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Islam and original sin

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One main difference between Islam and Christianity is the issue of original sin. As Muslims, we do not believe in original sin, we do not believe that humans are born with an inherited sin inside them, rather we believe all people are born sinless and pure.

Some Christians though allege that Islam does teach original sin, for example Islam like Christianity, teaches that Adam (pbuh) went against God’s command and ate from the apple, and so he was removed from paradise and away from God’s presence. As a result of this, Adam’s progeny, basically the rest of mankind, would no longer automatically be placed inside paradise, but would rather be placed on earth, before they may/may not go to paradise.

As Muslims though, we do not believe that this entails original sin, nor does Islam even teach so. The fact is is that after what Adam did, God decided that from now on, humans would begin their lives on earth, rather than paradise, and that they would now have to earn paradise rather than being freely-automatically given it. None of this is original sin; no sin was passed down to humans because of Adam’s actions. Just because the circumstances changed due to Adam’s actions, does not entail original sin, or humans inheriting sin, the two are completely separate and different issues. In essence, Christians are reading too much into the issue, they are reading into the Islamic texts through Christological lenses, and this is why they interpret such an issue as being ‘original sin’ when it’s not the case at all.

In fact Islam itself explicitly teaches that humans do not inherit sins:

No person earns any (sin) except against himself (only), and no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another…” (Quran 6:164)

“Who receives guidance, receives it for his own benefit: who goes astray does so to his own loss: no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another ...” (Quran 17:15)

Not only does Islam have nothing to do with original sin, but the same applies to the Bible, the concept of original sin is clearly foreign to the Bible as we read:

“The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son.  The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezekial 20:18)

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)

So the Bible itself is also cleat that everybody is responsible for their own sin, it even explicitly mentions that ‘children’ shall not be put to death for the sins of their ‘father’, and as we all know, we are the children of Adam (pbuh), so by the Bible’s own claim, we cannot be put to death or be responsible for his error, as the children are not responsible for the sins of their fathers.

Both Islam and the Bible understand the injustice in such a teaching, it makes no sense that person B inherits a sin or is responsible for a sin committed by person A when person B had nothing at all to do with it. An example of this is say somebody got into a hit and run accident, and the judge decides to punish you for that accident, even though you were in another country, and had nothing at all to do with it, would that make any sense, would that be justice? How about if the judge decided to punish the driver’s children? Would that make any sense? Would that be justice? The answer is obvious.

In conclusion, Islam does not teach nor believe in the concept of original sin, and neither does the Bible.

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