What of those to Whom Islam Does Not Reach
All praise be to Allah. May blessings and peace be upon our Prophet; and upon his Family, Companions
and followers. To proceed:
The beginning of your question may be whittled down to: Has Islam reached the whole of humanity?
The reply: Islam has not reached the whole of humanity, but it will reach the whole of humanity. For
there occurs in one hadith: “The Hour will not be established until there remains no house of brick or
fur save that the religion will enter it: bringing with it honour or humiliation.” Related by Imam A˙mad
(no.16957), al-Bayhaq• in his Sunan (9:181) and al-Tabarån• in al-Kab•r (no.1280). Hence this religion
will certainly enter [everywhere]. Today the media and the means of mass communication have turned
the world into a global village; such, therefore, are channels for Islam to be conveyed to every house.
Thus it is incumbent upon each Muslim to strive diligently to communicate Islam to others. But as for
whether or not this has [completely] happened, then not as yet.
As for those deserving of punishment in the Hellfire, it refers to those to whom this religion has been
conveyed but they refuse to believe in it. Allah, Transcendent and Exalted is He, says: And this Qur’an
has been revealed to me that I may warn you with it and whomsoever it may reach.1 Meaning, that it
is a warning to all whom it reaches, even if one has not seen or spoken with the Prophet. Whosoever
the Qur’an has been communicated to, is of those who have been warned. Consequently, the Qur’an
that is with each of us must, of need, be conveyed to the whole of humanity. Those to whom the Qur’an
has been conveyed, then the proof (˙ujjah) has been established upon them. Those to whom it has
not been conveyed, the proof has not been established to them, and their case is like that of the ahl
al- fa† rah – those who lived in a period of time before the advent of a divinely-revealed message. About
this, Allah, Transcendent is He, revealed: Nor do We punish until We have sent a Messenger.2 He also
said: Whenever a fresh host is cast into it [Hell], its keepers ask them: “Did not a warner come to you?”
They will say: “Yes, a warner came to us; but we denied.”3
Thus Messengers were divinely sent in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after
the Messengers. So a person to whom the message has not reached, then the proofs cannot be said to
have been established; proofs and arguments that are to be clear, thorough and decisive: Say: “Allah’s
is the decisive argument.”4
Someone to whom the message reaches may not affirm it due to either simply ignoring it (i‘rå∂an
‘anhå), being prejudiced against it, being hostile to it, disbelieving it, or rejecting it – as Allah, Exalted
is He, says: And they rejected them [the signs], though they inwardly recognised them, out of injustice
and pride.5 That is to say, they rejected them whilst their souls were certain about them and inwardly
knew them to be the truth. So they chose to be blind to the truth: But when they cover themselves with
their garments He knows what they hide and what they reveal. He knows what is in their breasts.6 In
other words, they desire not to see the truth.
Many non-Muslims today fall into this situation, in that some of them are able to discern truths if they
are made manifest. However, whether it is out of not wishing to forsake familiar habits; or losing their
standing among people; or having contempt for Muslims; or being prejudiced against them; or just out
of sheer folly and misguidance, many turn away from even considering (or contemplating) the Qur’an.
It is this turning away from contemplating the Qur’an or becoming acquainted with the message, while
being able to do so, which undoubtedly causes a person to be divinely punished. For: The religion in
the sight of Allah is Islam.7 Also: Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall never be accepted
from them, and they will be loosers in the Hereafter.8 Of course, a devotional life in this world should
be lived in peaceful co-existence with others; for no one can be compelled to accept the faith. Afterall:
There is no compulsion in religion.9
This, then, is our stance, and our address and invitation here. Yet this is not to suggest that the truth
is multiple, and that everyone can [ultimately] believe whatever they want. For the truth is indeed one;
the truth is this religion: a religion that is the seal and guardian over all other religions. This, in brief, is
a reply to the question.
* From www.binbayyah.net (trans. Surkheel Abu Aaliyah).
1. Qur’an 6:19.
2. Qur’an 17:15.
3. Qur’an 67:8-9.
4. Qur’an 6:149.
5. Qur’an 27:14.
6. Qur’an 11:5.
7. Qur’an 3:19.
8. Qur’an 3:85.
9. Qur’an 2:256.