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Sin, Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Love

Commonly, non-Muslims fail to understand the role of these important concepts in Islam.
Islam is accused of being very legalistic, without much concern for spiritual matters.

Christians commonly think that Islam teaches that we can earn forgiveness by our actions.
So, when compared to their concept of the Messiah dying for our forgiveness, they see Islam
as inferior.

In fact, Islam teaches that there can be no forgiveness, except through Allah’s (God’s) mercy.
Muhammad said “No one will attain salvation by virtue of his actions.” The people asked,
“not even you, Messenger of Allah?” He said “Not even me, unless Allah covers me with His
mercy and blessings.”

A person must repent to Allah, asking for His forgiveness. He knows all the while that it is
only by Allah’s grace that he may be guided to the truth and so be successful. He is filled
with gratitude and love for his Lord and so becomes closer to and loved by his Lord. He is in
awe of Allah’s mercy, which is hugely more grateful than the mercy a mother has for her
child. Allah even shows mercy to those who disbelieve in and hate Him and have no
gratitude for all that he gives them, yet he still continues to sustain them. They have much
pleasure in this life, but in the next they will be the losers.

“And of mankind are some who take others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them
as they love Allah, but the believers are love Allah more. If only those wrongdoers could see,
when they see the torment, that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in
punishment.” (Quran chapter 2, verse 165)

“If you love Allah, then follow me (i.e. Muhammad), Allah will love you and forgive your sins.
Allah is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran chapter 3, verse 31)

It was reported that the Prophet stayed up all night, standing until his feet became swollen.
When he was asked “Why are you doing this, when Allah has forgiven all your past and
future wrong actions?” he replied, “Should I not be a grateful worshipper?”

A Muslim’s following of the Shariah is not merely like a worker working to earn their wage.
Rather, it is an expression of his love and gratitude for Allah, and it stems from his trust in
Allah’s solutions being the best way to solve his problems.

“And march forth to forgiveness from your Lord and to paradise as wide as the heavens and
the earth, prepared for the pious.” (Quran chapter 3, verse 133)