Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
I believe in one God. However, I’m not sure if Islam is the right religion to follow as I am still researching if Islam is the true religion. Will I be punished as a non-believer or not due to my belief in one all-powerful God?
In addition, I think of hell as evil and don’t understand why good people should be punished even if they lead good and honest lives just for not believing in Islam. Could you please shed some light on these topics?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Belief in One God
Belief in One All-Powerful God is the cornerstone of Islamic beliefs. It is what all of the Prophets have taught from the Prophet Adam till the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless them and give them peace).
The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The best statement that all the Prophets and I before Me have ever said is, ‘There is no god except Allah, Alone with no partners.’” [Muwatta]
Belief in What God Has Revealed
True belief in One God dictates belief in everything revealed to us by God.
In the Final Revelation, the Quran, God tells us that He has revealed many Divine scriptures. He tells us about the Torah revealed to Moses, the Psalms given to David, and the Gospel revealed to Jesus (may Allah bless them all).
He also tells us that history confirms that those previous scriptures have been changed and adulterated.
However, Allah tells us that the Quran, the Final Revelation, will be preserved, that it is free from discrepancies, and that it is the criteria to know what is valid of the previous Scriptures and what has been changed.
True Faith in God
Thus true faith in God would entail believing in all that He revealed. For example, the following:
- Belief in all the Prophets from Adam till the Final Prophet Muhammad.
- A belief that all the Divine scriptures in their original form were the word of God.
- Belief that the Quran, the Final Revelation, Divinely preserved, is the word of God unchanged.
- Belief in the Angels
- Belief in resurrection
- Belief in the Day of Judgment
- Belief in Heaven and Hell
The Quran is a miracle revealed to the Last Prophet as guidance for creation to secure for them the best of this life and the next.
This life is a test, and the Quran gives the answers. Thus one who neglects the Quran will not pass the test. And no one is to blame except for themselves.
Heaven and Hell
When we declare a person to be good, we only judge based on what we know of them in the tangible world. We see good actions, good character, and sound speech and say they are a good person. However, Allah Most High judges according to people’s hearts.
Thus the vilest deed and most heinous in the sight of Allah is disbelief and rejection of Him, which includes denial of anything He revealed. In the presence of such a horrific state, good deeds are worthless.
At the center of Islam is the idea of sincerity. Thus the believer is commanded to have sincerity in their faith and actions.
God says in the Quran, “And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion.” [Quran, 98:5]
Any action done other than for the sake of Allah Most High is worthless.
God says, “You who believe, do not cancel out your charitable deeds with reminders and hurtful words, like someone who spends his wealth only to be seen by people, not believing in God and the Last Day. Such a person is like a rock with soil on it: heavy rain falls and leaves it completely bare. Such people get no rewards for their works: God does not guide the disbelievers.” [Quran, 2:264]
Many people do good deeds for many different reasons. A person can build a hospital or orphanage for fame and notoriety. Others may give a large amount of wealth to charity to feel good about themselves.
These actions, although friendly gestures, were not done to please God but rather to inflate the ego.
For this reason, God (Allah) is the only One who decides who goes to Heaven and Hell. Our only job is to obey God, seeking His pleasure in search of salvation.
Allah Most High says, “And whoever desires other than Islam as (their) religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers. [Quran, 03:85]
I would advise that you learn more about Islam and pray to the One All-Powerful God for guidance to that which is pleasing to Him. If you are sincere in your desire to please God, you will find His assistance in your path.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.