Salvation in the Bible and in the Qur’an

9. Salvation in the Bible and the Qur’an


In the city of Johannesburg, Muslims have placed a very large sign which reads’ “Islam says: Jesus is coming again! Are you ready?” It is true that the Qur’an teaches: “and [Jesus] shall be a sign [for the coming of) the hour of judgment)” (Surah 43:61). But it also is true that the Hadith teaches that Muhammad said: “Jesus, son of Mary, will come down to the world. He will marry and there will be issue, [i.e. he will have children], and he will five for 40 years and then die. He will be buried with me in my grave… He will destroy the cross and kill pigs…” (Al-Bukhari LX, ch.44 vs. 657). Is this what the Bible teaches, and what Christian preachers mean, when they call people to repentance by pointing out, that “Jesus is coming again— are you ready?” Obviously not. But Muslims imply by their sign, that they believe the same as the Christians, which is deliberately misleading.

The same applies to the word salvation, which means rescue from danger. The New Testament context clearly states that Jesus is the Saviour— and that there is no other (John 4:42; Acts 5:31; Ephesians 5:23; 2 Tim. 1:10; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 1 John 4:14; Acts 4:12, etc.). It equally states that salvation is an act of grace on behalf of God. No one can save another person from impending condemnation. Nobody deserves salvation, for we all have sinned and are by that fact alienated from God. Unless God had done something for us— we would all have had to stay in separation from God for all eternity, and that would be hell (Ephesians 2:1-10; Isaiah 64:6, 59:2, Colossians 1:21, etc.).

What is ‘salvation’ in Islam? Just about the opposite of what the Bible teaches. In the Qur’an we read— and this is really the only reference to salvation: “Allah will say: This is a day on which the truthful will profit from their truth. Theirs are the Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath, their eternal home: Allah well- pleased with them, and they with Allah.That is the great salvation [the fulfilment of all desires]” (Surah 5:122).

The footnote in the Qur’an explains: “Fauz = felicity, happiness, achievement, salvation, the attainment or fulfilment of desires. What a beautiful definition of salvation or the end of life— that we should win God’s good pleasure and that we should reach the stage at which His good pleasure is all- in-all to us.”

In an additional note (App. Xll, p. 1469) we read: “This, then, is the Muslim idea of salvation. It consists, not in being saved from the consequences of our sins by the suffering or the merits neither of others, nor in Nirvana, or annihilation or absorption— but in the achievement, the attainment of all desires, and the felicity in excess.

“This is our idea of salvation: the negative avoidance of all the consequences of evil, and the positive attainment of all— and more than all— that our hearts could possibly desire. For God’s bounty outstrips anything that our eyes have seen, or our ears can have heard of, or our imagination can conceive.”

One does not need to be a theologian to perceive the total opposition of these statements to those of the Bible. If we look carefully, we will also discover that the Qur’an actually offers three contradicting ways of ‘salvation.’

Salvation by right action

“The balance that day will be true [to a nicety]. Those, whose scale [of good] will be heavy, will prosper. Those, whose scale will be light, will find their souls in perdition, for that they wrongfully treated our signs.” (Surah 7:8+9)

Salvation through mercy and forgiveness

“Say: If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you, and forgive you your sins. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah 3:31)

Salvation by predetermination

“Say: Why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay, ye are but men— of the men He hath created. He forgiveth whom He pleaseth, and He punishes whom He pleaseth. And to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between.” (Surah 5:20)

“He leads astray whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: but ye shall certainly be called to account for all your actions.” (Surah 16:93)

You will have reached the same conclusion as I have. There is no salvation in Islam. If a man could gain God’s acceptance by good works, he would earn a place in heaven, which is impossible in the light of God’s holiness. Rescue from outside implies help from someone else. Of course, we find in the Qur’an repeatedly the phrase, “Allah is most merciful, oft-forgiving.” But what does that really mean in the end when we consider the above statements? Think about it.