Short Answer: It is true that Islam does not accept inherited sin or punishment. Muslims do not accept the view that someone’s physical defect is a punishment given to him/her instead of their father. Islam teaches that the justice of God is all-pervading and that there is no question of His punishing one person for the sin of another.
Salam Dear Ebenezer,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
No Inherited Sin Punishment in Islam
It is true that Islam does not accept inherited sin or punishment.
Muslims do not accept the view that someone’s physical defect is a punishment given to him/her instead of their father.
Islam teaches that the justice of God is all-pervading and that there is no question of His punishing one person for the sin of another.
This fact is emphatically and categorically stated in the Quran, where God says what means:
Whoever chooses to follow the right path, follows it but for his own good; and whoever goes astray, goes but astray to his own loss; and no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another’s burden. Moreover. We would never punish (any community for the wrong they may do) ere We have sent an apostle (to them). (Quran 17:15)
To break it down, you get the benefit for whatever good you do and you get the punishment for whatever evil you do.
Nobody is made to carry the burden of another. This means that the sins of your father are not visited upon you.
God will not punish a person or community unless a messenger came to them earlier, warning them from the consequences of their evil deeds.
So Why Are Some Born With Defects?
Here you ask why God creates some people as eunuchs, dwarfs and cripples, etc.
The Noble Quran teaches clearly that this world is a testing ground for us.
God says that He will test us by good fortune and bad fortune to reward those who are best in deeds.
The Quran says what means:
He Who created death and life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in might, Oft-Forgiving. (Quran 67:2)
Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. (Quran 2:155)
On the basis of the above verses, Muslims view birth defects or calamities we face in life as opportunities to earn God’s pleasure.
We do so by being grateful to God when they are fortunate and by being patient when we are faced with misfortunes.
For instance, when we see a blind man, we become thankful to God for giving us sight. Furthermore, we try to help the blind man in his misfortune in whatever way we can.
This is how we strive to pass the test that Allah, the One and Only Creator of all of us, has set for us.
At the same time it is a test for the blind man too. He is patient about his blindness and strives as best as he can, to gain the reward he deserves from his God.
Unlike Christianity, Islam teaches us that it is we ourselves who have to earn Paradise by doing good; as it is not given gratis. Nor does God do the injustice of making an innocent person suffer for your sake while you are having fun.
In short, in Islam, Allah is a God of Perfect Justice.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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