Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting (and difficult)
question. As with many religions the fundamentalist view is often
"yes", anyone outside of Islam for whatever reason is doomed to hell
according to the hard-line interpretations of the Qu?ran. Other more
conservative opinions (and yes, there are conservative Muslims) would
argue this point. With that said, the most accurate and widely
accepted answer is ?not necessarily? and here?s why:
According to Islamic teachings, any person who has been offered a true
and complete understanding of Islam and knowingly rejects it, then
dies without repenting, is destined for hell. You will note that the
operative phrases here are ?offered a true and complete understanding
of Islam? and ?knowingly rejects it?. This suggests that one must
first HAVE an opportunity to embrace Islam and THEN, upon his or her
own informed understanding, free will, and free choice refuse to
embrace it before that person is at risk of condemnation on this
The Qu?ran says:
[2:62] Surely, those who believe [in Islam], those who are Jewish, the
Christians, and the converts; anyone who believes in GOD, and believes
in the Last Day, and leads a righteous life, will receive their
recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they
Surah al-Baqarat verse 62
The widely accepted meaning of this (except among some hard line
groups perhaps) is that people (note: "anyone") who have faith in God
will be rewarded, even if they didn't convert to Islam, as long the
reason they didn't convert is because they never had the opportunity
to obtain ?a true and complete understanding of Islam?, and as long as
they obeyed what they DID follow what they sincerely believed was the
law of God.
I?m not suggesting that YOU feel this way but it is interesting that a
large portion of the non-Muslim population often sees Islam as some
weird, barbaric, archaic cult that is bent on the destruction of Jews
and Christians when in fact Muslims themselves view Islam as the
completion, or the continuation to maturity of both Judaism and
Christianity (in much the same way that Christians see the biblical
New Testament as a matured form of Judaism; new laws, new covenant?s
etc.). Muslims actually believe that God revealed the Torah to Moses
(yes, the same Moses) and also revealed the Gospel to Jesus (yes, they
know and revere Jesus). Muslims believe that God revealed the Qu?ran
to provide guidance in its complete and final form. Islam, in it?s
most fundamental form, teaches that Judaism and Christianity both
contain truth and are both based on revelations from God but it also
teaches that followers of these religions have distorted the true
faith with a mixture of God and man-made teachings and doctrines.
The majority of Muslims are not trying to send all non-Muslims to hell
and most of them are not even trying to squeeze that translation out
of various verses of the Qu?ran and propagate that teaching throughout
the earth. In fact, the word ?infidel?, commonly used nowadays
(especially in the media) to describe ALL non-Muslims, is not even a
Muslim (Arabic) word; it is a word that has its origins in
Christianity and was used to describe ? now brace yourself ?
NON-CHRISTIANS. That?s right. Because of it?s incorrectly presumed
similarly in meaning, the Middle French word ?infidèle? (from Latin
?infidelis?) was the word chosen to translate the Arabic word ?kafir?,
a word used by the Qur'an to describe people who were guilty of
rejection or non-acceptance of the truth. To this day the word ?kafir?
is still translated to the word ?infidel? even though many Arabic
speaking people never actually use it; they typically say ?kafir?
which is in turn often fed back to us in English as ?infidel? (and to
heap ignorance upon ignorance we incorrectly assume this is a Muslim
term used to describe someone who needs their throat cut for
disavowing Islam ? it?s just absolute nonsense).
ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY
There are actually many types of ?kafir? (abstract noun ?kufr?) in the Qu?ran.
The actual translation of the word ?kafir? (alt. Khafir) for the
purposes of being apostate means ?one who is enraged toward? (as in
opposition to). Simply put, once cannot be enraged toward something he
does not know.
So, here we?ve come full circle haven?t we? To be a ?kafir? one must
knowingly and knowledgably reject Islam and if one has not had the
opportunity to learn then one cannot knowingly reject it. If one is
not even a kafir he certainly cannot be described as an infidel, can
he? Therefore the logical answer to your question, ?Are all
non-Muslims condemned to hell??, the answer is ?not necessarily?. All
non-Muslims are not kafir and all kafir are not infidels.
If a person knowingly rejects Islam that has been intelligently
presented to him, he will in all likelihood, according the Qu?ran
suffer the fate of an apostate, which is damnation.
If a person, by virtue of circumstance, misses the opportunity to
embrace Islam or fails to embrace Islam because it was not adequately,
accurately or completely presented to him, there is hope, according to
the Qu?ran, that Allah will be merciful to him so long as he embraces
God in the manner of his own understanding.
Is this in contradiction to other verses of the Qu?ran that speak of
shirk? Well, herein lies the basis of dissent between interpretations
(just as the Bible is widely and variously interpreted) and one could
go on for a lifetime with this debate. It matters not that the
hypothetical child was born of Muslim parents; in Islam all people are
viewed the same. In the Qu?ran (An-Nisaa' 4:48) the scripture says
that Allah forgives ?whom he pleaseth?, and herein (when taken with
both Surah Al-Baqarah verse 62, and Surah al-Ma'ida verse 69) also
lies the hope that those who are circumstantially ignorant to Islam
will be saved.
Again, let me say that this, like the answer to your other question,
is subject to interpretation. What I have offered you is a widely
subscribed belief that can be debated depending on whom you wish to
I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher
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