Islam teaches us that salvation is attainable through the worship of
God alone. A person must believe in God and follow His commandments. This is
the same message taught by all the Prophets including Moses and Jesus. There
is only One worthy of worship. One God, alone without partners, sons, or
daughters. Salvation and thus eternal happiness can be achieved by sincere
In addition to this Islam teaches us that human beings
are born without sin and are naturally inclined to worship God alone (without
any intermediaries). To retain this state of sinlessness humankind must only
follow God’s commandments and strive to live a righteous life. If one falls
into sin, all that is required is sincere repentance followed by seeking God’s
forgiveness. When a person sins he or she pushes themselves away from the
mercy of God, however sincere repentance brings a person back to God.
Salvation is a powerful word that the dictionary defines
as the act of preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or
evil. Theologically it is spiritual rescue from sin and its consequences.
More specifically, in Christianity it is associated with redemption and the
atonement of Jesus. Salvation in Islam is a very different concept. While it
does offer deliverance from the fires of hell, it also rejects some of the
basic principles of Christianity and states clearly that salvation is attained
only through submission to the most merciful, God.
“Those who remember God (always, and in prayers) standing,
sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of
the heavens and the earth, (saying), "Our Lord! You have not created
(all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted are You above all that they
associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the
Fire.” (Quran 3:191)
According to Christian doctrine, humankind is considered
wayward and sinful. The doctrine of original sin states that humankind is born
already tainted by the sin of Adam and therefore separated from God, and in
need of a redeemer. Islam on the other hand out rightly rejects the
Christian concept of original sin and the notion that humankind is born
The idea that innocent babies or children are sinful
sounds completely absurd to a believer who knows that Islam is about original
forgiveness not original sin. Humankind, according to Islam is born in a state
of purity, without sin and naturally inclined to worship and praise God.
However, human beings are also given freewill and are thus capable of making
mistakes and committing sins; they are even capable of committing great evil.
Whenever a person commits a sin, he alone is responsible
for that sin. Every person is responsible for his or her own actions. Consequently,
no human being who has ever lived is responsible for the mistakes made by Adam
and Eve. God says in the Quran:
“And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden.” (Quran
Adam and Eve made a mistake, they repented sincerely,
and God in His infinite wisdom forgave them. Humankind is not doomed to be punished,
generation after generation. The sins of the father are not visited upon the
“Then they both ate of that tree, and so their private parts
appeared to them, and they began to stick on themselves the leaves from Paradise for their covering. Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his
Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness and gave him guidance.” (Quran
Above all Islam teaches us that God is the most
forgiving, and will go on forgiving, repeatedly. Part of being human is
making mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are made without deliberation or a bad
intention, but sometimes we knowingly and deliberately sin and do wrong to
others. Therefore as human beings, we are constantly in need of forgiveness.
The life of this world is fraught with trials and
tribulations, however God did not abandon humankind to theses tests. God
equipped humankind with an intellect and the ability to make choices and
decisions. God also gave us words of guidance. As our creator, He is well
aware of our nature and eager to guide us on the straight path that leads to
The Quran is God’s final revelation and it is applicable
for all of humankind; all people, all places, all times. Throughout the Quran
God continually asks us to turn to Him in repentance and ask for His forgiveness.
This is the road to salvation. This is our rescue from destruction.
“And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks God's
forgiveness, he will find God Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran 4:10)
“And O my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then
repent to Him, He will send you (from the sky) abundant rain, and add strength
to your strength, so do not turn away as criminals, disbelievers in the Oneness
of God.” (Quran 11:52)
“Say: ‘O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves
(by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of God, indeed
God forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’” (Quran
Quran is not only a book of guidance, it is a book of
hope. In it God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness are obvious and thus
humankind is reminded not to give in to despair. No matter what sins a person
may have committed if he resolutely turns to God, seeking forgiveness his
salvation is assured.
Prophet Muhammad described sin as black spots covering
the heart. He said, “Indeed if a believer sins, a black spot covers his
heart. If he repents, stops the sin, and seeks forgiveness for it, his heart
becomes clean again. If he persists (instead of repenting), it increases until
it covers his heart…”
Salvation in Islam is not required because of the stain
of original sin. Salvation is required because humankind is imperfect and in
need of God’s forgiveness and love. In order to understand the concept of
salvation correctly we must understand other topics embedded in salvation.
These are, understanding the importance of tawheed, or the Oneness of
God, and knowing how to repent sincerely . We will discuss these topics in the
next two articles.