As a Muslim I am supposed to believe that all people who aren’t Muslims will go to hell, hell.. even most who are Muslims will go to hell.
This poses a personal as well as a social dilemma for me.
Personally I don’t believe that I should go to hell. I’m not a bad person, I don’t kick puppies and kittens, I try and control that urge. I try and respect as many people as my racist and sexist upbringing will allow.
But I don’t pray regularly, I don’t think about God as nearly as much as I should, I don’t heed the Hadith (or even take them very seriously), and I rarely read the Quran. All of these are minimum criteria, as I’m told, to enter Heaven. Since we don’t believe in a Purgatory, that means it’s the Hellfire for me.
I know a lot of good non-muslims even the gays. I don’t believe that they should really go to Hell either. I understand all the arguments for why they shouldn’t go to hell just because they aren’t Muslims, and I also understand the Islamic argument for why they are going to Hell. And therein lies the dilemma, how do I consolidate the two conflicting views in my head?
Unfortunately this dilemma leads me to just ignore and avoid the topic of the afterlife all-together. This is unfortunate because one of the key principals in my faith is keeping in mind the afterlife and how this life is transient and quick. So due to this problem, I have been slowly training myself away from Islam.
If I were to try to go back into the fold of my faith, I’d have to confront this dilemma and resolve it in some way. It’s unavoidable, my mind will bring up questions that I won’t be able to answer. I will be tormented with emotions that I won’t know how to deal with, and I’ll have to judge and ostracize others that I would rather think well of and keep in my life.
So what should I do? I don’t have any answers at the moment. Maybe later the fear of Hell will eventually overcome the dilemma and I’ll push non-muslims out of my life and begin to pray and do all the other stuff.
But really? Is that what it means to be a Muslim?