This is a claim which Rashad Khalifa made in his hadith/Appendix 32 while misunderstanding the verse 46:15.
(from: Quran The Final Testament, by Rashad Khalifa, PhD.)
The Crucial Age of 40
What is the age of responsibility? If a child dies at the age of 12, without even hearing about God, does this child go to Heaven or Hell? What if the child is 15 years old, or 21, or 25? At what age will the human being be held responsible for his or her beliefs? This question has puzzled researchers of all religions for a long time.
The Quran sets the age of responsibility at 40; anyone who dies before this age goes to Heaven (46:15). If the person believed in God and benefitted from belief by nourishing and developing the soul (see Appendix 15), he or she goes to the High Heaven. Otherwise, the person goes to the Lower Heaven.
Your first reaction to this piece of information is objection: “What if the person was really bad, evil, and an atheist, will he go to Heaven if he died before the age of 40?” This is because you are mean, while God is the Most Merciful. Our tendency is to “put them all in Hell.”
People who objected strongly to this Divine mercy cannot come up with a cut-off age of responsibility. They ask questions like, “What if the person was really wicked?” The answer is, “Does God know that this person was wicked?” “Yes.” “Does God know that this person does not deserve to go to Heaven?” “Yes.” “Therefore, this person will not die before the age of 40.” As simple as that. God is the only one who terminates our lives on this earth. He knows exactly who deserves to go Heaven and who deserves to go to Hell.
Early in 1989 a man by the name of Theodore Robert Bundy was executed for killing a number of women. The whole nation agreed that he was one of the most vicious criminals in history. So much so that his execution was one of the rare occasions where the opponents of capital punishment did not protest. On the contrary, many people actually celebrated his execution. Numerous journalists, editorials, and politicians lamented the fact that justice took eleven years to execute Ted Bundy. They stated that Bundy should have been executed within a maximum of six years after his conviction. According to the Quran, this would have been the greatest favor anyone could have done to Bundy. He was 42 years old when executed. Had he been executed five years earlier, at the age of 37, he would have gone straight to Heaven, and he did not deserve that.
As it turns out, Bundy was one of the signs God has given us to confirm that anyone who dies before 40 goes to Heaven. Bundy’s name, Theodore Robert Bundy, consists of 19 letters, and he confessed to killing 19 women just one day before his execution. There were many other signs from God.
Delivering this important piece of information is one of the responsibilities given to me as God’s Messenger of the Covenant. It is not my personal opinion.
It is noteworthy that both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were assassinated just a couple of months before their 40th birthdays.
THERE IS NO SUPPORT FOR RASHAD KHALIFA’S CLAIM FROM THE QURAN
There are a lot of assumptions made by Rashad Khalifa in his hadith/appendix and the support that is being utilized to make the case is completely misplaced. Furthermore, to make a judgment as to what God will and will not do with respect to a soul by taking support from 46:15 is unacceptable.
For example, Rashad Khalifa states:
“The Quran sets the age of responsibility at 40; anyone who dies before this age goes to Heaven (46:15). If the person believed in God and benefitted from belief by nourishing and developing the soul (see Appendix 15), he or she goes to the High Heaven. Otherwise, the person goes to the Lower Heaven”
An obvious question arises, why were individuals under 40 not given the chance to go to a higher heaven by virtue of having their life curtailed? The whole article is riddled with unwarranted statements and sadly raises more questions then it answers.
Wisdom can be granted to any soul at any age by the will of God. The Quran clearly talks about individuals who were given wisdom at a young age. (e.g. Prophet Jesus, Prophet Yahya – 19:12).
Verse 46:15 captures a generic situation of one when they come to full strength and forty years. There is nothing in this verse to suggest that when an individual dies before this age that they will proceed straight to heaven.
In fact, if one reads 18:74, a boy was slaughtered by a ‘servant of God’ with which whom Prophet Moses vehemently contested with. The reason is given in 18:80 and the whole set of verses are worth pondering over deeply to extract wisdom. Only God knows why He may decide to take one’s life or decree an action.
Please see 28:14, where Prophet Joseph was given wisdom and knowledge once he came to full strength (ashuddahu) and became established, settled, well balanced, sound in mind and body (is’tawa). There is no indication of an age of 40 in this verse.
God informs us is the following verse:
22:5 O people, if you are in doubt as to the resurrection, then We have created you from dust, then from a seed, then from an embryo, then from a fetus developed and undeveloped so that We make it clear to you. And We settle in the wombs what We wish to an appointed time, then We bring you out a child, then you reach your maturity, and of you are those who will pass away, and of you are those who are sent to an old age where he will not be able to learn any new knowledge after what he already has. And you see the land still, but when We send down the water to it, it vibrates and grows, and it brings forth of every lovely pair.
Only God knows when His truth has been fully manifested to a person regardless of age.
To take verse 46:15 and to make a leap by concluding that everyone before 40 will go to heaven has no basis or warrant from scripture.
I personally think claims such as this and others made by Rashad Khalifa which has resulted in the removal of two verses of the Quran (9:128-29) and the prediction of the Day of Judgment (when God clearly states that no one apart from Him has that knowledge) based on the 19 code are difficult to sustain. I feel these are unwarranted claims for which the Quran gives no support.
However, in the end, Rashad Khalifa does not necessarily assert or argue this claim from a wholly Quranic standpoint. This view is supported by his understanding of what he believed was his role with respect to delivering God’s message.
“Delivering this important piece of information is one of the responsibilities given to me as God’s Messenger of the Covenant. It is not my personal opinion”