Martin Luther, the founder of Protestant Christianity, argues that no one is justified before God by works alone (Galatians 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9). A person must have faith in God (and the Messiah) first, and from good faith, good deeds naturally follow. Indeed, good deeds MUST spring from faith, otherwise such faith is dead (James 2:26). Luther cites Jesus (pbuh):
…every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit (Matthew 7:17-18)
If my understanding of ‘Imaan’ and ‘amaal e saalih’ is correct, the Islamic conception of faith and works, in terms of success in the Hereafter, is not different from Luther’s. However, faith, according to Luther, entails our personal relationship with God and the free gift of salvation through Jesus the Christ (pbuh). I am aware that Islam rejects vicarious atonement, but, in your opinion, does ‘imaan’ — belief in God and in the Day of Judgment — entail one’s personal relationship with God? Please verify. Thank you
Yes. I would agree that the basic spirit of the concept of success in the Hereafter, in the Islamic faith and in the referred creed. However, there may – as you have also implied through your parenthesis – be some major differences in the details of this concept between the two creeds.
I hope this helps.
January 11, 2002