For those who commit major sins (Kabaair) from amongst the Muslims and die as Muslims not having repented from those sins, they will be subject to the Will (Masheeah) of Allaah: if He wills He forgives them and if He wills He punishes them. If He eventually punishes them in hell, out of His Justice, Glory be to Him, they will not remain in hell forever. These are the teachings of the Quraan and Sunnah concerning those who commit major sins, and was what the Companions (RA) and their students were upon concerning the issue.
Death without Repentance
From generation after generation and people to people, Allaah sent Messengers and Books to guide man concerning his duties and responsibilities to Allaah His Lord. Out of His Mercy upon His slaves, He offers to forgive and bless the remorseful and repentant, yet, many amongst them did not heed. They commit sins due to so many reasons and do not seek forgiveness from Allaah despite all His promises to forgive. For those who repent sincerely, forgiveness and mercy is sure forthem but for those who die without repenting, forgiving them or punishing them is at His Will. Allaah says, "Verily, Allaah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases; and whoever sets up partners with Allaah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin." (Q4: 48). He also says, "Verily! Allaah forgives not (the sin of) setting up partners in worship with Him, but He forgives whom he pleases sins other than that, and whoever sets up partners in worship with Allaah, has indeed strayed far away."(Q4: 116). This is the case with those who die without seeking forgiveness from their sins.
Forgiving them is subject to His Will.
So the various verses of the Quraan and ahaadeeth mentioning particular punishments in the hereafter for particular sins are all subject to His Will. If He wills He forgives, else He punishes in as much as the sin is not Major Kufr (an act that takes one outside the fold of Islam) or Shirk (associating partners with Allaah).
Allaah is Ever Just, Glory be to Him. For those who are to be punished in hell, their punishments are just the fair reward of what they have done while on earth. Allaah says, "But those who disbelieve, (in the Oneness of Allaah ) for them will be the Fire of Hell; neither will it have a complete killing effect on them so that they die, nor shall its torment be lightened, for them. Thus do We requite every disbeliever! Therein they will cry: Our Lord! Bring us out; we shall do righteous good deeds, not (the evil deeds) that we used to do. (Allaah will reply): Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition could receive it? And the warner came to you. So, taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.) there is no helper." (Q 35: 37).
The disobedient Muslim was unfair to himself despite all the opportunities available to him to seek forgiveness for his sins, Then he is justly treated to the punishments which are the consequences of his disobedience in Jahannam (Hell fire);
may Allaah protect us from His Punishments. Still Allaah out of His Mercy will release them from the Hell and let them into the Paradise. This is because Allaah, the Almighty, protects those who recognize Him and does not treat them like those who completely deny him; those who miss His guidance and lose His friendship.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited