Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- A Muslim enters Paradise through the Mercy and Grace of Allah that He bestows on His servants because nobody’s actions are comparable to or even get close to the reward that Allah Almighty gives.
3- Allah has prepared for His believing servants in Paradise that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor anyone imagined, to the extent that even the person who has the least blessings in Paradise will think that he is the most blessed among them.
In his response to the question, Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states:
Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: I came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) while he was wearing white clothes and sleeping. I went back to him again after he had got up from his sleep. He said, “Nobody says, ‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah’ and then later on he dies while believing in that, except that he will enter Paradise.” I said, “Even if he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and theft?” He said, “Even if he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and theft.” I said, “Even if he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and theft?” He said, “Even if he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and theft, in spite of Abu Dharr’s disliking (it).” Abu `Abdullah said, “This is at the time of death or before it if one repents and regrets and says, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.’ He will be forgiven his sins.” (Al-Bukhari)
In light of the above hadith, it has become clear now that as long as one believes in Allah and dies as a believer, then he will enter Paradise, in sha’ Allah.
If that Muslim dies while he has committed sins of which he did not repent, then his fate is left to the Mercy of Allah, Who may forgive him according to His Will.
At last, that sinful person will enter Paradise, in sha’ Allah as Allah Almighty says, “Lo! Allah forgives not that a partner should be ascribed unto Him. He forgives (all) save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribes partners to Allah, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.” (An-Nisa’ 4:48)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “Allah Almighty has forbidden the one who utters, ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah (there is no god but Allah)’ for Allah’s Sake to enter the Hellfire.” (Al-Bukhari)
‘Enter the Hellfire‘ in this hadith means having it as a permanent abode.
Having clarified the above, I add that there is no contradiction between what is stated above and the Prophetic hadiths such as “The adulterer is not a believer at the moment when he is committing adultery; the wine-drinker is not a believer at the moment when he is drinking wine; the thief is not a believer at the moment when he is stealing; the robber is not a believer at the moment when he is robbing and the people are looking on.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The unbelief referred to in the above hadith doesn’t constitute complete unbelief. Rather, it refers to the fact that with such sins, the person’s faith is not categorically cancelled, although it decreases.
Also, we cannot call the person who does such sins a disbeliever as long as he does not deem or declare the permissibility of what he is doing as lawful.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.