Islamic Concept of Sin and Salvation

45 ISLAMIC CONCEPT OF SIN AND SALVATION (Ahmad Olayiwola Jagede) Sin is transgression of a Divine law especially committed knowingly and intentionally. It is the adoption of evil ways causing the displeasure of God. Sin may be likened to a virus which causes a disease. Sin creates a spiritual disease. Allah says in the Holy Quran: Surely those who turn their backs after guidance has become manifest to them, Satan has seduced them and holds out false hopes to them. That is because they said to those who hate what Allah has revealed, ‘We will obey you in some matters,’ and Allah knows their secrets. That is because they followed that which displeased Allah, and disliked the seeking of His pleasure. So He rendered their words vain. Do those in whose hearts is a disease suppose that Allah will not bring light to their malice. (47:26-30) The Holy Quran gives a clear description of sin: And whosoever commits a sin, commits it only against his own soul. And Allah is All—Knowing, Wise. And whoso commits a fault or a sin, then throws the blame thereof on an inocent person, certainly bears the burden of calumny and a manifest sin. (4: 112-113) Islam does not believe in inherited sin. It results from improper conduct. Allah says in the Holy Quran: Whoso does right, it is for the benefit of his own soul; and whoso does evil, the burden thereof will be on it. And thy Lord is not in the least unjust to His servants. (41:47) If you do good, you will do good for your own souls and if you do evil, it will be to your own loss. He whofottows the right way follows it only for the good of his own soul and he who goes astray, goes astray only to his own loss. And no bearer of a burden shall bear the burden of another. And we shall never punish until We have sent a Messenger. The Bible also supports the truth of the Holy Quran on this point. But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. (Jeremiah 31:30) The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity 46 REVIEW OF REUGIONS of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. (Ezekiel 1-8:20) SIN AND ADAM According to the Holy Quran and the Bible, Adam and Eve were forbidden to take fruit in the garden of Eden. People wrongly term the action of Adam and Eve as sinful. Let us turn to a pertinent passage in the Bible: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sineth from the beginning. (1 John 3:4—8) Did Adam transgress the law and sin? The answer is that he did not. According to Islam Adam and Eve did not intentionally transgress the law. They were seduced by Satan. The Holy Quran says: But Satan caused them both to slip. (2:37) This is supported by the Bible which states: And the woman (Eve) said the serpent (Satan) beguiled me and I did eat. (Genesis 3:13) This element of seduction and deception shows that Adam and Eve did not act deliberately or wilfully. They made a mistake and an error of judgement. On realising this they prayed and begged Allah for forgive- ness: Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves and if Thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us. we shall surely be of the losers. (7:24) Allah accepted their entreaties as we read in the Holy Quran: And verily, We made a convenant with Adam before hand, but he forgot, and We found in him no resolve to disobey us. (20:116) PROMISED MESSIAH ON SIN Let us see what Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam said on the subject of sin. He has written in one of his books Taleem – Our Teachings, that sin is a poison of which a little quantity kills. He has also written in another book: you should always keep in mind that one day you have to pass away from this world. There is no better recipe than this. The reason why,a REVIEW OF REIIGIONS 47 man commits sins is that he loses sight of the fact that one day he has to leave this world. Whoever keeps it in mind that he has to die does not find much satisfaction in worldly affairs. On the other hand he who loses sight of the fact that he is immortal becomes hard—hearted and wants a long life. People should consider the situation of a sinking boat Do they think of committing sins at that time? SimtiRrly when the earh is shaken by an earthquake or bubonic plague is prevalent, and they come face to face with death, do they commit sin or indulge in evil thoughts? You should always remember, therefore, that one day you will have to leave this world. SALVATION Salvation can be simply defined as being cleansed from sin and its consequences. Before one can attain salvation one must fulfil the following obligations which have been lucidly explained by Allah in the Holy Quran: I have not created the jinn and the men but that they may worship Me. (9:41) Strive with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. (9:41) And as for those who strive to meet Us — We will, surely, guide them in Our ways. And verily Allah is with those who do good. (29:70) Now, as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, their Lord will admit them into His mercy. (41:30) These are they in whose hearts Allah has inscribed true faith and whom He has strengthened with inspiration from Himself. And He will admit them into Gardens through which streams flow. Therein they will abide; Allah is well pleased with them and they are well—pleased with Him. (58:23) Successeful indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers, and who shun all that is vain. (23: 2—4) The fore—mentioned extracts from the Holy Quran tell us that along with faith there must also be good actions in order to attain salvation. In like manner Christians are advised in the Bible: Faith, apart from words, is dead. (James 2:20) 48 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS HOW TO ACHIEVE SALVATION Allah knows that human beings are prone to commit sin and will surely forgive those who sincerely repent and change their ways. The Holy Quran throws light on this matter: Except those who repent and amend and holdfast to Allah and are sincere in their obedience to Allah – these are among the believers. And Allah will soon bestow a great reward upon the believers. (4:147) And those who repent and do righteous deeds, indeed turn to Allah with true repentance. (25:72) Verily Allah accepts the repentance of only those who do evil in ignorance and then repent soon after There is no acceptance of repentance for those who continue to do evil until, when death faces one of them, he says ‘I do indeed repent now.’. (4: 18-19) Whoso repents after his transgression and amends, then will Allah surely turn to him in mercy; verily, Allah is Most Forgiving and Merciful. (5:40) The way of salvation as taught by Islam is the same as taught by God through earlier prophets: We read in the Bible: But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and rigtht, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him. (Ezekiel 18:21) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 54:7) If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) The New Testament also reports Jesus as saying: For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you. but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matth 6: 14-15) REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 49 Some Muslim prayers seeking forgiveness for sins are: Our Lord, \ve have wronged ourselves and if You do not forgive us or have mercy on us, we shall surely be among the losers. 0 Lord, grant us the best of this world and that of the next world, and save us from the torment ot the fire. 0 my Lord, I have wronged my soul and I confess all my sins for there is none else except Thee to forgive. On the Day of Judgement nobody will bear the burden of another’s sins. There are three categories of people who will receive the judgement of Allah: (1) Those who develop their spiritual faculties in this world, they will have immediate salvation. Paradise is their abode. (2) Those who partially developed their spiritualfaculties will have a taste of heE for their imperfections. (3) Those who did not bother to develop their spiritualfaculties tiving an animalistic life as described in the Holy Quran: ‘Enjoy themselves and eat even as the cattle eat, and the Fire will be their last resort.’ They will pay for their sins in hell, not for ever, but for as long as Allah pleases: ‘Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure save as thy Lord may wish.’ (11:109) The REVIEW of RELIGIONS The Review of Religions is the oldest magazine of its kind published in English language in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent. Its first issue was published in 1902 and it has been continuously published since. It bears the distinction that it was initiated under the direction of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah himself. During more than eighty-six years the message of Islam has been conveyed through this magazine to millions of readers and many fortunate persons have recognized the truth of Islam and accepted it through its study. The articles published in it deal not only with the doctrines and teachings of Islam but also set forth a comparative appreciation of the teachings of other faiths. One of its outstanding features is the refutation of the criticism of Islamic teachings by orientalists and non-muslim scholars. It also presents solutions in the light of Islamic teachings of the problems with which the Islamic world is from time to time confronted. A study of this magazine is indispensable for the appreciation of the doctrines of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the teachings of its Holy Founder. 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