Islam and Original Sin (Part 1)

Islam does not accept the doctrine of original inherited sin as in the Bible (Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Psalm 51:4-5; Psalm 58:3; Romans 5:12) and in Christian theology developed by Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and the Protestant and Reformed churches.   They ususally base this on Surah 30:30 – that Allah created man with an upright nature فطره  or فطرت  (Fitreh or Fitrat) Yet there is a lot of evidence in both the Ahadith and the Qur’an that points to Islam also teaching some kind of doctrine of original sin inherited from Adam and Eve.  I had a respectful discussion about this issue with Khaled here. (no longer there) There are many passages in the Qur’an and Ahadith on this.  We begin with just one verse from the Hadith and Qur’an,  Later, in subsequent articles, I want to slowly work through many different passages, both in the Qur’an and Ahadith literature.

“Abu al-Aswad reported that ‘Imran b Husain asked him: What is your view, what the people do today in the world, and strive for, is it something decreed for them or preordained for them or will their fate in the Hereafter be deterrained by the fact that their Prophets brought them teaching which they did not act upon? I said: Of course, it is something which is predetermined for them and preordained for them. He (further) said: Then, would it not be an injustice (to punish them)? I felt greatly disturbed because of that, and said: Everything is created by Allah and lies in His Power. He would not be questioned as to what He does, but they would be questioned; thereupon he said to me: May Allah have mercy upon you, I did not mean to ask you but for testing your intelligence. Two men of the tribe of Muzaina came to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah’s Messenger, what is your opinion that the people do in the world and strive for, is something decreed for them; something preordained for them and will their fate in the Hereafter be determined by the fact that their Prophets brought them teachings which they did not act upon. and thus they became deserving of punishment? Thereupon, he said: Of course, it happens as it is decreed by Destiny and preordained for them, and this view is confirmed by this verse of the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious:” Consider the soul and Him Who made it perfect, then breathed into it its sin and its piety” (Surah 91:8).   (Sahih Muslim, book 33, no. 6406)

The Arabic of Surah 91:8 does not have “discernment” or “conscience” or “show them difference between”, etc.

Surah 91:7 is “by the soul [ Arabic:  نفس  ] = “the self, the soul, the flesh, the sinful inward desires, selfishness”

وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا  (Surah 91:7 – “by the soul, and the proportion and order given to it”)

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا  (Surah 91:8 – see translations below, along with Hadith above, the blue phrases are not in the Arabic. )

Sahih International

And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness,

Muhsin Khan

Then He showed him what is wrong for him and what is right for him;

Pickthall

And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it.

Yusuf Ali

And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;-

Shakir

Then He inspired [it to understand what is]  right and wrong for it;

Dr. Ghali

So He inspired it to its impiety and piety!

Farsi

سپس بدیها و پرهیزگاریهایش را (به او) الهام کرد.

“.(The Farsi version says, “Therefore he inspired the evils and its acts of piety (to him

The Hadith version of Surah 91:8, the translation by Dr. Ghali, and the Farsi version seem to be the most accurate to the Arabic. Interesting

At least this Hadith shows there is some question about the justice of Allah for punishing humans for their nafs – the soul or self – that is created wicked –

He would not be questioned as to what He does, but they would be   – questioned  – 

is this where the general cultural tendency comes from to be taught not to question things too much in Islam

??

To be continued . . .

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About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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7 Responses to Islam and Original Sin (Part 1)

  1. θ says:

    Questions and rebuttals of Calvinist theology:
    – Why is finding out answer “why” of God wills in Calvinism a sin?
    In Islam, even angels of Lord ask Him in order to know of and get answer of God’s motive and omnipotence.

    – Why is finding out answer “why” of God’s will in Calvinism something impossible?
    In Islam, God challenges men to ask Him and inquire Him.

    – Is there nothing else greater than God’s will in Calvinism?
    In Islam, God’s ability (omnipotence) can be beyond reason and doubt.

    – Does asking reason of God’s will mean judging Calvinist God?
    In Islam, rather it is glorifying Him, as in the story of Job.

    – How does a Calvinist elect know God’s will if it is secret or private?
    A known thing is not a secret.

    – How does a Calvinist elect know that God shall save the elects only?
    In Islam, there’s a possibility that the amount of the elects can be unlimited to all men because the word “many” can simply mean the amount more than one without limit.

    – Will Calvinist God send a good man to hell?
    In Islam’s perspective the question is wrong. The correct question is, can God send a good man to hell? The answer is yes He can.

    – Will Calvinist God send an evil man to heaven without getting any punishment?
    In Islam’s perspective the question is wrong. The correct question is, can God send an evil man to heaven? The answer is yes He can.

    Calvinists just can’t comprehend a simple difference between what God wills, and what God can.
    – what God can do is not what he wills to do.
    – what God can do is more greater because it can be beyond reason.
    – what God wills to do is reasonable.
    – God’s power to do is absolutely free but what He wills to do is bound by Truth, Justice and reason.

    Contradiction within Calvinist theology:
    – If in Calvinism every decision or God’s will must be counted as “absolute Righteousness” no matter what, then everything that happens – everything God lets to happen – must be good thing, hence everyone must be the elects.
    – If it is easier to separate the heat from the fire than that God’s will from God’s justice as Calvin says, then there’s a correlation available between God’s will and Justice.
    – If God’s Law known to men can’t limit the Freedom of will known to God only in Calvinist theology, how do we trust Him? what if being evil is what God wills all men and the elects to be?

  2. Ken Temple says:

    Why is finding out answer “why” of God wills in Calvinism a sin?

    That is not a sin in Christianity (nor in Calvinism, the best expression/ interpretation of Christianity); what is sin is to keep demanding that God has to answer our questions or justify Himself.

    Asking why in humility and struggle is not sin.

    The sin of Job was to demand that God has to come down and answer and Job wanted to put God on the court stand and demand answers from Him. That is wrong.

    I showed from the Hadith and Qur’an that it is Islam that says questioning Allah is wrong and sin.

    “He would not be questioned as to what He does, but they would be questioned; . . . ”
    From the Hadith, Sahih Muslim (see above in my article)

    It looks like you did not even read my article; and many of your questions are not even on topic to this post.

  3. θ says:

    John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1 says: it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God’s will.

  4. Ken Temple says:

    To ask why in humility or to investigate in humility or to seek to understand is not the same as “demanding an answer as to why” or “quarreling with God”.

    I could not find what you have written. rather is says it is sin to quarrel (keep on fighting and resisting and objecting) with God.

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.v.xxiv.html

    “. . . he only reminds us that it is unlawful for the creature to quarrel with its Creator. ”

    So, you are wrong.

  5. θ says:

    Calvin says: “….how sinful it is to insist on knowing the causes of the divine will, ”
    John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 2

  6. Ken Temple says:

    It does not say that either there in paragraph 2, as if you are saying a sincere believer who asks why and seeks to humbly understand. Calvin is talking about persistent complaining and rebelling and carping against the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in predestination and election. It says if someone keeps on demanding after already asking why and struggling. The whole 2 paragraphs are much deeper than your soundbite.
    Calvin is not infallible, but he was an excellent Bible exegete and teacher.

    There comes a point when someone must surrender/submit to God and His will, as Islam also agrees and is even the meaning of the word “Islam” = submission.

    Calvin is explaining Romans 9:20-23 –
    For we will answer with Paul in these words, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me
    thus? Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” (Rom. 9:20, 21).

    God, “willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,” (Rom. 9:22, 23).

    “Believing ignorance is better than presumptuous [arrogant, brazen, assuming what one does not know] knowledge.” (Ibid, book 3, 23, 5_
    Calvin

  7. θ says:

    “Ken Temple says: There comes a point when someone must surrender/submit to God and His will, as Islam also agrees and is even the meaning of the word “Islam” = submission.”

    Submission in Islam is not static.
    Submission in Islam is not synonymous with silence.
    Submission in Islam is not equal with suppression of feeling and emotion.
    Moslems including Prophet are encouraged so much to “ask” about Allah in light of Q.2, v.186, even in a battle if necessary as Q.2, v.214, that is when Prophet Muhammad and early Moslems turn “emotionally” concerning the life trial.

    Nothing is more greater than asking about Allah.

    What is not allowed is to argue about a thing which we don’t know of, because it would be uselessly vain, per Q.3, v.66.

    Qur’an commands Moslems to ask “why” (Q.30, v.8 – v.11), to think about, and to find the answers concerning our humanity, other creations, History, Morality, every creation that can be known from the heaven to the earth.
    Further in Q.57, v.17 Qur’an ensures as a teacher Allah has taught and demonstrates all things of creations to us humans – as His students – so that we can just eventually ask “why” and “how” by thinking about and analysing them.

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