A conversation with a Muslim friend sharpened the meaning of salvation for me in relation to these worldview themes. I asked him for his views of salvation. This is his reply in full.
“Ah, well you see, there’s what we’re taught and what we know.” Somewhat bemused I asked, “And these are different?” “Oh yes” he said. “Let me explain.”
“You see they teach us that on the last day we all stand on the field of judgment before Allah. Then we are each judged with our good deeds on one side of the scales and our bad deeds on the other. If the good deeds outweigh the bad, then we’re allowed into heaven. If our bad deeds outweigh the good, then we go to hell. Maybe for just a while, but most people will stay there. That’s what we’re taught. … … … But no one believes that.” [He paused for effect, which was real for he was throwing out all that I thought was standard Islamic theology. Somewhat non- plussed I asked, “What do they believe then?”]
“Well, you see, it’s like this. On the last day we all stand on the field of judgment before Allah. Allah speaks and says ‘But before we begin. Muhammad. Come. Come here. This isn’t for you. Come stand beside me.’ So Muhammad goes and stands beside Allah. When he gets there, he turns and says ‘That’s my brother. Come brother. That’s my cousin, come! He’s mine, she’s mine and he’s mine.’ Muhammad calls out all those that are his. They then enter into heaven, and after that judgment for the rest starts.”
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