allah and the Hereafter and was righteous in deeds deserved salvation. This interpretation, however is farthest from the teachings of Quran and amounts to introducing an unjustifiable change in it. In this verse, the details of true belief, faith and righteous conduct are not being explained at all; they are mentioned in other places in Quran. Allah recognizes no belief or faith which does not accept that Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) is the last prophet of Allah and Quran is his true (undistorted) book. Without this belief, righteous conduct is of no avail because righteousness itself is determined by the observance of Muhammad’s shariah (pbuh). Quran is replete with such teachings, for example Surah-al-Baqarah has this as the central theme: it invites people to believe in revelation of the Quran and the prophethood of Muhammad(pbuh). This point is repeatedly stressed in many places in Quran, Allah says

With Allah, the accepted religion is Islam (Al-e-Imran 19)

Any person who will seek any religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter (Al-e-Imran 85)
Surah 2 Ayah 62
Shams Pirzada, Dawat ul Quran, trans. Abdul Karim Shaikh

Reliance of the Traveller[edit]

Suddi states that (2:62) was revealed about the former companions of Salman the Persian when he mentioned them to the Prophet, relating how they had been, saying, "They used to pray, fast, and believe in you, and testify that you would be sent as a prophet." When he had finished praising them, the Prophet replied, "Salman, they are the denizens of hell," which came to discomfit Salman greatly, and so Allah revealed (2:62).

The faith of the Jews was that of whoever adhered to the Torah and the sunna of Moses until the coming of Jesus. When Jesus came, whoever held fast to the Torah and the sunna of Moses without giving them up and following Jesus was lost.

The faith of the Christians was that whoever adhered to the Gospel and precepts of Jesus, their faith was valid and acceptable until the coming of Muhammad. Those of them who did not then follow Muhammad and give up the sunna of Jesus and the Gospel were lost.

The foregoing is not contradicted by the hadith relating that (2:62) was followed by Allah revealing (3:85), for the hadith merely confirms that no one's way or spiritual works are acceptable unless they conform to the Sacred Law of Muhammad, now that he has been sent with it. As for people prior to this, anyone who followed the messenger of his own time was guided, on the right path, and was saved.
Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law
Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Edited and Translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (pp. 848-849)

Hadiths[edit]

Belief in Allah alone[edit]

2:62 makes it necessary to believe in Allah. And according to the Qur'an, believing in Allah alone is mandatory. Thus, "associating partners" with Allah is a sin that will not be forgiven.

Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin.

Belief in the Christian Trinity is considered to be "associating partners" with Allah (i.e. polytheism), and the Qur'an specifically and repeatedly damns these Christians to Hell as blasphemous "disbelievers".

Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Marium; and the Messiah said: O Children of Israel! serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust.
Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one Allah, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.

Hadiths further explain what believing in Allah alone means, clarifying that it is "to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah" and that "Muhammad is His Apostle".

"Do you know what is meant by believing in Allah Alone?" They replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." Thereupon the Prophet said, "It means: 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle. 2. To offer prayers perfectly 3. To pay the Zakat (obligatory charity) 4. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan. 5. And to pay Al-Khumus (one fifth of the booty to be given in Allah's Cause).
"Do you know what is meant by believing in Allah Alone?" They replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." Thereupon the Prophet said, "(That means to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is His Apostle, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay Zakat, to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan, (and) to pay Al-Khumus (one fifth of the booty to be given in Allah's cause)."

Christians and Jews thrown into hell[edit]

The following narrations are taken from Sahih Muslim (Chapter 8: "Throwing of non-believers in Hell-fire for believers as divine grace and mercy"). They tell us some Muslims will earn their place in Paradise and be spared Hell-Fire by Allah on the Day of Resurrection by making innocent Christians and Jews take their place and be thrown into hell.

Abu Musa' reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: When it will be the Day of Resurrection Allah would deliver to every Muslim a Jew or a Christian and say: That is your rescue from Hell-Fire.
Abu Burda reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: No Muslim would die but Allah would admit in his stead a Jew or a Christian in Hell-Fire. 'Umar b. Abd al-'Aziz took an oath: By One besides Whom there is no god but He, thrice that his father had narrated that to him from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him).
Abu Burda reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with as heavy sins as a mountain, and Allah would forgive them and He would place in their stead the Jews and the Christians. (As far as I think), Abu Raub said: I do not know as to who is in doubt. Abu Burda said: I narrated it to 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz, whereupon he said: Was it your father who narrated it to you from Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him)? I said: Yes.

Non-Muslim women used for sex[edit]

The following is reported in Ibn Majah, Ibn `Adi in the Kamil, and al-Bayhaqi in al-Ba`th wal-Nushur. It explains that some Christian and Jewish women, among others, will make it into Paradise after-all. But only as sex slaves for Muslim men. Al-Suyuti marked its chain as “fair” (hasan) in al-Jami` al-Saghir (7989).[2]

Abu Umama said, Allah be well-pleased with him: The Messenger of Allah said, upon him blessings and peace: “None is made to enter Paradise by Allah Most High except Allah Most High shall marry him to seventy-two wives, two of them from the wide-eyed maidens of Paradise and seventy of them his inheritance from the People of Hellfire, not one of them but her attraction never lags nor his arousal ever wanes.”

Scholars[edit]

Jews and Christians that will enter paradise[edit]

As far as the Jews are concerning, their faith meant believing in the Tawraat (original Torah) and following the way of Moosa (peace be upon him) until ‘Eesa came, after which whoever continued to follow the Torah and the way of Moosa, and did not leave this and follow ‘Eesa, was doomed. As far as the Christians are concerned, their faith meant believing in the Injeel (original Gospel) and following the laws of ‘Eesa; whoever did this was a believer whose faith was acceptable to Allaah, until Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came, after which whoever did not follow Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and leave the way of ‘Eesa and the Injeel that he had been following before, was doomed.
Who are the Jews and Christians who will enter Paradise?
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 2912

Attitude of Islam towards other religions[edit]

The ruling of Islam concerning other religions is that they are all either fabricated and false, or abrogated.

Are Christians disbelievers?[edit]

The People of the Book are kafirs, and it is obligatory to believe that they are so, as Imam Nawawi explains. There is scholarly consensus on this, because of the clear nature of the texts about this.The Christians at the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) already believed in the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus (peace be upon him), and such things.

Ruling regarding Jews and Christians[edit]

The Quran, Sunnah and the consensus of scholars indicate that a man who embraces any religion other than Islam, is a disbeliever. His faith will not be accepted and, in the next life, he will be among those at loss
. . .

There is an explicit text that states that the People of the Book who do not believe in Muhammad, , or deny the Prophethood of any other Prophet, or those who associate deities with Allaah The Almighty, are disbelievers.
. . .
Everything that we have mentioned above is indisputable in Islam; and, anyone who denies or doubts any of it is deemed a disbeliever. Al-Qaadhi ‘Iyaadh reported the consensus of scholars on this matter.

Some Hanbali scholars have added that the one who doubts the disbelief of the People of the Book becomes a disbeliever

Conclusion[edit]

There are many verses in the Qur'an that label Christians and Jews as disbelievers, and numerous more that explicitly condemn them and other disbelievers to Hell. There is scholarly consensus on the fact that Christians and Jews are viewed by Islam as kafirs, because of "the clear nature of the texts about this".

If you read verse 2:62 in context, it is referring only to those Christians, Jews, and Sabiens who believed in the time of their own Prophet/Messenger.

Each Revelation abrogated the previous. Thus, after the advent of Prophet Muhammad and Islam, no individual can make it into Paradise unless they accept Allah as God, Muhammad as his last Prophet and the Qur'an as Allah's final book of guidance.

Therefore, the concept of Heavenly rewards in Islam are now exclusively offered to Muslims. Christians and Jews may believe in a single monotheistic god, but they do not believe in "His Messenger". Thus they are destined for the "burning fire".

Additionally, the non-Muslims who do make it into Paradise will only be used as sex-slaves by believing men, Muslims who themselves will be spared hell-fire by Allah on the Day of Resurrection by making innocent Christians and Jews take their place and be thrown into Hell.

See Also[edit]

  • Heaven - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Heaven
  • Misinterpreted Verses - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Misinterpreted Verses

External Links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. For example, an article by an American Ahmadi named Dr. Faheem Younus, on his Huffington Post‎ blog, titled "In Islam, Heaven Is Not Exclusive".
  2. Shaykh Gibril Haddad - How Many Wives Will The Believers Have In Paradise? - SunniPath.com, Question ID:4828