Grace in the Qur’an

Introduction

This page is written in a way that is intended as information about Grace to Muslims, from their Qur’anic perspective. Please consult your own Qur’an and verify the following conclusions.

Forgiveness is something which has received attention in Islam and has been discussed in the Qur’an:

’Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want, and those who have left their homes in Allah’s cause: let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful’ (Qur’an 24:22).

’Those who avoid the greater crimes and shameful deeds, and, when they are angry even then forgive;’ (Qur’an 42:37).

The Qur’an states that man must somehow satisfy God’s judgment for his sins. It has to be done through his own efforts or good works.

A good deed outweighs bad deeds

Humans are sinners who do more bad things than good things. Saying that one good deed cancels out ten bad things solves this problem:

’He that doeth good shall have ten times as much to his credit: He that doeth evil shall only be recompensed according to his evil...’ (Qur’an 6:160)

In the Qur’an we read that Allah loves those who do well and does not love those who do evil. This means that he approves of those who do good things and disapproves of those who do bad things.

’Then, he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) heavy, Will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction. But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light,- Will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit. And what will explain to thee what this is? (It is) a Fire Blazing fiercely!’ (Qur’an 101:6-11).

For a Muslim, the good deeds must outweigh the bad deeds on the Day of Judgment. For example: pray one time, you may sin ten times. Result will be that the balance will be positive. The thought of reward is a basic principle of Islam. Therefore, righteousness of works dominates. A Muslim has no choice to believe or not to believe, pray, fast, and testify to Allah. It is an obligation.

Muhammad’s mission

Muhammad’s mission was to deny the existence of all lesser deities. All the partners whom the pagan Arabs associated with Him did not exist and they had no right to recognition. Muhammad taught the existence of angels and beings not or rarely seen (jinn). But they all owe their original existence and continued preservation to God. This tremendous breaking of the idols was the supreme achievement of Islam. So it came that Muhammad, proclaimed the Divine Unity and disqualified all other worships, in word and in action the partners whom the pagan Arabs associated with God, the Creator (Al-Khaliq) and the Preserver (Al-Hafiz). Muhammad’s mission was not to proclaim God’s existence. [1]

Mercy not the same as love

In the Qur’an, Allah is the Merciful One (Ar-Rahman). This name occurs in the Qur’an more than any other name. But mercy is not the same as love. Love opens a relation from two sides; mercy is part of a master-slave concept. The relation between Muhammad and God was not the intimate love that a father gives his son. That is why Muhammad never called God ’father’. The relationship between Muhammad and God was one of a servant to his master, with obedience, not with love.

Grace

By definition, grace is unmerited favor. God looked upon man as he had sinned and as he was with out hope in the world. The Muslim relation with God is that he can not know God personally. He is far off and is above personal relationships. Law is the foundation of Islam, and the law must be satisfied. Muslims live under the law. It fills their entire life. Good deeds in life, is the key of forgiveness in the Qur’an. Humans are capable of redeeming ourselves by making amends for our mistakes. This is the concept of salvation in the Qur’an. A Muslim doesn’t have any assurance of the forgiveness of all his sins:

’Those whom they call upon do desire (for themselves) means of access to their Lord, - even those who are nearest: they hope for His Mercy and fear His Wrath: for the Wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of’ (Qur’an 17:57).

In the Qur’an Allah is unknowable. The 99 attributes of Allah telling us what Allah is not, but never telling us what he is. It is not possible to be set free from accusing demands and oppressive burdens of the law. There is no possibility in Islam no longer to live under the law, but in grace. [2]

Your position

It is necessary for you to understand just how you can be saved by the grace of God. The Qur’an advocates the extreme of earning forgiveness by human works. Is this all we can say about forgiveness and grace?

Yes? Then there is no hope for you when you are a big sinner and do not know how to escape.

No? There is hope and joy for a convicted sinner: a lesson in God’s love: Come to Jesus.