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GEK1045: “Introduction to World Religions” Semester 1 AY2009/10 Term Paper COVER PAGE Name: Widjaja Wensley Louis Matric

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sin is essentially doing something morally wrong. Therefore. Similarly for Christianity. For example. most religions introduce this concept of ‘sin’. adhered to by believers? Or perhaps a “form of social control. 9)? Regardless. for in the past it was a cultural norm in a society where the son is much more valued than a daughter. there was an article on a Malaysian woman who was to be flogged for drinking2. to keep their converts from sin. to be intoxicated is sinful and is an . there was an issue of female infanticide in Arab. sin is anything that goes against the will of Allah. the sinful are punished. However. and to view it in such a shallow manner cheapens the true value of religion. According to Islamic law. it connects with them through religious practices such as prayer and rituals. it grounds its believers with a fundamental set of beliefs. Another example is on drinking. In Islam. as morality tinged with emotion. and ultimately uncover the true meaning of religion. and as a way of investing life with meaning” (Schmidt et al. there have been many cases and examples of punishment for sin. for the believer. sin is going against the commandments set by God. and the righteous are rewarded.What is religion? Is it a system of beliefs and practices. religion is not merely a system of reward and punishment. a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2). who was seen as a liability. and while this concept varies between religions. a violation of moral principles as stated by the religions. For Islam. We must look beyond the surface. there is this notion of discipline within these monotheistic religions. Recently. and is an important part of religion. This is a recurring theme that occurs throughout the Bible as well as the Qur’an. to understand the purpose behind this system of reward and punishment. and generally advocates a morally upright way of living. religion is all-encompassing. In doing so. and this result in “…. The Qur’an responds with a punishment of fire for the unrepentant sinner who commits this atrocious act1.

An example of this may be seen in how he dealt with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah who have sinned in the eyes of God. In this light. Rather. However. and Jesus even went to the extremes of amputation to illustrate the consequence of sin6. For example. The Israelites during the time of Judges “repeat a cycle in which Israel sins… and is punished… followed by God’s . In fact. to even think of a woman lustfully is considered an act of adultery5. We can see a sense of urgency in repentance4. which should be highlighted. punishment for sin is not the aspect of Islam that should be focused on. Also. a faith of submission to a higher being so as to attain a state of peace. and Islam literally means ‘submission and peace’ (Schmidt et al. The punishment of sin is but a tool used to direct the faithful back to Allah. so long as a person sin. This urgency in repentance may also be seen in Christianity. regardless of the gravity of the sin. for the kingdom of heaven is near. and saves those who are righteous. 407).”” (Matthew 4:17). yet rescuing the person he deemed as righteous7. it is undeniable that there must still be a punishment. one that severely punishes those who go against him. This call to repent is essential to the Islamic faith to turn back to Allah. Interestingly. “From that time on Jesus began to preach. Another example of this system of punishment and reward for human sinfulness may be seen in the times of the Judges. This is a fundament of the Islam faith. the result is death “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). it is the act of repentance. as can be seen in the gospels. Although there was no mention in the Qur’an regarding the form of punishment to be meted out for intoxication. known as Tawbah.abomination3. God may be seen as a harsh judge. “Repent. Christianity has an even harsher view on sin and its consequence. the term ‘Muslim’ is ‘one who submits’. just like how ritual prayer is a tool to focus the mind on Allah.

it is not the primary focus of the religions. namely Shahada (Profession of faith). Salat is a ritual prayer held at fixed times of the day. 308-309).” (Schmidt et al. Zakat (Almsgiving) and Hajj (Pilgrimage). A secondary function of Ramadan is to allow the Muslim to experience the hunger and . Salat (Ritual Prayer). In short. it serves as a tool. However. the Islamic faith subscribes to the ‘5 pillars of Islam’. serving as a continual reminder for the Muslim to abide in Allah and the teachings of Islam. Ramadan. will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.raising up of “judges” or “deliverers”… who free the Israelites from their enemies. which transcends all understanding. and through him there is a way to God9. the shahada is the “expectation of divine guidance… and the reminder of judgment” (Schmidt et al. However. Interestingly. Ramadan (Fast). To fulfill this submission to Allah. Each pillar engages the practitioner in activities that draw one spiritually closer to Allah. the focus on Christianity is not of discipline and punishment due to sin. and it is this focus that we shall look at to understand the primary aim of religion. a form of teaching to further what is truly important to each religion. for it acts as a form of discipline and correction to their advocates. 427). “And the peace of God. The ultimate act of sacrifice of Jesus Christ has removed sin8. both religions share a very similar and nearly parallel focus.” (Philippians 4:7)] We can see that reward and punishment for human sinfulness plays a very important role in both Christianity and Islam. But whenever a judge died. the month-long fast. Islam is a religion of submission. (Schmidt et al. but rather of reconciliation and peace with God through Jesus Christ. 428). As stated earlier. in spite of all these. focuses the Muslim on thoughts of Allah and also on the evils of “certain passions that can run wild”. rather. “they would again act basely” and worship other gods. Christianity is a religion of peace and of communion.

. . just as Muslims look to Mecca and view it as their symbol of spiritual fulfillment. a pilgrimage to Mecca that serves as a symbolic. Christianity also highlights the importance of relating to the poor and to give to the needy. Fascinatingly. “The most important [commandment] is this. so that they may relate to the poor and are obligated to share a portion of their wealth with them. taking the sins of the world in this ultimate act of sacrifice. ultimate manner in which the Muslim may “stand before God in unity and in awe of the divine presence” (Schmidt et al. Christians look to the cross. which leads to the fourth pillar known as zakat or alms giving. with the latter partaking in the ‘body and blood of Christ’. a tool of execution. there is the hajj. All these pillars all orientate and point the religious Muslim towards the essence of Allah.pain of the poor. 429). Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Both are rituals intended to draw the believer into a deeper communion with the divine. and the former deep in contemplation of the teachings of Allah.. as a symbol of salvation. for Jesus died and was hung on the cross. that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27). Finally. one of the sacraments of Christianity. Finally. and this was further expounded in the book of James. the very thing [Paul] was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10). Paul was encouraged to “continue to remember the poor. The concept of salat in Islam also corresponds to that of the Eucharist.” (Mark 12:29-31). as exhorted by Jesus. Christians are similarly called to abide in God and His love. the beliefs of Christianity run nearly parallel to that of the Islamic faith. and I believe this communion and unity with Allah is the primary focus of Islam rather than the punishment and reward of sin.

prayer and living a morally upright life. End Notes . However. it is still secondary to spiritual fulfillment and the communion with the divine. The reward and punishment for human sinfulness is an important facet of religion. I believe that religion is primarily an avenue of spiritual fulfillment that is achieved by establishing a relationship with the divine through acts and communication in the form of rituals. that is the primary function of religion.In conclusion. for it serves as a form of discipline for believers to continue living in a manner acceptable to the religion the believers subscribe to.

and (divination by) Arrows. and the life. <http://www.” 4 (Al Zumar 39: 53-54) “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving. buried alive.” 7 (Genesis 19:24. Turn ye to our Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (will). and when the Garden is brought near . Trans.Then shall each soul know what it has put forward” 2 Look up The Straits Times. of Satan's handiwork. are an abomination. 2005 . 1989 AP. before the Penalty comes on you: after that ye shall not be helped.straitstimes.” 5 (Matthew 5:28) “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. And if your right hand causes you to sin. but through Me'" 1 Works Cited The Holy Bible. 16 September 2009. 23 July 2009.” 8 (Romans 5:8)"God demonstrates His own love toward us. that Ye may prosper. California: Belmont. no one comes to the Father. Colorado Springs: International Bible Society. and the truth. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. in that while we were yet sinners. 29) “Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah … and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. Sacrificing to Stones. Patterns of Religion. Keep away from such. 2nd Ed. 2009) 3 (Al Ma’idah 5:90) “O Ye who believe! Intoxicants and Gambling.for what crime was she killed. Breaking News (July 23. 1973 The Meaning of The Holy Qur’an. gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Maryland: Amana Corporation. Roger et al. is questioned . Malaysian Woman Accepts Flogging.(Al Takwir 81:1-14) “When the female infant. 'I am the way. when the Blazing Fire is kindled to fierce heat.html> Schmidt. Most Merciful. Christ died for us" 9 (John 14:6) "Jesus said to him.” 6 (Matthew 5:29-30) “If your right eye causes you to sin. Abdullah Yusuf Ali. cut it off and throw it away. when the scrolls are laid open. New International Version.com/Breaking%2BNews/SE%2BAsia/Story/STIStory_407021. when the World on High is unveiled.