On this point the teaching of the New Testament is in accordance with God's justice and mercy. We cannot venture to say the same in reference to what Islam teaches in its Traditions on this subject, or even to what is said in the Qur'an. For there it is taught that God has created some men believers, and some unbelievers, and that, therefore, the former class will never lose their faith and the latter will never be able to believe. Thus Suratu'l-An'am says: 'Whomsoever 1 God willeth He causeth to go astray, and whomsoever He willeth He setteth upon a right way.' So, too, we read in Suratu'l-A'raf 'Whomsoever 2 God guideth, he it is that is guided, and whomsoever He causeth to go astray, they are those who err: and verily We have created for hell many of the genii (jinns) and of men.' Imam Muhammad Ja'far shows what the meaning of such passages is by his statement 3 that God Most High created some men as believers, from whose hearts faith is never obliterated, and some for unbelief, which never departs from them, and that He created some midway between these two states, and to some he confided belief. If He wish to render this faith perfect on their account, He renders it perfect: and, if He wish to deprive them of it, He does so. Such teaching is manifestly contrary to those instincts of justice and mercy which God has implanted in the breasts of all men, and yet it is quite

1 Sura vi. 39. 2 Suratul-A'raf (vii.):177-8.
3 Haqqu'l-Yaqin, p. 236.



in keeping with the Traditions, especially those relating to fate (القدر), in the Mishkat and elsewhere.

If any one inquire, 'What will God Most High do with those who have never in all their lives heard the teaching of the glorious Gospel, and have, through no fault of their own, never had an opportunity of hearing the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ and the way of salvation through Him?', then in reply we must say that, since the All-Wise God has not seen fit to give us full and clear information on this matter, we cannot give a complete answer to this very important question. Thus much is evident to every wise and intelligent man, however, that God will not treat them harshly or unjustly, but will judge them according to their works, just as he will judge all other 1 men. And, since the way of salvation was never in this life explained and pointed out to them, as it has been by God's infinite grace and mercy to you and to me, honoured reader, and since God's commandments were not made known to them (except by conscience and the moral law 2 written in the heart of every man) as authoritatively as to the nations to whom God sent his prophets and apostles and gave the holy Scriptures in trust for all men, therefore God will not require as much from those who have remained in darkness as He will from us who have seen his light and received his gracious invitation to walk in the light.3 Thus the

1 Rev. xx. 11-12, 13. 2 Rom. ii. 15. 3 John xii. 35-6.