Q: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Allah has ninety-nine names; anyone who memorizes them will enter Jannah (Paradise). Does this mean that anyone who memorizes the Names of Allah will enter Jannah?
A: This is one of the Hadiths that promise Jannah and speaks of virtues and good deeds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one. Anyone who learns them will enter Jannah. According to another narration: Anyone who memorizes them will enter Jannah. (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
This Hadith urges us to consider carefully, ponder over, memorize and learn the Names of Allah, so that we can benefit from their great meanings, gain Khushu` (the heart being submissively attuned to the act of worship), obey Allah and fulfill our duty towards Him(Glorified and Exalted be He).
Anyone who memorizes the Names of Allah, fulfills their duties towards Him, and shuns the major sins will be admitted to Jannah while those who commit major sins subject themselves to Allah’s Wrath and their fate is left to His Will: He may punish them or admit them to Jannah. Memorizing and learning the Names of Allah is one means to enter Jannah if a person does not commit major sins. Attaining Jannah has certain conditions that must be fulfilled and certain obstacles that must be avoided. Committing sins is one of the obstacles which prevent one from entering Jannah with those who will enter first. A Muslim who commits sins and does not repent before death will eventually enter Jannah after being punished and purified.
Also, Allah may forgive and admit them to Jannah without punishment. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The Fve (Obligatory Daily) Prayers, from one Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) to the next and from one Ramadan to the next are expiation for (sins committed) in between, as long as major sins have been avoided. Major sins include those prohibited acts for which a warning of severe punishment is given. These include all those which incur Allah’s Wrath, and are cursed by our Prophet (peace be upon him) such as Zina (sexual intercourse outside marriage), consuming Khamr (intoxicant), undutifulness to parents, involvement in Riba (usury/interest), Ghibah (backbiting), Namimah (tale-bearing), etc.
These are some major sins whose committers will be left to Allah’s Will: He may forgive and admit them to Jannah due to their belief in His Oneness and their Islam or punish them in a manner commensurate with their sins and eventually bring them out of the Fire and into Jannah after purifying them of their sins. There are various Hadiths Mutawatir (Hadiths reported by a significant number of narrators throughout the chain of narration, whose agreement upon a lie is impossible) reported from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) that indicate that many disobedient Muslimswill enter the Fire because of their sins and will be punished in a manner commensurate with these sins.
Afterwards, the disobedient will be taken out of the Fire due to the Shafa`ah (intercession) of the Prophet (peace be upon him), angels, other prophets, and the children who died before they reached the age of puberty while others will be granted forgiveness due to Allah’s Mercy. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills .
Those disobedient Muslims are subject to Allah’s Will: He may forgive them and admit them to Jannah, or punish them in a manner commensurate with their sins and then take them out of the Fire as they will not stay therein forever. None will abide eternally in the Fire except the Kafir (disbeliever) and Mushrik (one who associates others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) who will not be forgiven.
Therefore, disobedient Muslims will not remain eternally in the Fire, according to Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream) unlike the Khawarij (separatist group that believes committing a major sin amounts to disbelief) and Mu`tazilah (a deviant Islamic sect claiming that those who commit major sins are in a state between belief and disbelief) who believe that the disobedient will stay eternally in the Fire. However, Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah hold the view that the disobedient who have died as Muslims believing in the Oneness of Allah, but have not repented of their sins shall be subject to Allah’s Will. May Allah grant us all success!