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Is There a Minimum Level of Faith and Good Deeds to Enter Paradise in the Hereafter?

Is There a Minimum Level of Faith and Good Deeds to Enter Paradise in the Hereafter?

Published in Arabic in September 18, 2016

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

This question in the title of this article has been posed to us by a friend in an email message; we try here to answer it, seeking aid and guidance from God to offer a right reply below. 

 

Firstly: the problem of human beings:

1- God has briefly summarized the problem of human beings in these verses: "And the soul and He who proportioned it. And inspired it with its wickedness and its righteousness. Successful is he who purifies it. Failing is he who corrupts it." (91:7-10). Hence, the soul controls the human body and it chooses either good or evil based upon free choice, bearing the consequences in the Hereafter. Thus, elements of guidance and righteousness are available in the same degree as elements of temptation of sins. The divine revelation is preserved in the last message of God: the Quran. The devilish or Satanist revelations exist as well; God has allowed its presence for centuries until now: "Likewise, We have assigned for every prophet an enemy-human and jinn devils-inspiring one another with fancy words in order to deceive. But had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. So leave them to their fabrications. So that the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter may incline to it, and be content with it, and that they may perpetrate whatever they perpetrate. "Shall I seek a judge other than God, when He is the One who revealed to you the Book, explained in detail?" Those to whom We gave the Book know that it is the truth revealed from your Lord. So do not be of those who doubt. The Word of your Lord has been completed, in truth and justice. There is no changing to His words. He is the Hearer, the Knower. If you were to obey most of those on earth, they would divert you from God's path. They follow nothing but assumptions, and they only conjecture." (6:112-116). This Satanist revelations still exist in 'holy' tomes and books of earthly, man-made, fabricated religions all over the globe, believed by the Sunnites, Shiites, Sufis, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Buddhists, Baha'is, Bábis (followers of Bábism), Druze, Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians, followers of Mazdakism, followers of Manichaeism … etc.   

2- Every human being has absolute freedom of choice: one chooses either Islam (i.e., Quranism: God's real and only religion) or any of the earthly, man-made, fabricated doctrines, denominations, religions, and creeds of this world. God forbids coercion and compulsion in religious matters so that human beings bear responsibility for their choices in the Day of Resurrection. Winners in that day will be immortal in Paradise, while losers will dwell eternally in Hell.

3- Despite the equality of the proportion or distribution of elements of guidance and righteousness are available in the same degree as elements of temptation of sins regarding the absolute freedom of choice allowed to all human beings, the vast majority of human beings in all eras chooses misguidance. Few are those who remember God and seek guidance and repentance, and even fewer are those who decide from the very beginning to be pious, devout, and obedient to the Almighty Lord. That is why the Quran tells us in the Quranic Chapter 56 about the three groups into which humanity will be divided in the Last Day: two groups of Paradise dwellers and one group of Hell dwellers.   

 

Secondly: in deserving to enter Paradise, there is no minimum level of faith and belief:

1- In real Islam (the Quran), there is no grey shades or a continuum in the topic of faith; there is no medial or in-between position. Hence, faith/belief must be 100% entirely and purely dedicated to God alone (monotheism), and anything else apart from this is unacceptable polytheism. Thus, if faith/belief is 99% dedicated to God and 1% to any other imagined/mortal deity, this is deemed unacceptable polytheism that paves one's way to Hell if one dies without repentance. The proof: after the complete revelation of Quranic/Islamic truth, nothing left after it but misguidance by Satanists among devils and evil human beings: "Such is God, your Lord-the True. What is there, beyond the Truth, except falsehood? How are you turned away?" (10:32).    

2- The meaning of the faith testimony of Islam/Quran (i.e., There is no God but Allah) is that faithful belief is dedicated wholeheartedly and entirely to God alone without any partners, associates, or peers; a real believer should not sanctify any creature or mortal beside the Immortal and One True God the Creator. Hence, this testimony of Islam implies the belief in God's messengers/prophets without differentiating anyone among them; i.e., no one of them is set apart as distinctive or distinguished from the rest. 

3- This faithful dedication of one's belief in God is expressed in dedicating one's religion and acts of worship to God alone:  We sent down to you the Book with the truth, so serve God, devoting your religion to Him. Is not to God that sincere faith is due? As for those who take guardians besides Him, "We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to God." God will judge between them regarding their differences. God does not guide the lying blasphemer." (39:2-3); "Say, "I was commanded to serve God, devoting my religion exclusively to Him. And I was commanded to be the first of those who submit." Say, "I fear, if I disobeyed my Lord, the punishment of a horrendous Day." Say, "It is God I worship, sincere in my faith in Him."" (39:11-14).

4- This faithful belief exclusively dedicated to God/Allah entails to avoid ''Taghut''; this is a Quranic term indicating any source of Satanist/devilish faulty religious knowledge that tries to add notions to or contradict the divine revelation. This warning against Taghut is expressed in the Quran and in the past divine messages within prophets and messengers: "To every community We sent a messenger: "Worship God, and avoid Taghut." Some of them God has guided, while others deserved misguidance…" (16:36).

5- Hence, we discern that Taghut now refers to devilish revelation that contradict the Quran, such as 1) the so-called hadiths fabricated and ascribed forcibly to Muhammad long decades after his death and written sown, increased, and accumulated in the Abbasid era until now, and 2) the so-called 'divine' hadiths ascribed to God directly. Hence, God will reward those who adhere to the Quran and avoid following Taghut: "As for those who avoid the worship of idols, and devote themselves to God-theirs is the good news. So give good news to My servants." (39:17).   

6- By avoiding Satanist, devilish revelations of the ever-increasing so-called hadiths, nothing is left to us but the best discourse in religion: the Noble Quran itself as it is God's Word: "Those who listen to the Word, and follow the best of it. These are they whom God has guided. These are they who possess intellect." (39:18); "God has sent down the best of narrations: a Scripture consistent and paired. The skins of those who reverence their Lord shiver from it, then their skins and their hearts soften up to the remembrance of God. Such is God's guidance; He guides with it whomever He wills. But whomever God leaves astray, for him there is no guide." (39:23).

7- As such a topic know no medial stances or in-between positions, we assert here that those who will not enter Paradise will enter Hell in the Hereafter, as there is no any other room or location between them. Those who die as polytheists and disbelievers will never enter Paradise: "…Whoever associates others with God, God has forbidden him Paradise, and his dwelling is the Fire. The wrongdoers have no saviors." (5:72). "It was revealed to you, and to those before you, that if you idolize, your works will be in vain, and you will be of the losers." (39:65). "God does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives anything less than that to whomever He wills. Whoever associates anything with God has devised a monstrous sin." (4:48). "God will not forgive that partners be associated with Him; but will forgive anything less than that, to whomever He wills. Anyone who ascribes partners to God has strayed into far error." (4:116). "Those who disbelieve, and hinder from God's path, and then die as disbelievers-God will not forgive them." (47:34).

 

Thirdly: it is not difficult to dedicate one's faith and religion to God alone:

1- There is no such thing as a minimum degree or level of faith/belief that results in entering Paradise. There is no such thing as a medial, in-between stance regarding one's faith. This monotheistic faith and belief in God is not difficult to attain as a status and to apply as an act of worship.

2- Using one's reasoning mind without whims and caprices or any weird tendencies, one will realize the absurdity and futility of sanctifying and worshipping mortals and things. Such reasoning mind should ridicule and mock myths linked to deifying human beings, dead or alive, and locations, tombs, objects, and items thought to be 'holy'. Hence, there is no difficulty at all in rejecting Taghut.   

3- It is so easy to realize that the so-called 'holy' or sanctified mortals, dead or alive, are human beings like anyone else; they (did or do) eat and drink, urinate and defecate, fart and burp, suffer pains of diarrhea or constipation, have stomachs, intestines, and genitalia, have sex and enjoy it, die and decompose like the rest of human beings in the past, present, and future.

4- It is so easy to realize that the so-called 'holy' shrines or mausoleums are built of mane-made materials like curtains, cloth, cement, bricks, metals, and ornaments, just like any other building all over the world, and that those builders and workers who made such shrines used to mix, shape, and step on such materials; hence, how come one would seek blessings from building materials of tombs or any other edifices?! 

5- It is so easy to realize that one should worship God alone as the Creator of Heaven and Earth as the Only True God; yet, many human beings follow their polytheistic desires and resist the Truth and the reasoning mind by seeking what gives them comfort in this transient world and serve their purposes. Therefore, they do not deserve our pity when they reside forever in Hell.

 

Fourthly: there is in-between stances and medial positions in performing pious good deeds:

1- All Paradise dwellers will be those who in their transient lifetimes on earth believe and perform good deeds for God's sake; there is no in-between stances and medial positions, but they exist in performing pious good deeds. The proof: we know from the Quranic Chapter 56 that there are two degrees or types of Paradise dwellers: those on the right and the close forerunners. 

2- Of course, both types of Paradise dwellers are pious during their transient lifetimes on earth: "Such is Paradise which We will give as inheritance to those of Our servants who are pious." (19:63); "…Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and never associate anyone with the service of his Lord." (18:110).

3- Among features of varying degrees of performing good deeds in Islam is when the peaceful believers within an Islamic country that applies the Quran had to engage into self-defense war or fighting against outside aggressor; those reluctant to participate in this self-defense jihad by their efforts and by their money, despite being able to, are deprived of entering Paradise; as we understand from these verses addressed to dwellers of Yathreb about self-defense fighting: "Or do you expect to enter Paradise before the example of those who came before you had reached you? Adversity and hardship had afflicted them, and they were so shaken up, that the Messenger and those who believed with him said, "When is God's victory?" Indeed, God's victory is near." (2:214)."Or do you expect to enter Paradise, before God has distinguished those among you who strive, and before He has distinguished the steadfast?" (3:142). "Fight them; God will punish them at your hands, humiliate them, help you against them, and heal the hearts of a believing people. And He will remove the anger of their hearts. God redeems whomever He wills. God is Knowledgeable and Wise. Or do you think that you will be left alone, without God identifying which of you will strive, and take no supporters apart from God, His Messenger, and the believers? God is well Aware of what you do." (9:14-16).

4- In peaceful times, Paradise is for those who believe and perform good deeds: "And those who patiently seek the presence of their Lord, and pray regularly, and spend from Our provisions to them, secretly and openly, and repel evil deeds with good ones. These will have the Ultimate Home. Everlasting Gardens, which they will enter, along with the righteous among their parents, and their spouses, and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate." (13:22-23).

 

Fifthly: Paradise will be also for repentant ones who will be those on the right:

1- Because human beings tend to err and are never faultless, God makes Paradise also for those who avoid grave, major sins, as God will pardon the small sins: "If you avoid the worst of what you are forbidden, We will remit your sins, and admit you by a Gate of Honor." (4:31). 

2- Anyway, God does not burden souls beyond their capacity; alleviations in acts of worship and atonements for sins are available; there are many ways to make amends and redress. Therefore, repentance is available for all people however many and/or grave their sins are, provided that sincere repentance is followed by performing lots of good deeds to erase the evil, bad ones.   

3- God in the Quran calls all disobedient sinners to repent and all believers to do their best to avoid Hell: "… your Lord has prescribed mercy for Himself. Whoever among you does wrong out of ignorance, and then repents afterwards and reforms-He is Forgiving and Merciful." (6:54). "As for those who commit sins, and then repent afterwards and believe-your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful." (7:153). "But towards those who do wrongs in ignorance, and then repent afterwards and reform, your Lord thereafter is Forgiving and Merciful." (16:119). "O you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families from a Fire, whose fuel is people and stones. Over it are angels, fierce and powerful. They never disobey God in anything He commands them, and they carry out whatever they are commanded. O you who disbelieved! Make no excuses today. You are being repaid for what you used to do. O you who believe! Repent to God with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remit your sins, and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, on the Day when God will not disappoint the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light streaming before them, and to their right, they will say, "Our Lord, complete our light for us, and forgive us; You are capable of all things."" (66:6-8).

4- At the same time, God pardons unintentional mistakes, forgetfulness, as well as being obliged or coerced, as God judges those who intentionally commit sins that they know quite well as forbidden in the Quran: "…There is no blame on you if you err, except what your hearts premeditates. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (33:5).

5- However grave or many the sins are, repentance is available and so is pardon, in the Last Day, for those who sincerely repented during their lifetime on earth before death; those whose sins are forgiven during the Day of Resurrection will enter Paradise. "Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves: do not despair of God's mercy, for God forgives all sins. He is indeed the Forgiver, the Clement." And turn to your Lord, and submit to Him, before the retribution comes upon you. Then you will not be helped. And follow the best of what was revealed to you from your Lord, before the punishment comes upon you suddenly, while you are unaware." (39:53-55). 

6- This divine pardon includes the following.

6/1: Those aggressive disbelievers/polytheists who repent sincerely: "Say to those who disbelieve: if they desist, their past will be forgiven. But if they persist-the practice of the ancients has passed away." (8:38).

6/2: Those aggressive disbelievers/polytheists who had tortured believers and persecuted them, but later on have repented sincerely: "Those who persecute male and female believers then do not repent; for them is the punishment of Hell; for them is the punishment of Burning." (85:10).

6/3: Those polytheists who have sincerely repented and corrected their faith/belief to become monotheists: "They disbelieve those who say, "God is the third of three." But there is no deity except the One God. If they do not refrain from what they say, a painful torment will befall those among them who disbelieve. Will they not repent to God and ask His forgiveness? God is Forgiving and Merciful." (5:73-74).

6/4: Those who commit gravest sins like killing, fornication, disbelief, and atheism, if they sincerely repent. God says the following about their fate if they do not repent before death: "And those who do not implore besides God any other god, and do not kill the soul which God has made sacred-except in the pursuit of justice-and do not commit adultery. Whoever does such sins will face penalties. The punishment will be doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will dwell therein in humiliation forever. Except for those who repent, and believe, and do good deeds. These-God will replace their bad deeds with good deeds. God is ever Forgiving and Merciful. Whoever repents and acts righteously-has inclined towards God with repentance." (25:68-71).

6/5: Those who hide true meanings of the Quranic facts, and then repent and show them to people: "Those who suppress the proofs and the guidance We have revealed, after We have clarified them to humanity in the Scripture-those-God curses them, and the cursers curse them. Except those who repent, and reform, and proclaim. Those-I will accept their repentance. I am the Acceptor of Repentance, the Merciful." (2:159-160); whereas the unrepentant ones will be cursed in Hell for eternity: "But as for those who reject faith, and die rejecting-those-upon them is the curse of God, and of the angels, and of all humanity. They will remain under it forever, and the torment will not be lightened for them, and they will not be reprieved." (2:161-162).

 

Sixthly: the role of zakat/alms/charity money in atonement for sins, to erase them, and to attain pardon of God in order to enter Paradise:

1- These verses are about the forerunners and true believers among contemporaries of Muhammad and then the ones who mixed bad deeds with good ones; we discern here how alms are linked to true and sincere repentance: "The pioneers-The first of the immigrants and the supporters, and those who followed them in righteousness. God is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens beneath which rivers flow, where they will abide forever. That is the sublime triumph." (9:100); "Others have confessed their sins, having mixed good deeds with bad deeds. Perhaps God will redeem them. God is Forgiving and Merciful. Receive contributions from their wealth, to purify them and sanctify them with it; and pray for them. Your prayer is comfort for them. God is Hearing and Knowing. Do they not know that God accepts the repentance of His servants, and that He receives the contributions, and that God is the Acceptor of Repentance, the Merciful?" (9:102-104).

2- Those on the right are a type of Paradise dwellers who repented acceptably after committing major, gravest sins by correcting their faiths and performing lots of good deeds to erase the evil ones from their records of deeds; chief among the good deeds is money-charity or paying alms/zakat as well as paying and donating money for God's sake, as this is the best atonement for sins: "If you give charity openly, that is good. But if you keep it secret, and give it to the needy in private, that is better for you. It will atone for some of your misdeeds. God is cognizant of what you do." (2:271). 

3- God asserts that this is the best atonement for sins to attain God's forgiveness: "Those of you who have affluence and means should not refuse to give to the relatives, and the needy, and the emigrants for the sake of God. And let them pardon, and let them overlook. Do you not love for God to pardon you? God is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (24:22).

4- God describes alms to the poor and charity donations of money as giving loans to God, Who will repay them in the Hereafter by making the pious ones enter Paradise after pardoning their sins; this is a great depiction of the divine reward in Heaven: "Your possessions and your children are a test, but with God is a splendid reward. So be conscious of God as much as you can, and listen, and obey, and give for your own good. He who is protected from his stinginess-these are the prosperous. If you lend God a good loan, He will multiply it for you, and will forgive you. God is Appreciative and Forbearing." (64:15-17). 

 

Lastly:

1- It is not difficult to apply God's Quranic verses to enter Paradise: "And those who patiently seek the presence of their Lord, and pray regularly, and spend from Our provisions to them, secretly and openly, and repel evil deeds with good ones. These will have the Ultimate Home. Everlasting Gardens, which they will enter, along with the righteous among their parents, and their spouses, and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate. "Peace be upon you, because you endured patiently. How excellent is the Final Home."" (13:22-24).

2- It is not difficult for one to decide to enter Paradise and be among its eternal dwellers; one has only to believe faithfully in God alone, without other deities beside Him, and to perform as many good deeds as possible during one's lifetime.


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