What Muslims Believe About Man’s Sinful Nature

Original sin

Muslims sometimes say they don’t believe in the concept of original sin. However, this is also taught in their Quran.

002.030 PICKTHAL: And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: Wilt thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not.

Is man created with the propensity to sin?

“We have indeed created [khalaqa] man[insan] is the best[‘ahsan] of moulds[taqwiin-stature], then do We abase[radad-restore] him to be the lowest[‘asfal – pl] of the low[saafil].” Surah 95:4,5

“Allah doth wish to lighten your (difficulties) for Man was created [khuliqa] weak[da’if – weakling] (in flesh)”  Surah 4:28

“Man is a creature of haste” or “Man is created [khuliqa]   from[min] haste[‘ajal]” Surah 21:37.

“Truly Man is created [khuliqa] very impatient[halu].” Surah 70:19.

“Abu Huraira reported saying : There is none of amongst the  sons of Adam who is not born but not touched by Satan at the time of his birth. So he cries loudly because of Satan’s touch. But this not the case with Mary and her son. (Agreed Upon)” Mishkat Ul Masabih Vol.1 pg 43

“Abu Huraira reported : Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him) as saying: Verily the Satan circulates in the body of a man like the circulation of blood. (Agreed Upon)” Mishkat Ul Masabih Vol, 1 pg 42         by Abdul Hameed Siddiqui.

The Bible teaches that everyone is born in sin.

(Romans 5:12)  Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned–

Did Adam sin or did he just forget?

Islam had refused to admit the Biblical Account of the Fall of Adam. In fact, the sin of Adam was made of no consequence,  just a case of forgetfulness. It insists that Adam could not have sinned because no law (shariah) was given but only advice not to eat the fruit was given. Furthermore, it says that Adam was forgiven and also appointed as a prophet.

“We had already, beforehand, taken the covenant [‘ahida – to make a covenant] of Adam, but he forgot [nasiya] : and We found on his part no firm resolve.” Surah 20:115

How could Adam be forgetful when God had given him encyclopedic mental power & memory!

“He said: `O Adam! Tell them their natures.’ When he told them, Allah said: Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heavens and earth. And I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal? ” Surah 2:3

If Adam had not committed a kabirah sin and was also forgiven, why were Adam and Hawa punished immediately in accordance to the covenant “Ahid” between God and them?

“We had already, beforehand, taken the covenant [‘ahida – to make a covenant] of Adam, but he forgot [nasiya] : and We found on his part no firm resolve.” Surah 20:115

“Thus did Adam disobeyed [asa] His Lord, and allow himself to be seduced.[gawwa]” Surah 20:121 “They[Adam & Hawa] : `Our Lord ! We have wronged [zalama] our souls: If Thou forgive us not nor bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost [Khaasir].” Surah 7: 23

Even prophets have sin

Muhammad was commanded to ask for forgiveness for his sin.

047.019 YUSUFALI: Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy fault, and for the men and women who believe: for Allah knows how ye move about and how ye dwell in your homes.

PICKTHAL: So know (O Muhammad) that there is no Allah save Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy sin and for believing men and believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and your place of rest.

Even Moses pleaded with God to forgive him of his sins.

028.016 YUSUFALI: He prayed: “O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul! Do Thou then forgive me!” So (Allah) forgave him: for He is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Do we need to mention original sin when talking to Muslims?

I don’t think there is a need to spend time on the concept of original sin. Muslims will agree that they have committed sins in their lifetime. We therefore only need to tell them that because of their sins they need a Savior. There is no need to present them the idea of original sin in order to tell them that they need a Savior.