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  1. #1
    arh1's Avatar
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    Salvation and Sin

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    I come from a Christian background and am interested in what the Islamic view is on a few different topic are, namely sin and salvation. These are two very important topics in Christianity and I would love to know the Islamic view on these. So with that said I have a couple questions.

    How is salvation obtained through Islam?
    How does sin, or not following Gods will, play into obtaining or keeping salvation?
    And how does good works play into salvation?

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    Insaanah's Avatar
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    Re: Salvation and Sin

    Greetings arh1,

    Before addressing some of your questions, I feel it's important to set the background from the Islamic point of view.

    Please note, that in Islam, there is no concept of original sin, nor of God expecting perfection which cannot be achieved, nor of a broken relationship with God that requires reconciling, nor of ****ation requiring a saviour.

    No innocent person is made to suffer or die for other's sins. Newborn babies are not born in a state of sin, but a state of innocence and purity.

    Forgiveness is directly from God. Prayer is directly to God. God is the God of all.

    In Islam, as Adam and Eve (peace be upon them) asked for forgiveness and were forgiven, so we too ask for Allah's forgiveness for our sins, as He loves for us to turn to Him in repentance, and loves forgiving. This forgiveness comes freely, just by Allah's will, when we sincerely ask for forgiveness and truly repent. Forgiveness does not require any type of sacrifice by God, or any purchase price. Both Adam and Eve repented and were completely forgiven by their Loving, Merciful Lord; and indeed Adam was then chosen to be the first person to receive guidance from Allah, was honoured by Allah, and is counted among all the other Prophets of Islam.

    While guidance and the right way has been shown to us, we, as humans, have the freedom to choose, to err, and to repent sincerely, and should we do so, we will find Allah Kind & Forgiving. For all and any in the posterity of Adam, the door of returning to the right path is always open, prior to death.

    We are required to struggle, and to make effort, and to show our commitment on our part, by believing and doing good deeds, and obeying God, and the teachings he sent His messengers with. Ultimately, salvation is through Allah's mercy.

    Peace.
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    Salvation and Sin


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    IAmZamzam's Avatar
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    Re: Salvation and Sin

    It is not entirely different from Christianity save for the aforementioned details of there being no sacrifice necessary. The Qur’an acknowledges that the only two steps necessary in the process are, “Please forgive me,” and, “I forgive you.” But apart from that it’s not too far off. The Prophet said once that “none amongst you would attain salvation purely because of his deeds.” Then someone asked him if this applied to him too and he replied, Yes. “Not even I, but that Allah wraps me up in Mercy.” (Sahih Muslim 39:6,760) Deeds, however, are taken into account all the same (Qur’an 2:277); it’s just that they’re nothing without the One whose ninety-nine names include The Merciful, The Gentle, The Forgiving, The Generous, The Loving One, The Pardoner and The Clement.
    Salvation and Sin

    Peace be to any prophets I may have mentioned above. Praised and exalted be my Maker, if I have mentioned Him. (Come to think of it praise Him anyway.)

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    arh1's Avatar
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    Re: Salvation and Sin

    Thank you for your responses. It definitely helps me to understand a bit more about the concept of salvation within your belief system. From a Christian perspective, we talk a lot about the holiness of God and His transcendence. I think that you would also say that Allah is transcendent, but I was wondering how you ascribe value to his perfection if it does not cost anything to forgive man for his imperfection. We believe that salvation requires the sacrifice of Jesus's life, which is a very large cost. Can you help me to reconcile the difference between your thought that forgiveness costs Allah nothing and the forgiveness as we see it costs a life?

    I have a few more questions that you can choose to tackle if you are willing to help me out. If newborns are not born sinful, when do they become sinful? Is it just when they do bad things? Can we outweigh bad with good? If so, what does god's forgiveness mean and is it really necessary? Is there any assurance of salvation?

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    IAmZamzam's Avatar
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    Re: Salvation and Sin

    If a good person offers a free gift to anyone out of their own mercy and goodness then naturally that may not cost them anything—but that doesn’t decrease the value of the act. It doesn’t make what they’re doing any less good or merciful. That is dependent only on the impact it has on the one who is receiving the gift, and on the intentions the giver have in giving it, and on the fact of the grace involved. If anything it goes all the more towards making the giver perfect.

    You have it backwards. People become bad when they do sinful things. The choice comes first, and our choices collectively corrupt us over time. I believe the way The Qur’an puts it is, “Their sin has rusted upon their hearts.” But God is always willing to forgive the genuinely repentant. I would sooner question what His forgiveness meant if this were not the case and grace were dependent upon a literalistic interpretation of sacrifice in which, one way or another, whether by animal or by incarnate Deity, blood must be spilled. And that as long as something suffers and dies as a ransom or substitution for us we have enough to assure us of salvation, instead of our own sincere efforts sufficing (though of course not without us being wrapped up in mercy first: I’m not saying it doesn’t really come from grace). I hope I didn’t put any of that offensively bluntly. I’m not trying to bash your religion, I’m only answering your question.
    Salvation and Sin

    Peace be to any prophets I may have mentioned above. Praised and exalted be my Maker, if I have mentioned Him. (Come to think of it praise Him anyway.)

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    Re: Salvation and Sin

    Quote Originally Posted by arh1 View Post
    how you ascribe value to his perfection if it does not cost anything to forgive man for his imperfection. We believe that salvation requires the sacrifice of Jesus's life, which is a very large cost. Can you help me to reconcile the difference between your thought that forgiveness costs Allah nothing and the forgiveness as we see it costs a life?
    If I am understanding this correctly, are you saying that if God is perfect then how come we don't have to sacrifice a sinless person to be forgiven of our sins?
    Salvation and Sin


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    Ahmad H's Avatar
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    Re: Salvation and Sin

    Quote Originally Posted by arh1 View Post
    Thank you for your responses. It definitely helps me to understand a bit more about the concept of salvation within your belief system. From a Christian perspective, we talk a lot about the holiness of God and His transcendence. I think that you would also say that Allah is transcendent, but I was wondering how you ascribe value to his perfection if it does not cost anything to forgive man for his imperfection. We believe that salvation requires the sacrifice of Jesus's life, which is a very large cost. Can you help me to reconcile the difference between your thought that forgiveness costs Allah nothing and the forgiveness as we see it costs a life?

    I have a few more questions that you can choose to tackle if you are willing to help me out. If newborns are not born sinful, when do they become sinful? Is it just when they do bad things? Can we outweigh bad with good? If so, what does god's forgiveness mean and is it really necessary? Is there any assurance of salvation?
    Quite a few questions here. But as for your first question on the great sacrifice of Jesus (as) which you consider to be for all of humanity, as opposed to Allah merely forgiving everyone without any loss, it is merely two different perspectives. The Islamic view is that Allah is so Transcendent, then why would He ever have to stoop so low as to become a human being that is born from a woman, grow up and then simply die? Allah is considered so beyond that, that He does not need to do this.

    The arguments for why the Muslim and Christian perspective differ are easily understood when they are outlined point by point:
    #1 God is One: In Christianity, God is Three and One. Therefore, the two other parts help to make the whole. In Islam, God has no other part to Him, it is just Him. Therefore, is only Him Who forgives and only He is worthy of forgiving.

    #2 No one bears anyone else's burden: In Christianity, the belief is different and Jesus (as) is considered to have borne all of humanity's sins. Although, in reality, this is just that section of humanity that accepted him. In Islam, those who accept Allah as One without any partner, are liable to be forgiven because they realize that it is only Allah Who created them, and no one else. Jesus (as) is a Prophet of Allah, and not the Word of God that existed with Him since eternity.

    #3 All praise belongs to Allah: This is so vitally important that it is the basis for all of the actions of a Muslim. It is in the first Surah of the Qur'an, and so it is part of the "Mother of the Book" (Mother of the Qur'an). This means this verse encompasses a lot of meanings, undisputably so. Jesus (as), having been born of a mother, being liable to birth and death, hunger and sickness, etc. He is not worthy of being considered "God". He did not create the universe with Allah, and thus he has no right over His creation. Indeed, since Christians believe that Jesus (as) was only the Word and then became personified 2000 years ago, both sides agree Jesus (as) was not present in creating the universe. No "Word" of God created the universe. It was One God in the Bible which created the universe. Thus, all praise belongs only to Allah, Who is the Lord of all the Worlds - He is worthy of all praise, because He created the universe. This now included the second verse in the first Surah of the Qur'an. It presents an argument throughout the Book, which is that Allah is worthy of all praise, and no idol, human, jinn or angel, etc is allowed to be worshipped or considered worthy of forgiving and punishing, except Him.

    #4 Question: If Jesus (as) is worthy of forgiving, then is he worthy of punishing? For the one who forgives, has to punish as well. Otherwise, how can Hell exist?

    These are just four points to ponder upon. These should be some food for thought as to the differences in why us Muslims believe in only Allah as the Transcendent Being Who can forgive, and why we do not consider Jesus (as) to be worthy of forgiving mankind.

    Forgiveness in Islam is about sincerely repenting from your heart for the wrongs you have done, not washing it all away, literally, by being bathed in a river and accepting Jesus as the savior who forgives us. Allah forgives a servant for his wrongs when he asks Him for forgiveness. For us Muslims, Allah is so Powerful and Transcendent, that He has no trouble forgiving anyone. This means, He does not require a sacrifice. It is easier than that for Muslims. The Christian attitude is that out of sympathy for the suffering of Jesus (as), you accept him and then you are forgiven because you feel he died for you. Because of this empathy, you accept him. It creates this emotional swelling to accept him since he gave up everything for you. Yes, it is emotional alright. However, the facts must remain as facts. All I see are a sea of emotions swelling when I see how Christians accept Jesus as their savior who died for their sins.

    As for babies being born pure and as Muslims in Islam, who have not sinned, compared to the Christian view, you wonder when do children start to sin in Islam and why?
    When kids reach puberty, which is considered to happen in many different ways in Islam. At the age of 10, children who ignore prayers are allowed to be hit by parents so that they can see the harm in rejecting prayers. This is in fact the only situation where the parents are allowed to hit children in Islam

    As for what constitutes sin in Islam, it is simply the disobedience to Allah. In other words, whatever we feel what we are doing is wrong. We humans are born upon the natural tendency to lean towards Allah, so when we reject Allah's message, we reject that part of our natural self which is meant to be at peace with Allah. Otherwise, we know no peace when we reject Him. Thus, evil is the rejected of Allah and disobedience to Him. We ask for forgiveness of our disobedience to Him because we ourselves commit these crimes, no one else.

    Salvation requires steadfast obedience to Allah, and it requires a great effort on our part. Salvation is not by accepting a savior for Muslims.
    Last edited by Insaanah; 05-02-2013 at 01:54 PM. Reason: ....

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    Insaanah's Avatar
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    Re: Salvation and Sin

    Quote Originally Posted by arh1 View Post
    I was wondering how you ascribe value to his perfection if it does not cost anything to forgive man for his imperfection.
    Addressing the latter words of your sentence first, as I mentioned above, in Islam, there is no concept of God demanding perfection from us, and us having to be forgiven for not being able to live up to that perfection. God is so Kind and Loving, that perfection has never been demanded of us, and we are not punished for being imperfect.

    We are required to obey God, and the messengers He sent with His message, and we have been told which things are forbidden for us and what we should avoid. When we do those things that we shouldn't, then we repent and seek God's forgiveness, being truly sorry for what we have done, trying our best not to repeat it, and acknowledging Allah as being the only One on Whom we depend, for the forgiveness of our sins.

    God is so Forgiving and relenting towards us, that He loves forgiving:

    Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
    Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "By the One in Whose Hand my soul is, were you not to commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and then seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah would forgive them".


    [Saheeh Muslim] Arabic/English book reference : Book 1, Hadith 422

    That is not to say that we should deliberately sin, in fact we should resolve not to repeat past sins. However Allah loves forgiving, and this is to show how forgiving Allah is, even knowing that we will sin.

    Quote Originally Posted by arh1 View Post
    I was wondering how you ascribe value to his perfection if it does not cost anything to forgive man for his imperfection.
    Addressing your middle words about cost, it seems that if God gives you something free, you do not attach value to it because there was no cost. I've never heard those thoughts before. It is like viewing Allah as a human being that gave you a present that cost nothing, and you view that as being stingy and not generous. We seek Allah's refuge from that. He is the font of freely flowing, abundant, never ending forgiveness, far above human imperfections. That actually shows His infinite generosity, without any match or comparison for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by arh1 View Post
    I was wondering how you ascribe value to his perfection if it does not cost anything to forgive man for his imperfection.
    Addressing your first words, it is actually denigrating to God's Power that He should not be able to forgive or remove sins without begetting a son and then sacrificing the son. It ascribes imperfection to God. Perfection is being able to forgive, freely, abundantly, at will. That is perfection.

    What you describe above is not truly forgiveness, but atonement. One thing pays the price for another.

    *Islam recognises God's power to forgive with just His Will. Other religions seem to claim that forgiveness requires a purchase price and if we can't pay it, somebody else has to pay it on our behalf.

    *In Islam, forgiveness comes without a purchase price or sacrifice. We do not/cannot: buy, sacrifice for, earn or steal it. It comes freely when we sincerely ask for forgiveness and truly repent, accepting God's will.

    If newborns are not born sinful, when do they become sinful? Is it just when they do bad things?
    From my understanding, children become accountable from puberty.

    “The Pen has been lifted from three: from the child until he reaches puberty, from the sleeper until he wakes up, and from the one who has lost his mind until he recovers.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4402)

    We do not refer to people as "sinful". Someone could have committed a big sin, but then sought forgiveness from Allah and made it up to the one he wronged against. It is nobody's prerogative to label another as sinful.

    Can we outweigh bad with good?
    Yes, in Islam we believe this is the case. On the day of judgement our good and bad deeds will be on each side of a weighing scale. Obviously, the more good deeds we have, the better. And the more chance of the bad deeds being outweighed.

    If so, what does god's forgiveness mean and is it really necessary?
    Deeds alone do not determine the outcome. If we think our deeds alone are going to make us successful, then we are wrong.

    Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:
    "There is none whose deeds alone can secure salvation for him". They said: "Allah's Messenger, not even you?" Thereupon he said: "Not even I, but that the Mercy of Allah should take hold of me."


    Saheeh Muslim USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 39, Hadith 6763
    Arabic reference : Book 53, Hadith 7293


    Is there any assurance of salvation?
    None of us can say, "We are saved". This is what the day of judgement is for. We strive with faith and deeds and obedience to God, do our best, and trust in His Promise, and His Justice, and hoping for His Mercy.

    For Christians, this may be hard. They believe that by accepting Jesus (peace be upon him) as their saviour they have an assurance of salvation, and view the Islamic position on salvation as being one of uncertainty. As a rough (not exact) analogy, the Christian position, is like one sitting an exam, but somebody has said they'll take all your bad marks for you, and if you let them do that, you'll pass. In the world, this would be viewed as cheating and as unjust. Injustice cannot be ascribed to God. The Islamic position is that of one sitting an exam, doing their best, and then awaiting their results, based on what they've done, and of course hoping for the mercy of God.

    Please also be aware that Muslims love and respect Jesus (peace be upon him) and believe in him as he was; one of the most noble and purest of humanity to ever walk the earth, and one of the greatest messengers of Allah, sent to the Children of Israel. We do not reject him (as Jews do), nor do we deify him (as Christians do). Neither he, nor any other messenger, was divine, ever claimed divinity, or to be God's son. We believe he was born miraculously of the noble virgin Mary (peace be on her), and that he is the messiah. We do not however, believe that he died or was crucified. He will return to earth near the end of time.

    Hope that helped a bit.

    Any errors contained in the post are from me. And Allah knows best in all matters.

    * Quoted from Uncle Woodrow.
    Last edited by Insaanah; 05-03-2013 at 08:32 PM.
    Salvation and Sin


    Stunningly beautiful adhaan from the Dome of the Rock in Masjid ul Aqsa
    Download (right click and choose "save target/link as").


    This is a clear message for mankind in order that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that He is only One God, and that those of understanding may take heed (14:52)


    Indeed Allah knows, and you know not (16: 74, part)

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    MustafaMc's Avatar
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    Re: Salvation and Sin

    Quote Originally Posted by Insaanah View Post
    "By the One in Whose Hand my soul is, were you not to commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and then seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah would forgive them".
    This hadith sheds light on the imperfection of human nature as being prone to sin to one degree or another. What makes us special is not being perfect as angels are, but rather that we recognize our shortcomings and ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness. We are reliant upon the mercy of Allah for our salvation.

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