عَنْ مَيْسَرَةَ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ الرِّضَاؑ يَقُولُ وَ اللهِ لَا يُرَى مِنْكُمْ فِيْ النَّارِ اثْنَانِ لَا وَ اللهِ وَ لَا وَاحِدٌ قَالَ قُلْتُ فَاَيْنَ ذٰلِكَ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللهِ قَالَ فَاَمْسَكَ عَنِّي سَنَةً قَالَ فَاِنِّي مَعَهُ ذَاتَ يَوْمٍ فِيْ الطَّوَافِ اِذْ قَالَ لِي يَا مَيْسَرَةُ اُذِنَ لِي فِيْ جَوَابِكَ عَنْ مَسْاَلَةِ كَذَا قَالَ فَقُلْتُ فَاَيْنَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ قَالَ فِيْ سُورَةِ الرَّحْمَنِ وَ هُوَ قَوْلُ اللهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فَيَوْمَئِذٍ لَا يُسْاَلُ عَنْ ذَنْبِهِ مِنْكُمْ اِنْسٌ وَ لَا جَانٌّ فَقُلْتُ لَهٗؑ لَيْسَ فِيهَا مِنْكُمْ قَالَ اِنَّ اَوَّلَ مَنْ غَيَّرَهَا ابْنُ اَرْوَى وَ ذٰلِكَ اَنَّهَا حُجَّةٌ عَلَيْهِ وَ عَلَى اَصْحَابِهِ وَ لَوْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِيهَا مِنْكُمْ لَسَقَطَ عِقَابُ اللهِ عَنْ خَلْقِهِ اِذْ لَمْ يُسْاَلْ عَنْ ذَنْبِهِ اِنْسٌ وَ لَا جَانٌّ فَلِمَنْ يُعَاقِبُ اِذًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ
Maisarah reports, “I heard Imam al-Reza (peace be upon him) say, ‘By Allah! Not even two of you (Shiites) will be seen in the hell-fire. By Allah! Not even one (will go to hell).’ I (Maisarah) asked, ‘Where is the evidence of this in the Book of Allah?’ He (peace be upon him) did not reply to me for a year. One day, I was with him during the circumambulation (tawaaf) when he (peace be upon him) told me, ‘O Maisarah! I have been permitted to reply you for that question.’ I asked, ‘So where is it in the Quran?’ He (peace be upon him) answered, ‘In Surah al-Rahman (verse 39) and it is the word of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – So on that day neither man nor jinn shall be asked about his sin.’ I said, ‘But it does not mention “from you”’? He (peace be upon him) retorted, ‘The first one who changed it was Ibn Arwa (referring to Usman Ibn Affan whose mother’s name was Arwaa) and that is because this verse was a proof against him and his companions. If you were not included in this verse (i.e. if this verse was not specific and it was general), Allah’s punishment from His creatures would have dropped since no man or jinn would be questioned about his sins. So, whom will He punish on the Day of Judgement?”
1) Imam (peace be upon him) delayed the reply on account of some rationale. This delay was vis-à-vis time and place. In this case, it was after a year and that too in Masjid al-Haraam.
2) If one drops the criterion of belief, there would be no point in creation of hell-fire. In other words, Allah would allow to go to Paradise and there would not remain any difference between a faithful person and an infidel.
1. Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 24, p. 275, H. 61
2. Kanz-o-Jaame’ al-Fawaaed under the aforementioned verse