Oh, thank heaven. We are nearly done with this chapter! Not the book, mind, but this chapter which claims to teach people something about Islamic theology.
Good Deeds of Believers Rewarded?
surah an-Nisa 4:124 - "If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them."
surah at-Taubah 9:72 - "Allah hath promised to Believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah: that is the supreme felicity."
surah al-Kjahf 18:107 - "As to those who believe and work righteous deeds, they have, for their entertainment, the Gardens of Paradise,"
There's more, but I think that's enough to get the point. The author takes six such verses, which promise those who believe and who do good works heaven, and compares them to one verse, surah al-Mu'minum 23:102-3 - "Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy,- they will attain salvation: But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide."
Let me say this, first, though it has nothing to do with the authors point. I would think, looking at these verses, that it should put paid to the idea that Islam is a faith of salvation by works. Each verse mentions two things: faith and works. Not one without the other, but both. Together.
Moving on...the authors point is actually that, according to the last verse quoted, Muslims have no way of knowing whether or not they are saved. They won't know until they die and are judged whether or not they managed to do enough good deeds to win God's favor. Again, it's one of these things that I can see where she's coming from, but I'm not certain that that's exactly what the verse says. Perhaps I'm reading too much of a Christian interpretation into it, but, looking at the verse is it not possible that what is being said is that the lack of good deeds, or good works, is a sign that the person is not a Believer? That they, not *because* of their lack of good works, are not saved and that the lack of 'good fruit' is merely a sign of that?
She leans very heavily on the 'lack of assurance of salvation' in Islam and I really can't get behind that. Again and again, I run up against the problem that this point of view, that we can be assured of our salvation, is erroneous. No one knows that state of their own soul, let alone anyone elses'. Salvation is a process, not a one time thing.
Inhabitants of Paradise Will Feel No Sorrow
surah al-A'raf 7:42-43 - "But those who believe and work righteousness,- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear,- they will be Companions of the Garden, therein to dwell (for ever). And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury;- beneath them will be rivers flowing;- and they shall say: "Praise be to Allah, who hath guided us to this (felicity): never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah: indeed it was the truth, that the messengers of our Lord brought unto us." And they shall hear the cry: "Behold! the garden before you! Ye have been made its inheritors, for your deeds (of righteousness).""
Really, I'm just including this bit for completeness' sake. I've got nothing to say, and really neither does the author. Do you think we will feel pain or suffering or sadness in Heaven? No. We will be with God, with the angels and the saints and our loved ones. But most of all, we will be with God. How can you feel pain or suffering when you are in the presence of Love and Goodness?