By Ijaz Chaudry

How do we know that the Muslims (believers) who do not do all the rites of Islam will make it to Paradise?

You must have come across many references made to the Quran and heard that the Quran is a great book! Indeed it is a great book and a simple example of its greatness can be observed from its very first chapter the verses which many Muslims recite in their Salat every time they do Salat. However, I believe they are not aware of what these verses implied until now;

The Chapter is “The Key” or Al-Fatha the two verses are as below;

(1:6) Guide us in the right path;

(1:7) the path of those whom You blessed; not of those who have deserved wrath nor    of the strayers.

In these verses we are told to follow the “Blessed”. It does not imply in any way or form who the blessed are! However, we know from the Quran that all the prophets and messengers were blessed. So it implies that all messengers and prophets were on the right path. In the same vein we can choose and follow anyone of them.

 We know from the following verses that Prophet Abraham brought the 5 pillars of Islam, and built the Kabaa which we face when we do our Salat and this is also the place where we do Hajj at least once in our life time;

(2:125)  We have rendered the shrine (the Ka`aba) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use Abraham's shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ismail: "You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate."

(2:127) As Abraham raised the foundations of the shrine, together with Ismail (they prayed): "Our Lord, accept this from us. You are the Hearer, the Omniscient.

(2:128) "Our Lord, make us submitters to You, and from our descendants let there be a community of submitters to You. Teach us the rites of our religion, and redeem us. You are the Redeemer, Most Merciful.

So those who follow Abraham are the ones who practice the rites of Islam. But what about the ones who do not practice the rites of Islam but are Muslims or Submitters (including believers from other religions) which prophet/messenger are they following. We know from the following verse that there were prophets before Abraham, who did not do the rites of Islam. However they had a belief system. They believed in God, believed in the Last Day and lived a good clean life. This same criterion is reconfirmed in the Quran;

(5:69) Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, and the Christians; any of them who (1) believe in GOD and (2) believe in the Last Day, and (3) lead a good  life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

Indeed majority of Muslims today do fall in this category today and there is nothing wrong with that because they are following prophets before Abraham. These are the same people who do not require to Fast in the month of Ramadan, or take part in any practices of Islam.  The following verse tells us who those Prophets were in chronological order;

(3:33) GOD has chosen Adam, Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Amram (as messengers) to the people.

Matter of concern:

Today, there are several examples of mostly young Muslims (traditional Muslims), who practice the rites of Islam intermittently, fasting in the month of Ramadan without observing 5 Salats a day. They believe that by Fasting in the month of Ramadan they are cleansing their sins for the last year. They then continue to do what they want during the next year without observing the rites of Islam or even the etiquettes of Islam. The question arise how far is this assumption true?  Let us see what the Quran has to say about this matter!

There is a verse in the Quran which puts this prospective in a nut shell;

(26:88) That is the day when neither money, nor children, can help.

(26:89) Only those who come to GOD with their pure heart

(26:90) Paradise will be presented to the righteous.

Indeed the scenario described in the above verses envisages the time of the Day of Resurrection where only the “Pure Hearted” will enter Paradise!

Something which is pure, is neither dilute nor mixed with other things it is unadulterated. When we mix practicing Islam (as in observing all rites of Islam) with non-practicing Islam (as in not practicing the rites of Islam but having the belief system only, mentioned in (5:69) we are adulterating Islam which goes against the verse (26:89). Therefore in short those who mix Islam like this will not be rewarded, but they will be accountable.

Conclusion:

 Those who fast in Ramadan without observing the rites of Islam the rest of the year do not receive any benefit from this. They make life difficult for themselves. They either observe all rites of Islam throughout the year, while observing fasts in the month of Ramadan or stick with the belief system as observed by the prophets Adam and Noah.

Obviously observing the rites of Islam gives better rewards, because you end up in High Heaven when you die and the belief system might only allow you the lower Heaven. But lower Heaven is better than not observing the commandment (26:89) and not knowing if they will end up in Hell because of it.

We deduce from our observations from the verses mentioned in this article that, both the practicing and non-practicing Islam is allowed by the Quran. Both categories of Muslims will make it to Heaven. Experimentation with Islam other than what Quran prescribe could be a very dangerous affair, and should be avoided as best as possible!

Islam is a gentle and kind religion, those who are reverent and seek to be closer to God can choose to take hard but rewarding way forward by observing the rites of Islam every day, while those who cannot afford to keep up with the pressures of observing the rites of Islam every day have choice to believe in God and live a good clean life! As the verse says there is no compulsion in religion therefore choose your own way;

(2:256) There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.

This same criterion applies to any creed, colour, or race of the believer!

Finally this verse puts mixing religion into perspective;

(4:150) Those who disbelieve in GOD and His messengers, and seek to make distinction among GOD and His messengers, and say, "We believe in some and reject some," and wish to follow a path in between;

(4:151) these are the real disbelievers. We have prepared for the disbelievers a shameful retribution.

The essence here of these verses in a nut shell with regards to this argument is that one should follow as an example Noah or Follow Abraham, one cannot waver between one or the other!