What Are the Basic Principles of Islam?

The Original Forgiveness in Islam

By Faten Sabri

The Concept of Original Forgiveness in IslamAnd no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to God is the [final] destination. (Fatir 35:18)

Humans cannot be blamed for sins they did not commit, nor can they get salvation for not attempting to be good.

Islam Relieves the Burden of Original Sin

  • Every child is born sinless. It is only after they reach the age of puberty or maturity that they are held accountable for their sins. The lesson for humanity when God accepted Adam’s repentance for eating the forbidden fruit is the first instance of forgiveness.
  • Every soul bears the burden of its own sin. This shows the justice of God. Humans cannot be blamed for sins they did not commit, nor can they get salvation if they are evildoers on Earth.

“Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents, each will die for his own sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)

O mankind, fear your Lord and fear a Day when no father will avail his son, nor will a son avail his father at all. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver. (Luqman 31:33)

  • No-one is tortured for a sin he did not commit. You do not sacrifice one child to forgive another’s sin. Life is a test and each soul is responsible for his own actions.
  • God is Perfect; He has no need to die for us. He gives life and death, so He did not die nor was He resurrected. He saved His Prophet Jesus and protected him as He helps and protects His believers.
  • God is Most Merciful to His creatures, more than a mother is to her children, so He forgives them whenever they repent to Him.
  • Forgiveness does not negate justice, nor does justice preclude forgiveness.
  • There is no superiority of one race over another. God tests each individual on the basis of their piety and righteousness and this reflects the manifestation of the names and attributes of God (The Most Just, The Most Wise, etc).

It was God’s plan before the creation of Adam that mankind would be placed on earth. Islam does not consider mankind’s life on earth as a punishment, but as part of God’s plan. God created humans to worship Him as He is the Master of the universe.

 And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

And when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know. (Al-Baqarah 2:30)

God teaches Adam the names of all things.

And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.” They said, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise. (Al-Baqarah 2:31-32)

God commands the Angels to bow down to Adam.

God commands the angels to bow down to Adam. All obey, except for Iblis(Satan), who feels that he is made from fire, should not be bowing to Adam who was made from earth. His disobedience of God’s command followed by his pride caused him to fall out of God’s favour: (Al-Baqarah 2:33-34)

God places Adam and Eve in the garden and tells them that they are free to enjoy of its fruits except one tree.

We[1] said: “O Adam! dwell you and your wife in the Garden, and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) you will; but approach not this tree, or yeou run into harm and transgression. (Al-Baqarah 2:35)

Satan deceives Adam and Eve into eating of the fruits of the tree.

But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. And We said, “Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time. (Al-Baqarah 2:36)

Addition to the names of all things God wanted to teach Adam how to repent whenever he sin.  Therefore, Adam receives the words of repentance from God.

Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (Al-Baqarah 2:37)

And this was the first forgiveness of God. It was just a test to teach all humanity the way of repentance, whenever the human sin he has to repent like Adam, so the inheritance was not the sin itself but the way of repentance.

The Quran here states as well that Eve is not blamed for Adam’s sin. Each of them accepted their own mistake and repented to God, and asked God to forgive them and God did forgive them. So this burden of seduction and the original sin is lifted from women.

God tells Adam that He will send his guidance to him and his descendents.

We said, “Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. (Al-Baqarah 2:38)

And God tells us that this life is not our final destination. God has not created human beings just to eat, drink, and reproduce. If that were the case, animals would be considered better than humans, as they also eat, drink, and reproduce, but they are not accountable for their actions.

One’s life is a test and each soul is responsible for its own deeds, God honored human beings and favored them above many of His creatures.

And We have certainly honored the children of Adam (Mankind) and carried them on land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference. (Al-Israa  17:70)

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Notes:

[1] The reference of God to Himself as WE or US in many verses of the Quran denotes Grandeur and Power in Arabic. In the English language this is known as the royal WE, where a plural pronoun is used to refer to a single person holding a high office, such as a monarch. For the avoidance of doubt, the Quran has consistently reminded us of the SINGULAR pronoun in reference to God, when called upon by His servants.

 

About the Author:

Faten Sabri (1973-) is a modern Jordanian Muslim thinker. She is well known for her frequent interaction with various cultures, religions and she speaks different languages. She studied comparative religions which made her able to discuss the controversial issues about Islam with the truth seekers and free thinkers.She wrote books about the message of Islam, the original concept of God and Jesus Christ in Islam and she has monthly articles in an international magazines. These books and articles were translated and distributed in more than 9 languages.

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