Religion and Righteous Deeds in the Hereafter

People say that no matter what religion you follow, as long as you have a good heart, you will go to Heaven.

Is this true?

This is what people say. However, as Muslims, can we believe that Mother Teresa will go to Heaven, as she was a woman who devoted her life to doing good deeds? We cannot say that she is going to Heaven if she died in a state of believing that God became a man called Jesus.

Let us pray that she had found Islam, and became a true believe before she died.

Now, the question one may ask is how and why had she been such a good woman. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ informed us that his own uncle, Abu Talib, raised him as a child, looked after him when he became a Prophet, and protected him when the people wanted to harm him, all the way to his death bed. When he was on his death bed, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ invited him to Islam. Abu Talib had seen the signs of prophethood and knew in his heart that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was a Prophet of God. But, his other relatives started telling him - are you going to degrade our family? Are you going to humiliate the name of our forefathers? Abu Talib was concerned that his acceptance of Islam would bring a bad name to his fore fathers, because they were all pagans (idol worshippers). Finally, he chose the way of his forefathers. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ later said that he would go to Hell. However, Abu Talib would have the least punishment in the Fire because of the role that he played in terms of protecting the Prophet ﷺ. It was narrated that his feet up to the ankles would actually be in Hell fire, but that would be sufficient for his brain to boil internally.[1]

So, if the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has informed us of this about his own uncle who was so dear to him, and helped him a great deal, why should we be hesitant to accept the same about Mother Teresa, who we thought was doing good? We cannot speak of her intentions as we don’t know what was going on in her mind. She may be doing it for show so that she would be known as a holy person. It is commonly found that people believe such men and women and call them saints. Many privileges are also given to them, for example, in New York, Mother Teresa and her people are allowed to park anywhere without any problems. Muslims, on the other hand, have been begging for car parking for Jumu’ah. They have been denied this, but Mother Teresa and her followers come along and have a free, open invitation to park their cars anywhere. If that is truly what she wants to gain, then she is getting it. However, in terms of the next life, the greatest possible sin is to worship other than God.[2] When we scale sins we say adultery, fornication, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, murder etc. are the major sins and evil deeds. But, in the sight of God, there is nothing more evil than worshiping other than Him. This is the worst and greatest of all evils. If a person dies in such a state without repenting, he will be eternally doomed to Hell. This is the decision of God, and it surely is a just and merciful decision.


[1] Ibn Abbas (رضى الله عنه) reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Of the inmates of the Fire, the one with the easiest punishment will be Abu Talib; he will be wearing a pair of shoes which will cause his brain to boil.” (Sahih Bukhari 6564,and Sahih Mulsim 212, Book 1, Hadith 413)

[2] Allah the Almighty said: "Verily! Allah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom he pleases (for) sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, has indeed strayed far away" [Surah Nisaa, 4:116]


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