We come again today to what I would call the religiously “generous” side of Islam.  Yesterday there was judgment.  Tomorrow it may come again.  But today Islam is kind, even welcoming, to the People of the Book (Jews and Christians).  A little unpredictable if you ask me.  But it keeps it interesting!

We have seen it before (see this post), Islam sees itself as the next natural development of the strict monotheism found in pure Judaism and Christianity (without the “Jesus as God” stuff later Christians insert into the true Gospel).  The Qur’an “confirms” the early Scriptures and now is a “final authority over them” (5:48).  As long as a Jew or a Christian is living in this stream of “total devotion” and “mindfulness to God,” he or she is a true believer, even if their label does not say “Muslim.”

We [God] have assigned a law and a path to each of you.  If God so willed, He would have made you one community, but He wanted to test you through that which He has given you, so race to do good:  you will all return to God and He will make clear to you the matters you differed about. (5:48)

Different paths, but that is okay, if we all are doing “good.” 

If only the People of the Book would believe and be mindful of God, We [God] would take away their sins and bring them into the Gardens of Delight.  If they had upheld the Torah and the Gospel and what was sent down to them from their Lord, they would have been given abundance from above and from below; some of them are on the right course, but many of them — how evil is what they do! (5:65-66)

Some are going in the right direction, those who truly believe, those who fear God and show it in a virtuous life.

For the [Muslim] believers, the Jews, the Sabians [another small monotheistic group of Semitic people from the Middle East], and the Christians — those who believe in God and the Last Day and do good deeds — there is no fear: they will not grieve. (5:69)

It is not the label that matters.  Belief and obedience determine true devotion.  True believers are known by their fruit not the name of their faith.  It seems the Qur’an is willing to see more than one path leading to God.

Tune in tomorrow to see if that changes!

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