Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states the following: “Ahl al-Fatrah are those who survived in a period of time where there was no Prophet sent by Allah.
The Arabs, who died before the advent of Islam will enter Paradise if they had believed in the Divine Messages sent to them. However, those who did not believe in those Messages are disbelievers and they will not enter Paradise.
However, there is disagreement among Muslim scholars regarding those who had no access to the call of any Prophet during their lifetime.
Some Muslim scholars maintain that this group of people should have pondered over Allah’s Creation till they reach the truth. If they managed to reach the truth by their deep thinking, then they will be spared Allah’s Punishment, but not vice versa.
Other Muslim scholars state that people are to adhere to religious ordinances and to proclaim faith only if Allah Almighty sends them a divine legislation through a Messenger or a Prophet. This group backed their view by citing the following verse: “We never punish until We have sent a messenger.” (Al-Isra’: 15)
In conclusion, we would like to direct our questioner’s attention to the fact that such a question is not a necessary part of Islamic legislation, and questions of this kind shouldn’t preoccupy the mind of a Muslim. The fate of such people known as “Ahl al-Fatrah” are, by and large, left to Allah Almighty Who will judge them according to their deeds.”