Islam is the only religion, other than Christianity, that makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus Christ. Although Muslims believe in Jesus Christ, they do not become Christians because of the following reasons.
1. The Quran says that Jesus Christ was a prophet and every bit a human being in the same nature as well as all the other prophets, including Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
2. Jesus, as well as the other prophets, brought the same religion - Islam, each bringing part of it or the essence of it to certain places or people, but each message of teaching was by itself sufficient or wholesome for the target group of people or place of those times. Prophet Muhammad, as the final prophet, came to complete the one religion of God, that is, Islam. "Islam" is the indicated in the Quran as a religion for all mankind,
3. To the Muslim, Jesus Christ and the other biblical prophets, including Abraham, Noah and Moses were Muslims. They were all prophets of Islam. Muslims treat every one of the prophets with respect and reverence. Just as they would for Prophet Muhammad, Muslims say, "Peace be upon him" whenever they mention the name of Jesus Christ or the names of other prophets,
4. Muslims believe that the Quran is the final message or testament. It is a book of 'quality control'; it accepts those revelations to the earlier prophets that are still intact and rejects those that have become distorted or corrupted (through misreporting, misunderstanding, misinterpretations, etc.) over the passage of time,
5. The whole of the Quran comprises God's words, hence, Muslims need not take other religion's holy books for their guidance. (Prophet Muhammad's words are not included in the Quran but available separately in many volumes called the hadith),
6. The Quran has a concise definition of God (chapter 112, verses 1-4). Hence, Muslims need not rely on interpretation and be divided in the belief of his divine personality, and
7. Muslims believe that Islam is a completed religion, one that is a culmination or evolution of all religions. Muslim scholars have found that whatever worldly good taught by other religions are taught in Islam in greater depth. In addition, Islam teaches one not only to believe but also to practise righteousness for one's well-being in both this world and the next. Thus, to take another religion after being a Muslim is like taking a step or two down the ladder of religious progress after moving up.
One of the principles of Islam is the belief in the revelations of God received by the prophets. Muslims believe that prophet Moses received the Torah (Law), Prophet David received the Zaboor (Psalms), Prophet Jesus (who is commonly known as Jesus Christ) received the Injil (Gospel) and Prophet Muhammad received the Quran.
All of them received their respective revelations through the ArghAngel Gabriel, the angel whose duty was to convey the divine revelations to the prophets.
Muslims believe that none of the revelations received by Prophet Moses, Prophet David and Prophet Jesus, were preserved AS REVEALED. Thus, although Muslims believe that these prophets received God's revelations, they do not believe in the PRESENT RECORD such as the Bible because of the reason given.
To elaborate, a hard copy of the Injil would be one that could have been printed if only the divine words conveyed to Jesus Christ (by the ArchAngle Gabriel) were taken down verbatim as and when he uttered them to his people and produced into a book in the way as was done for the Quran.
Following this argument, the Bible should not be called the Injil. Some Muslims do refer to the Bible as the Injil, and this is incorrect. The Bible comprises two parts - the Old and New Testaments - and only in the New Testament is found some direct quotes of words spoken by Jesus Christ. Some of these words could be the revealed words of God while the others were Jesus Christ's own words.
Now, as the Injil's reveals only to God's revelation to the Prophet Jesus, so, at most some of what Jesus uttered could be considered as part of the Injil whereas the other parts of the New Testament are not the Injil but Jesus' words and the writers' words. (The New Testament contains a number of books, each written by a person, like Mark, Luke, Paul and so on).
An example of Jesus Christ's words which were really not the revealed words of God is as follows..: "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!" (Mark 15:34) uttered by Jesus Christ when he was put on the cross for crucifixion. There were certainly not God's words or revelation meant for instruction or guidance for all mankind, but they were really Jesus Christ's personal words, uttered in despair.
The whole Bible
therefore, is not the Injil which, according to Islam refers only to the
exact words of God, received by Prophet Jesus. Muslims therefore should
call the Bible, Bible; not Injil.
Sin is the transgression of God's instructions toward righteousness. It is the getting of demerit points as a result of doing unrighteousness acts. A person sins (gets a demerit point) when any acts that goes against the commands of God is committed.
As Islam is a way of life in all aspects of living and that a Muslim lives for God and will one day return to him, even a small good or bad act is recorded through Godly means and given the merit and demerit points accordingly. For example, regarding a small attitudinal matter as courtesy, God says: "When a (courteous) greeting is offered to you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least of equal courtesy). God takes careful account of all things (however small)." (4:86)
Thus, when one does not reply to a greeting (purposefully), one goes against the command of God and has therefore, sinned (that is, a earned a demerit point).
Generally, sins comprise communal and personal sins.
Communal sins include the committing of crimes such as theft, murder and other atrocities that harm people and the community, for which punishment (according to Islamic or secular law) are meted out. Those culprits who escape from being punished on earth altogether or partially will be dealt with accordingly in the hereafter. God says: "They hide (their crimes) from man, but they cannot hide (them) from God..." (4:108)
People who commit personal sins, like not performing the obligatory prayers or eating harem (disallowed) food will be dealt with in the hereafter.
The magnitude of a sin is dependent on the degree of harm it affects one's self or others. For example, to lie is a sinful act, BUT, if something unpleasant or disastrous happens because of the lie, the sin becomes magnified. In the same way, if a person drinks liquor, he has sinned. But if, in a state of drunkenness, he causes an accident or one that results in injury, death or destruction to property, whether his or others, his sin magnifies accordingly. God says: "If anyone earns a fault or a sin and throw it onto one that is innocent, he carries (on himself) (both) a falsehood and a flagrant sin." (4:112)
In Islam, personal sins can be forgiven by God by seeking God's forgiveness with sincere repentance. God says: "If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks God's forgiveness, he will find God oft forgiving, most merciful." (4:110)
all sins of a person except those which associate God with other elements.
God advises: "Serve God and join not any partners with him." (4:36)
This is a straightforward command repeated many time in the Quran. So, if a person associates a human being with God, or takes others as God, God will not forgive him for his sin.
God says: "God forgives not that partners should be set up with him; but he forgives anything else...to set up partners with God is to devise a sin most heinous indeed." (4:48)
However, since God forgives all sins, God also forgives a person who associated partners with him, if done in ignorance, provided he repents before it is too late (that is before his death). God says: "God forgives all sins: for he is oft-forgiving and merciful. Turn you to your Lord (in repentance) and bow to his will, before the penalty comes on you: after that you shall not be helped." (39:53-54)
God is never unjust. For a person who has committed a sin all he needs to do is repent and never repeat the wrong he has done and, from then onwards do good. God says: "God is never unjust in the least degree: if there is any good (done), he doubles it and gives from his own presence a great reward." (4:40)
What it is the purpose of the human life?
God created man to serve Him, meaning that men should believe in the one God and do good. This is the object of human life. God says: "I have not created men except that they should serve me." (Quran 51:56).
God created man superior to any other living creatures. He says: "We have created man in the best make." (95:4). This superiority gives man the ability to progress both materially and spiritually. The material progress he makes will benefit him in this world, while his spiritual progress will benefit him both in this world and in the Hereafter.
Thus since all human beings will die, the ultimate goal of life in this world is the eventual meeting with the Creator in the hereafter. What one has to do is to believe in God and follow his commands in doing righteousness. God says, "Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner." (18:110)
This life is a preparation for the hereafter, the "eternal home", to which all human beings ultimately go. As such, Muslims are required to observe righteousness in their daily lives, based on Quranic teachings, like eating halal food, wearing modest clothing, performing prayers, giving alms, etc., because of the fact that they live for God alone. And to those who strive to attain nearness to Him, God sees to it. He says: "O Thou man! Verily thou art ever toiling on toward thy Lord - painfully toiling - but thou shall meet him." (84:6)
This recognition and promise from God is indeed good news to Muslims.
All Muslims will go to Heaven while all Non-Muslims will go to Hell. Is this statement true?
According to Islam, the opportunity for anyone to go to heaven (also known as Paradise) has been available ever since man appeared on earth.
In prehistoric times, adherence to some morals would be sufficient to ensure a person's entry into paradise. This is akin to the life of a baby. A mother does not demand that her baby recognises her in order for her to accept the baby as hers. But as the baby grows up, the mother will make the child understand that she is the mother and will want it to follow some guidance. Why? So that the child can lead a good life during adulthood.
"Muslims will go to heaven and Non-Muslims will go to hell." is only a
generalisation because it is frequently mentioned in the Quran that those
who will enter the "Gardens" (Heaven) are those who "believe and do good".
In other words, one must believe correctly as directed by God, as well as lead oneself according to the Commands of the Creator. This opportunity is available in Islam and is described in he Quran as the "straight way". Heaven is for people who have attained the high level of spiritual upliftment while they are on earth. Otherwise, hell is the place where purification takes place to make a soul suitable for the creation called Paradise, the abode of Bliss and Eternity, reserved only for the deserving.
What does Islam say about
i) the end of the world and
ii) the day of judgment?
Muslims believe that the world will end one day and a new existence will be created. Since God has created the vast and fathomless universe, mentioned in the Quran as "the heavens and earth," He will recreate this for the next (higher) form of existence which is eternal and everlasting.
The Quran does not mention when the world will end. It's like a man's life - he does not know when and how his if will end but he is certain that he cannot live forever.
The Day of Judgment is the day when God, upon reviving the life of every person who has departed from this world, will judge them accordingly. God says, "That is the day for which mankind will be gathered together - that will the day of testimony." (11:102) and, "On the day of judgment shall you be paid full recompense." (3:185) On this day, God will judge everyone's actions on earth. Those who have believed and done good deeds will be rewarded with entry into Paradise while those who have committed sins will dwell in the hell.
God says that the day of judgment will be, "The day when no soul shall have power (to do) aught for another: for the Command that Day, will be (wholly) with God." (82:19)
Abdullah Yusuf Ali, offering his interpretation of this verse in his English translation of the Quran, says: "In this world, we all depend on one another proximately, though our ultimate dependence is always on God, now and forever. But here, a father helps a son forward; husband and wife influence each other's destinies; human laws and institution may hold large masses of mankind under their grip; falsehood and evil may seem, to flourish for a time, because a certain amount of limited free will has been granted to man. This period will be all over then. The good and the pure will have been separated from he evil and the rebellious; the latter will have been rendered inert and the former will have been so perfected that their wills will be in complete consonance with God's universal will. The Command, thence forward, will be wholly with God."
Can a Muslim or Non - Muslim enter Paradise if he repents his past (bad) actions when he is about to die?
A person's life can end at any moment. That is why, God advises people to believe in Him and do good as early as possible in one's life (in the case of born Muslims) and immediately upon one's conversion to Islam or upon learning to truth of Islam.
Believing in God (that is, faith alone) is insufficient - faith has to be accompanied by deeds (that is, doing good according to God's command). God says that repentance at the time of death for a man who knows Islam - will not be accepted. This is because he will have no more time to alter his ways for repentance. The repentance that will be accepted is the one undertaken when he is active in life and in good health so that he could alter his ways to meet the requirements of Islam. However, if a non-muslim or an ignorant born Muslim comes to know about Islam for the first time and believes in this truth in his deathbed, God, being merciful and compassionate, will accept his repentance.
God says: "God accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repents soon afterward: to them will God turn in Mercy: for God is full of knowledge and wisdom. Of no affect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them and he says: 'Now have a repented indeed.'" (4:17-18)
How did the Quran come about (as a book)? Who wrote it? How did Prophet Muhammad received God's revelations?
Please refer to Articles on the Quran for more Information
The first revelation Prophet Muhammad received from God was the instruction to read or recite a five-verse revelation that begun: "Read! In the name of Thy Lord and Cherisher..." (96:1).
It was conveyed by ArchAngel Gabriel, the same angel who had conveyed God's revelations to his earlier prophets, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Prophet Muhammad received this first revelation at the age of 40 in 610 A.D.
The prophet received the revelations on various matters, ideas, knowledge, elucidation, instructions, advice and guidance over 23 years. Sometimes the Prophet received a single verse, sometimes a few verses together and sometimes an entire chapter. God says: "We have rehearsed the Quran to thee (O Muhammad) in slow, well-arranged stages gradually." (25:32)
Upon receiving each revelation, the Prophet asked any one of his companions who could read and write to record it. This was done by the Prophet reciting the revelation he had received from God and a scribe taking it down. After the scribe had taken down what had been dictated to him (on the writing material of those days), the Prophet asked the scribe to read allowed what he had recorded - to make sure that he had recorded correctly what had been dictated to him.
In this way, the entire Quran, 114 chapters in all, was completed in manuscript form before the Prophet's death. The various chapters in the Quran were arranged by the Prophet himself through divine guidance. (The chapters of the Quran are not arranged in chronological order but in the order of divine preference. For instance, the first verses the prophet received, which begun with "Read! In the name of Thy Lord...", are in chapter 96, not in chapter 1).
A standard copy of the Quran was made within a few years of the death of the prophet when most of his immediate companions, who had heard him recite the Quran and had themselves committed it to memory, were still living. The prophet's successor, Caliph Abu Bakar, requested Zayd Bin Thabit to compile all the 114 chapters into one volume. Zayd ws chosen because it was he who had taken down most of the prophet's dictation of the revelation. The volume was then scrutinised by the prophet's companions and kept with Hafsah, the prophet's widow.
It was during the time of Caliph Othman, the third caliph some 12 years after the death of the prophet, that a committee was formed, with the celebrated Zayd bin Thabit as chairman, to take on the task of reproducing the standard volume into a number of copies to be sent to all the principle cities, like Mecca, Madina, Kufah, Basrah and Damascus, for other copies to be made from the standard copy sent.
Why is the Quran written in Arabic?
God says: "It is a Quran written in Arabic". (39:28) Abdullah Yusuf Ali, commenting on this verse in his English translation of the Quran says, "Previous revelations had been in other languages. Now the revelation was given in Arabia in Arabic itself, the language of the country, which all could understand. And it is a beautiful language, straight and flexible and fit to be the vehicle of sublime truths."
Arabic is a living language, a language that has today become one of the most recognized world languages. This alone shows the importance of why the Quran has been revealed through Prophet Muhammad, an Arab, in Arabic. Only God would have known right from the beginning that Arabic would not have become a dead language (e.g. Sanskrit) and be known only to a handful of scholars.
Arabic is noted for the grandeur of its diction, the elegance of its style and the variety and magnificence of its imageries, and the Quran uses this excellently in its rendering.
The Quran has been translated in all major languages of the world. But, by the word within "Quran", it exclusively refers to the Quran in Arabic and not to the translated works. This is so because, firstly the Quran was revealed in Arabic, secondly, the Quran was not authored by a human being, and thirdly, translated works cannot equal the original in delivery, impact and meaning.
Caliph Othman did not destroy all the copies of the Quran maliciously or with some ulterior motive. He actually requested the copies to be burnt away with the full blessing of the pious and learned muslims of his time for honourable reasons.
After Prophet Muhammad's demise, Islam spread beyond Arabia. During the caliphate of Othman, some 15 years after the Prophet's death, the Caliph learnt that, due to regional and geographical factors, non-arabs in the other territories were reading and reciting the Quran, which is in Arabic, with different accent and pronunciation. Taking present day differences in pronunciation as an example, we see Australians pronouce certain English words differently from the English people ("day", for instance, is pronounced as "dai".)
Caliph Othman therefore acted swiftly to prevent the differences in pronunciation and accent from getting wider. After consultation with leading authorities, he formed a committee comprising the former scribes of the Quran to produce a standard copy for use by other races or dialect groups so that when they read the Quran, the accent and intonation would be the same as that made by the man who received it - Prophet Muhammad. This was done by inserting "accent" marks so that a muslim of any race, from any country and of any educational level would be able to read the Quran with the correct accent even though he may not understand the Arabic language. This standard copy of the Quran was then used as a prototype in making copies of the Quran for distribution to other principle cities.
The earlier copies (which did not have the accent marks) were recalled and burnt. This was done to prevent the differences in accent from continuing an even widening among the non-Arab Muslims. (Although Arabs do not require an accent mark copy of the Quran to read it with the correct pronunciation, but because of this standardisation, all copies of the Quran in the world since then have accent marks.) Some of the early copies of the Quran with the accent marks are now kept in the museum of some Muslim countries (e.g. Amman in Jordan and Topkapi Museum, Istanbul in Turkey).
The Quran is a sacred book. Therefore, instead of disposing of those copies without the accent marks in any dumping ground, they were burnt. Even today, a Muslim would dispose of a worn out copy of the Quran by burning it.
Today's' copies of the Quran are exactly the same as the standard copy initiated by Caliph Othman. The standard copy is exactly the same as the first copy initiated by the Prophet ; the only difference is that the first copy had no accent marks. As far as the text is concerned, today's copies have exactly the same text as the first copy- the one received and seen by the Prophet himself.
What makes Muslims believe that Quran is not written by Prophet Muhammad? Does the Quran claim that it is from God? Could the Prophet have copied some portions of the Bible?
Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad is not the author of the Quran. God is the author. The following points bear the fact:
1. The Quran itself, at a number of places and in different ways, says it is from God. One of the claim runs thus: "This is indeed a Quran most honourable, a Book well-guarded...a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds." (56:77-80)
2. The Prophet did not claim credit for the Quran. Furthermore, the Quran claims: "This Quran is not such as can be produced by anyone other than God." (10:37)
3. The Prophet was illiterate. He was not a learned man or a philosopher.
4. The Quran took 23 years to complete. Had the verses of the Quran (6,666 altogether) been written by the Prophet, he would have needed editing, updating, etc. He did not have spell-check, thesaurus, etc. Yet all the information in the Quran is consistent and without discrepancies. The verses were taken down as dictate by the Prophet only once and no redrafting, editing or updating took place after that.
5. If the Prophet had written the Quran, he would not have made the challenges that are in the Quran, for fear that the learned Arabs and eminent poets of his time would have taken up his challenges and shamed him. "And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed (from time to time) to Our servant (Muhammad), then produce a chapter like thereunto..." (2:23)
6. If the Prophet had written such an inimitable Book of Information and Wisdom without resorting to consultation with prominent scholars and the best books from the best libraries in the world?! If he did this, it would surely have been known, since every move he made was known to people. The Prophet was a historical figure, not a mythological figure.
7. The Prophet was the busiest most active person in history. So how could he have found the time to write (even if he were educated) such a comprehensive and extensive Book of Guidance which would have needed years of seclusion and concentration to complete?
8. In Chapter 111, it is mentioned that Abu Lahab, one of the Prophet's uncles who was always against Islam, would never accept Islam. This Revelation came some ten years before the death of Abu Lahab. How could the Prophet have dared to write this chapter because all he (Abu Lahab) needed to do to prove that Quran was not the words of God, was to accept Islam dishonestly?
9. The Prophet was mentioned by name in the Quran only 5 times whereas Jesus Christ's name was (honourably) mentioned 25 times. Could the Prophet go to such an extent of honouring someone more than himself if he had written the Quran?
10. There is a chapter in the Quran entitled and dedicated to "Mary", the mother of Jesus Christ, while there is no chapter called, or dedicated to, the prophet's own mother, "Amina", or daughter, "Fatima", nor were their names mentioned in the Quran. Could this have happened if the Prophet was the Author of the Quran?
11. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is glorified in the Quran as a "woman of all nations". Why would the Prophet glorify a woman he had never seen and one from another race, saying that she was chosen (by God) above all women, unless the formation of the verses had nothing to do with the Prophet's own authorship but that he only repeated what was inspired to him by God?
12. In the Quran, God is called "Allah" and (in arabic) he is also referred to by his attributes, like the Cherisher, the Merciful, the Almighty. There are 99 such attributes but none of these is "Abba" (father) by which the Arab Christians of the Prophet's time (and even today) refer to God. If the Prophet was the writer of the Quran, he would surely have used "Abba" as one of the names for God because of its familiarity and also because it was easier to say "Abba" than many of the attributes.