The Theology of Exclusion

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

In reading some the comments and responses to my blog posts, I have noticed that some Muslims engage in what I will call a “theology of exclusion.” These Muslims are hell-bent on excluding virtually everyone from God’s Grace. These Muslims exclude anyone who does not agree with them from God’s Mercy. To these people, every category of Muslim is excluded: the Shi’is, the Sufis, the “moderate Muslims,” etc. It does not matter. If the Muslim does not agree with these people’s own religious worldview, then they are excluded from God’s fold.

This is wrong, and those who espouse the “theology of exclusion” have absolutely no right to do so. I, for one, refuse to engage in such a theology. God’s Grace and Mercy is infinitely wide, and only He will decide who is saved and who is condemned. It is not for me to do so on this earth.

Now, it is true that God does say, numerous times, that there are categories of people who will go to Hell-fire on the Day of Judgment. It is true that He does outline who will be excluded from His Grace. But that is for God to decide on the Day we all return to Him. I do not know whether someone will or will not be saved on that Day. I do not know the condition of people’s hearts. Thus, who am I to exclude anyone from God’s Grace?

I mean, if God wants to forgive someone – even if he or she has committed an enormous amount of sins – who am I to say “no”? If God wants to forgive someone, am I going to stop Him? Why, in the Qur’an, it is even hinted that those who worshipped Jesus as God may ultimately be forgiven by Him on Judgment Day:

And Lo! God said: ‘O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, ‘Worship me and my mother as deities beside God?’ [Jesus] answered: ‘Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! It would not have been possible for me to say what I had no right to [say]! Had I said this, Thou wouldst indeed have known it! Thou knowest all that is within myself, whereas I know not what is in Thy Self. Verily, it is Thou alone who fully knowest all the things that are beyond the reach of a created being’s perception. Nothing did I tell them beyond what Thou didst bid me [to say]: ‘Worship God, [who is] my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer.’ And I bore witness to what they did as long as I dwelt in their midst; but since Thou hast caused me to die, Thou alone hast been their keeper: for Thou art witness unto everything. If thou cause them to suffer – verily, they are Thy servants; and if Thou forgive them – verily, Thou alone art almighty, truly wise! (5:116-118). [emphasis added]

The point is, God is the only judge, and thus it is not for us to play God and judge other people. No one has the right to exclude anyone else from God’s Mercy and Grace. No one knows the condition of one’s heart except God. Let God do His job. Like I said before, He knows what He is doing.


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