Greetings, friends. If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I was going through something of a spiritual crisis as regards my relationship with the religion of Islam. The crisis was caused as I read Surah 4:116, which says the following:
God does not forgive the worship of others beside Him — though He does forgive whoever He will for lesser sins — for whoever does this has gone far, far astray.Surah 4:116
I was terrified that because I used to worship Jesus as God, I had committed an unforgivable sin. However, I am encouraged today, largely thanks to reader of this blog Andrew Blair, who pointed out another scripture from the Qur’an to me:
Say, [‘God says], my servants who have harmed yourselves by your own excess, do not despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.Surah 39:53
Andrew rightly emphasised that God says He forgives ALL sins, and he also shared another scripture which is relevant:
Those people who say God is the third of three are defying [the truth]: there is only One God. If they do not stop what they are saying, a painful punishment will afflict those of them who persist. Why do they not turn to God and ask for His forgiveness, when God is most forgiving, most merciful?Surah 5:73-74
Soon after I read the Qur’an properly for the first time, I repented of my worship of Jesus. I had always struggled to understand the concept of the Trinity, but I went along with it, because that’s what the majority of Christians do. But I did repent. And again, today, I repented. So because of the two surahs I have quoted directly above, I have a renewed hope that I am accepted by God.
In yesterday’s post, I said “God is not a monster” and I do believe this. The Qur’an is a stern Scripture, but strongly emphasises that God is most forgiving and merciful to those who repent, do good deeds, and worship Him alone.
As a closing note, I wanted to highlight that my short book Discovering the Qur’an is available as an eBook and paperback. The book is based on the notes I made as I read Abdel Haleem’s translation of the Qur’an for the first time having come from a Christian background. If you’d like to read the book, you can click here to view its product page in my online store.
Better still, read Abdel Haleem’s translation of the Qur’an. It is truly wonderful.
Steven, if you don’t mind me asking, how do you personally reconcile the seemingly contradicting surahs? In one, God will not forgive those who worship other gods. In the other, God forgives ALL. How does one make these two passages coexist?
As for your reference to the Trinity, I do not believe humans are supposed to be able to comprehend the Trinity.
It demonstrates how God’s very state of being is beyond human understanding.
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I think it’s a very good question and one that I have been pondering myself a lot over the last couple of days. In other places in the Qur’an, God says that the disbelievers look to find discrepancies in the Qur’an, while believers accept it wholeheartedly. So I suppose I must accept that God, who is all-knowing, included all of these surahs intentionally. The Qur’an as a whole is so incredibly moving and powerful that I have no doubt it is a divine revelation. Maybe Surah 4:116 it is a warning intended to emphasise the severity of idolatry, as a kind of deterrent?
Regarding the Trinity, I understand that it can make sense from a certain perspective. This is why I describe myself as a philosopher rather than being wholly dedicated to one religion. Throughout my life God has made different perspectives make sense to me at different times. I suppose He has probably taken me on this spiritual journey because He wants me to be compassionate towards others who are passionate about their beliefs. I am a Muslim in the sense that the term means ‘submission to God alone’. But I believe my spiritual calling is in the domain of interfaith dialogue and interfaith understanding. So I don’t know everything, but I do have a love of truth, and it makes more sense to me personally that God is One rather than three. Especially because I don’t believe Jesus existed billions of years ago, whereas I believe God is eternal. I also believe God is simple and to me the Trinity makes God complex.
Perhaps it would be fair to say that if you view the Trinity as a mystery human beings cannot comprehend, perhaps you could also view the seemingly contradictory statements in the Qur’an as a mystery in a similar way?
God bless you and thank you for reading and commenting, I appreciate the discussion!
It is simply nonsense to think Christians worship God as the third of three. Jesus fully expresses the will of God in human form-so for humans God is approachable. The Holy Spirit expresses the direction of the will of God on earth; so we are made conscious how to act God’s will in the present. One God; three aspects.
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