Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice XXVIII : "The Islamic Perspective"


In this segment, Dr. Badawi attempts to explain the Islamic concept of salvation. According to Dr. Badawi, there is no need for a blood sacrifice, being good and performing good deeds will cause God to forgive us. However, when we look a little closer, we find that the Qur'an actually preaches a form of pre-destination which is based entirely on the whims of God.

Host: Could you discuss the Islamic doctrines of sin and atonement. If Muslims do not accept the Pauline doctrine of substitutionary sacrifice, does that mean that they take sin less seriously?

Jamal Badawi: The existence of sin is a matter that Muslims take seriously. The Qur'an says that one of God's attributes is the Holy One. We must try our best to purify ourselves and seek God's help. Sura 53:32 :

Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, only (falling into) small faults,- verily thy Lord is ample in forgiveness. He knows you well when He brings you out of the earth, And when ye are hidden in your mothers' wombs. Therefore justify not yourselves: He knows best who it is that guards against evil.

Issue 1: God is perfectly Holy and pure. How can we cleanse ourselves to the point where we can honestly say that we deserve to be in His presence? Whether we commit a "great sin" or a "small sin", a sin is a sin! We are not fit to stand before a perfectly Holy God.

Issue 2: As we have discussed in earlier segments, God set up the model of redemption through blood sacrifice in the Old Testament which used atonement means to remove sin. In the Old Testament, the blood sacrifice of various animals offered by the high priests, were for the temporary atonement of the Nation of Israel. Only the people in that place and time received the atonement from the blood sacrifice. These sacrifices foreshadowed the real and final atonement made by Jesus. The idea of atonement and blood sacrifice is found throughout the Old and New Testaments and the people who lived during the ministry of Jesus were well aware of this concept. It is interesting that the Qur'an is so quiet concerning a theme which an eternal and unchanging God has stressed for thousands of years.

While we are responsible to try to purify ourselves, it comes only from God Sura 4:49:

Hast thou not turned Thy vision to those who claim sanctity for themselves? Nay-but Allah Doth sanctify whom He pleaseth. But never will they fail to receive justice in the least little thing.

It must be emphasized that when God says that He will purify who He pleases, that this is not an arbitrary decision because God is merciful, just and loving. The will of God to purify cannot be separated from His justice.

Unfortunately Dr. Badawi, it is an arbitrary decision according to the Qur'an. Sura 14:4 tells us:

Now Allah leaves straying those whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: and He is Exalted in power, full of Wisdom.

So, God, according to the Qur'an will save, or damn, whomever he pleases and that person in question can do nothing about it. To make matters even worse, God, according to the Qur'an, closes the hearts and minds of those that He who He wishes to damn. Sura 6:125 tells us:

Those whom Allah wills to guide, He opens their breast to Islam; Those whom He wills to leave straying, - he makes their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus does Allah lay abomination on those who refuse to believe.

The most serious question is, if we believe this, is how do we know if God is guiding us or leading us down the path to eternal damnation? The Qur'an gives us absolutely no assurance of God's truth or assurance of salvation.

Host: How can salvation be obtained is there a term for being saved?

Jamal Badawi: There are some terms in Arabic that are similar to Christianity. Nagaah appears in the Qur'an in Sura 59:

Sura 19:72:

But We shall save those who guarded against evil, and We shall leave the wrong-doers therein, (humbled) to their knees.

There are other uses in Sura 40:41, 61:10. There are other terms, in more than 65 places.

If God, according to the Qur'an is so perfectly forgiving and does not demand atonement, then why does the Qur'an say that all Muslims will spend some time in Hell? Sura 19:71-72 :

There will be no one of you who will not enter it (Hell). This was an inevitable decree of your Lord. Afterwards he may save some of the pious, God-fearing Muslims out of the burning fire.

Is this any assurance of salvation? God may, or perhaps may not, save you after you have been thrown into Hell?

Host: Does this mean that Muslims believe that salvation can be achieved by good deeds?

Jamal Badawi: Christians believe that the difference in Islam is that they believe in salvation by deeds. This is erroneous. The Qur'an says that only through the grace of God can someone be saved. Sura 24:21:

O ye who believe! follow not Satan's footsteps: if any will follow the footsteps of Satan, he will (but) command what is shameful and wrong: and were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you, not one of you would ever have been pure: but Allah doth purify whom He pleases: and Allah is One Who hears and knows (all things).

Muhammad said in the Hadith Sahih Muslim that none of his followers would enter Paradise by their good deeds.

Dr. Badawi makes a point, Muslims believe more in predestination than in good works. Sura 7:179 tells us that God actually created people to burn in Hell:

Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell: They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle,- nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning).

If we are pre-destined to burn in Hell, no amount of good deeds can save us. Bukhari tells us

(Narrated 'Imran) :

I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why should a doer (people) try to do good deeds?' The Prophet said, "Everybody will find easy to do such deeds as will lead him to his destined place for which he has been created.' Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 641

There are two conditions according to the Qur'an to receive grace:

1. Correct belief in God, staying away from shirk Sura 4:48:

Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.

in Sura 4:116

Allah forgiveth not (The sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, Hath strayed far, far away (from the right).

An interesting point, an contradiction, here is that Allah did forgive shirk in the case of Abraham. Sura 4:153 tells us

... Yet they [the Israelites] worshipped the calf even after Clear Signs had come to them; even so We forgave them; and gave Moses manifest proofs of authority.

Sura 5:75 quotes Jesus:

Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!

This is what Muhammad believed and certainly not what Christ said!

2. Try sincerely to translate belief into action and good deeds. When we fall short or ere, the means to correct this is sincere repentance without any need for absolution.

But wait, a moment ago we decided that Islam was not a religion of works. How will our works save us if God, according to the Qur'an, has created us to burn in Hell? This contradicts the teachings of the Qur'an and Hadith which we mentioned earlier.

Host: Can you give some examples from the Qur'an and Hadith?

Jamal Badawi: Sura 53:32:

Those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, only (falling into) small faults,- verily thy Lord is ample in forgiveness. He knows you well when He brings you out of the earth, And when ye are hidden in your mothers' wombs. Therefore justify not yourselves: He knows best who it is that guards against evil.

Sura 4:110

If any one does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks Allah's forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

Sura 39:53

Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Sura 3:135

And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins,- and who can forgive sins except Allah?- and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done.

Hadith Kudsi Muhammad said that Allah said that all child of Adam will be forgiven if they call on God.

Another Hadith tells us:

Narrated by Ali:

"We were accompanying a funeral procession in Baqi-I-Gharqad. The Prophet came to us and sat and we sat around him. He had a small stick in his hand then he bent his head and started scraping the ground with it. He then said, "There is none among you, and not a created soul, but has place either in Paradise or in Hell assigned for him and it is also determined for him whether he will be among the blessed or wretched." A man said, "O Allah's Apostle! Should we not depend on what has been written for us and leave the deeds as whoever amongst us is blessed will do the deeds of a blessed person and whoever amongst us will be wretched, will do the deeds of a wretched person?" The Prophet said, "The good deeds are made easy for the blessed, and bad deeds are made easy for the wretched." Then he recited the Verses:-- "As for him who gives (in charity) and is Allah-fearing And believes in the Best reward from Allah." Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 444

What is the use of asking for forgiveness and performing good deeds if we are already "assigned" to Hell?

Host: Some Christians say that they do not disagree with God's qualities but since God is just, how do we pay for our sins?

Jamal Badawi: According to the Unitarians, shedding innocent blood does not achieve this, God could forgive without it. We also pay for our sins in this life. The spiritual part or forgiveness can be achieved through repentance. There are three conditions for repentance:

1. Stop the evil

2. Regret it

3. Try not to do it again

4. If the sin hurt another rights, he should seek forgiveness

God knows that He created us imperfect so He has to forgive us if we are sorry. If we say that blood sacrifice is necessary, then it is not just because God made us imperfect. It would be like a Professor telling a student that he must 100% on everything just to pass, it is not fair or just. In Islam we say that if you do even one good deed, he can get at least a ten fold reward. Muhammad said that my mercy prevails over my wrath.

First of all, can we truly stop sinning? Can we eliminate our sinful nature as humans? Second, the Professor analogy is not very good since none of my Professors are perfect as God is perfect. Only a perfect God can demand perfection since He alone is perfect in every way.

Host: Does this mean that Muslims are assured of salvation?

Jamal Badawi: In one sense yes. There are two necessities: the believer must be humble and does not say that he earned salvation but by the will of God and His grace. The person must be assured of the mercy of God and his justice that he is saved by correct belief and right deeds. There is no undue uncertainty except in the healthy degree that he is steadfast to his death. There are assurances in the Qur'an that they will be in paradise.

No dear brothers and sisters, you have no assurance! Remember Sura 19:71-72 :

There will be no one of you who will not enter it (Hell). This was an inevitable decree of your Lord. Afterwards he may save some of the pious, God-fearing Muslims out of the burning fire.

Muhammad said in the Hadith:

"By Allah, though I am the apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me." Vol. 5:266

Is this any assurance of salvation? God may, or perhaps may not, save you after you have been thrown into Hell? How do you know? Can you be absolutely sure that you have done a sufficient number of good deeds in your life? Do you believe that your deeds, or my deeds, can please an all perfect God? No one knows when our last day on this planet will end. If that day happens to be today, are you ready to answer to God? As a Christian, I know that I am a sinner, I do not deserve anything from God. However, God sent His Son into this world to pay the terrible price for my sins and for your sins - all that we need to do is to accept Him.

Host: Can you give us some examples?

Jamal Badawi:The Muslim has trust that God is just. In Sura 18:49:

And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before you); and thou wilt see the sinful in great terror because of what is (recorded) therein; they will say, "Ah! woe to us! what a Book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof!" They will find all that they did, placed before them: And not one will thy Lord treat with injustice.

The Qur'an says that God has no interest in punishing us. Sura 4:147

What can Allah gain by your punishment, if ye are grateful and ye believe? Nay, it is Allah that recogniseth (all good), and knoweth all things.

Muhammad came for mercy Sura 11:2

(It teacheth) that ye should worship none but Allah. (Say): "Verily I am (sent) unto you from Him to warn and to bring glad tidings:

Sura 2:112:

Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

Can we honestly believe in these promise from a God who, according to other verses, actually creates people to burn in Hell?

Some Christians say that salvation is more than forgiveness, but the changing of attitudes and the Qur'an says that strengthening our relationship to God Sura 64:11:

No kind of calamity can occur, except by the leave of Allah: and if any one believes in Allah, (Allah) guides his heart (aright): for Allah knows all things.

Sura 47:17:

But to those who receive Guidance, He increases the (light of) Guidance, and bestows on them their Piety and Restraint (from evil).

Once again, the damnation of any person is a calamity, which happens on the "leave of Allah". Please remember the words of God:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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