Tuesday 20 November 2018

Christian Concept of Vicarious Atonement and Islam

Since descent of Adam and Eve from heavens to the earth, Allah has sent thousands of prophets and messengers for the guidance of the mankind and make them realize that a day would come when everything visible to the naked eye of the man will be destroyed and all dead will be resurrected to answer for their deeds. No prophet or messenger ever proclaimed that his death will save their followers from their sins as they took upon them their sins.

But in Christianity, there exists a belief called Vicarious Atonement which contends that "Jesus Christ took the place of mankind, suffering the penalty for sin." Atonement is term meaning “reconciliation” or “amends.” Vicarious means “done in place of or instead of someone else.” So, in literal terms, the Christian concept of “vicarious atonement” is that Jesus was substituted for humanity and punished for our faults in order to pay for the sins we had committed and reconcile us to God. Vicarious atonement is also referred to as “substitutionary atonement” or “penal substitution.”

This concept only exists in Christianity and no other religion ratifies this belief.

In Islam the very concept of Vicarious Atonement is alien for it means that it is Jesus and not Allah who has the right to justice. It is something that is simply not palatable. Jesus like any other prophet or messenger was a messenger of Allah, chosen to show the righteous path to his people. We in Islam believe the innocence of Prophet Eesa (Jesus Christ) and are averse to the notion that a sinless person could have been punished by All on behalf of the sins of his people.
Sin is not a tangible matter nor is it a liquid that is injectable into the body. Sin is either a thought or an action. You can’t punish crime without punishing the criminal. Sin is what a sinner does and it is the sinner who deserves the punishment. Allah doesn't punish murder, theft and fornication, rather He punishes murderers, thieves and fornicators. We shouldn't be treating sin as some type of abstract thing.
If one wants to clarify “well what we mean is that all sin must be accounted for and it was accounted for in punishing Jesus”. But Jesus was innocent and sinless according to Christian theology, hence how could he be “punished”? How could an innocent person be “punished” when the very word “punished” itself denotes that one is suffering a penalty for an offense that he committed? Innocents are not “punished”, rather they are made to suffer at times, but never “punished”. [3]

Secondly the very concept of Vicarious Atonement nullifies the concept of repentance and forgiveness. In Islam we believe that if someone commits a crimes and repents with his heart and soul, he has been assured of forgiveness by the Allah Almighty.
“Say: ‘O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn ye to our Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (Will), before the Penalty comes on you: after that ye shall not be helped.’” (Surah Surah Az-Zumar, 39:53-54)
Holy Qur'an which is the last revealed Divine scripture from Allah, after the Psalms, Torah and Bible, makes it very clear almost throughout the 114 surahs / chapter that Day of Resurrection is a reality, a day when all lying in graves will be raised and they would run towards the point of assembly in waves as locust to be questioned for the deeds. 

The sole purpose of cautioning man of the Day of resurrection and presenting the concept of reward and punishment is that while one lives, one must adhere to commandments of Allah and follow the righteous path. and even if one is diverted from the path subscribed by someone, the door of repentance is always open and one must seek forgiveness of Allah. But despite all guidelines if one still persists and continues to sin and involves himself in pleasures and forgets the benevolence of Allah, then fro such people there will be a day when their deeds will be presented before them and justice will be done. 

Herein under are some of the excerpts from the Holy Qur'an:
They will come out of the graves with downcast eyes like an expanding swarm of locusts. (Surah Al Qamar 54:7) 
On that day all sovereignty will belong to Allah: He will judge between them; then those who have faith and do righteous deeds will be in gardens of bliss, (Surah Al Hajj chapter 22 , verse 56) 
And fear a Day when you will be returned to Allah . Then every soul will be compensated for what it earned, and they will not be treated unjustly. ( Surah Al Baqarah, chapter 2, verse 281) 
Do not these think that they shall be raised again, for a mighty day, the day on which men shall stand before the Lord of the worlds? (Surah Al Mutaffifin 83:4-6)
Verily We shall give life to the dead, and We record all that they send before and that they leave behind, and We have taken account of all things in a clear Book [of evidence]. (Surah Ya Seen, 36:12)
And to every soul will be paid in full of its deeds, and He knows best all that they do. (Surah Az Zumar 39:70)

The above four references amply make it clear that everyone who ever lived on this earth will be resurrected and questioned for one's deeds. And those whose deeds are heavier in good, will reside in Heavens forever. But those who lived their lives on earth in earthly leisure and pleasures and disregarded the message and commandments of Allah brought to them by their prophets, who were from among them, will be the losers for their final abode be the blazing fire of hell.

Thus if someone believes that Prophet Eesa (Jesus, may peace be upon him) would take away their sins no matter what they do on this earth are certainly misled, for every person will have to appear before Allah and be presented with one's dossier as has been mentioned above, and rewarded or punished accordingly.
When the earth is shaken with her utmost shaking, and the earth casts out all the burdens from within her, and man says, "What has befallen her?" On that Day shall she relate whatever had happened (on her), for your Lord shall have commanded her (to do so). On that day, men shall turn up in sundry groups to be shown their deeds. Then, whoever has done an atom's weight of good, shall see it; and whoever has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it. (Surah Az Zalzala (The Earthquake) 
Therefore my brothers and sisters from all faiths, prepare yourself for the day when you will be standing all alone in front of the almighty Allah and listening to your deeds. Do good now and evade evil as best as you can to have a positive and righteous dossier that would not fail you. Remember, the clock is moving very fast and one may never know when angel of death will beget one.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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