Two Ways of Thinking
Two Ways of Thinking
Normally, those with an intellectual inclination say with certainty that there is no difference between a Muslim and non-Muslim, and even between a monotheist and non-monotheist; whoever performs a good deed, a service like establishing a charitable organization or an invention or something else, deserves recompense from God.
They say that God is Just, and a God who is Just does not discriminate among His servants. What difference does it make for God whether His servant recognizes Him or not or believes in Him or not? Certainly, God will not ignore the good deeds or waste the reward of a person simply because that person doesn’t have a relationship of familiarity and love with Him. And even more certainly, if a person believes in God and does good deeds, but does not recognize His Messengers and thus does not have a relationship of familiarity and covenant of friendship with them, God will not cancel out and nullify his or her good deeds.
Directly opposite to these people are those who consider almost all people worthy of punishment and believe in a good end and accepted actions with respect to only a few. They have a very simple standard; they say that people are either Muslim or non-Muslim. Non-Muslims, who are about three-fourths of the world’s population, shall go to Hell because they are non-Muslims. The Muslims in their turn are either ShÄ«`a or non-ShÄ«`a. The non-ShÄ«`as, who are about three-fourths of all Muslims, will go to Hell because they are non-ShÄ«`as. And of the ShÄ«`as, too, a majority – about three-fourths – are only ShÄ«`a in name, and it is a small minority that is familiar with even the first obligation, which is to perform “taqlÄ«d” of a mujtahid (follow the religious rulings of a particular scholar), let alone their remaining obligations, and the correctness and completeness of those obligations depends on this obligation. And even those who perform taqlÄ«d are for the most part non-practicing. Thus, there are very few who will achieve salvation.
This is the logic of the two sides: the logic of those who, it can almost be said, are absolute conciliation, and the logic of those who we can say are a manifestation of Divine anger, giving anger precedence over mercy.