I have not been meeting that Ethiopian lady bible-peddler because I have had to change my travel route temporarily, not specifically because of her but due to unavoidable circumstance. I did intend on changing my route If it means not running into her again but not exactly possible for now. But then, I did meet another bible-peddler on a different route the other day and I am very sure she will never approach me again. I was on my way home, mid-day, this white little old Lady was coming from the opposite direction to me, she stopped to talk to me and I obliged to see what she’s got to say. I was under the impression that she wanted to ask me for direction. So, I eagerly looked towards her in anticipation. To my utter amazement, she started ranting on about something, I did not understand her from the beginning of her rant but towards the end, I heard her clearly saying “…and you will go to hell, the bible says”. That is it, another bible-peddler and this one is even saying the bible says, I am going to hell, my anticipation towards her wane off immediately.
My reaction was just to walk away saying “sorry, I am not interested” and I keep laughing as I went away from her. Partly, I was laughing at myself for not anticipating her to be another bible-peddler and partly for her audacious statement, how she dare say I am going to hell, when she’s just met me on the roadside going about my business. Did she create the hell and determines who goes in there? Ok, she says, the bible says, how does what her bible say apply to me that she directed it towards me?. I am not a believer of what she believes, so whatever her bible says, to me is null and void. Before going back to the Ethiopian lady as I have not really talked about my encounter with her in details, I will with try to respond to my encounter with the white little old lady bible-peddler first.
I said I am not a believer of what she believes and whatever she says about hell is null and void on my account. This brings me to the revelation of Allah (swt) to the Prophet in response to an encounter with the Kafirun (disbelievers). During the early years of the Prophethood, the Kafirun of Makkah went to the prophet after they’ve tried all tactics they could to dissuade him from preaching Islam. They come to the conclusion that perhaps they can reach a compromise with him in which they will worship all together with him Allah (swt) one year and then he will worship all together with them their idols another year. In response to this proposition, Allah (swt) sent a revelation to the prophet as follows:
Say, “O disbelievers,
I do not worship what you worship.
Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.
Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.
Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.
For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”
This is a standard response to all bible-peddlers and dissuaders in the path of Islam whatever their mission may be. A sincere believer in Allah (swt) does not believe in anything outside of what Allah (swt) revealed through his Prophet Muhammad (saw) in the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet.
My response to her saying about hell is from the hadith of the prophet regarding two children of Israel.
“Narrated Abu Hurayrah: I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: There were two men among Banu Isra’il, who were striving for the same goal. One of them would commit sin and the other would strive to do his best in the world. The man who exerted himself in worship continued to see the other in sin. He would say: Refrain from it. One day he found him in sin and said to him: Refrain from it. He said: Leave me alone with my Lord. Have you been sent as a watchman over me? He said: I swear by Allah, Allah will not forgive you, nor will he admit you to Paradise. Then their souls were taken back (by Allah), and they met together with the Lord of the worlds. He (Allah) said to this man who had striven hard in worship; Had you knowledge about Me or had you power over that which I had in My hand? He said to the man who sinned: Go and enter Paradise by My mercy. He said about the other: Take him to hell. Abu Hurayrah said: By Him in Whose hand my soul is, he spoke a word by which this world and the next world of his were destroyed.” (Sunnan Abu Dawud Book41, Hadith 4883)
My question to the lady is, what guarantee does she have that she herself will not end up in hell for her to boldly declare some else as going to hell?