I have often read about the Christian belief that Jesus died for humanity's sins. Frankly speaking, it sounds illogical to me. Really, what does this mean? Does this mean that Christian's sins have already been forgiven, or that they would and "should" be forgiven whatever they do? Does this mean that Man is not accountable for his deeds and that religion or life, as a whole, is that meaningless? Does this mean that a Christian can rape or murder, or the do the greatest evil without being accountable for this? Indeed Allah is is the most Compassionate, and is the most Forgiving, but this does not mean that I am allowed to do whatever I like just for the idea that Jesus had "died for my sins", which is not true (and as Jesus was neither crucified) To say such a claim is a denial to the fact, as Christians do believe (and which soundscontradictory) aboutlifebeing a passage towards eternal life. Like Muslims, Christians do believe in life as passage towards eternity, but saying again that Jesus died for the sins of humanity would render us "unhuman" , and at the same time claiming that life is a passage towards eternity renders the notion of life itself bare and meaningless. "Life as a passage towards eternity" implies that life is a struggle for eternal blessing. Throughout the course of their lives, believers can make sins, but most of the time with the idea of paradise and hell in mind, they can also repent and struggle to correct the weaknesses of their human nature. The awareness about their being "responsible people" makes them struggle, not only for fogiveness, but most of all for being better people. Like any other human being, I can make mistakes in my daily life, but my awareness of the fatality of such deeds puts me in a kind of struggle against "theinnate humanlonging forsin".Only such struggles against lies, backbitting, anger reactions, and so many other bad deeds in human nature makes me feel a responsible person. These struggles are engendred within the believer most of all by the idea of Hell and Paradise. This is what really makes meaning to our "passage towards eternity", but just bearing in mind that Jesus (may God bless Him) has "died for my sins" would annihilate my struggle for perfection and would make "my passage" meaningless. Against such idea, I say that I am the only accountable for my evil deeds, and that Paradise is not that easy as Christians claim, but I have to struggle for it. I begin from the principle that I am not saved, but I have to save myself. Only this could make my "passage" a real story of struggle. However, while trying to understand to concept of salvation in Islam, one should not mistake that Paradise is a choice, but most of all a struggle backed up by the forgiveness and compassionofGod.
As Muslims we all come to beleive in all the divine religions that came before Islam, and all the Prophets, Jesus, Moise, Abraham..etc (peace be upon them all). However, why do Christians or Jews do not beleive in our Prophet as we beleive in theirs. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been mentioned in the Quran, Torah, and the Bible. If they have really read their Holy Books, haven't they come across these verses?
God says in the Holy Quran:
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel. He orders them good, forbade them wrong, they make good things lawful, forbids them evil, and frees them of the burden and the fetters that hung over them. Those who believe in him, honor him and rescued after the light down with him, those are the winners. (The Family of Imran, V.81)
God confirms that the Prophet has been mentioned in the Torah. While talking to Moise, God says:
The Lord said to me [Moses]: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you among their brothers; I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to My words that the Prophet speaks in My name, I will Myself call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:17–9)
In this verse, it is clearly shown that God tells Moise about the coming of a Prophet from among "your brothers". As we all know, all the Prophets descend from the same family of Abraham and Adam. God also says" I will put my words into his mouth", which means that the Prophet (peace be upon him) follows the sayings and instructions of God through the Holy Quran, which means that the Prophet came to complete the divine messages of Moise, Jesus, and all Prophets that came before.
Again, the bible comes to confirm, through Prophet Jesus (may God bless him), the arrival of a new Prophet:
"If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father (God) and he'll give you another Comforter, because he is always with you. "(Jean1415et16)" When the Comforter, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth because he will not speak of himself but he says everything he hears and he will shew you things to come "John 16: 12-13.
This verse is somehow similar to the aboved mentioned verse from the Torah. Jesus says "he'll give you another Comforter, because he is always with you", which is quite similar to the verse of Moise " I will raise up for them a Prophet like you among their brothers". This Prophet or comforter will be raised from the same family of Prophecy, this means that Jesus like Moise was a Prophet not a God. Another similarity is "will not speak of himself but he says everything he hears..." Again like the Torah, Jesus says that Prophet Muhammad will follow the instructions of God, revealed to him through the Quran. Another striking contradiction in the verse of the Bible is that it speaks about two different concepts in just one verse: "I will pray the Father (God) and he'll give you another Comforter..." If we explain the word comforter in its context, it would mean "the Holy Spirit" in the Christian thought. Well, it would be inconsistent to say that thiscomforter is a Holy Spirit. Comforter in this sense would mean Prophet.
Bearing in mind the similarities between the three verses, it is only wise and logical to understand that God who sent the Quran upon Muhammad, sent the Bible upon Jesus,and the Torah upon Moise. This means that all the divine message complete one another
In our country, Ramadan, this year, has been quite different from others, especialy in terms of weather. As it was summertime, it was very hot, and we fasted a little bit more than usual. Indeed, climatic changes could never affect or hinder the event of fasting Ramadan, but it would, rather, make it more real and meaningful. The principle is that in our Islamic thought " the more hardship we endure,the more we are rewarded, and the more our sins could be forgiven", but forgivness and reward could not be real only if we fulfill the conditions of fasting. Let me speak about the "notion of reward" in itself; Reward has two different meanings in this context. First, I meant by reward getting the forgiveness and satisfaction of God, because, in the first place, we fast to satisfy God, and get His everlasting reward of "paradise". However, during the experience of fasting, one can discover other kinds of "rewards", which are more physical and spiritual. During fasting, the stomach empties itself automatically from useless substance, through the processus of digestion. The food that we, normally eat at night, gets enough time to be digested during the day, while vitamins and minerals, get ,also, time to be absorbed by the blood." Blood is able to run though your whole body more evenly rather than sending much of ittoyourstomach for digestion purposes". Thus, blood circulation becomes more focused in maintaining the good functioning of our body, that one feels himself pure and more ready to deal with the different tasks daily life than usual. Another, physical benefit of fasting Ramadan is more related with smokers, drug addicts, and alcoholic people. Most people who are used to getting different kinds of drugs or harmful substances to the body, and have the willingness to get rid of such bad habits can take a real benefit , not only, from fasting once or twice, but for a much longer period. fasting could be a good occasion for ending or ,at least, reducing smoking or drug addiction habits, as the body gets a lesser amount of nicotine and toxics than usual and during a period at least of 30 or 29 days. Enabling oneself to reduce the amount of toxic substances that the blood abosrbs every day, the body becomes adjusted to take lesser amounts of it, and the blood is purified, gradually, from these toxic substances. The body acclimatises itself to take less, but give more, as our whole concentration would shift to the most rewarding and useful activities like family life, prayers, work, helping others, or artistic activities. In Ramadan, people get enough time to accomplish their day life tasks or,even, accomplish new activities like sport, writting, reading, or research that is in general, but most of the times Muslims devote it to prayers, and reading the Quran. Thus, one can easily take notice that the physical rewards of Ramadan fasting gives us the opportunity to take care of the spiritual side. Fasting is a code of conduct, it educates people to shift from selfish needs to remember those people who are obliged to overcome hunger for the whole their life time. Through fasting, one can have enough time to care about removing the bad habits of nature, like eavesdroping, backbitting, telling lies, which usually spoil the meaning of fasting. Fasting educates people to bemorepatientand loving, as theyget rid of bad habits in human nature, and devote their time to helping others, or involve in charity activities. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was crucial in this point when he said: "there are those who gain from fasting, nothing but hunger, and those who gain from (night) prayers nothing but loss of sleep". I think that this saying sums up that " the principle of our practice is to become a better person". Life is a very hard struggle, and these struggles are deeply embeded and engendred by religious events like Ramadan.
Amongst the factors which have contributed to the world economic crisis lately, the economist David Harvey stated, in a video I have seen in Vox blog, that the bank lending, especially in the field of home ownership, has contributed to the aggravation of the world crisis, among many other financial problems. The world has witnessed of late a proliferation of requests on different type of bank loans, of which the principle one was home ownership. There are varieties of bank loans ranging from holiday loans, school fees ,to the purchase of cars and other loans, which I find personally exagerated. bank organsisms have spent huge amounts of money under the pretension of making life and purchase easier, while people do not stop borrowing money, and paying inpredictable overcharge taxes added to the borrowed amount. Payment facilities on several months, and sometimes several years, causes people to feelfed-up and depressed from bank payments, while others have simply stopped paying, regularly, their due amounts. Imagine here the dream of the great capitalists of the world thorn to pieces when they come to realise that millions of dollards spent for the sake of multiplying its rates is reduced to, nearly, nothingness! In Islam, these kinds of transactions are based on interests, which we call usury. Usury is defined as the fact of lending someone money in conditions he refunds by adding an extra amount, which is called interest. In the western thought, interest is different from usury, as this latter results with a so high overcharge. In the Islamic thought, interest being small or huge, is called usury and is strictly forbidden. God says in the Holy Quran:
"Those who are responsible for usury in the same position as those controlled by the influence of the devil. This is because they claim that usury is the same as that of trade. However, God permits commerce, and prohibits usury. Thus, one who listens to this command of his Lord, and refrains from usury, he may keep his past earnings, and its decision belongs to God. "
Again in his farewell speech, the Prophet (pbuh) has strictley stressed on the fact that usury is an illegal transaction, which should be abolished, as it is a stigma of the pre-Islamic era. Being in need, people find themselves obliged to agree on such transactions, because they find no other but borrow and refund with an overcharge. In fact, usury is srtictly forbidden in Islam, because it is based on the idea that money produces money, while it should be generated by trade and hard work. The above Qu'ranic verse stresses on the huge distinction between usury and commerce, and makes this latter as a the only legal source of material gain. Islam values hard work and honest labor, and stands firm against any financial oppression imposed upon idividuals. Usury has always been a dishonest and depressing transaction, and thanks to God, it showed itself to be a weak solution, unable to manage bigfinancial problems or generate a strong world economy.
* This is atranslated text that I have written orginally for my french readers in wordpress and Vox.