Sin and Forgiveness in Christianity and Islam Dr. Razia Ali Taha english islamic book pdf

Sin and Forgiveness in Christianity and Islam Dr. Razia Ali Taha english islamic book pdf

1)
Sin and Forgiveness in
Christianity and Islam
Dr. Ezzia Ali Taha
1996
CONTENTS
I) Sin and Forgiveness in Christianity
1) The Origin of Sins in Christianity 4
2) The Major Means of Forgiveness in
Christianity 6

  1. Forgiveness through the Belief in the
    Idea of Crucifixion 6
  2. Forgiveness through Monasticism 12
  3. Forgiveness through Baptism 17
  4. Forgiveness through Confession before
    Priests 19
  5. Forgiveness through Eucharist and
    Transubstantiation 22
    II) Sin and Forgiveness in Islam
    1) The Lexicographic Interpretation of Sin
    and Forgiveness 24
    2) The Origin of Sins in Islam 24
    3) The Major Means of Forgiving Sins in Islam
    a) Forgiving Sins through Repudiating
    Tainted Religions and Embracing
    Islam instead 31
    b) Forgiving Sins through Avoiding
    Forbidden Things, especially Grave Sins 36
    c) Forgiving Sins through Observing
    Religious Duties, Following the Sunna
    of the Prophet, and Performing Desirable
    Acts (those acts whose neglect is not
    punished by Allah, but whose
    performance is rewarded 40
    d) Forgiving Sins through Turning to
    Allah in Repentance and Seeking His
    Pardon 42
    e) Forgiving Sins through Supplication
    and Invocation of Allah 45
    Sin and Forgiveness in Christianity and Islam
    Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Mankind and Jinns and
    all that exists, and peace be upon the Master of the
    Messengers, his family and companions.
    The followers of Christianity have been making
    tremendous efforts to spread their dubious beliefs all over the
    world, especially the Islamic world. They have got various
    means that help them propagate their deceptive falsehoods,
    such as offering medical and educational services,
    humanitarian aid to those suffering from disasters and
    catastrophes, etc. Such efforts are usually accompanied by
    religious ceremonies, Christian propaganda, priestly conducts
    and numerous theological words and slogans. Besides, some
    practices of a strange nature are performed in such a manner
    as to give the impression that something reasonable and
    serious is being presented to the layman who is supposed to
    believe that Christianity is based upon great fundamentals
    and practices which aim at saving mankind.
    Christians claim that their belief is constructed upon
    pillars of tolerence, love, mercy, sympathy and self-denial for
    the sake of others; and their belief and all efforts at the end
    aim for the happiness and salvation of human beings from
    sins.
    and getting them into the Kingdom of God, claiming that
    Christianity is the only way leading to paradise. Furthermore
    they also insist that their beliefs and efforts will eventually
    and inevitably lead mankind to eternal happiness through
    salvation which will free man from sins and take him into the
    Divine Kingdom of God where Christians only are admitted.
    However, the truth is far away from what they claim. Two of
    the amazingly strange things they believe in are (1) the idea
    of the so-called “original sin and forgiveness”, the sin that has
    been inherited by all mankind from Adam (peace be upon
    him), and (2) forgiveness of this sin through crucifixion. They
    also believe that all other religions are false and groundless
    since none of these grants man the privilege of salvation
    through the belief in the idea of crucifixion; thus non
    Christians are not qualified to enter paradise.
    What is then the origin of sins according to Christians? And
    what is the gravest sin for them?
    How can sins be forgiven? What are the negative results that
    emanate from their misleading concepts of sin and
    forgiveness? Is Christianity the only way to salvation?
    What is Islam’s notion of the origin of sins?
    And what is the gravest sin according to Islam?
    What are the various ways that lead to forgiveness?
    2
    What are the positive results that emanate from Islam’s
    concept of sins and the various means adopted to eradicate
    them?
    To answer these questions and many others, the writer
    will tackle the fundamental subject of sin and forgiveness
    from an analytical perspective. This will be carried out by
    comparing Christianity (a divine religion that has undergone a
    process of mixed distortion, alteration and forgery during
    which many pagan ideas were grafted to it) to Islam, the true
    religion which Allah has promised to safeguard from any
    distortion or taint. This comparison will magnify the wide gap
    between the falsehood inherent in Christianity and the
    truthfulness of Islam.
    The present research will deal with the following
    points:
    I) Sin and Forgiveness in Christianity:
    1) The Origin of Sins in Christianity
    2) The Major Means of Forgiveness in Christianity which
    are:
    a) Crucifixion
    b) Monasticism
    c) Baptism
    d) Confession
    e) Eucharist and Transubstantiation
    3
    II) Sin and Forgiveness in Islam:
    1) The concept of sin and forgiveness from a
    linguistic point of view;
    2) The origin of sins in Islam;
    3) The major means of forgiveness in Islam which are:
    a) rejecting all corrupt religions and
    embracing Islam
    b) avoiding illicit acts, especially grave
    offenses
    c) performing and observing obligatory divine duties
    and services as well as the customary actions
    sanctioned and established by Prophet Mohammed
    (peace be upon him)
    d) repentance and beseeching Allah’s
    forgiveness
    e) Supplication and invocation to Allah
    I) Sin and Forgiveness in Christianity:
    1) The Origin of Sins in Christianity:
    The story of human sin, according to the Old
    Testament, begins with Adam (peace be upon him) who lived
    with Eve in Eden, tending the Garden of God. They were
    permitted to eat from all trees in the garden except from the
    Tree of Good and Evil. But a serpent persuaded Eve to eat
    fruit from that forbidden tree. Eve gave some to Adam, who
    also
    4
    ate the fruit. As a result, they became mortal and God
    expelled them from Eden. Christian and Jews claim that
    Adam was seduced by both Eve and the serpent who
    persuaded him that the forbidden tree was the Tree of
    Knowledge, and if he ate its fruit, he would be given
    transcendental knowledge. Christians claim that God,
    believing Adam would be His rival after acquiring
    knowledge of the invisible world, became wrathful and
    uttered imprecations against Adam who was sent down to
    Earth.
    Christians believe that Adam’s sin is the mother of all
    sins. It had remained closely connected to his descendants for
    ages until the incident of crucifixion occurred. They also
    believe that evil first existed and then spread all over the
    world because of Adam’s misconduct. In addition, they
    attribute all sorts of human conflicts and wars to this sin.
    The story of crucifixion has always been a source of
    controversy among Christian leaders who sometimes charge
    each other with infidelity and atheism.
    The most influential of all Christian Apostles was
    Paul who basically established the doctrines of Christianity
    known today, especially those related to
    5
    the original sin, the sins that followed and the way to have
    them forgiven.
    2) The Major Means of Forgiveness in
    Christianity:
    a) Forgiveness through the Belief in the Idea of
    Crucifixion:
    Belief in crucifixion is central to Christianity.
    According to Paul, crucifixion is the corner stone for all
    Christian Beliefs, and those who deny it are not considered
    Christians and do not deserve God’s blessings. They cannot
    enter the Kingdom of God or transcend to glory. They will be
    destined to eternal torture in Hell for being disobedient to
    Jesus Christ.
    What is the content of this idea? Where did it come
    from?
    The content of this idea is found in some of Paul’s
    epistles to the Romans, Corinthians and Hebrews. He claimed
    that Christ was not betrayed and crucified by his enemies (the
    Romans and the Jews) because of the threat he posed to their
    beliefs and secular powers, but he willingly chose to be
    humiliated and crucified as a kind of atonement for people’s
    sins, liberating them from the original sin committed by their
    father, Adam, who ate from the forbidden tree.
    6
    In his epistle to the Romans, Paul wrote wherefore, as
    by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and
    so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. But not
    as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the
    offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God,
    and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ hath
    abounded unto many.”
    Here Paul claims that those who do not believe in the
    idea of crucifixion are not worthy of God’s mercy or His
    forgiveness. They will not go to Paradise and will not be
    granted eternal life. Instead, their eternal abode will be Hell
    because they denied the idea of purgation.
    In the light of Paul’s interpretation of Adam’s sin and
    the way sins are forgiven, all people including prophets and
    messengers are cursed by God: therefore, their inevitable fate
    is eternal torture in Hell. Moreover, all those who deny the
    idea of crucifixion and salvation are contaminated with the
    original sin and expelled from God’s mercy.
    Priests were greatly influenced by Paul’s ideas
    regarding the story of salvation. One of them, Hanna Maqar
    Al Isawi, wrote a letter in the sixth century Hegira addressing
    Abu Ubaidullah Al-Khazraji, an Andaulsi scholar inviting
    him to believe in Christianity and the idea of crucifixion to ~
    7
    save himself from the inherited sin. The letter appeared in
    Abu Ubaidh’s book, Between Islam & Christianity. It says
    “God’s peace and mercy be upon you. I praise God who
    rightly guided us and supported us with his son. He extended
    his mercy by crucifixion of Jesus Christ who redeemed us
    with his sacred blood. He saved us the torture of Hell and
    carried for us Adam’s sin. He shed his own blood for the
    happiness of all mankind who were cleared of this sin except
    those who do not believe in him. If you want to be granted
    God’s mercy and reside in Paradise, believe in God and say:
    Jesus Christ is God’s son who is God Himself and the Holy
    Ghost, three deities in one.”
    Where did these satanic ideas come from?
    How did they seep through into Christianity?
    The celebrated Western theologist, Rodolf
    Boltman said in his book Jesus, “Paul took his ideas from the
    Jews of Minor Asia who adopted Christianity. They had been
    greatly influenced by Greek philosophy and the myth of the
    Great Mother, which was widespread in Greece at that time.
    And it seems that they mixed the doctrines of Christianity
    with their old religion which was not totally abandoned.”
    The religion of the Great Mother derives from a myth
    about the goddess, Sabella, who was
    8
    engaged to a man called Attas. She adored him, but
    he suddenly died. She mourned over him. Nature,
    including trees, rivers and beasts, shared grief with her and
    sadness crept over the whole universe.
    Suddenly, as the myth goes, Attas was resurrected
    from death. He was transformed from an ordinary human
    being with limited powers to lofty god. Sabella was beside
    herself with joy. And nature again shared happiness with her.
    The sun rose, the rivers overflow, and the land became green
    with vegetation. People came out to celebrate the occasion. It
    became customary to celebrate this event every spring to
    glorify Attas who conquered death and gave life to the dead
    land. On that day, they used to sacrifice offerings for the god
    who conquered death. Year after year, a class of monks
    appeared, urging the people to believe in this myth and to
    sacrifice offerings for Attas in order to liberate themselves
    from their sins and admit them to the Kingdom of God.
    No wonder then that Paul took the idea of
    crucifixion and redemption from the Jews of Asia Minor
    since he had been originally a Jew himself. During his early
    life he began to prosecute Jews who were converted to
    Christianity because their new beliefs and behavior offended
    him. But one day, while traveling to Damascus, he
    supposedly encountered the risen Christ. This experience
    9
    impressed Paul so greatly that he soon became a Christian.
    Paul did not hesitate to borrow myths and folktales
    and put them in the Christian Book. His justification was that
    he wanted to encourage non-Christian pagans to incline to
    Christianity. Ahmed Shalabi, an Arab Scholar, commented on
    this incident in his book Christianity saying, “The universality
    of Christianity, introduced by Paul, was the turning point in
    the history of this religion. By opening the door wide to
    everybody Paul was obliged to adapt various doctrines to
    bridge the gap between the religion of the Jews and pagan
    beliefs that were widespread in Europe at that time. So he
    introduced the idea of the Trinity and salvation to cope with
    the beliefs of the nations that were being converted to
    Christianity.”
    In many places in his epistles, Paul affirmed that the
    doctrines he introduced to Christianity were not dictated to him
    by Christ, but they were his own. This is stated in his epistle to
    the Galatians where he wrote, “But I certify you brethren, that
    the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I
    neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the
    revelation of Jesus Christ.”
    In this way, Paul’s efforts to find a way to eradicate
    Adam’s sin produced a religion
    10
    fundamentally different from the religion preached by Jesus
    (peace be upon him). This distorted religion created by Paul is
    the same religion which is preached everywhere today under
    the name of Christianity. And this is what the famous Western
    Theologist, O. T. Davis, illustrated in his book Preachings on
    the Mountain where he wrote, “True Christianity did not exist
    until Paul met with the second divinity within the Trinity and
    unified with Him. He then began to write his epistles to the
    different nations preaching Christianity as he received it from
    the Redeemer. So Paul is considered the real founder of the
    Christianity we see today. Had Paul not appeared, Christianity
    would have never been a universal religion, and it would have
    never been largely accepted by millions of people.”
    Therefore, the idea of crucifixion introduced by Paul,
    who made it an obligation for true believers, is an alien
    concept that had not existed in Christianity before Paul
    developed it. It is not related whatsoever to the true teachings
    of Jesus the Son of Mary. Thus, the entire idea is totally
    rejected.
    Moreover, Paul did not refer to the sources where he
    got the news about Jesus. Instead, he admitted that Jesus’s
    teachings were revealed to him in his dreams. This nullifies
    his claims since the
    11
    direct communication with his chief source was lost. And his
    tales are only a collection of myths and visions lacking
    documented evidence.
    b) Forgiveness through Monasticism:
    Monasticism in Christianity derives from a belief that
    Adam’s sin is closely related to physical desire. This idea was
    inherited by the Christians from the Greek Philosophers,
    especially Plato who wrote about the dichotomy of soul and
    body. He sees the body as the prison of the soul which strives
    all the time to reach its supreme origin, for it had been part of
    God and then it was separated from Him to incarnate in all
    living creatures. Thus, it is in constant struggle with the body
    which hinders soul’s ascending to its origin to unify with
    Him. The author of Religions and Creeds, reviewing Plato’s
    views on God and creation, said, “The universe has its own
    Eternal Creator. The real nature of any individual thing
    depends on the form in which it participates. The forms differ
    greatly from the ordinary things that we can see around us.
    Ordinary things change, but their forms do not. Forms exist
    neither in place nor in time. They can be known by the
    intellect, not by the senses. Plato believed that though the
    body dies and disintegrates, the soul continues to live forever.
    After the death of the body, the soul migrates to what Plato
    called the realm of the pure forms. There it exists without a
    12
    body, contemplating the form. The soul always retains a dim
    recollection of the realm of forms and yearns for it. In order
    to set the soul free, Plato saw that the body must be fought
    and punished by making it weak and tired through worship,
    hunger and austerity. The body will eventually disintegrate
    and collapse and the soul will migrate to its pure form.”
    Christian leaders adopted these ideas from Plato and
    developed them under the name of ‘monasticism’. Of all the
    leaders, the most important figures regarding this concept are
    Paul, Augustine and the Nestorians.
    We have seen in an earlier context how Paul
    connected the belief in the idea of crucifixion with forgiveness
    of the original sin. He also claimed that Jesus willingly
    allowed himself to be humiliated and crucified. Thus, Pauline
    doctrine suggests that the body deserves to be tortured until it
    grows pure. In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul worte,
    “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of
    this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the
    spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
    Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past
    in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and
    of the mind: and were by nature the children of wrath.
    13
    But God, who is rich in mercy, hath raised us up
    together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ
    Jesus.”
    Christians believe that Adam responded to his
    physical desires and bestial lusts and so he disobeyed God by
    eating from the forbidden tree. Body, then, is the origin of all
    sins, and it cannot be purified unless it is tortured and
    humiliated. According to Christians, the soul is the victim of
    the body and its eternal torture is caused by the body’s
    constant offences. To help the soul migrate freely to its
    Creator, the body must be humiliated.
    In the course of time, a class of monks and nuns
    appeared. To belong to this class, a new member had to pass a
    number of phases during which he had to expose his body to
    humiliation and torture. Those who showed fortitude would
    be admitted as members of what Christians call, the Holy
    Saints. One way of fighting the body was to refrain from
    getting married; in one of his epistles, Saint Paul wrote, “It is
    good for a man not to touch a woman. He that is unmarried
    careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may
    please the Lord. But he hath married careth for the things that
    are of the world, how he may please his wife.”
    Influenced by this passage, free masons in the twelfth
    century went so far as to deny members of
    14
    their creed the right to get married. An already married
    person would have to divorce his/her partner if he/she wanted
    to join them.
    Augustine in the fifth century asserted Paul’s principle
    of staying a bachelor and preached that marriage, an
    inclination of spiritual weakness and of fierce struggle to
    satisfy physical desires, would have to be avoided. Monks
    and nuns were strictly forbidden to get married in order to be
    good examples. Augustine also claimed that depriving the
    body of its sensuous pleasures such as good food, smooth
    clothes, soft beds or having a wife was the battle that every
    true Christian should fight. This would qualify him to enter
    the Kingdom of God after being forgiven.
    The author of The History of Western
    Philosophy explained Augustine’s view on this matter. He
    wrote “Earthly life existed for people to live in toil and
    misery and so they should not occupy themselves with such
    earthly things as politics, sociology, astrology, etc., since the
    search for these things will distract the believers and waste
    their energy. I therefore invite true believers to renounce
    pleasures in worldly things and become ascetics. Marriage is
    not becoming for those who want to enter the Kingdom of
    God.”
    15
    According to these ideas, we find that Christianity,
    theoretically, regards virginity, as the ideal state for both men
    and women. This conceptualization has gradually led to the
    adoption of mysticism by the Catholic clergy.
    The concept of forgiveness through monasticism is
    well summed-up in the practices and ideas of the Nestorians.
    In their doctrines we find the following:
    “If man devoted his life to worship and
    abandoned physical desires, such as
    eating meat and satisfying his bestial
    lusts, his essence will be pure and will
    reach the Kingdom of God and can see
    God overtly. The invisible world will
    be revealed to him.”
    In the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII issued a
    decree strictly forbidding all priests and nuns from getting
    married, since sexual intercourse, he claimed, could eradicate
    their purity and chastity.
    But this decree led to negative consequences.
    Adultery and homosexuality spread. As a result, the
    reputation of clergymen, monks and nuns became stained
    among their followers and the public.
    16
    c) Forgiveness through Baptism:
    To gain salvation from the original sin committed by
    Adam, Christians stipulate the practice of baptism. A new
    born baby or someone newly converted to Christianity must
    be baptized by being washed with water by a priest.
    Christians believe that a baby is born tainted with
    Adam’s sin, and thus it has to be washed by the priests. They
    say that they are following the example of John, called the
    Baptist, who used to baptize the believers in the holy river of
    Jordan. He also baptized Jesus. The authors of the Christian
    Bible claim that God, addressing Jesus after being baptized,
    said: Thou art my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”
    The different sects of Christianity have always argued
    about the power of baptism. Some of them claimed that
    baptism clears man of all sins including the original sin while
    others claim that it remits the original sin only; as for the
    other sins, they can be forgiven through priests.
    The different sects have also failed to agree on when,
    where and how baptism should be performed. However, they
    all agreed that baptism is only valid when it is performed by
    priests or Christian leaders. In his book Comparing Religions:
    17
    Christianity, Ahmed Shalabi wrote about the topic of baptism
    saying: “Christians failed to agree on the time when baptism
    should be performed. Some of them insisted that childhood is
    the best time for this ritual; others believed it could be carried
    out during any time of man’s life. Others, yet, claimed it could
    be performed on the death bed since baptism is said to
    eradicate all sins and this is the time after which no sins
    would be committed.”
    According to Christian doctrine, baptism is a
    symbolic washing with water as a religious practice. It
    indicates or transmits purification, the washing away of sins,
    and the start of a renewed life. This is administered by
    pouring or sprinkling water on the forehead of the person
    being baptized. Some Eastern Orthodox and Western
    Protestant Churches practice immersion (submerging a
    person into water). In a typical Christian baptism ceremony,
    the person being baptized makes a statement of faith in Jesus.
    Sponsors, called godparents, may make the statement on
    behalf of infants. In most cases, a priest or minister then
    pronounces the person’s name and administers the water,
    saying, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, of the Son,
    and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptism should follow a voluntary,
    public statement of faith in Jesus as savior.
    18
    Forgiveness through Confession before
    Priests:
    d)
    During the early stages of Christianity, the Pope in
    Rome claimed that Jesus had granted him the power to
    forgive sins if the sinful person confessed them before him,
    except for the original sin which could only be forgiven by
    believing in crucifixion, resurrection and baptism. The Pope
    also claimed that he was the successor of Peter who set up
    the Roman Church according to Jesus’ instructions and
    directives and whom Jesus entrusted and authorized to pass
    judgment on all religious matters, including what was
    believed to be licit or illicit. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus
    addressed Peter, saying, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I
    will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
    against it.
    And I will give unto thee the Keys of the Kingdom of
    heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be
    bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth
    shall be loosed in heaven.”
    When the Pope appointed himself as the head of the
    Roman church, he claimed that he was sinless and infallible.
    He then gained a reputation among all Christians that he was
    acting on behalf of Jesus, granting blessings or curses. Not
    only this, but he gave himself full authority to forgive all sins
    if they
    19
    were confessed in his presence. He said he was acting in
    accordance with a statement in John’s Gospel, saying,
    “Whose so ever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them;
    and whose so ever sins ye retain, they are retained.”
    Furthermore, clerical synods, especially the one held
    in Rome in 1215 Gregorian, acknowledged the Pope’s
    authorities concerning forgiveness of sins, and depriving
    those who opposed him from entering Paradise.
    The members of the synod believed that if a person
    had the authority to forgive, he would have the authority to
    deny forgiveness. Subsequently many Popes used the right to
    deny forgiveness against those kings and nobles who
    competed politically with them to impose their authority on
    people.
    When people lined up before the Pope’s door asking
    for forgiveness, his assistants imposed fees on those who
    wanted to confess their sins in the Pope’s presence. Things
    degenerated even further when forgiveness was conditioned
    on paying a certain amount of money. When the need for
    money increased during the Crusades, the Pope and his
    assistants began to sell indulgences.
    20
    And whenever the need for money arose to build
    churches, monasteries or schools, the Pope gave his orders to
    get indulgences printed and distributed. He assured the
    purchasers that their eternal abode would be Paradise.
    In this way, tremendous fortunes (including money,
    jewelry, pieces of land and arms) were heaped on the Pope
    and his assistants. When the idea of selling indulgences
    reached remote parts of Christian’s world, people found it
    difficult to travel to Rome to confess their sins before the
    Pope. The Pope seized the opportunity and authorized the
    local cardinals and bishops to act on behalf of him. This
    tradition is still applied nowadays.
    The local cardinals and bishops took advantage of the
    authority given to them by the Pope and started blackmailing
    ordinary people. They bought themselves palaces, estates and
    pieces of land. As a result, two classes of people emerged in
    the Middle Ages: the upper class which consisted of feudal
    lords (nobles and clergymen), and the lower class which
    consisted of hirelings, workmen and serfs.
    21
    3)
    e) Forgiveness through Eucharist and
    Transubstantiation:
    The Popes of the Roman Church introduced another way
    of forgiving sins: through Eucharist and transubstantiation. The
    root of this story is found in Paul’s epistles and John’s Gospel. It
    is said that Jesus shared his last supper before crucifixion with
    his disciples. The supper consisted of bread and wine. The bread
    stood for Jesus’ body, and wine for his blood. In his epistle to the
    Corinthians, Paul said, ” For I have received of the Lord that
    which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same
    night in which he was betrayed took bread:
    And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat:
    this is my body, which broken for you: this do in remembrance of
    me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had
    supped saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do
    ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye
    eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do chew the Lord’s death till
    he come.”
    In John’s Gospel, Jesus is claimed to have
    said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if
    any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that
    I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
    Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of the man, and drink his
    blood, ye have no life in you. Whose
    22
    eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life: and
    I will raise him up at the last day.”
    As for transubstantiation, according to Christians, it is
    represented by some rituals performed on Easter by those
    who seek pardon from God. Easter is believed to correspond
    to the day of the Holy Communion. Therefore, if the scene of
    last supper is performed by a Christian, eating bread and
    drinking wine, he is believed to have eaten Christ’s flesh and
    drunk his blood. In this way, his sins will be remitted, and he
    will be admitted to the Kingdom of God.
    How did it occur to Christians that eating bread and
    drinking wine could symbolize such a strange idea as eating
    their worshipped God’s flesh and drinking His blood? How
    dare they drink wine since it is strictly forbidden in the Old
    Testament in which they believe as part of their faith?
    Furthermore, there is no documented evidence that Prophet
    Jesus (peace be upon him) advised them to do so.
    In concluding this chapter we can say that the
    Christian concept of sin and its means of forgiveness are
    irrational, illogical, perverted, damaging to man’s physical,
    mental, social and spiritual health and well being.
    23
    II) Sin and Forgiveness in Islam:
  6. The Lexicographic Interpretation of Sin and
    Forgiveness:
    Sin can be defined in Islam as follows:
  • Breaking of the law of God on purpose or the state or
    condition resulting from this act.
  • Wrong doing of any kind; immoral act.
  • A violation of any Islamic rule or standard, as
    of taste or propriety.
    Forgiveness can be defined in Islam as
    follows:
  • To give up the wish to punish or get even with an enemy
    or offender.
  • Not have hard feelings at or towards others.
  • To give up all claims for damage inflicted on
    you by others.
    According to Islam, to err or commit a sin is human,
    to forgive is divine.
  1. The Origin of Sins in Islam:
    Islamic law urged man to be on his guard against
    sinning, and it sets forth a number of restraints, indications,
    precautions, and impediment that would prevent people
    from falling into those sins threatening the safety of the
    whole society.
    24
    Sins are numerous and manifold. The most dangerous
    type of which comprises those grave or deadly sins which
    are not revealed (hidden in the heart) such as idolatry,
    atheism, heresy, hypocrisy, envy, malice, vanity, arrogance,
    conceit, and cheating.
    Sins can be related to negligence of one’s obligations
    towards Allah. And since such sins are between man and
    Allah, they are more hopefully expected to be forgiven than
    others. Sins can also be related to one’s transgressing on
    other people’s rights. Here, punishment or absolutions are
    induced during a sinful person’s life. Sins are divided into
    grave sins and venial sins. Grave sins are concerned, with
    transgresses on the rights of Allah, individuals and society.
    The number of grave sins is indefinite; however, it
    can be confined to those sins whose perpetrators are promised
    Hell. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “If anyone contends
    with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly
    conveyed to him, or follows a path other than that becoming
    to men to faith, We shall leave him in the path he has
    chosen, and land him in Hell, – What an evil refuge!” He
    also says, “The punishment of those who wage war against
    Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main
    for mischief through the land is: execution,
    25
    or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from
    opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace
    in this world , and a heavy, punishment is theirs in the
    Hereafter.” God the Almighty says, “If a man kills a
    believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide,
    therein (forever): and the wrath and the curse of Allah are
    upon him, and a dreadful chastisement is prepared for
    him.”
    If a believer avoids these deadly sins, he was
    supposed to be forgiven the venial ones. This is emphasized
    in the Holy Qur’an where Allah says “If ye (but) eschew the
    most heinous of thing which ye are forbidden to do, we
    shall remit your evil deeds and admit you to a Gate of great
    honor.” However, venial sins can turn into grave ones if they
    are scornfully underestimated and constantly committed.
    Abdullah bin Mas’ud related to us one narration saying, “A
    believer sees his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain
    which, he is afraid, may fall on him; whereas a wicked evildoer considers his sins as flies passing over his nose and he
    just drives them away like this.” (Abu Shihab, the subnarrator, moved his hand over his nose in illustration).
    Despite the restraints and impediments set by the
    Islamic law, man is constantly exposed to temptations that
    make him err, driven by his
    26
    ignorance, desires, or human weakness. Thus, falling into sin
    is something expected from all human beings. This is
    mentioned in many of the Noble Sayings of the Prophet
    Mohammed (peace be upon him).
    Islam urges people to keep away from temptations
    that lead to sins. When someone errs, he is encouraged to
    repent and ask Allah’s forgiveness and to constantly do good.
    He is asked not to experience despair of Allah’s mercy which
    is always there. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “O ye who
    believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance.”; Allah
    loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those
    who keep themselves pure and clean. He says, “O my
    servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair
    not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He
    is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”; and “He that doeth good
    shall have ten times as much to his credit: He that does evil
    shall only be recompensed according to his evil: No wrong
    shall be done unto them. “
    Abu Said AI-Khudri narrated: Allah’s Messenger
    said. “If a person embraces Islam sincerely, then Allah shall
    forgive all his past sins, and after that starts the settlement of
    accounts, the reward of his good deeds will be ten times to
    seven
    27
    hundred times for each good deed and an evil deed will be
    recorded as it is unless Allah forgives it.”
    Abu Huraira also narrated: Allah’s Messenger (peace
    be upon him) said, “Allah says, If My slave intends to do a
    bad deed then (O angels) do not write it unless he does it; if
    he refrains from doing it for My sake, then write it as a good
    deed (in his account). (On the other hand) if he intends to do
    a good deed, but does not do it then write a good deed (in his
    account), and if he does it, then write it for him (in his
    account) as ten good deeds up to seven-hundred times.”
    Besides, Islam does not take into account those bad
    deeds which are done foolishly and immediately followed by
    sincere repentance.
    Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “Allah accepts the
    repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent
    soon afterwards.”
    This is also established in the Sunna of the Prophet
    (peace be upon him) (Sunna is habitual practice, customary
    procedures or action, norm, usage sanctioned by tradition).
    Umar bin Al-Khattab narrated: Allah’s Messenger (peace be
    upon him) said, “The reward of deeds depends upon the
    intentions, and every person will get the reward according to
    what he has intended. So whoever
    28
    emigrates for Allah and His Messenger then his emigration
    will be for Allah and His Messenger. And whoever emigrates
    for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry her, his
    emigration will be for what he emigrated for.”
    Therefore, man’s deeds (good or evil) depend upon
    his intentions. However, the deeds of the nonbelievers are
    excluded because atheists are not obligated to observe the
    precepts of religion. Whatever good deeds an atheist does
    will not be accepted from him, despite the fact that he will be
    punished for not doing them.
    Although intention is the basis for the reward: a
    believer gets, his deeds should be closely guided by the Holy
    Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet t (peace be upon him). If
    he deviates from the norms stated therein, he will have
    committed a criminal fraud. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “It
    is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter
    has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any
    option about their decision: If anyone disobeys Allah and His
    Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.”
    As for the importance of following the Sunna of the
    Prophet (peace be upon him), Anas bin Malik narrated:
    Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him)
    29
    said, “He who does not follow my Sunna, is not one of my
    followers.”
    Islam has established the principle of individual
    responsibility: every individual is responsible for what
    he/she does. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “Every man’s
    fate We have fastened on his own neck: On the Day of
    Judgment We shall bring out for him a scroll, which he
    will see spread open. (It will be said to him): ‘Read thine
    (own) record: sufficient is the soul this day to make out an
    account against thee’. Who receiveth it for his own
    benefit: Who goeth astray does so to his own loss: No
    bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another: nor
    would We punish until We had sent a messenger (to give
    warning).”
    Islam does not approve of the idea of placing the
    blame or the responsibility of one’s deeds on someone else’s
    shoulders; nor does it accept that someone be punished or
    rewarded for what someone else does. When those who tried
    to deny the truth of the Qur’an put the blame on the nations
    before them, claiming that they had been betrayed and
    misled, they said, “Our Lord! It is these that misled us: so
    give them a double punishment in the Fire”, but their
    defense was not accepted, and they were told, “Doubled
    for all: but this ye do not know.”
    30
    45)
    3) The Major Means of Forgiving Sins in Islam:
    It is obvious that sins, according to Islam, occur due to
    one’s own deeds. They cannot be inherited from parents or
    grandparents. Falling into sins is the result of insincere
    intentions regarding faith, actions and words. It is also the
    result of not following the words of Allah and the teachings
    of His Messenger (peace be upon him). What are the best
    ways (established by Islam) of having sins forgiven?
    a) Forgiving Sins through Repudiating Tainted
    Religions and Embracing Islam instead:
    Many people have been accustomed to embracing a
    number of pagan religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism,
    Confucianism and Zoroastrianism. Also, a few distorted
    religions, which had been formally true; have always been
    adopted by millions of people. In these religions,
    polytheism replaced monotheism and numerous mythical
    stories were added to the original texts, turning them into a
    peculiar mixture. Judaism and Christianity are striking
    examples of such distorted religions.
    If any of these religions is embraced by someone
    after Islam has been revealed to the Prophet Mohammed
    (peace be upon him), it will not be accepted of him, and in
    the Hereafter, he will be
    31
    a loser. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “If anyone desires a
    religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never
    will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be
    in the ranks of those who have lost.”
    According to the various interpretations of this verse,
    Islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. All Religion is one,
    for the Truth is one. It was the religion preached by all the
    earlier Prophets. So Islam was the Truth taught by all the
    inspired Books. In essence, it amounts to a consciousness of
    the Will and Plan of Allah and a joyful submission to that
    Will and Plan. If anyone wants a religion other than that, he is
    false to his own nature, as he is false to Allah’s Will and Plan.
    Such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately
    renounced guidance.
    Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “Who can be better
    in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah,
    does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in
    faith? For Allah did take Abraham for a friend”; and
    “Say: Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect
    of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in
    this life, while they thought that they were acquiring
    good by their works?” Ibn Taimeyah, Islam’s greatest
    scholar, interpreted this verse as follows: “Those who prided
    themselves on their works in this life,
    32
    and now find that those works are of no avail, their loss is all
    the greater because they had a misplaced confidence in their
    own deeds or in the assistance of false protectors.” Allah is the
    only Protector: no one else’s protection is of any use. Many
    people have such a smug sense of self-righteousness that
    while they go on doing wrong, they think that they are
    acquiring merit. The sincere are those who believe in their
    spiritual responsibility and act as in Allah’s sight.
    When Islam was revealed to Mohammed (peace be
    upon him), all the roads except one were blocked before truthseekers: the road to Islam. If anyone with a religion other than
    Islam meets Allah, it will not be accepted. Explaining Allah’s
    words, “And have chosen for you Islam as your religion “,
    Imam Al-Alusi says that this verse deals with the backsliding
    of the Jews and Christians from their pure religions to which
    the coping stone was placed by Islam. As a logical corollary
    to the corruption of the earlier religions of Allah, Islam is now
    the only acceptable religion.
    Allah’s mercy on mankind is so great that it gives
    those who abandon paganism or turn away from distorted
    religions and willingly embrace Islam the opportunity to have
    all their former sins eradicated as if they were born anew.
    Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “Say to the Unbelievers, if
    (now)
    33
    6)
    they desist (from Unbelief), their past would forgiven
    them; but if they persist, the punishment, of those before
    them is already (a matter warning for them).” In this verse
    Allah assigns Messenger (peace be upon him) to ask the
    Unbelievers to cease from fighting the Believe and from the
    persecution of truth. If they do, their past wicked deeds will
    be remitted; if not they will be punished for their unjust
    persistence.
    Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “Those who reject
    Allah and hinder (men) from the Path Allah, – their deeds
    will Allah bring to naught. But those who believe and
    work deeds of righteousness, and believe in the
    (Revelation) send down to Mohammed-for it is the Truth
    from the. Lord, – He will remove from them their ills and
    improve their condition. This because those who reject
    Allah follow falsehood. While those who believe follow the
    Truth from their Lord: Thus does Allah set forth for men
    their lessons similitudes.”
    This passage means that whatever the Unbelievers
    do will miss its mark, because Allah is the Source of all
    energy and life. If the wicked try to persecute men or
    seduce them from the Truth, the result will be the opposite
    of what they intend. The word ‘bal’ (translated as
    ‘condition’) denotes state or condition, whether external, or
    of the heart and
    34
    mind. Both meanings apply here. The more the wicked rage,
    the better will be the position of the righteous, and Allah will
    make it easier and easier for the righteous to love and follow
    the Truth.
    Allah sent down (bestowed) His mercy and
    forgiveness on those who believe in Him and His Messenger.
    Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “O ye that believe in His
    Messenger, and he will bestow on you a double portion of
    his mercy: He will provide for you a Light by which ye shall
    walk (straight in your path), and He will forgive you (your
    past): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
    The jinns (a class of spirits of earth inhabitants that
    assume various forms and exercise supernatural activities) are
    also urged to believe in Islam; and this belief is the way to the
    remittance of some of their sins. Allah tells us a story about
    the jinns. He says, “They said, ‘O our people! We have
    heard a Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came
    before it: it guides to the Truth and to a Straight Path. O our
    people, hearken to the one who invites (you) to Allah, and
    believe in him: He will forgive you your faults, and deliver
    you from a Chastisement Grievous.” In these verses, ‘the one
    who invites to Allah’ refers to the Holy Prophet. So if the
    jinns believe in Allah and His Prophet, Allah will forgive
    them their sins on their repentance and
    35
    amendment of their lives, and save them the Penalty of the
    future life.
    The people of the Book (the adherents of Judaism and
    Christianity) have always been commanded to follow the Path
    of Mohammed (peace be upon him) as a provision for
    accepting their deeds, and for forgiving them their faults and
    sins. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “If only the people of the
    Book had believed and been righteous, We should indeed
    have blotted out their iniquities and admitted them to the
    Gardens of Bliss. If only they had stood fast by the Torah,
    the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from
    their Lord, they would have eaten both from above them and
    from below their feet.” The reference is to the Jews and the
    Christians, and to the general enjoyment (physical, social,
    mental, moral and spiritual) they would experience if they
    truly believed in Allah and His Messenger, and stopped taking
    unlawful profit, from usury or trust funds or other ways.
    b) Forgiving Sins through Avoiding Forbidden
    Things, especially Grave Sins:
    A number of forbidden things are clearly stated in the
    Holy Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet (peace be upon
    him). For example, meat of an animal that is found dead
    before being
    36
    slaughtered, meat of an animal not slaughtered in accordance
    with ritual requirements (on which the name of other than
    Allah has been invoked), meat of swine and blood are
    forbidden; and those who avoid them are promised
    forgiveness. After a number of forbidden things has been
    mentioned in the Fifth Chapter of the Qur’an (Surat AlMa’ida), warning is given to those who do not yield to Allah’s
    orders:
    “If anyone rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the
    Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all
    spiritual good).” The word faith here has special meaning
    which encompasses acts of worship such as lawful food,
    cleanliness, social intercourse, marriage and other interests in
    life which are linked with our duty to Allah and faith in Him.
    As for the Muslim, who resists his own sensuous
    desires and lusts, and his own inclination towards worldly
    pleasures which often lead to committing sins, great rewards
    and forgiveness are awaiting him. Allah says in the Holy
    Qur’an, “Allah doeth wish to make clear to you and to guide
    you into the ways of those before you: and (He doeth wish
    to) turn to you (in Mercy): and Allah is All-knowing, Allwise Allah doeth wish to turn to you, but the wish of those
    who follow their lusts is that ye should turn away (from
    Him), Far, far away.” And “If ye (but) eschew the most
    heinous of all things which ye are forbidden to do,
    37
    We shall remit your evil deeds, and admit you to a Gate of
    great honor. “
    The most heinous of all things (grave sins) are
    determined and defined in number of the Prophet’s sayings.
    Imam Ibn Kathir compiled the sayings of the
    Companions of the Prophet Mohammed concerning the great
    destructive sins. He then defined a great destructive sin as the
    sin whose punishment is Hell in the Hereafter, and which
    deserves legal punishment in worldly life. Hence, a great
    destructive sin is one which is clearly forbidden by a
    statement in the Holy Qur’an or in the Sunna of the Prophet
    (peace be upon him).
    And there is no doubt that atheism and polytheism are
    the most destructive of all sins. These cannot be remitted or
    forgiven. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “Allah forgiveth not
    that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth
    anything else, to whom He pleaseth.” Explaining why this
    verse was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon
    him), Imam Al-Alusi said: When Allah’s words, “O my
    servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair
    not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins” were
    revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), he
    went out to recite them before his
    38
    followers. One of them stood up and asked, “What about
    those who set up partners with Allah?” Allah’s Messenger
    (peace be upon him) gave him no answer. The man repeated
    his question, and the Prophet Mohammed still kept silent.
    Then the verse beginning with “Allah forgiveth not that
    partners…..” was revealed to exclude atheists and polytheists
    from those whose sins can be forgiven. However, the
    majority of Muslim scholars say that forgiveness may extend
    to all sins (with no exception) if repentance occurs. Yet,
    joining others in worship with Allah is a great sin. Abdullah
    bin Mas’ud narrated: When the following verse was revealed:
    “It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and
    worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their
    belief with Zulm (wrong .i.e. by worshipping others
    beside Allah.)”, the companions of Allah’s Messenger
    (peace be upon him) asked, “Who is amongst us who had not
    done Zulm?” Then Allah revealed: “Verily, joining others
    in worship with Allah is indeed a great Zulm.”
    39
    c) Forgiving Sins through Observing Religious
    Duties, Following the Sunna of the Prophet,
    and Performing Desirable Acts (those acts
    whose neglect is not punished by Allah, but
    whose performance is rewarded):
    Allah has decreed some religious duties which are
    classified into articles of faith, observances and mutual
    relations. Performing these duties is greatly rewarded
    especially such observances as prayer, fasting, alms-giving
    and pilgrimage which are regarded as atonement for a
    Muslim’s sins. Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (peace
    be upon him) said, “The prayer offered in congregation is
    seventy-five times more superior (in reward) to the prayer
    offered alone in one’s house or in a business center, because if
    one performs ablution and does it perfectly, and then
    proceeds to the mosque with the sole intention of offering
    prayer, then for each step which he takes towards the mosque,
    Allah upgrades him a degree in reward and (forgives) crosses
    out one of his sins (at each step) till he enters the mosque. He
    is considered in (prayer) as long as he is waiting for the
    prayer, and the angels keep on asking for Allah’s forgiveness
    for him, and they keep on saying: “O Allah! Forgive him, as
    long as he keeps on sitting at his praying place and does not
    pass wind.” Also Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet
    (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever fasts during the
    40
    month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain
    Allah’s Rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” Abu
    Huraira narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
    “(The performance of) Umra is an expiation for the sins
    committed between it and the previous one. And the reward
    of Hajj (the one accepted by Allah) is nothing but Paradise.”
    41
    Following the Sunna of the Prophet (peace be upon
    him) and performing desirable acts are one way of atoning for
    sins. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “… for those things that
    are good remove those that are evil …”
    Having patience (forbearing) with afflictions and
    misfortunes, such as illness, poverty, etc., is also rewarded.
    Abu Said Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira narrated that the
    Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No fatigue, no disease,
    nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a
    Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but
    Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” And Abdullah
    narrated that I visited the Prophet (peace be upon him) during
    his ailments and he was suffering from high fever. I said,
    “You have a high fever. Is it because you will have a double
    reward for it?” He said, “Yes, for no Muslim is afflicted with
    any harm but for that Allah will remove his sins as the leaves
    of a tree fall down.” Abu Huraira also narrated: The Prophet
    (peace be upon him) said, “If Allah wants to do good to
    somebody, He afflicts him with trials.”
    d) Forgiving Sins through Turning to Allah in
    Repentance and Seeking His Pardon:
    Allah is Much-Forgiving; He is the only One entitled
    to accepting repentance and to forgiving
    42
    sins. He says in the Holy Qur’an, “O ye who believe! Turn to
    Allah with sincere repentance: in the hope that your Lord
    will remove from you your evil deeds, and admit you to
    Gardens beneath which Rivers flow.”
    And He says, “Know they not that Allah doeth accept
    repentance from His votaries?” Abu Huraira narrated that I
    heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, “By
    Allah! I seek Allah’s Forgiveness and turn to Him in
    repentance for more than seventy times a day.”
    The heart of man, as created by Allah, is pure and
    unsullied. Every time that a man does an ill deed, it marks a
    stain or rust on his heart. But on repentance and forgiveness,
    such stain is washed off. If there is no repentance and
    forgiveness, the stains deepen and spread more and more,
    until the heart is sealed, and eventually the man dies a
    spiritual death.
    Due to human weaknesses, Allah urges all Muslims to
    seek His forgiveness and to turn to Him in repentance. He
    says in the Holy Qur’an, “And seek ye the Grace of Allah: for
    Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” And He says, “If
    anyone does evil, or wrongs his own soul but afterwards
    seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving,
    Most Merciful.”
    43
    The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) used to
    urge his companions to seek Allah’s repentance, telling them
    how to do it. Shaddad bin Aus narrated that the Prophet
    (peace be upon him) said, “The most superior way of asking
    for forgiveness from Allah is: ‘O Allah, You are my Lord!
    None has the right to be worshipped but you. You created me
    and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and,
    my promise (to you) as much as I can. I seek refuge with You
    from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before you all
    the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to
    You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive sins, for nobody
    can forgive sins except You.”
    When sins concern one’s obligations and duties
    towards Allah are committed, repentance can only be
    accepted of those who meet the following provisions: feeling
    regretful, refraining from committing more sins, and having
    firm resolution not to commit such sins again. And when sins
    are related to one’s transgression upon somebody else’s right,
    the transgressor will have to repair what he has imparted, and
    compensate affected person for the damage done until, by fair
    means, both sides reach a mutual consent.
    44
    e) Forgiving Sins through Supplication and
    Invocation of Allah:
    As this life is not the end of all things, and we are to
    have its fulfillment in the Hereafter, we have only to pray to
    the Lord of the Present and the Hereafter, and He will hear us,
    forgive us, guide us, and make our path smooth. But pride
    will have its fall, and its humiliating Punishment. Allah says
    in the Holy Qur’an, “And your Lord says: Call on Me; I will
    answer your (prayer): but those who are too arrogant to
    serve Me will surely enter Hell Abased.” He also says,
    “When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed
    close (to them): I respond to the prayer of every suppliant
    when he calleth on Me.”
    The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to urge the Muslims to
    call on Allah and pray to Him. A great many Hadiths
    [Prophetic traditions or narratives relating deeds and
    utterances of the Prophet (peace be upon him)] support this
    idea Supplication cannot be sincere unless Allah is always
    remembered. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “Then do ye
    remember Me; I will remember you. “, and “For men and
    women who engage much in Allah’s remembrance, Allah
    has prepared forgiveness and great reward.” Invocation of
    Allah purifies the heart and protects it from worldly
    temptations which can drive a seduced person into
    45
    perilous situations. Invocation of Allah crosses out sins and
    upgrades a suppliant’s rank in the Hereafter. Abu Huraira
    narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever
    says, ‘Subhan Allahi Wa bihamdihi’ one hundred times a day,
    will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the
    foam of the sea.” ‘Subhan Allahi wa bihamdihi’ means ‘I
    deem Allah free of any resemblance to anything whatever in
    any respect, and I glorify His praises.’
    Since one’s invocation must be accepted by Allah, a
    Muslim has to show patience, has to appeal to Allah with
    determination, and he should not lose hope if the response to
    his invocation is delayed. Abu Huraira narrated that the
    Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “None of you should say:
    ‘O Allah! Forgive me if You wish; O Allah, be Merciful to
    me if You wish, but he should always appeal to Allah with
    determination, for nobody can force Allah to do something
    against His Will”; and he (peace be upon him) said, “The
    invocation of anyone of you is granted (by Allah) if he does
    not show impatience (by saying, I invoked Allah but my
    request has not been granted’)”. A Muslim will have to
    refrain from earning his living dishonestly, for Allah does not
    accept the invocation of those who encroach upon others’
    rights. Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon
    him) said, “If one gives in charity what equals one date-fruit
    from the honestly earned
    46
    money-and Allah accepts only the honestly earned moneyAllah takes it in His Right (hand) and then enlarges its
    reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you
    brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big
    as a mountain.”
    In concluding this book we can say that the Islamic
    concept of sin and its means of forgiveness, if compared to
    that of Christianity, are very simple. It is quite easy to
    comprehend and practice. This is far away from the
    mysterious rituals of Christianity which are meant to wipe
    out sins like the belief in the idea of Crucifixion,
    Monasticism, Baptism, Confession before Priest, Eucharist
    and Transubstantiation.
    According to Islam, Adam and his wife Eve had
    committed a sin by eating from the forbidden tree. But they
    have repented and asked forgiveness from Allah who
    accepted their repentance. Hence, there was no need to
    assume that the original sin committed by them was inherited
    by their innocent children.
    According to Islam committing a sin or going stray is
    an individual choice. Seeking forgiveness is an individual
    responsibility. There are so many ways, a Muslim can attain
    forgiveness from Allah for his sins. These include repudiating
    corrupt religions and embracing Islam instead, abstaining
    47
    from forbidden things especially grave sins, observing
    religious duties, following the sunna of the Prophet (peace be
    upon him), performing desirable acts, turning to Allah in
    repentance and seeking his pardon, reciting the Holy Qur’an,
    supplication and invocation of Allah at all times.
    48
    References:
    1) Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur’an by
    Dr. Mohamed Taj-ud-Din Al Hilali, Maktaba Dar-usSalam, Riyadh, 1994
    2) Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Makbat Ihya Al Kutob Al-Arabiya,
    Cairo, 1981.
    3) Tafsir Al Khazin, Al Imam Al Nasafi, Dar Al-Tiba’,
    Beirut, Lebanon, 1954.
    4) Sahih Al Bukhari, Mustafa Al-Babi Al-Halabi & Sons,
    Cairo, 1959.
    5) Sahih Muslim,
    Cairo, 1947.
    Al-Maktaba Al-Masriya,
    6) Jesus, R. Boltman, Penguin Books,
    New York, 1934.
    7) The Good News Bible, Good News Bible Printing Press,
    Beirut, 1960.
    8) Comparing Religions by Dr. Ahamed Shalabi, Maktabat
    Al-Nahda Al-Masriya, Cairo, 1990.
    9) Lectures in Christianity by Mohamed Abu Zuhra,
    Maktabat Al-Madni, Cairo, 1966.
    10) The History of Christianity by Gad Al Manfaloti, AlMataba Al-Osgogiya, Cairo, 1909.
    49