One thing I like about Islam is its realistic attitude about human nature. Muslims are not asked to be perfect, we are merely expected to live our lives as best we can. Another thing I like about Islam is its emphasis on acquiring knowledge. Allah knows that we need to continually learn about our faith and how to practice it. But that is not to say that we can ever reach perfection.
In Christianity, the believer is expected to be perfect, with a difference: the only way to achieve perfection is to believe that Jesus is God and that because he died for man’s sins, a person can stand before God covered by Jesus’ perfection. I’m not surprised that Christianity is the most popular religion in the world. Who wouldn’t want to achieve instant perfection?
But I find that theology to be too facile. We shouldn’t feel that we’re given a free pass into heaven without any effort on our part except for believing in the divinity of Jesus. Granted, it’s no small thing to believe that Jesus is God. The problem is, we already have a God and He is One.
Muslims don’t believe that we are forgiven for our sins once and for all time and never have to ask for forgiveness again. We believe that we are forgiven when we ask to be forgiven. What could be more straightforward than that?
God is One God. Only God can forgive our sins. God listens to our prayers and requests for forgiveness and He tells us in the Qur’an that He grants those requests when He sees in our hearts that we truly repent.
Qur’an 2:268 – “Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty and bids you to be niggardly, whereas God promised you His forgiveness and bounty; and God is infinite, all-knowing.”
He is the Merciful and the Compassionate, the All-Knowing and Oft-Forgiving. All we can do is bow in submission before His majesty and pray that He gives us the strength to live our lives according to His Word.
Muslims have a direct line to God through prayer. We don’t have to go through the Holy Spirit or Jesus Christ to be forgiven or strengthened. And we don’t expect to be seen as perfect by Allah. Only God is perfect. What we are to do is be faithful and submit to His holy will.
No, Muslims cannot ever claim to be perfect, or to be seen as perfect by God. What we can look forward to is His justice and above all, His mercy. Merely professing faith in a man who others claim is God is not enough.
Qur’an 11:11 – “[And thus it is with most men] save those who are patient in adversity and do righteous deeds: it is they who forgiveness of sins awaits, and a great reward.”