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Salvation in Islam



Q: How is a Muslim saved?


According to the Quran, the Muslim will be saved by the following:

But those who believe and work righteousness,- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear,- they will be Companions of the Garden, therein to dwell (for ever).

So a Muslim will be saved by having faith (belief) and by doing righteous deeds. So what should a Muslim believe in, and what good deeds must he or she do to be saved?

The Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) made this clear by laying out the 5 pillars of Islam, which concerned the belief of a Muslim, and the good deeds that the Muslim must do:

Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 8:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:

Allah's Apostle said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle.

2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.

3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) .

4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)

5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.

These are the five main pillars of Islam, so essentially the belief of a Muslim is to testify that there is no God but Allah, that only Allah is worthy of worship, and that Muhammed (PBUH) is his last and final messenger, a Muslim must sincerely believe in this to be saved. Now the good deeds that a Muslim must do is the compulsory 5 day prayer, the charity tax, the pilgrimage to Mecca, and to fast during the month of Ramadan. If the Muslim does all of the following, he or she shall attain their salvation. Now good deeds in Islam don’t only apply to the five prayers, to the charity tax, the pilgrimage, and the fasting, good deeds include everything else that is good. The Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) made it very clear when he said:

Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 45:

Narrated Talha bin 'Ubaidullah:

A man from Najd with unkempt hair came to Allah's Apostle and we heard his loud voice but could not understand what he was saying, till he came near and then we came to know that he was asking about Islam. Allah's Apostle said, "You have to offer prayers perfectly five times in a day and night (24 hours)." The man asked, "Is there any more (praying)?" Allah's Apostle replied, "No, but if you want to offer the Nawafil prayers (you can)." Allah's Apostle further said to him: "You have to observe fasts during the month of Ramad, an." The man asked, "Is there any more fasting?" Allah's Apostle replied, "No, but if you want to observe the Nawafil fasts (you can.)" Then Allah's Apostle further said to him, "You have to pay the Zakat (obligatory charity)." The man asked, "Is there any thing other than the Zakat for me to pay?" Allah's Apostle replied, "No, unless you want to give alms of your own." And then that man retreated saying, "By Allah! I will neither do less nor more than this." Allah's Apostle said, "If what he said is true, then he will be successful (i.e. he will be granted Paradise)."

It must be made clear though, that somebody’s good acts alone will not be enough to save him, Islam is not all about doing as many good deeds as possible, as the prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said:

Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 470:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "The deeds of anyone of you will not save you." They said, "Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and worship Allah in the forenoon and in the afternoon and during a part of the night, and always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course whereby you will reach your target (Paradise)."

Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 471:

Narrated 'Aisha:

Allah's Apostle said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah's is the most regular and constant even though it were little."

So in conclusion, a Muslim is saved by his faith, and the good righteous deeds he does, it is a combination of the two.

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