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Question 264:

A Muslim’s statement concerning the salvation of the Christian believers:  

Concerning the theme: ‘Muhammad and the Christian faith’ Islam indeed confesses that the Christians in their quality of believers enter paradise and the proof of this is that it is stated in Sura al-Baqarah (2), verse 62: “Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews and Christians and Sabaeans — whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right — surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them, neither shall they grieve.” 

Answer:

Thank you for quoting this important verse of the Holy Qur’an. It is, indeed, a verse of fundamental importance. 

Muhammad Asad, in his commentary upon the Qur’an, gives the following commentary on this verse:  

“The above passage – which recurs in the Qur’an several times – lays down a fundamental doctrine of Islam. With a breadth of vision unparalleled in any other religious faith, the idea of salvation is here made conditional upon three elements only: belief in God, belief in the Day of Judgment, and righteous action in life. …” (The Message of the Qur’an. Gibraltar: Dar al-Andalus, 1980, p. 14, fn. 50)

Unfortunately, many other Muslim commentators on the Qur’an as well as other religious writers present a much narrower interpretation of this verse. These writers do not accept Christians as true believers but consider them to be unbelievers (kuffar) and thus exclude them from salvation. 

 Thus Mahmoud M. Ayoub writes in:  The Qur’an and its Interpreters, vol. 1  (Abany: State University of New York Press, 1984), p. 110:

“Commentators have differed concerning the intent of this verse and the reason for its revelations. The verse is one of the many general statements in the Qur’an in which faith is raised above any religious or ethnic identity. Commentators have, however, sought to limit its universal application in several ways. Four main approaches may be distinguished. The first was to declare the verse abrogated and hence inapplicable. The second was to limit the application of the verse by assigning the reason for its revelation to a specific group of people. The third approach has been to limit the verse to a strictly legalistic interpretation, and the fourth has been to accept the universality of the verse until the coming of Islam, but thereafter to limit its applicability only to those who hold the faith of Islam.”

 

See also on this website: Questions and answers: Nr. 16; 17; 132; 167; 190 and Theme 14.


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