Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Salvation by Works in Islam

Continuing on the subject of “faith alone”…
Muslims claim that they do not believe in salvation by works. Claim that they actually believe in salvation by faith. And claim the Christian belief in “salvation by faith alone” to be blasphemous and not found in the Qur'an or the Bible.

Having examined some Bible on this in the previous post- let’s now examine some Qur'an on the subject of faith:

This Islamic article describes faith as being “most important” in Islam.  And it later claims that belief actually has “more importance” in the Islamic religion than the importance of works.  It claims that belief  has “more importance” not because of any textual concerns in the Qur'an- but because of the actual “word order” of belief and works in several verses of the Qur'an.  

However, let’s see just how this particular word order actually plays out in the Qur'an:

Surah 5:12-God did aforetime take a covenant from the Children of Israel, and we appointed twelve captains among them. And God said: "I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practise regular charity, believe in my apostles, honour and assist them, and loan to God a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path or rectitude."

Well, here we have works preceding both belief and faith.  The word order is actually reversed… making works primary (quite contrary to the word order theory of that article).

Surah 11:3-"(And to preach thus), 'Seek ye the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance; that He may grant you enjoyment, good (and true), for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding grace on all who abound in merit! But if ye turn away, then I fear for you the penalty of a great day:

Here we have abounding grace being bestowed on those that abound in merit   (for those that abound in works).  No mention of faith whatsoever.  Faith doesn’t appear to be a factor on that “great day”.

Surah 16:120-Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to God, (and) true in Faith, and he joined not gods with God:

Here we have obedience preceding faith.  The wrong word order again.

Surah 18:58-But your Lord is Most forgiving, full of Mercy. If He were to call them (at once) to account for what they have earned, then surely He would have hastened their punishment: but they have their appointed time, beyond which they will find no refuge.

Once again, merit (earnings) is called into question rather than faith.

Surah 53:36-41Nay, is he not acquainted with what is in the Books of Moses.  And of Abraham who fulfilled his engagements? Namely, that no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another; That man can have nothing but what he strives for;  That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight: Then will he be rewarded with a reward complete;

Here the Books of Moses are acknowledged.  Moses books of works, works, and more works! 

And then Abraham is acknowledged as fulfilling some mysterious engagements [though he died before Moses was even born]. As fulfilling some mysterious works.  Acknowledged as someone who has borne his very own burdens… rather than being acknowledged as someone who persevered in his faith.  Faith in God to provide for him.

Yet, Muhammad burdened his followers with even more works.  Burdened them with five more pillars of works… and countless other practices.  Works to provide for themselves.  Making the emphasis on faith even more obscure in the Qur'an.

Meanwhile, Christians continue to recognize that they couldn’t possibly bear their own burdens.  That it must be borne by someone else.  As the above Surah says, ‘borne by someone with absolutely no burdens to bear’.   Someone whom Christians see as Christ.   

So Christians continue to recognize that their faith must wholly be in Christ.  And on the work that Christ graced us with.   That, “He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2 Timothy 1:9).”

Dear Reader, what a marvelous calling.  

A calling before any works began.  Any works whatsoever.  Will you listen to His calling?
As Christ called, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28)”.

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