It is to be stressed first that it is Muslims’ duty to convey to all mankind the message of Islam – the message of mercy sent through Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as a confirmation of all prophetic messages. Muslims, however, are not appointed as judges. Therefore, they must be forewarned against the temptation of saying which person goes to heaven or hell.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following: In the Qur’an, Allah tells us Muslims that our duty is simply to convey the message; we are not appointed as judges; we have no authority to send people to heaven or hell. Allah says in Surat an-Nahl: (Call to the path of your Lord with wisdom and kindly exhortation, reason with them in the most courteous manner. For your Lord knows best who have strayed from His path, and He knows best who are rightly-guided.) (An-Nahl 16: 125)
Concerning the age-old controversy of various religious communities as to who is saved, Allah settles the dispute by saying: (And they say: ‘None shall enter the Garden unless he be a Jew or a Christian.’ These are their wishes. Say: ‘Bring your proof if you are truthful!’ No, but whoever surrenders his face to Allah, while acting with excellence, his reward shall be with his Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, neither shall they grieve.) (Al-Baqarah 2: 111-112)
Furthermore, the Qur’an emphatically states that the Prophet Muhammad is the last in the series of Prophets and Messengers; he has come to affirm the pristine truth that all Prophets and Messengers had proclaimed before him. The Qur’an confirms, guards, and preserves this pristine message free from all human tampering and alterations. The Qur’an further states unequivocally that the mission of Prophet Muhammad is addressed to all of humanity and not merely to a particular nation or tribe, and therefore, it is the duty of everyone to respond to his message: (Say (O Muhammad): ‘O Mankind! Truly I am the Messenger of Allah to you all; (the Messenger of Him) to whom belongs the sovereignty
of the heavens and the earth. There is no god save Him. He gives life and He gives death. So believe in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be rightly guided.) (Al-A`raf 7: 158)
allah also tells us elsewhere in the Qur’an that He has sent Messengers to each and every nation on the face of the earth to convey the message of truth and that these Prophets spoke the language of the people they were sent to. The reason for this has been explained by saying: (Nor do We punish until We have sent a messenger.) (Al-Israa’ 17: 15)
Therefore, if someone did not receive the message of Muhammad, he will definitely be judged by whatever message of truth he has received from Allah.
Based on what has been stated above, Muslims must be forewarned against the temptation of saying which person goes to heaven or hell. We must rather stick to our mandate to convey the message of mercy sent through Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as a confirmation of all prophetic messages. We must leave such judgments to Allah, and Allah alone. In this regard we can do no better than repeat the words of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) who is quoted in the Qur’an as saying concerning those who worshipped him: (If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, You, only You, are the August, the Wise.) (Al-Ma’idah 5: 118)