Sura ‘Al-Fatihiah’ (The Opening) 1:1-7
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah,
Lord of the Worlds, The Beneficent, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment,
You (alone) we worship; You (alone) we ask for help. Show us the straight path, he path of those whom You have favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Your anger nor of those who go astray.
Jesus said: “...and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
NOTE: Authoritative Islamic texts are the Qur’an and Hadith. Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the revealed word of Allah (verse numbers differ slightly in different versions). Sura always stands for a chapter in the Qur’an. Islamic belief is that Muhammad is the perfect example to be followed by all Muslims. Whatever he said, practiced or approved is called Hadith. There are six different sets of authentic ahadith (Hadiths): Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Sunnan Ibn Majah and Sunnan Nasa’i. This pamphlet is intended to show the teachings and examples of Muhammad, and is not intended to be offensive to Muslims; many Muslims may have little real knowledge of what their god, Allah and their prophet has said on this topic.
Just what will happen on judgment day can be confusing. In some places, Muhammad said that he will intercede for all Muslims and get them into heaven; but he also tells his favourite daughter, his aunt and uncles that they must save themselves from Hell, because he can’t intercede for them on judgment day (Muslim, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 398-402) and will not assert the piety of anyone (Bukhari Vol. 5 Hadith No. 266).
How can someone ensure that they will enter paradise?
Before we consider this question, we need to understand sin because we know that Allah is concerned about sin. If you break the leg of an ant, there is a wrong action against the ant, but the sin is small because the “person” to whom it is directed is small. But if you break the leg of the son of the President or Prime Minister, the sin is greater; you have sinned not just against the son, but you’ve also attacked the family of the President and the President’s honour; he will not be content with a basketful of dates, good works or money.
According to the Qur’an, the only sin of Satan was that he refused to bow to Adam, and for that he was thrown out of heaven. Satan sinned against God by refusing to honour His creation. Adam’s only sin was to eat the fruit forbidden to him. For that sin, he was thrown out of the Garden and even after repentance, was not allowed back into Paradise—and not him, but any of his descendants or the prophets, including Muhammad.
This shows that the small sins have big consequences because sin is against God and that God hates sin.
Like the President who demands justice for the sin against his son and against himself, God, who created everything, will demand justice for sins against other people but, because he made everyone, each sin is also a sin against God. Unlike the President, God is holy and has infinite value so your sin against God and the people he has made, is much more serious.
That is why no sinner can pay a ransom for their sin, or another’s sin (Sura 17:15; 35:18).
The prophet Joseph, when tempted by Pharaoh's wife, declared that he would not commit adultery and sin against God. The prophet David, King of Israel, committed sin and, although the sin was apparently against a human, David confessed his sin to God and said, “against you, and you only, have I sinned.” David knew that the depth of His sin was enormous.
But it is even worse. ‘Isa [Jesus] says that if you even look at a woman with lust in your heart, you have already committed adultery (Matthew 5:28). You have sinned against God and the woman he created. God also says “Do not covet.” That means you should not even think about or desire things God doesn’t want you to have. But Muhammad said, “Allah fixed the very portion of adultery which a man will indulge in. There would be no escape from it. The adultery of the eye is the lustful look and the adultery of the ears is listening to voluptuous (song or talk) and the adultery of the tongue is licentious speech and the adultery of the hand is the lustful grip (embrace) and the adultery of the feet is to walk (to the place) where he intends to commit adultery and the heart yearns and desires which he may or may not put into effect.” (Muslim, Book 33, Hadith No. 6422. See also Hadith No. 6421).
Muhammad prayed more than 70 times a day for the forgiveness of his own sin, (Sura 47:19; Bukhari Vol. 8 Hadith No. 319, 407), took part in many holy battles and still could not be sure to enter paradise (Sura 46:9; Bukhari Vol. 5 Hadith No. 266). As he lay on his death bed, Muhammad pleaded with Allah to forgive his sin (Bukhari, vol. 5, Hadith No. 715). He also said that good works won’t get you to heaven.
Jesus said: “I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says 'Fool' will be sent to fiery hell.” (Matthew 5:22). The Bible also says that if you’re angry with your brother, you are the same as a murderer (see also 1 John 3:15).
How many times do you need to kill to be a murderer?
Sin is very serious and cannot be dismissed lightly.
The Bible says in Revelation 21:8 that “...all liars will have their part in the lake of fire which burns with fire and brimstone.” How many times do you need to lie to become a liar?
Your actions come from within you and demonstrate the state of your soul.
What will you give in exchange for your soul?
The Qur’an records that even if the whole world were burnt as a sacrifice, it could not atone for the sin of anyone (Sura 39:47; 57:15). No good works can pay for your sin. (Bukhari, Vol. 7, Hadith No. 577; Bukhari, Vol. 8, Hadith No. 470-474; Muslim, Book 39, Hadith No. 6769). Allah says in the Qur’an that no laden soul can help other sinners (Sura 6:164; 17:15; 35:18; 39:7). That means that no sinner can intercede or pay the ransom for another sinner.
Some people think that their sin is very small. This is because they have not thought about who their sin is against. Your sin against an ant is small, your sin against the son of the President is greater; your sin against the President himself, is greater still. But because God is infinite and has infinite value, the sin against Him is infinite and every sin is against Him. You are a creation defying your creator whenever you sin. That’s why the simple thing of eating forbidden fruit had such serious consequences.
What will you give in exchange for your soul?
Any offense is too great for you to pay because it is committed against the Lord God Almighty, the One who dwells in unapproachable light and in whom there is no sin and cannot look upon sin. (Habakkuk 1:13).
What can you do to receive forgiveness?
Nothing!! Everything you have has been given to you by God, including your own body and soul. He already owns them and you have defiled them with sin. The Prophet Isaiah said that all our good works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Someone might be prepared to die in your place, but being created from dust, they have limited value too.
The depth of your sin, which is against the infinite God, requires something of immeasurable value. A few pieces of gold or dollars will never appease God for what you have done.
There is only one thing that the Qur’an and Bible say that has infinite value, the Word of God. The Word of God, because it comes from God, is beyond value. Allah says that Jesus is the Word of God (Sura 3:45; 4:171). So Jesus has infinite value because everything seen and unseen is created by the Word of God.
The Bible says that Jesus came to redeem you from the punishment due for your sin. (For more information about the authenticity of the Bible, see the publication, The Authenticity of the Bible). That’s why the prophet Job says, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” (Job 19:25). He also said that “I know that my body will not remain in hell, because the ransom has been paid.” (Job 33:24). Jesus knew that the offence against God was something you could never repay. But he knew that, being the Word of God, God would accept a willing sacrifice from him. Jesus suffered and died and bore the punishment you deserve.
This is an amazing victory! Jesus did not stay in the grave, but rose again, as foretold by the prophets (Psalm 49; 16:10; Acts 2:31; etc). No one has ever defeated death and hell. Satan thought he had victory over the Word of God, but Jesus rose to demonstrate his power over life and death. He now lives so that you may have life with God.
You are now faced with a choice: you either repent of your sins and defiance against a just and holy God and ask Him to accept the sacrifice of the Word of God in your place OR you reject the sacrifice of Jesus and bear the consequences of your sin.
Some people think that becoming a Christian is a cheap way out because it costs us nothing. This is not true at all; the sacrifice is very costly; the Word of God - Jesus Christ - died for our sin (Matthew 20:28; John 1:29; 11:25-26, 51) All true Christians will hate sin because they know what it cost for their sins to be forgiven. They have seen the great love that Jesus had for them and cannot help but strive against sin.
The content here will probably have raised some questions in your mind. Muslims are commanded to read and believe the Scriptures that God gave Christians and Jews. If you think they have been corrupted, doesn’t God say that His word cannot be changed? (Sura 6:115; 10:64-65; 18:27; 48:23).
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