Islam Question and Answer – Discussion with a Christian about the Christian doctrine of redemption

Discussion with a Christian about the Christian doctrine of redemption
Why do Muslims persist in denying that the Messiah came to redeem us?.


Praise be to Allaah.


The doctrine of redemption, and the basis of this doctrine
which is their belief that the Messiah (peace be upon him) was crucified,
is one of the basic doctrines of Christianity, so much so that they would
gamble the entire religion on this doctrine. The English cardinal Manning
says in his book “Eternal Priesthood”: “The importance of this
confusing topic is obvious, for if the death of Christ on the cross is not
real, then the basis of the church’s doctrine will crumble from its
foundations, because if Christ did not die on the cross, then there is no
sacrifice, no salvation, and no trinity… Paul, the Apostles and all the
churches say that, i.e., if Christ did not die then there was no
resurrection either.” 

This is what Paul said: 

“And if Christ has not been raised, then preaching is
useless and so is your faith.”

I Corinthians 15:14 – New International Version (NIV) 

Just as they struggle with their belief in trinity and what
it means, and how they can reconcile it with the belief in monotheism which
is affirmed in the Old Testament (See the question:
12682), and just as they also
struggle with everything that has to do with the crucifixion and its
details, which is the basis of their belief in redemption which they believe
is the reason for the crucifixion (see also no.
12615), we say: as confusion
is inevitable for everyone who turns away from the light of revelation that
came down from Allaah, similarly they are confused about the doctrine of

Does redemption mean saving all of mankind, as John says: 

“…Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for
ours but also for the sins of the whole world”

I John 2:1-2 (NIV)? 

Or is it only for those who believe and are baptized: 

“Whoever believes and is
baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”

Mark 16:16 (NIV)? 

The one who studies the life and sayings of the Messiah will
see clearly that the call of the Messiah was addressed to the Children of
Israel, and that throughout his mission he forbade his disciples to call
anyone else. So salvation must have been only for them. This is what we see
in the story of the Canaanite woman who said to him: 

“… ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is
suffering terribly from demon-possession.’

Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him
and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’

He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of

The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she

He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread
and toss it to their dogs.’”

Matthew 15:22-26 – NIV 

The Messiah did not heal the daughter of the Canaanite woman,
although he was able to do so, so how could he redeem all of mankind? 

Was this salvation from the “original sin” of Adam only, or
does it include all of our sins? 

But no one can bear the sin of anyone else, or redeem him
with his own self, as Allaah tells us in His Holy Book (interpretation of
the meaning): 

“And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden; and
if one heavily laden calls another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be
lifted even though he be near of kin. You (O Muhammad) can warn only those
who fear their Lord unseen and perform As‑Salaah (Iqaamat‑as‑Salaah). And he
who purifies himself
(from all kinds of sins), then he purifies only for the benefit of his
ownself. And to Allaah is the (final) Return (of all)”

[Faatir 35:18] 

This is what the texts of their Bible also say: 

“The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will
not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of
the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and
the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him”

Ezekiel 18:20-21– NIV  

There is no inherited sin
(“original sin”): 

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be
guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.

He who hates me hates my Father as well.

If I had not done among them what no one else did, they
would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet
they have hated both me and my Father”

John 15:22-24 – NIV  

When there is sin –
whether a person has committed it himself or inherited it from Adam or from
another of his forefathers – can this sin not be erased through repentance? 

The people of heaven rejoice over the one who repents like
the shepherd rejoices when he finds his lost sheep, and the women rejoices
over her lost penny when she finds it, and a father rejoices over his
prodigal son when he returns: 

“I tell you that in the
same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Luke 15:7 

God promises those who repent that their repentance will be

“But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has
committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will
surely live; he will not die.

None of the offenses he
has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous
things he has done, he will live.”

Ezekiel 18:21-23 – NIV. See also Isaiah 55:7 

Putting one’s trust in one’s lineage without repenting or
doing righteous deeds is a kind of madness; if a person’s deeds slow him
down, his lineage will not help him to speed up, as our Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said. (Saheeh Muslim, 2699) 

John the Baptist (Yahya – peace be upon him) taught you the
same things: 

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the
coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have
Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up
children for Abraham.

The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree
that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire”

Matthew 3:7-10 – NIV 

Forgiveness of sins through the sinner’s repentance is what
befits the kind and merciful God – not sacrifice and crucifixion and the
shedding of blood. This is what the Bible says: 

“I desire mercy, not
sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (to

Matthew 9:13 – NIV

(the words “to repentance” do not appear in the NIV but
are present in the “King James” or “Authorized” translation of the Bible). 

Hence Paul says: 

“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose
sins are covered.

Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count
against him.”

Romans 4:7-8 – NIV 

We believe that if Allaah had commanded some of His slaves to
kill themselves in repentance from their sins, that would not be too much
for them to do, and that would not contradict His being kind and merciful.
He commanded the Children of Israel to do that when they asked to see God
directly, but even then no one was to be killed for anyone else, rather a
person was to be killed for his own sins, not for the sins of another. That
was the heavy burden and fetters that were upon them (cf. al-A’raaf 7:157),
from which Allaah has spared this ummah. 

Another matter that disproves the belief in original sin is
the texts which mean that each person is responsible for his own actions, as
Allaah says in His holy Book (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for (the
benefit of) his ownself; and whosoever does evil, it is against his ownself.
And your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) slaves”

[Fussilat 41:46] 

“Every person is a pledge for what he has earned”

[al-Muddaththir 74:38] 

Similarly it says in your Bible: 

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,
and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”

Matthew 7:1-2 – NIV  

“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory
with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he
has done”

Matthew 16:27 – NIV


The Messiah affirmed the importance of righteous deeds, and
said to his disciples: 

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the
kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not
prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many

Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away
from me, you evildoers!’”

Matthew 7:21-22 – NIV  

Similarly, he said: 

“The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will
weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.

They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there
will be weeping and gnashing of teeth

Matthew 13:41-42 – NIV  

He did not tell them of redemption by which they would be
saved from the reckoning. 

Those who do righteous
deeds are the only ones who will be saved on the Day of Resurrection from
the reckoning, whilst those who did evil deeds will be carried off to Hell,
with no salvation by the Messiah or by anyone else: 

“… for a time is coming when all who are in their graves
will hear his voice

and come out–those who have done good will rise to live,
and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned

John 5:28-29 – NIV  

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the
angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory…

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me,
you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his

Matthew 25:31-42 – NIV  

The Messiah said to them: 

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How
will you escape being condemned to hell?”

Matthew 23:33 – NIV  

Adolf Hernck noted that the epistles of the Apostles did not
include the idea of salvation by redemption, rather they suggested that
salvation is attained by good deeds, as it says in the Epistle of James: 

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have
faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

… faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is

… faith without deeds is useless (or dead).”

James 2:14 – NIV 

And Peter says: 

“I now realize how true it is that God does not show

but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what
is right”

Acts 10:34-35 

There are many similar
examples in the words of the Messiah and the disciples. 

Allaah the Almighty has spoken the truth (interpretation of
the meaning): 

“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female,
and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily,
the most honourable of you with Allaah is that (believer) who has At‑Taqwa
[i.e. he is one of the Muttaqoon (the pious)]. Verily, Allaah is
All‑Knowing, All‑Aware”

[al-Hujuraat 49:13] 

What is strange is that
Paul himself, who abolished this teaching and said that deeds were to no
avail, and that salvation is only by faith, affirmed the importance of
righteous deeds on other occasions, such as when he said: 

“A man reaps what he sows

… Let us not become
weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do
not give up”

Galatians 6:7 – NIV  

“and each will be rewarded according to his own labour”

I Corinthians 3:8 – NIV  

(For more information on this matter see: Dr Mundhir
al-Saqqaar: Hal aftadaana al-Maseeh ‘ala al-Saleeb) 

So you have no way of resolving this contradiction unless you
ignore your common sense and reasoning, and delude yourself with false
wishes, as you do in the case of the doctrine of trinity and unity, which is
what John R Stott advises you to do in his book Basic Christianity: I
do not dare to deal with this subject, before I admit frankly that a great
deal of it must remain a hidden mystery… I wonder how our weak minds cannot
comprehend it fully, but there will inevitably come a day when the veil will
be lifted and all mysteries will be resolved, and we will see the Messiah as
he really is! 

… How is it possible that
God was incarnated in Christ, whilst making Christ a sacrifice for our sin?
I cannot answer this, but the Apostle himself places these two truths side
by side and I accept the idea completely, just as I accept that Jesus the
Nazarene is human and divine in one person… If we cannot resolve this
contradiction or solve this mystery, we should accept the truth as
proclaimed by Christ and his disciples, that he bore our sins.” 

Basic Christianity, p. 110, 121,
quoting from Dr Sa’ood al-Khalaf, al-Yahoodiyyah wa’l-Nasraaniyyah,
p. 238. 

Yes, you and we will see
the Messiah as he really is, one of the slaves of Allaah who are close to
Him, and one of His Prophets who were sent, on that Day when the veil will
be lifted and he will disavow himself of all those who took him as a god
besides Allaah, or who attributed to him words that he did not say. At that
time there were no mysteries or puzzles: 

“And (remember) when Allaah will say (on the Day of
Resurrection): ‘O ‘Eesa
(Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men: Worship me and my
mother as two gods besides Allaah?’ He will say: ‘Glory be to You! It was
not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You
would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner‑self though I do
not know what is in Yours; truly, You, only You, are the All‑Knower of all
that is hidden (and unseen).

117. ‘Never did I say to them aught except what You
(Allaah) did command me to say: Worship Allaah, my Lord and your Lord. And I
was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when You took me up,
You were the Watcher over them; and You are a Witness to all things. (This
is a great admonition and warning to the Christians of the whole world).

118. ‘If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You
forgive them, verily, You, only You, are the All‑Mighty, the All‑Wise.’

119. Allaah will say: ‘This is a Day on which the truthful
will profit from their truth: theirs are Gardens under which rivers flow (in
Paradise) — they shall abide therein forever. Allaah is pleased with them
and they with Him. That is the great success (Paradise).

120. To Allaah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the
earth and all that is therein, and He is Able to do all things

[al-Maa’idah 5:116-120] 

Will you think about it before it is too late? 

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘O people of the Scripture (Jews and
Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship
none but Allaah (Alone), and that we associate no partners with Him, and
that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allaah.’ Then, if they
turn away, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims’”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:64].

Islam Q&A
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