I’m going to be posting something interesting about the Qur’ān every day during Ramaḍān, the month the Qur’ān was revealed.
The topic of today’s post is regarding the salvation of non-Muslims according to the Qur’ān itself.
“Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians – whichever party from among these truly believes in God and the Last Day and does good deeds – shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.” (2:63)
The words given here in this verse are literally in Arabic “those who believe” (الذين امنو) meaning Muslims, “those who are guided to truth” (الذين هادوا) meaning Jews, “the helpers” (النصارى) meaning Christians, and “the Sabians” (الصابين).
Sābī in Arabic refers to anyone who changes his faith, and also refers to the following religious groups:
2.) Mandeans (Murūj al-Dhahab by Mas’ūdī)
3.) A syncretic faith which was a mix of Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism (Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr, under 2:63)
4.) A people who lived near Mosul in Iraq and believed in One God but had no Law or Book and claimed to follow the religion of Noah (Tafsīr Ibn Jarīr and Ibn Kathīr, under 2:63)
The verse specifically says that those who have true belief in God and in an afterlife in their hearts (not mere lip profession) will attain salvation.
Islām is unique in the concept that it does not have a monopoly of truth and that there have been no other true religions. Nor does it claim that Arabs alone have been the recipients of God’s love.
The Qur’ān itself says that there is no race nor people that has not recieved a Prophet or Messenger of God on earth (32:25) and with this said, people following any of these dispensations or in fact none at all who are good people, may obtain salvation (per for example, the mystic Ibn ‘Arabī).
However with that said, the Qur’ān also emphatically announces that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) has come as a universal messenger for all people on earth and Islām has come as the final and complete religious law, with the Qur’ān being the final scripture. It is therefore essential to complete one’s spiritual development by accepting Islām as it is the culmination of all previous prophetic teachings, including those of Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Krishna, Moses, etc.