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Original Sin

A Muslim wrote,

"Christianity believes in the "Original Sin" and that we all inherited the sin of Adam hence we are all born "sinful" while Islam teaches that we are all born "sinless" and with a clean slate. We are responsible only for what we ourselves have done. ..Christianity basically "Blames you for something you did not do (Adam)"


On the surface, the Muslim's charge seems reasonable. Because, if Allah were to condemn a person to hell just because he was in the lineage of Adam, it would seem unjust and cruel. Christians would agree with this assessment. Allah acts with fair and holy justice. Hence, logically, Allah does not condemn persons to hell simply because they are human beings.

In fact, Holy Scripture gives the clear reasons for the judgment of human beings. It says that each person will be judged according to what he had done. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that human beings will be condemned to hell because they were an off-spring of Adam. The book of Revelation Chapter 20 verses 11 to 13 makes this absolutely clear.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Rev 20:11-13 (NIV)

‫ثُمَّ رَأَيْتُ عَرْشاً عَظِيماً أَبْيَضَ هَرَبَتِ السَّمَاءُ وَالأَرْضُ مِنْ أَمَامِ الْجَالِسِ عَلَيْهِ، فَلَمْ يَبْقَ لَهُمَا مَكَانٌ
‫وَرَأَيْتُ الأَمْوَاتَ، كِبَاراً وَصِغَاراً، وَاقِفِينَ قُدَّامَ الْعَرْشِ. وَفُتِحَتِ الْكُتُبُ، ثُمَّ فُتِحَ كِتَابٌ آخَرُ هُوَ سِجِلُّ الْحَيَاةِ، وَدِينَ الأَمْوَاتُ بِحَسَبِ مَا هُوَ مُدَوَّنٌ فِي تِلْكَ الْكُتُبِ، كُلُّ وَاحِدٍ حَسَبَ أَعْمَالِهِ
‫وَسَلَّمَ الْبَحْرُ مَنْ فِيهِ مِنَ الأَمْوَاتِ، وَسَلَّمَ الْمَوْتُ وَهَاوِيَةُ الْمَوْتَى الأَمْوَاتَ الَّذِينَ فِيهِمَا، وَحُكِمَ عَلَى كُلِّ وَاحِدٍ بِحَسَبِ أَعْمَالِهِ

Again, the gospel account of Matthew affirms this too. The coming judgment of the living is not based upon being an offspring of Adam. It is based upon what the person did during his life. Did the person care for the stranger who was hungry and thirsty? Did the person provide the stranger with clothes and medicine? Did the person visit the stranger when he was in prison?

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matt 25:31-46 (NIV)

‫وَعِنْدَمَا يَعُودُ ابْنُ الإِنْسَانِ فِي مَجْدِهِ وَمَعَهُ جَمِيعُ مَلاَئِكَتِهِ، فَإِنَّهُ يَجْلِسُ عَلَى عَرْشِ مَجْدِهِ‭،
‫وَتَجْتَمِعُ أَمَامَهُ الشُّعُوبُ كُلُّهَا، فَيَفْصِلُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَنْ بَعْضٍ كَمَا يَفْصِلُ الرَّا عِي الْغَنَمَ عَنِ الْمِعَازِ‭،
‫فَيُوقِفُ الْغَنَمَ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ، وَالْمِعَازِ عَنْ يَسَارِهِ؛
‫ثُمَّ يَقُولُ الْمَلِكُ لِلَّذِينَ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ: تَعَالَوْا يَامَنْ بَارَكَهُمْ أَبِي، رِثُوا الْمَلَكُوتَ الَّذِي أُعِدَّ لَكُمْ مُنْذُ إِنْشَاءِ الْعَالَمِ‭:
‫لأَنِّي جُعْتُ فَأَطْعَمْتُمُونِي، عَطِشْتُ فَسَقَيْتُمُونِي، كُنْتُ غَرِيباً فَآوَيْتُمُونِي‭،
‫عُرْيَاناً فَكَسَوْتُمُونِي، مَرِيضاً فَزُرْتُمُونِي، سَجِيناً فَأَتَيْتُمْ إِلَيَّ‭!
‫فَيَرُدُّ الأَبْرَارُ قَائِلِينَ: يَارَبُّ، مَتَى رَأَيْنَاكَ جَائِعاً فَأَطْعَمْنَاكَ، أَوْ عَطْشَاناً فَسَقَيْنَاكَ؟
‫وَمَتَى رَأَيْنَاكَ غَرِيباً فَآوَيْنَاكَ، أَوْ عُرْيَاناً فَكَسَوْنَاكَ؟
‫وَمَتَى رَأَيْنَاكَ مَرِيضاً أَوْ سَجِيناً فَزُرْنَاكَ؟
‫فَيُجِيبُهُمُ الْمَلِكُ: الْحَقَّ أَقُولُ لَكُمْ: بِمَا أَنَّكُمْ فَعَلْتُمْ ذَلِكَ بِأَحَدِ إِخْوَتِي هَؤُلاَءِ الصِّغَارِ، فَبِي فَعَلْتُمْ‭،
‫ثُمَّ يَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ عَنْ يَسَارِهِ: ابْتَعِدُوا عَنِّي يَامَلاَعِينُ إِلَى النَّارِ الأَبَدِيَّةِ الْمُعَدَّةِ ِلإِبْلِيسَ وَأَعْوَانِهِ‭!
‫لأَنِّي جُعْتُ فَلَمْ تُطْعِمُونِي، وَعَطِشْتُ فَلَمْ تَسْقُونِي‭،
‫كُنْتُ غَرِيباً فَلَمْ تَأْوُونِي، عُرْيَاناً فَلَمْ تَكْسُونِي، مَرِيضاً وَسَجِيناً فَلَمْ تَزُورُونِي‭!
‫فَيَرُدُّ هَؤُلاَءِ أَيْضاً قَائِلِينَ: يَارَبُّ، مَتَى رَأَيْنَاكَ جَائِعاً أَوْ عَطْشَاناً أَوْ غَرِيباً أَوْ عُرْيَاناً أَوْ مَرِيضاً أَوْ سَجِيناً، وَلَمْ نَخْدِمْكَ؟
‫فَيُجِيبُهُمْ: الْحَقَّ أَقُولُ لَكُمْ: بِمَا أَنَّكُمْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا ذَلِكَ بِأَحَدِ إِخْوَتِي هَؤُلاَءِ الصِّغَارِ، فَبِي لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا‭!
‫فَيَذْهَبُ هَؤُلاَءِ إِلَى الْعِقَابِ الأَبَدِيِّ، وَالأَبْرَارُ إِلَى الْحَيَاةِ الأَبَدِيَّةِ‭«!

So, we repeat that scripture does not say that human beings will be eternally judged because of what Adam did. Everyone will be judged because of their own individual sin and wickedness.  

Individual actions of kindness and love are vitally important, because they reflect the true nature of Allah. Allah is not impressed by mechanical religious acts. In fact, Allah hates mechanical acts of devotion. They are useful only as fuel for the flames of hell. 

Original Sin

If human beings are not responsible for the sin of Adam, then, "What do Christians mean by the concept of Original Sin?"

First of all, it means that Adam and Eve were the first ones to sin. Originally, Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden.  As a result of their sin, they were judged and made to leave the garden of Eden. Genesis Chapter 3 states, 

16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." 
23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
Gen 3:16-19, 23  (NIV)

‫ ثُمَّ قَالَ لِلْمَرْأَةِ: « أُكَثِّرُ تَكْثِيراً أَوْجَاعَ مَخَاضِكِ فَتُنْجِبِينَ بِالآلاَمِ أَوْلاَداً، وَإِلَى زَوْجِكِ يَكُونُ اشْتِيَاقُكِ وَهُوَ يَتَسَلَّطُ عَلَيْكِ‭.‭«
‫ وَقَالَ لِآدَمَ‫:«لأَنَّكَ أَذْعَنْتَ لِقَوْلِ امْرَأَتِكَ، وَأَكَلْتَ مِنَ الشَّجَرَةِ الَّتِي نَهَيْتُكَ عَنْهَا، فَالأَرْضُ مَلْعُونَةٌ بِسَبَبِكَ وَبِالْمَشَقَّةِ تَقْتَاتُ مِنْهَا طَوَالَ عُمْرِكَ‭.
‫ شَوْكاً وَحَسَكاً تُنْبِتُ لَكَ، وَأَنْتَ تَأْكُلُ عُشْبَ الْحَقْلِ‭.
‫ بِعَرَقِ جَبِينِكَ تَكْسَبُ عَيْشَكَ حَتَّى تَعُودَ إِلَى الأَرْضِ، فَمِنْ تُرَابٍ أُخِذْتَ، وَإِلَى تُرَابٍ تَعُودُ‭.«
‫ فَأَخْرَجَهُ مِنْ جَنَّةِ عَدْنٍ لِيَفْلَحَ الأَرْضَ الَّتِي أُخِذَ مِنْ تُرَابِهَا‭.

In summary, Allah's judgment included the following (Genesis 3:16-19),

1. Adam and Eve were banished from the garden of Eden. They would not have the same sense of Allah presence with them as they had when they were in the garden of Eden. Spiritually speaking, they became 'lost.'
2. Eve would have pain in childbirth.
3  Adam would have to work hard for sustenance.
4. Adam and Eve would die.

So, Original Sin refers to the past sin of Adam and Eve and the past judgment of Allah for the first human sin. The Original sin has already be judged, so it makes no sense to think that subsequent human beings will be judged for Adam and Eve's sin. Scripture is clear that humans will be judged for their own individual sins.

What about the effects of the judgment of Allah for the original sin of Adam and Eve? It seems that the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin are with us today. The penalty for the Original Sin is all around us.

1. Human beings don't live in the Garden of Eden.
2. Women have pain in childbirth.
3. Humans have to work for their food.
4. Human beings die.

To deny the existence of Original Sin is to deny the four statements above. Now, it would seem difficult for a Muslim to deny these four facts. Death occurs as much for a dog as it does for a prophet.  Muhammad died, and his flesh became food for maggots and worms.  All that remains of his body is dust and possibly some dry bones.  His tomb (Maksurah)  in Medina (Al-Madinah) is a popular destination during Hajj. It is located within the Masjid an-Nabwi (Prophets' mosque) which features a green dome with 10 minarets. Muslim pilgrims may reject the notion of Original Sin, but Muhammad's tomb witnesses to them during Hajj that the doctrine of Original Sin is true. Muhammad himself could not escape the consequences of Original Sin.

If Adam and Eve had not sinned, then all human beings would still be enjoying the presence of Allah in the Garden of Eden. There would be no pain, no toiling, nor death. Human beings would not have lost their way before Allah. There would be no need for prophets or a Savior.

In conclusion, the Christian doctrine of Original Sin corresponds to present-day reality. A person might deny its truth and might even preach against it. Yet, people are lost; they die; they experience birthing pain, and someone must work hard for life's necessities. You cannot escape Original Sin. As much as people would like to be eternally youthful, they die. Those in the past who preached against Original Sin were conquered by it and now their mortal remains lie buried beneath the ground until the Day of Judgment. Every tomb and graveyard silently cries out, proclaiming the truthfulness of the doctrine of Original Sin.

When the Day of Resurrection occurs, each person was judged according to what he had done (Rev 20:13). What Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden does not determine your future destiny when The Judgment of the Last Day arrives. So, dear Reader be concerned about your own sins and the coming judgment of the Last Day.

Last edited 10/19/2000

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