Is there any salvation for Non-Muslim and Non-Shia’s? Is heaven reserved exclusively to Shia’s? It is quite easy to limit people into only two groups – Believers (for Heaven) and Disbelievers (for Hell fire). However, it is much more complex than that, and things are nor so black and white. In fact, we see in al-Kāfī, a tradition from Hamzah Ibn Ťayyār who narrated from Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) that there are six types of people:

“People are of six groups, and in the end are of three groups: the party of faith, the party of unbelief, and the party of deviation. These groups come into being from God’s promise and warning regarding Heaven and Hell. (That is, people are divided into these groups according to their standing with respect to these promises and warnings.) Those six groups are the believers, the unbelievers, the powerless, those referred to God’s command, those who confess their sin and have mixed good deeds with evil deeds, and the people of the heights (a`rāf).”

Note: deviants encompass the last four groups. Add that with the other two groups (believing people and unbelievers) and will give a total six groups.

Sanad: Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from ‘Ubayd from Yunus from Hammad from Hamzah Ibn Ťayyār from abu ‘Abd Allah (as) who said the above hadith

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 164, Hadith #2 (See First Image below, Hadith #2)

Grading: Allaamah Al-Majlisi (rh) says it has a Good chain (حسن) [Mira’at Al-Uqool, Volume 11. Page 105 (See Second Image below)]

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Also in al-Kāfī, it is narrated from Zurārah that he said:

“I visited Imām Muhammad Ibn `Alī al-Bāqir (as) with my brother Ĥumrān, or with my other brother Bukahīr. I said to the Imām, ‘We measure people with a measuring tape: Whoever is a Shī`a like ourselves, whether among the descendants of `Alī or otherwise, we forge a bond of friendship with him (as a Muslim and one who will achieve salvation), and whoever is opposed to our creed, we dissociate from him (as a misguided person and one who will not achieve salvation).’” The Imām said, “Zurārah! God’s word is more truthful than yours; if what you say is correct, then what about God’s words where He says, ‘Except the powerless among the men, women, and children who find no way out nor find a path?’ What about those who are referred to God’s command? What about those regarding whom God says, ‘They mixed good deeds and other, evil deeds?’ What happened to the people of the heights (a`rāf)? Who, then, are the ones whose hearts are to be inclined?” Ĥammād, in his narration of this event from Zurārah , narrates that he said, “At this point the Imām and I began to argue. Both of us raised our voices, such that those outside the house heard us.” Jamāl Ibn Darrāj narrates from Zurārah in this event that the Imām said, “Zurārah! [God has made it] incumbent upon Himself that He take the misguided (not the unbelievers and deniers) to Heaven.”

Sanad: Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from ibn abu ‘Umayr from Hisham ibn Salim from Zurara

Source: Usool A-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 164, Hadith #3 (See First Image above from previous hadith, Hadith #3)

Grading:
– Bahboody said it is Sahih (صحيح)
– Allaamah Majlisi (rh) said it is Hasan like a Sahih (حسن كالصحيح) [Mira’at Al-Uqool, Volume 11, Page 106 (See Image below)]
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Of the deviated group, we will only focus on two for the sake of brevity, and what the possibilities are for their final abode. those “Referred to God’s command” and the “Powerless.” However, we will first talk about the rejection of religious pluralism, as well as discussing the two types of disbelievers.

Only Islam & Shii’sm Accepted

To being with, we want to make it extremely clear that Islam is the only acceptable religion in the eyes of Allah (swt). The purpose of this series is not to prove that Shiism is the only saved sect, but rather if there is salvation for any of the Non-Shias. However, so that we are not misunderstood we want to make clear the only ideology that Allah (swt) deems worthy of salvation is the Shia’s of Ali (as). Once established we will move on. We can quote many ayahs in the Qur’an and ahhadith, but for the sake of brevity, we will quote only a few ayahs proving Islam as the only acceptable religion, and ahhadith proving Tashhayu’ is the only acceptable path of Islam.

Quran

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللٌّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ

“Surely the religion with Allāh is al-Islām. And those who have been given the Book [i.e., the Christians and the Jews] did not show opposition but after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allāh, then surely Allāh is quick in reckoning.””

فَإِنْ حَاجُّوكَ فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِي لِلٌّهِ وَمَنْ اتَّـبَعَنِي

“But if they dispute with you, say: “I have submitted myself entirely to Allāh and (so has) everyone who follows me.”

وَقُلْ لِلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالأُمِّـيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدْ اهْـتَدَوا وَإِنْ تَوَلَّوا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلاَغُ وَاللٌّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ

“And to those who have been given the Book [i.e., the Christians and the Jews] and to the idol-worshippers [of Mecca], say: “Do you submit?” If they submit, then they are rightly guided; but if they reject, then upon you is only the delivery of the message. And Allāh sees the servants.”

Al-Qur’ān, Sūrat Āli Imrān (3), Verse 19-20

Also this ayah”

وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ

“And whoever desires a religion other than Islām, it shall never be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be among the losers.” (3:85)

Some may argue this does not mean Islam the religion, but rather the general “submission to God”. That may perhaps be true, but without doubt Islām means submission and the religion of Islām is the religion of submission. To refuse a religion sent by Allah (swt) is against submission. Some may argue with using such ayahs as 2:62, but do not actually understand this ayah and cannot be reconciled with the above in Sūrat Āli Imrān.

Hadiths

As for hadiths, there are many again where Islam and even Wilayah are critical for salvation, however we will quote the hadith of 73 sects from Kitaab Sulaym Bin Qays (ra).

Aban narrated that he heard from Sulaym who said: “I heard Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s) say: The Ummah will be separated in 73 sects, of which 72 will go to Hell, and 1 will go to Heaven.
From the 73, 13 will show their love towards us Ahlulbayt, from which 1 will go to Heaven and 12 will go to Hell. The sect that will be saved will be the one which is guided, which is hopeful, which has Iman, obeys command (bows his head), is agreeable and intelligent. It is he that trusts me and bows his head to my command, obeys my command, chooses to keep away from my enemy, loves me, keeps enmity with my enemy, has recognised my rights, and Imamat and has realised my obedience compulsory through the Book of Allah and the Tradtion of the Holy Prophet […]

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A similar hadith can be found in al-Kāfī, Volume 8, Hadith #283 – with a Hasan chain (according to al-Majlisi)

We also find in al-Kāfī, in the section “Kitāb al-Ĥujjah,” Shaykh Kulaynī narrates several traditions to the effect that:

كُلُّ مَنْ دٌانَ اللٌّهَ عَزَّ وَّجَلَّ بِعِبٌادَةِ يَجْهَدْ فِيهٌا نَفْسَهُ وَلاٌ إِمٌامَ لَهُ مِنَ اللٌّهِ فَسَعْيِهِ غَيْرَ مَقْبُولٍ

“Whoever obeys God with an act of worship in which he exhausts himself, but doesn’t have an Imām appointed by God, his effort is not accepted.”

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For more information on the necessity and obligation of recognizing your Imam please see The Lost Sheep of the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (sawa), and Obligation in recognizing the Imam (as)

The Disbelievers

Although disbelievers are disbelievers, the level of punishment may differ. The worst of those who are disbelievers are those who reject out of stubbornness and arrogance. Rejectors of Truth. All their deeds are for the sake of the Dunya and will not be rewarded for any of it. For those, their deeds will not benefit them at all and will be in the hellfire.

Stubborn Disbelievers

“A parable of those who defy their Lord: their deeds are like ashes over which the wind blows hard on a tempestuous day: they have no power over anything they have earned. That is extreme error.” (14:18)

“Before, as guidance for the people. And He revealed the Qur’an. Indeed, those who disbelieve in the verses of Allah will have a severe punishment, and Allah is exalted in Might, the Owner of Retribution.” (3:4)

As for specifically being non-Shia, we have the following hadiths:

Muhammad Ibn Muslim said, “I heard Imām Muhammad al-Bāqir (as) say, “Whoever worships God and tires himself in worship but doesn’t recognize the Imām (leader) God has appointed for him, his deeds are not accepted, and he himself is astray and lost, and God abhors his actions… and if he dies in this state, he dies not in the state of Islām, but in a state of unbelief and hypocrisy. O Muhammad Ibn Muslim, know that the leaders of oppression and their followers are outside the religion of God. They themselves went astray, and they led others astray. Their actions are like ashes which are caught in a strong wind on a stormy day, and they cannot reach anything out of what they have earned. That is the distant deviation.”

Sanad: Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Muhammad ibn al-Husayn from Safwan ibn Yahya from al-‘Ala’ ibn Razin from Muhammad ibn Muslim who has said the above hadith

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 1, Chapter 64, Hadith #8 (See First Image below)

Grading:
– Bahboody says Sahih/Authentic (صحيح)
– Allaamah Majlisi (rh) says Sahih/Authentic (صحيح), [Mira’at Al-Uqool, Volume 2, Page 313 (See Second Image below)]

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Protected Disbeliever

The best of disbelievers are those whom although outright reject, and are deserving of hell-fire – but their good deed(s) have saved them from eternal punishment. Their good deeds towards the believers have protected them purely out of the Mercy of Allah (swt) – even though their disbelief was enough to send them to eternal damnation. They are in hell, but protected from harm, and potentially given sustenance.

Imām Mūsā Ibn Ja`far al-Kādhim (as) that he said, “Amongst the Banī Isrā’īl (Children of Isrā’il) there was a believer whose neighbour was an unbeliever. That unbeliever would always show kindness and good conduct towards his believing neighbour. When this unbeliever died, God made for him a house out of a type of mud which shielded him from the heat of the fire, and his sustenance would be given to him from outside his own environment, which was of fire. He was told, ‘This is because of your kindness and good conduct towards your believing neighbour.’”

Sanad: Shaykh Ŝadūq, from his Father, from Sa`eed bin Abdullah, from Al-Haytham bin Abi Masrooq Al-Nahdi, from Al-Hussain bin Mahboob, from `Alī Ibn Yaqtīn

Source: Thawābul A`māl, Shaykh Ŝadūq, Pages 203-204

Grading (From Mu`jam Rijal Al-Hadith): Hasan (حسن)
– Shaykh Ŝadūq and his father – Thiqa (Reliable)
– Sa`d bin Abdullah – Thiqa (Volume 9, Page 79)
– Al-Haytham bin Abi Masrooq Al-Nahdi – Fadhil (Praised) (Volume 20, Page 347)
– Al-Hassan bin Mahboob – Thiqa (Volume 6, Page 96)
– `Alī Ibn Yaqtīn – Thiqa (Volume 13, Page 242)

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Al-Kulayni narrates from Imām Muhammad Ibn `Alī al-Bāqir (as) that he said, “There was a believer who lived in the land of an oppressive king. That oppressor threatened the believer, and thus, the believer fled to a non-Islāmic land, arriving at the place of a polytheist man. The polytheist sat him beside himself and hosted him well. As soon as the polytheist man died, God addressed him, ‘I swear by My Honour and Glory that if there were a place in Heaven for a polytheist, I would put you in that place; but O’ fire, make him fear, but don’t harm him.’” Then the Imām said, “Every morning and evening his sustenance is brought for him from outside that environment.” The Imām was asked, “From Heaven?” He answered, “From where God wills.”

Sanad: Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from Muhammad ibn Sinan from ‘Abd Allah ibn Muskan from ‘Ubayd Allah ibn al-Walid al-Wassafi who has said the above hadith

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 82, Hadith #3 (See Image)
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The Powerless and those awaiting the command of Allah (swt)

There are groups of people who are neither believers or disbelievers. Some are described as the “powerless” and some “are awaiting the command of Allah (swt)” (murjawn li-`amrillāh) – people whose affairs and status are to be regarded as being with God and in His hands; God Himself shall deal with them as His wisdom and mercy dictate. Both terms have been taken from the Qur’ān.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفٌّاهُمُ الْمَلآئِكَةُ ظٌالِمِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ قٌالُوا فِيمَ كُنتُمْ قٌالُوا كُنٌّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِي الأَرْضِ قٌالُوا أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللٌّهِ وٌاسِعَةً فَتُهٌاجِرُوا فِيهٌا فَأُوْلٌـئِكَ مَأْوٌاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسٌاءَتْ مَصِيرًا إِلاَّ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجٌالِ وَالنِّسٌاءِ وَالْوِلْدٌانِ لاٌ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً وَلاٌ يَهْتَدُونَ سَبِيلاً فَأُوْلٌـئِكَ عَسَى اللٌّهُ أَنْ يَعْفُوَ عَنْهُمْ وَكٌانَ اللٌّهُ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا

“And those whose souls the Angels take while they are oppressive to themselves; they say, ‘What state were you in?’ They say, ‘We were weak in the land.’ They say, ‘Was not God’s earth wide, that you may migrate in it?’ So the abode of those people is Hell, and evil an abode it is, except the powerless among the men, women, and children who neither have access to any means nor are guided to any way; so perhaps God may pardon them, and God is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Pardoning.” (4:97-99)

In these ayahs Allah (swt) begins by describing those who give excuses and then reprimanding them, but excuses those who are genuine in their plea. They are those who are truly powerless; whether they be men, women, or children. These are people who had no means and no way out. Allah says perhaps he may pardon them as he is the ever forgiving, ever pardoning.

وَ ءٌاخِرُونَ مُرْجُونَ لِأَمْرِ اللٌّهِ إِمٌّا يُعَذِّبُهُمْ وَ إِمٌَا يَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَ اللٌّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

“And others who are awaiting the command of God, He will either punish them or He will forgive them; and God is Knowing, Wise.” (9:106)

Let us first look at 9:106

Awaiting the command of God

It has been narrated that Imām Muhammad Ibn `Alī al-Bāqir (as) said about this ayah:

“Verily there was a people in the early era of Islām who were once polytheists and committed grave misdeeds; they killed Hamzah and Ja`far and people like them from among the Muslims. Later, they became Muslims, abandoning polytheism for monotheism, but faith did not find its way into their hearts for them to be counted among the believers and become deserving of Heaven, while at the same time they had forsaken denial and obstinacy, which was the cause of their being (deserving of) punishment. They were neither believers, nor unbelievers and deniers; these then are the murjawn li-`amrillāh, whose affair is referred to God.”

Sanad: Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from Ali ibn al-Hakam from Musa ibn Bakr from Zurara who said the above hadith

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 173, Hadith #1 (See Image)

Grading:
– Bahboody says it is Sahih/Authentic (صحيح)
– Majlisi says it is dha’if like a Reliable Hadith (ضعيف كالموثق)

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In another three traditions, it has been narrated in Tafsīr al-`Ayyāshī:

Hadith 128 in Image: Aba Abdillah said (in relation to the ayah): “They were a people who were polytheists, who spilled the blood of the Muslims, then entered into Al-Islam. So they are the ones who await Allah’s Command”
Hadith 129 in Image: From Zarara, and Hamran, and Muhammad Bin Muslim, (It has been narrated) from Abu Ja’far (as), and Abu Abdullah (as) both having said: ‘The awaiters, they were a people who fought on the days of Badr, and the day of Hunayn, and they submitted to Al-Islam from the Polytheists. Then they professed to Al-Islam after a delay. “whether He Punishes them or whether He turns to them (Mercifully)’”. (9:106)
Hadith 130 in Image: Same as above in Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 173, Hadith #1
Hadith 134 in Image: From Dawood Bin Farqad who said, ‘I said to Abu Abdullah (as), ‘The awaiters are a people to whom the merits of Ali (as) were mentioned so they said, ‘We do not know, maybe it is like that, and we do not know maybe it is not like that’. He (as) said: ‘It rattled them. Allah the High Says “And others are made to await Allah’s Command” – the Verse (9:106)’.

Source: Tafsir Al-`Ayyāshī, Volume 2, Page 116-117

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The Powerless

The powerless fall under two categories. The first of them are the Children, and the men and women who have intellect like children. Numerous ahhadith describe this. However, the second category which is apparent from the  ayah and ahhadith are those who have not neither have access to any means nor are guided to any way.

Imam Al-Sadiq (as) said: “Whoever knows the differences among people is not a powerless person.”

Sanad: Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from ibn abu ‘Umayr from abu al-Maghra’ from abu Basir who said the above hadith

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 172, Hadith #10 (See Image hadith #10)

Grading:
– Bahboody says Sahih (صحيح)
– Allaamah Majlisi (rh) says Good as Sahih (حسن كالصحيح) [Mira’at Al-Uqool, Volume 11, Page 213 (See Image)]

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The next hadith explains further:

“Once I asked abu al-Hassan Musa (as) about the powerless people and he wrote to me, ‘A powerless is one to whom evidence and proof is not (or cannot be) presented and he does not know the differences among people. If he knows the differences among people he is not a powerless person.’”

Sanad: A number of our people have narrated from Sahl ibn Ziyad from Isma’il ibn Mehran from Muhammad ibn Mansur al-Khuza’i from Ali ibn Suwayd who has said the above hadith

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 172, Hadith #11 (See Image in previous hadith, hadith #11) In Tafsir Al-Ayyahsi, from Abu Khadeeja:

(It has been narrated) from Abu Abdullah (as) having said: ‘The weak ones from the men and the women “Except the weak from among the men and the children who have not in their power the means nor can they find a way (to escape)” (4:98) – they do not have the ability to find the way of the people of the Truth in order to be included with them, nor do they have the ability to dodge the people of the ‘Nasab’ (Hostile ones), so he becomes hostile (to the People (as) of the Household). So they will enter the Paradise based upon their good deeds, and their keeping away from the Prohibition which Allah (swt) has Forbidden them from, but they will not attain the ranks of the Righteous’.

Source: Tafsir Al-`Ayyāshī, Volume 1, Page 295 (See Image)

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Other Hadiths

Once Ameer al-Mu’mineen (as) was asked: “Decribe ‘Death’ to us.
So he (as) answered: “Regarding this event that has occured, he (the one whom experiences death) will have one of three things
  • (Glad) Tidings of eternal bliss
  • Tidings to eternal torment
  • Or (feelings of) sorrow and fear, while his matter (final abode) is unclear, and he does not know of which category he will be a part of.
As for the one whom is our close friend, and is obedient in our matters (al-Wilayah) – he is from the category that will have glad tidings of eternal bliss.
As for our enemies who oppose us in our matters (al-Wilayah) – he is from the category that will have tidings of eternal torment.
And as for those whose matter (final abode) is unclear, and does not know what is his position (in regards to al-Wilayah), he is (considered) a believer who has transgressed upon his own self. He does not conclude in his stance (regarding al-Wilayah), and (when) news reaches him (it is) vague and frightening. So Allah, Mighty and Majestic, does not group him with our (as) enemies, but rather he elevates them from (the torment of) the fire through our (as) intercession (shafaa`a).
So comprehend and obey and do not depend (on our (as) intercession) nor belittle the chastisement of Allah, Mighty and Majestic. The transgressors (of their own selves in sin) will not have the right to receive our intercession, except after 300,000 years of torment!”

Source: Ma`ani al-Akhbaar, Sh. al-Sadooq (rh), Page 288, Hadith #2 (See Image below)

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In al-Kāfī it is narrated from Imām Mūsā Ibn Ja`far al-Kādhim (as) that he said:

“`Alī (as) is a gate among the gates of guidance; whoever enters from this gate is a believer, and whoever exits from it is a unbeliever; and one who neither enters from it nor exits from it is among the party whose affair is referred to God.”

Sanad: Al-Husayn ibn Muhammad has narrated from Mu’alla ibn Muhammad from al-Washsha’ who has said that narrated to him Ibrahim ibn abu Bakr who has said the above hadith from Imam Kadhum (as)

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter 165, Hadith #19 (See Image)

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In this tradition, the Imām clearly mentions a party who are neither among the people of faith, submission, and salvation, nor among the people of denial and annihilation. Also the following hadith, narrated from Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as):

لَوْ أَنَّ الْعِبٌادَ إِذٌا جَهَلُوا وَقَفُوا وَلو لَمَْ يَجْحَدُوا، لَمْ يَكْفُرُوا

“If only people, when they are ignorant, pause and don’t reject, they will not be unbelievers.”

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At the same time, in that same “Kitāb al-Ĥujjah” of al-Kāfī it is narrated from Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as):

مَنْ عَرَفَنٌا كٌانَ مُؤْمِناً، وَمَنْ أَنْكَرَنٌا كٌانَ كٌافِراً، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَعْرِفْنٌا وَلَمْ يَنْكِرْنٌا كٌانَ ضٌالاً حَتَّى رجع إِلـى الْهُدى الَّذِي افْتَرَضَ اللٌّهُ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ طٌاعَتِنٌا، فَإِنْ يَمُتْ عَلى ضَلاٌلَتِهِ يَفْعَلُ اللٌّهُ مٌا يَشٌاءُ

“Whoever recognizes us is a believer, and whoever denies us is an unbeliever, and whoever neither recognizes nor denies us is misguided until he or she returns to the guidance of our obedience which God enjoined upon him or her. So if he or she dies in the state of misguidedness, God shall do what He pleases.”

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 1, Chapter , Hadith #11 (See Image)

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The following two hadiths are on those Shia’s which readily proclaim every non-shia Muslim is a disbeliever. Al-Kulaynī narrates that Hāshim Ibn al-Barīd (Ŝāhib al-Barīd) said:

“Muhammad Ibn Muslim, Abul Khaťťāb, and I were together in one place. Abul Khaťťāb asked, “What is your belief regarding one who doesn’t know the affair of Imāmate?” I said, “In my view he or she is a unbeliever.” Abul Khaťťāb said, “As long as the evidence is not complete for him or her, he or she is not a unbeliever; if the evidence is complete and still he or she doesn’t recognize it, then he or she is a unbeliever.” Muhammad Ibn Muslim said, “Glory be to God! If he or she doesn’t recognize the Imām and doesn’t show obstinacy or denial, how can he or she be considered an unbeliever? No, one who doesn’t know, if he doesn’t show denial, is not an unbeliever.” Thus, the three of us had three opposing beliefs.
“When the Ĥajj season came, I went for Ĥajj and went to Imām as-Ŝādiq (as). I told him of the discussion between the three of us and asked the Imam his view. The Imām replied, “I will reply to this question when the other two are also present. I and the three of you shall meet tonight in Minā near the middle Jamarah.” “That night, the three of us went there. The Imām, leaning on a cushion, began questioning us.”
“What do you say about the servants, womenfolk, and members of your own families? Do they not bear witness to the unity of God?”
I replied, “Yes.”
“Do they not bear witness to the prophecy of the Messenger?”
“Yes.” “Do they recognize the Imāmate and wilāyah (Divinely-appointed authority) like yourselves?”
“No.”
“So what is their position in your view?”
“My view is that whoever does not recognize the Imām is an unbeliever.”
“Glory be to God! Haven’t you seen the people of the streets and markets? Haven’t you seen the water-bearers?”
“Yes, I have seen and I see them.”
“Do they not pray? Do they not fast? Do they not perform Ĥajj? Do they not bear witness to the unity of God and the prophethood of the Messenger?”
“Yes.”
“Well, do they recognize the Imām as you do?”
“No.”
“So what is their condition?”
“My view is that whoever doesn’t recognize the Imām is a unbeliever.”
“Glory be to God! Do you not see the state of the Ka’bah and the circumambulation of these people? Don’t you see how the people of Yemen cling to the curtains of the Ka’bah?”
“Yes.”
“Don’t they profess monotheism and believe in the Messenger? Don’t they pray, fast, and perform Ĥajj?”
“Yes.”
“Well, do they recognize the Imām as you do?”
“No.”
“What is your belief about them?”
“In my view, whoever doesn’t recognize the Imām is an unbeliever.”
“Glory be to God! This belief is the belief of the Khārijites.”
At that point the Imām said, “Now, do you wish me to inform you of the truth?”
Hāshim, who in the words of the late Faydh al-Kāshānī , knew that the Imām’s view was in opposition to his own belief, said, “No.”
The Imām said, “It is very bad for you to say something of your own accord that you have not heard from us.”
Hāshim later said to the others: “I presumed that the Imām affirmed the view of Muhammad Ibn Muslim and wished to bring us to his view.”

Finally, the following lengthy hadith also speaks about this and also brings in the previously mentioned ayahs. The following is an exert:

I asked, ‘Is it not the case that she is either a believer or an unbeliever?’ The Imam said, ‘One who fasts, performs prayer, is pious before Allah and does not know what is your cause.’ I said, ‘Allah, the Most Majestic, the Most Holy, has said, ‘It is He Who has created you. Among you there are believer and unbelievers,’ (64:2) no, by Allah, there is no one in the people who is not a believer or an unbeliever.’ “The narrator has said that abu Ja’far, recipient of divine supreme covenant, then said, ‘The words of Allah are truer than your words, O Zurara. Have you not considered the words of Allah, the Most Majestic, the Most Holy, ‘ . . . they have mixed virtuous deeds with sinful ones. Perhaps Allah will forgive them. Allah is All-forgiving and All-merciful.’ (9:102) Why has Allah said, “perhaps”?’ I said, ‘They are either believing people or unbelievers.’ “The narrator has said that the Imam then asked, ‘What do you think of the words of Allah, the Most Majestic, the Most Holy, ‘As for the really weak and oppressed men, women, and children who were not able to find any means of obtaining their freedom or of having the right guidance, . . . ’ (4:98) guidance to belief?’ I said, ‘They are either believers or unbelievers.’ The Imam said, ‘By Allah they are not believing people nor unbelievers.’ Then the Imam turned to me and asked, ‘What do you think of the people of ‘A’raf?’ I said, ‘They are none other than either believers or unbelievers. If they enter paradise they are believers and if they go in the fire, they are unbelievers.’ The Imam said, ‘By Allah, they are not believers nor are they unbelievers. Were they believers they would have entered paradise like the other believing people. Were they unbelievers they would have gone in the fire like the other unbelievers. In fact, they are people whose good and bad deeds were equal. They had shortages of deeds. They will be as Allah, the Most Majestic, the Most Holy, has said.’ I asked, ‘Are they of the people of paradise or of the people of the fire?’ The Imam said, ‘Leave them alone as Allah has done.’ I asked, ‘Do you leave their affairs in postponement?’ The Imam said, ‘Yes, I do as Allah has done. If Allah wills He will send them to paradise through his favor, and if He wills He will drive them to the fire for their sins without being unjust to them.’ I said, ‘Will unbelievers go to paradise?’ The Imam said, ‘No.’ I asked, ‘Will anyone other than unbelievers go in the fire?’ “The narrator has said that the Imam said, ‘No, except what Allah will wish. O Zurara, I say, ‘What Allah wills and you do not say what Allah wills. When you will grow up you will turn around and your knots ease up (on your opponents).’”

Note: The above Hadith is very critical of the attitude of Zurara, according to commentators. In his defense, due to his prominent position in view of the scholars, it is said that either at that time he was very young or later he matured. He believed those who did not, would not and could not believe in the Divine Authority of ‘A’immah could never go to paradise. Also, it is said that perhaps the whole Hadith due to weakness in the chain of narrators is not reliable. Zurara seems unable to find any room in his heart for those who did not respect Ahl al-Bayt, recipient of divine supreme covenant, properly.

Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Volume 2, Chapter, Hadiths #1 and #2 (See Image, which also includes sanad)

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Conclusion

We see the idea of salvation of Non-Shia’s is not so straight forward, and not so black and white. For many people we are not in a position to group them as either believer or disbeliever. What there is no doubt about is there is no ideology that is accepted in the eyes of Allah (swt) except that of Islam and Tashayyu’. However, each individual will be judged based upon their circumstances, knowledge, intellect, and deeds. Even those who did not side with Imam Ali (as) were not necessarily disbelievers. Mola (as)  says:

So, as for the one who did not do that, and entered into what the people had entered into without knowledge or enmity against Amir-ul- Momineen (as), so for that they have neither blasphemed nor exited from Al-Islam, and it is for that reason that Ali (as) concealed his matter, and had to pledge allegiance unwillingly, when he did not find any helpers’.”

Source etc: See Why Imam Ali (as) did not rise up.

For more information refer to Mutahhari’s book Divine Justice, on the section of Religious Pluralism.

May we be of the believers who stay on the Straight Path, which Allah (swt) has bestowed his favours upon – and not the path of those who have earned the Wrath of Allah (swt) or those who are misguided and deviated.