"Sin" in Christianity and in Islam ± a Comparison
BY: FRITZ GOERLINGWhen comparing the concept of sin in Christianity and Islam the concept of redemption in both religions have to be taken into consideration too, since both terms are closely related toeach other. Also experts of comparative religions are of this opion. If we compare theBiblical and the Quranic concept of sin we will find similarities and differences alike.a) According to the Bible, all human beings since Adam are sold under original sin, sinceÄevery inclination of his heart is evil from childhood´ (Genesis 8:21). In the Quran, there isno concept of original sin. Allah has created man in the state of innocence, leaning towardsthe good, fitrah. Humans are good, but weak (Surah 4:28; 30:30; 31:13). b) In Christianity sin originates in man¶s heart (compare the ³Sermon on the Mount inMatthew 5), whereas in Islam it is the very deed someone does or dos not which counts.c) The decisive fator for the question what is considered to be sin in the Bible is the love toGod and to the neighbour (compare Galatians 5:22 und 1Corinthians 13), whereas thisspecific love of agape (the self-sacrificial love) is not to be found in the Quran. InChristianity, God is love (agape), a self-sacrifice. This is not a Quranic concept.From these specific theological and anthropological differences steem two complete differentsolutions how to solve the problem of sin in both religions:a) In Christianity, human beings need a redeemer, which is not the case in Islam. In theQuran, we do not find the title ³the redeemer´ for Jesu (Isa). Redemption on behalf of another being is not an Islamic concept because in Islam any human being is responsible for himself or herself alone. b) Because of his hereditary inclination towards sin humans need a complete renewal of their inner heart, a ³new birth.´ In Islam, humans only need guidance because of their weak but principally good nature.c) In Christianity, there is assurance of salvation, but not in Islam. Christians who areredeeemed by their saviour are free to do good deeds, whereas Muslims have to do gooddeeds in order to enter paradise.There are also some similiarities in the concept of sin:a) Quran and Bible (2Mose 10:1-2) agree that God has given his commandments together with a covenant (Surah 5:7; 5:10). Consequently, Bible and Quran view sin as breaking arelationship (Isaiah 59:2; Surah 10:15-16; 7:77; 7:175). b) The covenant has been the subject of revelation (3:81; 5:47). Consequently, sin meansunbelief (3:86).c) The covenant is the basis of the law. Therefore, sin means breaking the law (Josua 7:11;1Timothy 1:9; Surah 2:229).