Our discussion was on whether a person who does not agree with the school of the Ahlulbayt will enter Heaven or not. We said that they would do provided they fulfil the one condition that they have evidence for acting in the way they did, irrespective of whether this evidence is in accordance with reality or not. This is what I mentioned in the first few lessons in explaining the reasoning behind my fatwa on the permission of worshipping according to any religion.
We then looked at whether this idea could be found within the traditions of the Ahlulbayt. We looked at a number of traditions from different Imāms where this idea is quite evident. On the discussion on the mustadh’afīn I want to mention a tradition from Imam Sādiq taken from Ma’āni al-Akhbār in explanation of verse 98 from Surah Nisa:
لا يستطيعون حيلة إلى النصب فينصبون ولا يهتدون سبيل الحق فيدخلون فيه
They were not guided to the path of Truth so that they could enter it. 
Listen carefully! This tradition isn’t speaking about Muslims, it’s speaking generally, it’s referring to every single person who hasn’t been able to find a path to the Truth. And we have taken for granted that the school of the Ahlulbayt is the Truth, whereas this person hasn’t reached this Truth the way we have nor has anything of the Truth reached him, so how can he be held accountable for not believing? This person hasn’t even heard the word “Ahlulbayt” before! He hasn’t heard about Islam, the Qur’ān, or the Holy Prophet! Or if he has heard about it, he would take it to simply be another creed, another faith to be added to the thousands already present.
Just like we do. You who accept Islam, you who accept the Ahlulbayt, have you really gone and inspected Hinduism to see what it says? Have you looked into the Chinese religions? The African traditions? What about the different Christian sects? Hold on, what about all the different Islamic sects? Have you gone to each one of them and investigated their claims? No, because you’re convinced that the path you have taken is True and everything else is false. This is exactly the same for the other side, regardless if they’re scholars or just laymen, they’re all similarly convinced they are on the Truth and there’s no need to investigate other faiths and religions. The Imām continues:
وهؤلاء يدخلون الجنة بأعمال حسنة وباجتناب المحارم التي نهى الله
And they shall enter Paradise with their good actions and their avoiding of what God has forbidden. 
How clear can you get! Any religion, any faith, any sect, any creed, any community, they believed in good actions according to their own understanding, being completely honest with themselves that their actions are indeed good, and through these actions they sought to get proximity to God, the God that they believed in. It’s not necessary that the notion of God they believe in is the same type of God we believe in. Aren’t there Muslims today who believe God has a physical body? Aren’t there Muslims today, in fact the majority of Muslims today, who believe people will look at God the way we see the sun and the moon? These individuals want to get closer to that type of God they have believed in, not the one we believe. And similarly with the forbidden acts, if they have acts that they genuinely believe to be forbidden by the God they believe in, and they refrain from those actions, they shall enter Paradise.
Not only has this tradition come in a reliable book, it also has a reliable sanad (chain of narrators), and therefore based on the methodology of only accepting a correct chain of narrators this tradition would be considered correct, which is why it can also be found in the book of Shaykh Asif Muhsinī.  On top of that it can also be found in Tafsīr al-Ayyāshi  although we have mentioned previously that the traditions within this work except a handful are mentioned without a chain (mursal). So the tradition in Tafsīr al-Ayyāshi is mursal but the tradition in Ma’āni al-Akhbār comes with an authentic chain of narrators. As we have said previously, if a mursal tradition within Tafsīr al-Ayyāshi can be found in another reliable book with a strong sanad then this suffices for us to accept its reliability.
So we have these traditions from reliable books, with a reliable sanad, and I am emphasising this for the reason that the meaning of this tradition is more extensive than salvation merely for those who aren’t Shi’ī but it categorically includes everyone who hasn’t been guided to the Truth for whatever reason it may be.
1 – Shaykh Sudῡq, Ma’āni al-Akhbār, p. 208
2 – ibid
3 – Shaykh Asif Muhsinī, Mu’jam al-Ahādīth al-Mo’tabara, v. 3, p. 39
4 – Tafsīr al-Ayyāshi, v. 1, p. 432
Sadiq Meghjee is a frequent contributor to Iqra Online and has been studying in the seminary of Qom for 6 years. Prior to entering the seminary he pursued an accounting qualification and worked in London. His field of interest is intellectual history.