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Spring 1994 · Vol. 23 No. 1 · pp. 3–16 

Islam and Salvation: Some On-Site Observations

Response by Eberhard Troeger 23/1 (1994): 17–21.

Gordon Nickel

In teaching “A Christian Perspective on Islam” to pastors-in-training at the Church of Pakistan seminary in Karachi, I have tried to make the course more effective by sending out my students to do a bit of practical homework between lectures. I ask them to go find an “ordinary Muslim” and interview him (always male) on the theme of the next lecture. When the next theme is “Salvation from Sin,” it’s interesting to hear what my students bring back to class. Karachi Muslims answer the question on salvation in one of two ways. One way is to start out by saying that Islam is the true religion, the best religion, or the final religion which contains everything which Allah has ever revealed to the world. The message is that Islam has whatever you may want in the line of religion. The second way is to say that salvation is not a topic with which Islam really concerns itself.

All who confess the kalimah will eventually be saved. Interfaith conversation has led to Islam-produced apologetics.

In researching this article, I found that the two ways “ordinary Muslims” talk about Islam and salvation are fairly similar to the approaches of Islam’s scholars. Scholars tell us what salvation means to them, why it is important, and the way to achieve it. These expressions in turn help us to know what issues are at stake when Muslims and Christians come together in social contact and meaningful conversation. {4}

The best articles on the Muslim concept of salvation have probably already been written. Back in 1914 W. R. W. Gardner published The Qur’anic Doctrine of Salvation. 1 Edward Sell provided a concise article in 1920. 2 Then Roland Miller wrote “The Muslim Doctrine of Salvation,” 3 incorporating material from Gardner’s book and also from other helpful sources such as H. U. Weitbrecht Stanton’s The Teaching of the Qur’an 4 and J. W. Sweetman’s Islam and Christian Theology. 5

Miller’s summary contains a great deal of helpful material on the meaning of salvation and the “means of salvation” in Islam. The following observations are not as thorough as Miller’s, and are coloured by context and experience. My hope is that they may prove useful in Christian thinking about gospel witness to Muslims.


A good place to start a study of the concept of salvation in Islam is with the use of the verb naja (“to save”) and noun najat (“salvation”) in the Qur’an. Many scholars have noted that the word najat only appears once in the Qur’an (at 40:41). 6 Some have taken this as an indication of the importance of the concept of salvation in the Qur’an. But the use of the verb naja is more extensive and needs to be noted.

The verb naja occurs 62 times in various forms in the Qur’an with the meaning of to save or to escape. Most of these occurrences refer to events in the first part of the Pentateuch: 11 times to the deliverance of Moses and the Children of Israel from Pharoah 7; eight times to Noah’s escaping the flood (‘Great Calamity’) 8; eight times to Lot’s deliverance “from the town which practised abomination” 9; eight times to various Pentateuch characters 10 and five times to apostles in general and those who believed with them. 11

Of the remaining occurrences, seven references are to deliverance from dangers of sea and land, 12 and one from the ways of evil people (7:89). Finally, naja is used four times with reference to the future—all of them to the Day of Judgment (19:72; 39:61; 61:10-14; 70:14). And the one occurrence of the verb najat (40:41) also refers to the Day of Judgment.

It is these last five occurrences which have most to do with the Qur’anic concept of salvation. Because, in spite of the preponderance of its use in the Qur’an in association with Old Testament ‘salvation history’ events, “the idea which the term naja conveys to the Muslim mind is escape from future punishment in hell.” 13 Thus, “Allah will deliver (yunajji) the righteous to their place of salvation (mafa’z—see below); no evil shall touch them, nor shall they grieve” (39:62); and “Shall I lead you {5} to a bargain that will save you (tunjeekum) from a grievous penalty (adhaab aleem)?” (61:10)

The Qur’an fills out that concept of salvation not with the language of salvation, but rather with the language of achievement and success: fa’z (“to get possession of, gain, receive salvation, obtain one’s desires; to succeed”) and falah (“to prosper, be happy, attain one’s desires”) 14 The noun falah is an important part of the five-times-daily call to Muslim prayer (“Come ye unto the Good!”). The noun fauz is part of many of the most magnificent appeals of the Qur’an, for example: Those who obey Allah and His Apostle will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath, to abide therein, and that will be the Supreme achievement (al fauz ul azeem). But those who disobey Allah and His Apostle and transgress his limits will be admitted to a Fire, to abide therein: and they shall have a humiliating punishment (adhaab muheen) (4:13,14) 15

Another important word in the Qur’anic concept is the “guidance” (huda) which Allah provides, as when he promises to Adam, “If, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” (2:38). 16 One could also study words like forgiveness, repentance, submission, worship, faith or religion for their relationship to the Qur’anic concept.

All this amounts to a substantial body of material related to salvation. However, other than the use of naja detailed above, there is not a strong sense in the Qur’an of Allah actively saving people from something. And the reader does not get the impression that Allah—or anyone else—is the Saviour. Indeed, the term “saviour” is not found in the Qur’an.


In spite of the lack of a strong concept of active saving in the Qur’an, it would be fair to say that most Muslims think of Islam as the way to salvation and the only way. They also live with a concept of a saviour or saviours. In this and the following two sections I would like to touch on a few of the relevant facts in this situation.

In explaining Islam as the way of salvation, Muslims speak of both faith and works. The Qur’an itself uses these terms: “Those who believe (manooa) and work (‘amilooa) righteousness. . . . they will be Companions of the Garden” (7:42; cf. 18:30,31). But in developing the concept further, scholars have made use primarily of the “traditions” (ahaadeeth)—the words which Muhammad is reported to have said during his career in Mecca and Medina, Arabia in the early seventh century A.D. 17

Wensinck traces the development of the ‘works’ concept from traditions which have Muhammad basing salvation on performing the mandatory {6} prayer (salat) and paying the tax (zakat), through traditions which specify five salats daily and add the fast of Ramadan. But he also finds traditions which put the emphasis on faith. 18 The way of salvation based on faith and works is set out by Muslims in familiar lists of Islamic doctrines and duties. This is basically how most local Muslims spoke in interviews. This is also the just of most of the books which we found when we asked for books on salvation in Islamic bookshops and publishing houses. 19

At the center of Muslim faith is the confession or kalimah that there is no God except Allah, and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of this requirement. In Islam there is no conception of salvation without the acceptance of the second part of the confession. Many Muslims hold that no matter how poor the performance may be in the area of “deeds,” all who confess the kalimah will be saved eventually—though they may have to suffer the pains of purgatorial fire until their sins are “atoned for.” 20

In speaking of works, Muslims most commonly cite the familiar five ‘pillars’: saying the kalimah; salat; zakat; fasting; and performing pilgrimage (haj). These in turn form part of a larger, virtually comprehensive system of Islamic law. Abul A’la Maududi, who is at the heart of the Jamaat-e-Islami movement, writes in one of the world’s most popular Islamic books: “Man must have full confidence and conviction that it is the Divine Law and that his salvation lies in following this code alone.” 21

Another popular ‘lay movement,’ Tableeghi Jamaat, is fueled by the writings of Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalvi, which extol the “virtues of works.” Typically, his treatise on the virtues of salat cites traditions in which Muhammad promises forgiveness of sins, expiation, and “protection against Allah’s wrath” for performing the prayer. 22

Another common ‘good work’ of Muslims is “calling down blessing” upon Muhammad. This practice is commanded only once in the Qur’an, at 33:56: “Allah and His Angels send blessing on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessing on him, and salute him with all respect.” But at some point it became an obligatory part of the salat, and was reinforced by traditions which promised great rewards for its performance. 23 Thus today, the most common sign on the streets of Karachi is an Arabic prayer addressed to Muhammad: “Peace and blessings be upon you, O Apostle of Allah.” Constance Padwick calls this tasliya the commonest of phrases on Muslim lips; the commonest of phrases in Muslim books, where some form of it follows every mention of the Prophet of Islam . . . ; the commonest of phrases in Muslim devotion, whether it be as the sole and sufficing subject of whole books, or whether it be as the sudden conclusion applied to prayers and praises of the most various character. {7} 24


The discussion within Islam of the way in which faith and works will be evaluated on the Judgment Day has developed into an elaborate eschatology of rewards and punishments. 25 Muslims typically speak of the Judgment Day in the language of merit (thawaab) and reckoning (hisaab). There is the strong anticipation of an exact accounting in which good deeds will be weighed off against bad deeds on a scale. One Muslim scholar, after completing a thesis on the character of Allah in the Qur’an, wrote, “The God of the Qur’an is consistently the vigilant Lord of strict justice who will not overlook the weight even of an atom when reckoning human deeds for reward and punishment on the Judgment Day.” 26 On the basis of the Qur’anic materials, 27 the larger concept of the Judgment Day has been filled out with thousands of traditions which tell of the relative merit of religious duties.

Other scholars, however, deny that Islam is a strict religion of law, 28 arguing that in Islam salvation and everything else is conceived of as finally according to the will of Allah. 29 Allah’s will is supreme, and there can be no certainty about the way things will turn out—no matter how good the faith and works of the individual. Encouraged by this perhaps, many entertain the hope—supported again by traditions 30—that God will by his own mercy decide against a strict reckoning and will rather forgive sins. The other dimension of the discussion which goes beyond a strict reckoning is the widespread hope in the intercession of Muhammad. A popular tradition teaches that on the Day of Judgment, the people will stand on the plain and ask “who will intercede with us before the Lord?” They go in turn to Adam, Moses and Abraham, who all say that they themselves have sinned, stand in need of salvation and thus cannot intercede for others. They go to ‘Isa (Jesus), but he says he is afraid of Allah’s wrath because people have called him Allah’s son. Finally the people reach Muhhammad. Muhammad is allowed to intercede for his people, and Allah grants his request. 31

The Qur’an itself seems to prohibit this kind of thinking in several passages, 32 but other verses leave the door open for the intercession of “him who is approved” (21:28). 33 Muslims are not agreed on this point, but all pray five times daily that Allah grant to Muhammad the rights of intercession (shafa’at) and mediation (waseelat). 34 And many Muslims are confident that he has obtained the position of central influence on the Judgment Day. 35 Many, in fact, call Muhammad Munjin or Munajji—participles from the root naja having the sense of saviourhood. {8} 36


An aspect of salvation which is usually neglected in the standard discussions, but is now rapidly coming into prominence, is "everyday salvation" from forces experienced as beyond the control of the ordinary Muslim. These forces include illness, curses, activity by evil spirits or "jinn," and—interestingly—fate itself. This whole field of concern has been set out in a responsible and very accessible way by Bill Musk in The Unseen Face of Islam. 37 “Unseen” it may be to some eyes, but as Musk points out, and as experience confirms, it is virtually ubiquitous in the Muslim world.

Muslims seek salvation from various forces by going to people within Muslim society who are skilled in practicing occult arts. The practitioners use various techniques, including amulets, spells, magic squares, palmistry and exorcism to bring about felt-need-level salvation. If fact, it is the Urdu word nijaat which a local ‘spiritual healer’ uses on his signboard. The most powerful of these practitioners, wielding enormous influence in wide areas of the Muslim world, are the Pirs and Sayyids. In our contacts, we have to take this aspect quite seriously, because many of our friends think of salvation in terms of these practitioners and (after their death) their tombs. 38


In addition to all the positive conceptions described above, Muslim thinking on salvation is sometimes also expressed in terms of what it is not. The roots of this are the Qur’an’s own guidance on genuine and false religion, on true and illusory hopes. In the past 150 years the public preaching of Christian missionaries in Muslim settings has drawn a response to gospel claims, especially in the Indian subcontinent.

The Qur’an, as mentioned above, seems to forbid any idea of an intercessor or mediator between Allah and humankind. 39 It leaves no room for atonement. It claims that no soul can bear the load of another. 40 And, most crucial of all, it says that the Jews did not crucify Isa, but rather it only appeared so to them and in reality Isa was “taken up” alive by Allah (4:157-159). Taken together, these denials have fostered an Islamic consensus against Christ’s death at the Cross, which Kenneth Cragg summarizes, “It did not, historically, it need not redemptively, and it should not morally, happen to Jesus.” 41

Such denials appear with increasing frequency in inter-faith conversation. In response to a Mennonite professor’s careful presentation of the meaning of salvation in the Bible, an African scholar said, “Islam does not identify with the Christian conviction that man needs to be redeemed. The {9} Christian belief in the redemptive sacrificial death of Christ does not fit the Islamic view that man has always been fundamentally good, and that God loves and forgives those who obey His will.” 42

On another occasion of inter-faith conversation, Isma’il al-Faruqi stated: Assuming all men necessarily to be “fallen,” to stand in the predicament of “original sin,” of “alienation from God,” of self-contradiction, self-centeredness, or of “falling short of the perfection of God,” Christian mission seeks to ransom and save. Islam holds man to be not in need of any salvation. Instead of assuming him to be religiously and ethically fallen, Islamic da‘wah acclaims him as the khaltfah of Allah, perfect in form, and endowed with all that is necessary to fulfill the divine will indeed, even loaded with the grace of revelation! “Salvation” is hence not in the vocabulary of Islam. Falah, or the positive achievement in space and time of the divine will, is the Islamic counterpart of Christian “deliverance” and “redemption.” 43

Austrian convert Muhammad Asad claims, “As there is no hereditary sin, there is also no universal redemption of mankind in the teaching of Islam. Redemption and damnation are individual. Every Muslim is his own redeemer; he bears all possibilities of spiritual success and failure within his heart.” 44

These statements are representative of Muslims who have been participating in inter-faith conversation and who have been producing some of the most widely-read apologies for Islam in the West. 45 They demonstrate that even in the polite setting of Muslim-Christian "dialogue," the biblical teaching on salvation is a stumbling block which elicits denials with an intriguing edge to them.


From among scores of questions which have come to me in the course of this research, I would like to present just a few.

• What does the saving requirement of "faith in Muhammad"—and all that this has come to signify for Muslims—mean for concerns of ultimate loyalty, worship and truth? Many scholars have concluded that faith is the essential means to salvation in Islam. 46 A central article of that faith is the prophethood of Muhammad. What does this veneration mean in terms of the first commandment? What is it in the light of Romans 10:19? Does it have any connection to Matthew 7:15?

• What does the use of the verb naja in the Qur’an mean for the career of Christ, in particular his suffering, obedience and redemptive death? We read there that Allah always saves his prophets from disaster, and that it is fitting that he should do so (10:103). This concept has had its impact on {10} Muslim thinking about the way God works, and particularly on the possibility of Christ’s death. Thus Fazlur Rahman states:

It is because of this basic line of thought concerning the final victory of good over evil that the Qur’an refers constantly to the vindication of Noah, who was saved from the flood; of Abraham, who was saved from fire; of Moses, who was saved from Pharoah and his hordes; and of Jesus, who was saved from execution at the hands of the Jews (hence the rejection by the Qur’an of the crucifixion story). Muhammad must equally be vindicated: he will not only be saved but his Message will be victorious. . . .” 47

Is this indeed how God works?

• What does the use of the verb naja mean for non-resistance and unconditional love? The context of the Qur’an’s most elaborate promise using this verb (61:10) is the condition of striving (jihad) “in the Cause of Allah, with your property and your persons” (61:11). It is followed by the claim that Jesus and his disciples did the same! They “became the ones that prevailed” when Allah gave “power . . . against their enemies” (61:14).

Certainly the subject of fighting in the way of Allah (the unambiguous qatal is used in many other passages) 48 and its connection in the Muslim mind with salvation or at least with ‘victory,’ is a subject which Peace Church missions to Islam will want to address. Kenneth Cragg and Bill Musk have made a start on behalf of the Church of England. 49 Have Anabaptists yet made a contribution?

• Does the way in which Islam conceives of sin and salvation show that it has come to grips with the human situation and the position of humankind before God? Hendrick Kraemer, the great Dutch professor of religion, found something missing:

There is hardly any surmise, either in the Quran or in its standard theologies, about the stirring problems of God and man that are involved in the terms sin and salvation. The whole drama of salvation between God and the world, so vivid in Biblical realism, from which Islam, historically speaking, is an offshoot, is entirely absent. 50

Kenneth Cragg, who some would say takes a quite different approach to Islam than does Kraemer, 51 likewise persists on the theme of salvation. Arguably the Christian Islamics scholar who has struggled hardest to understand what Muslims believe and to share Christian beliefs in Muslim terms, Cragg has summarized his central thrust in a trio of chapters in Jesus and the Muslim 52 on how “God in Christ” has acted to save humanity through the Cross. His burden for Muslims there is that they gain a true measure of the sinfulness of humankind and an appreciation for the radical remedy that God has provided out of his “suffering love” character. 53

At the end I return to my pastors-in-training and “ordinary” Muslims, and in particular to my assistant in this research, Mr. Nasir Masih. Nasir {11} is a schoolteacher with six children who came to seminary to train for ministry. Next year, at the end of four years of quite excellent Bible study, he will likely begin a busy and difficult church ministry at less than $100 a month.

When we think about issues of inter-faith, such as in the present paper, we might ask where such issues actually meet reality. Is it in the comfortable office of the western scholar? Is it in the encounters of the expatriot missionary who goes and comes as circumstances and missions giving allow? Is it not rather in the ministry of the national Christian leader who has to live in the midst of Muslims and speak for the faith from day to day—and to encourage the sheep of the Good Shepherd who are often denied their hope in him?

When Nasir was interviewing a Karachi Muslim on the subject of salvation, he ventured to ask, “If Allah forgives sins simply by his will, where then is the element of justice?” The interviewee immediately lashed out: “You are silly people in faith. Allah is not like a man. He can do what he wants. You have changed your religious books and your thinking is wrong.” Please pray for such as these.


  • ‘Abdul Rehman Shad, compiler, Key to Salvation. Lahore: Kazi Publications, 1988. Anderson, Norman. Islam in the Modern World. Leicester: Apollos, 1990.
  • Bell, Richard. Introduction to the Qur’an. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1953.
  • Cragg, Kenneth. The Call of the Minaret. New York: Oxford University Press, 1956.
  • ———. Jesus and the Muslim: An Exploration. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1985.
  • ———. Muhammad and the Christian: A Question of Response. New York: Orbis, 1984.
  • ———. “Prepositions and Salvation.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research Vol. 17, No.1, January 1993, pp. 2-3.
  • Daud Rahbar. “A Letter to Christian and Muslim Friends.” Hartford, Conn.: published privately, 1960.
  • al-Faruqi, Isma‘il. “On the Nature of Islamic Da‘wah” International Review of Mission Vol. LXV No. 260, October 1976, pp. 391-400.
  • Flugel, Gustav. Concordance of the Koran. Karachi: Rahim Brothers, 1979 (reprint of Leipzig 1898 edition).
  • Gardner, W.R.W. The Qur’anic Doctrine of Salvation. Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1914.
  • Hastings, James, ed. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1920.
  • Hughes, Thomas Patrick. A Dictionary of Islam. London: W.H. Allen & Co., 1885.
  • Jeffery, Arthur, ed. Islam: Muhammad and his Religion. New York: The Liberal Arts Press. 1958.
  • Jones, L. Bevan. The People of the Mosque. Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1959.
  • Jones, Richard J. “Wilfred Cantwell Smith and Kenneth Cragg on Islam as a Way of Salvation.” IBMR Vol. 16, No. 3, July 1992, pp. 105-110.
  • Kateregga, Badru D., and David W. Shenk. Islam and Christianity: A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980.
  • Khurshid Ahmad, ed. Islam: Its Meaning and Message. Leicester: The Islamic Foundation, 1976 (second edition).
  • Knietschke, W. “The Koran Doctrine of Redemption.” The Moslem World Vol. II, No. 1, January 1912, pp. 60-65.
  • Lewis, P. Pirs, Shrines and Pakistani Islam. Rawalpindi: Christian Study Centre, 1985.
  • MacDonald, Duncan B. Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1926.
  • ———. The Religious Attitude and Life in Islam. Beirut: Khayats, 1965 (reprint of 1909 edition).
  • Maududi, Abul Ala. Towards Understanding Islam. Lahore: Islamic Publications, 1960.
  • Miller, Roland. “The Muslim Doctrine of Salvation” The Bulletin of the Henry Martyn Institute of Islamic Studies ILIX No. 1, July-Sept. 1960, pp. 33-55; ILIX No. 2, Oct.-Dec. 1960 {13}, pp. 10-27. Reprinted in The Bulletin of Christian Institutes of Islamic Studies III No. 1-4, Jan-Dec. 1980, pp. 142-193.
  • Muhammad Abul Quasem. Salvation of the Soul and Islamic Devotions. London: Kegan Paul International, 1983.
  • Muhammad ‘Imran. Preparation for the Hereafter. Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1991.
  • Muhammad Kifayatullah. Lessons in Islam. trans. Sabihuddin Ahmed Ansari. Karachi: Darul Ishaat, n.d.
  • Muhammad Manzoor Naomani. What Islam Is? trans. Muhammad Asif Kidwai. Karachi: Darul Ishaat, n.d.
  • Muhammad Shafi. Salvation of Muslims, or Atonement of sins. (Urdu) Karachi: Darul Ishaat, 1367 Hijri.
  • Muhammad Taqi Usmani. Do the Mandatory Prayer Properly. (Urdu) Karachi: Darul Ishaat, n.d.
  • ———. Easy Pieties. (Urdu) Karachi: Darul Ishaat, 1412 H.
  • Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalvi. Faza’il-e-A‘maal. trans. Abdul Rashid Arshad. Lahore: Kutub Khana Faizi, n.d.
  • Musk, Bill. The Unseen Face of Islam. Eastbourne: MARC, 1989.
  • Nazir-Ali, Michael. Frontiers in Muslim-Christian Encounter. Oxford: Regnum, 1987.
  • Padwick, Constance E. Muslim Devotions: A Study of Prayer-Manuals in Common Use. London: S.P.C.K., 1961.
  • Pastner, Stephen L., “Power and Pirs Among the Pakistani Baluch” Journal of Asian and African Studies XIII, 3-4, July-October 1978, pp. 232-243.
  • Penrice, John. A Dictionary and Glossary of the Koran. Karachi: Rahim Brothers, 1987, reprint of Italian edition, 1898.
  • Raheemson, M. O. “Sin: An Islamic Perspective.” The Muslim World League Journal Vol. 19. Nos. 1 & 2. July/August 1991.
  • Rahman, Fazlur. Major Themes of the Qur’an. Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1980.
  • Sale, George, trans. The Koran. London: Frederick Warne and Co., (first appeared) 1734.
  • Seale, M. S. Qur’an and Bible: Studies in Interpretation and Dialogue. London: Croom Helm, 1978.
  • Stanton, H. U. Weitbrecht. The Teaching of the Qur’an. London: Central Board of Missions and Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1919.
  • Stem, MS. Al-Ghazzali on Repentance. Lahore: Vanguard, 1990.
  • Sweetman, J. Windrow. Islam and Christian Theology: A Study of the Interpretation of Theological Ideas in the Two Religions. London: Lutterworth, 1955.
  • Wensinck, A.J. The Muslim Creed: Its Genesis and Historical Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932.
  • Woodberry, J. Dudley. “Different Diagnoses of the Human Condition.” Muslims and Christians on the Emmaus Road. Monrovia, CA: MARC, 1989, pp. 149-160.
  • Zwemer, Samuel M. “The Stumbling Block of the Cross.” MW Vol. III, No. 2, April 1913, pp. 147-158. {14}


  1. Madras: Christian Literature Society, 1914.
  2. "Salvation (Muslim)” Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. ed. James Hastings (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1920), vol. XI, pp. 148-149.
  3. The Bulletin of the Henry Martyn Institute of Islamic Studies ILIX No. 1, July-Sept. 1960, pp. 33-55; ILIX No. 2, Oct-Dec. 1960, pp. 10-27. Reprinted in The Bulletin of Christian Institutes of Islamic Studies III No. 1-4, Jan-Dec. 1980, pp. 142-193.
  4. London: Central Board of Missions and Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1919.
  5. London: Lutterworth, 1955 (Part one, Vol. II).
  6. cf. Norman Anderson, Islam in the Modern World. (Leicester: Apollos, 1990), p. 216; L. Bevan Jones, The People of the Mosque. (Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1959), p. 280; Thomas Patrick Hughes, A Dictionary of Islam. (London: W.H. Allen & Co., 1885), p. 564. References to the Qur’an are to chapter (sura) and verse (ayat) in Abdullah Yusuf Ali, trans., An English Interpretation of The Holy Qur’an. (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1992).
  7. Qur’an 2:49, 50; 7:141 (x2); 10:86, 92; 14:6; 20:80; 26:66; 37:115; 44:30.
  8. Q. 7:64; 10:73; 21:76; 23:28; 26:118, 119; 29:15; 37:76.
  9. Q. 7:83; 21:74; 26:169, 170; 27:57; 29:32; 37:134; 54:34.
  10. Moses 20:40; 28:21, 25; Abraham 21:71, 29:24; Joseph’s cellmate 12:42,45; Pharoah’s wife(!) 66:11.
  11. Q. 10:103; 11:116; 12:110; 21:9; 41:17.
  12. Q. 6:63, 64; 10:22,23; 17:63, 29:65; 31:31.
  13. Sell, p. 149.
  14. Cf. Muhammad Abul Quasem, Salvation of the Soul and Islamic Devotions. (London: Kegan Paul International, 1983), p. 20; and Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’an (Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1980), p. 63. Kenneth Cragg explains ‘falah’ in The Call of the Minaret. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956), p. 140f.
  15. cf. Q. 9:111; 33:71.
  16. cf. Q. 2:26; 28:56; 61:5; 18:28; 81:27-29; Sell, pp. 148-9.
  17. These traditions, which came to number hundreds of thousands, were collected and organized more than two hundred years after Muhammad’s death, and six collections have been accepted as standard. Most Muslims grant an authority to these traditions approaching or equaling the authority of the Qur’an itself.
  18. A.J. Wensinck, The Muslim Creed: Its Genesis and Historical Development. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932), pp. 20, 21, 46.
  19. Muhammad Shafi, Salvation of Muslims, or Atonement of Sins. (Urdu) (Karachi: Darul Ishaat, 1367 Hijri). Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Easy Pieties. (Urdu) (Karachi: Darul Ishaat, 1412 H.). Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Do the Mandatory Prayer Properly. (Urdu) (Karachi: Darul Ishaat, n.d.). Muhammad Manzoor Naomani, What Islam Is? trans. Muhammad Asif Kidwai (Karachi: Darul Ishaat, n.d.). Muhammad Kifayatullah, Lessons in Islam. trans. Sabihuddin Ahmed Ansari (Karachi: Darul Ishaat, nd.). ‘Abdul Rehman Shad, compiler, Key to Salvation. (Lahore: Kazi Publications, 1988).
  20. Hughes, p. 564. {15}
  21. Abul A’la Maududi, Towards Understanding Islam. trans. Khurshid Ahmad (Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd, 1960), p. 21. Italics are the translator’s.
  22. Faza’il-e-A‘maal. trans. Abdul Rashid Arshad (Lahore: Kutub Khana Faizi, n.d.), pp. 403-424. For a very accessible presentation of this whole theme, see Muhammad Abul Quasem’s Salvation of the Soul and Islamic Devotions. (London: Kegan Paul International, 1983).
  23. Constance E. Padwick, Muslim Devotions: A Study of Prayer-Manuals in Common Use. (London: S.P.C.K., 1961), pp. 159f.
  24. Padwick, p. 152. A good—and very popular—example of a "whole book" on the virtues of tasliya is the Dala’ilu ’l-khairat of al-Jazuli (Karkhana Tajaret-e-Kutub, n.d.). For a fascinating "academic" treatment of this and other aspects of Muhammad worship, read Annemarie Schimmel’s And Muhammad is His Messenger. (Lahore: Vanguard, 1987).
  25. An early summary is in George Sale’s “Preliminary Discourse” to his translation of The Koran. (London: Frederick Wane and Co., n.d., first appeared 1734), pp. 59-80.
  26. Daud Rahbar, “A Letter to Christian and Muslim Friends,” privately published, 1960; cf. Anderson, pp. 220, 221. Daud Rahbar’s Cambridge University thesis is titled God of Justice.
  27. Summarized in H. U. Weitbrecht Stanton, pp. 51-55.
  28. Cf. Jens Christensen, The Practical Approach to Muslims. (Marseille, 1979), chapter 21.
  29. Miller develops this point solidly from Qur’an, traditions and later Muslim theology, pp. 146-154.
  30. Miller, pp. 161f.
  31. Ibn Abi Al Az Al Hanfi, Islamic Beliefs. (Urdu) trans. Sadiq KhaIil (Faisalabad: Zia ul Sunta, 1985), p. 307f., from the collections of both Bukhari and Muslim.
  32. Q. 2:48, 123, 254; 7:53; 26:10; 74:48.
  33. also 2:255; 10:3; 20: 109; 34:23; 43:86.
  34. Abdur Rahman Tariq, Namaz with English Translation. (Lahore: Seraj Co., 1957), p. 35.
  35. Padwick, p. 41. Cf. ‘Ali al-Qari’s Daw’al-Ma’ali (Constantinople, 1876), in Islam: Muhammad and His Religion. ed. and trans. Arthur Jeffery (New York: The Liberal Arts Press, 1958), p. 42.
  36. Michael Nazir-Ali, Frontiers in Muslim Christian Encounter. (Oxford: Regnum, 1987), pp. 135. These titles are found in lists of Muhammad’s names, for example the 201 of the Leeds Arabic MS 12 and the list in Dala’il Al-Khairat, pp. 33-39. Arne Rudvin has made the case that such lists are popular, ancient, and invite comparison to the divine names, “A supplementary note to ‘A list of the Appellations of the Prophet Muhammad,’ ” Muslim World LXVIII, No. 1, 1978, p. 57f.
  37. (Eastbourne: MARC, 1989). The subject is not, however, new for Christian writers: see for example Duncan Black Macdonald, The Religious Attitude and Life in Islam. (Beirut: Khayats, 1965 reprint of 1909 edition); and Bess Allen Donaldson, The Wild Rue: A Study of Muhammadan Magic and Folklore in Iran. (London: Luzac and Co., 1938). {16}
  38. Stephen L. Pastner, “Power and Pirs Among the Pakistani Baluch” Journal of Asian and African Studies XIII, 3-4, July-October 1978, pp. 232-243. P. Lewis, Pirs, Shrines and Pakistani Islam. (Rawalpindi: Christian Study Centre, 1985). For an idea of what this means for disciple-making, see Arthur Glasser, “Power Encounter in Conversion From Islam,” The Gospel and Islam: A 1978 Compendium. ed. Don. M. McCurry (Monrovia, CA: MARC, 1979), pp. 129-139.
  39. See footnote #31.
  40. Q. 2:286; 6:164: 35:18; 39:7.
  41. Jesus and the Muslim: An Exploration. (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1985), p. 178.
  42. Badru D. Kateregga and David W. Shenk, Islam and Christianity: A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), p. 141; cf. pp. 107-108.
  43. Isma‘il al-Faruqi, “On the Nature of Islamic Da’wah” International Review of Mission Vol. LXV No. 260, Oct. 1976, p. 399.
  44. Muhammad Asad, “The Spirit of Islam” in Islam—its Meaning and Message, ed. Khurshid Ahmad (Leicester: Islamic Foundation, 1993), p. 53.
  45. See also Muhammad Abul Quasem, p. 30; Fazlur Rahman, op. cit. p. 63; and Khurshid Ahmad, at the time Director General of the Islamic Foundation, Leicester, in the discussion, IRM Vol. LXV No. 260, October 1976, p. 400.
  46. Miller, p. 189; Wensinck, p. 49; Sell, p. 149; cf. M. S. Stern, Al-Ghazzali on Repentance. (Lahore: Vanguard, 1990), p. 21.
  47. Fazlur Rahman, op. cit., p. 87; cf. Badru D. Kateregga, p. 140.
  48. Another angle which could be checked here is the use of the word furqaan, which some translators render “salvation.” Richard Bell links it with the military victory at the Battle of Badr: Introduction to the Qur’an (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1953), pp. 136-138.
  49. Kenneth Cragg, Muhammad and the Christian. (New York: Orbis, 1984); Bill A. Musk, Passionate Believing: The ‘fundamentalist’ face of Islam. (Tunbridge Wells: Monarch, 1992), see esp. pp. 215-222.
  50. Hendrik Kraemer, The Christian Message in a Non-Christian World. (Grand Rapids: Kregel, reprint of 1938 edition), p. 218. Other scholars who have expressed this feeling are W. Knietschke, “The Koran Doctrine of Redemption” MW Vol. II, No. 1, Jan. 1912, p. 64; and Edward Sell, p. 149.
  51. Nazir-Ali, Frontiers. pp. 18-22.
  52. Muhammed and the Christian pp. 125-209.
  53. I have found Cragg’s presentation very helpful personally, and feel that it must be taken into account in any Anabaptist response to Islam—especially because it is more Anabaptist than some prominent Mennonite statements! I was thus sorry to see Cragg’s views on Islam and salvation bounced around like some inter-faith football by Richard J. Jones in “Wilfred Cantwell Smith and Kenneth Cragg on Islam as a Way of Salvation” International Bulletin of Missionary Research Vol. 16, No. 3, July 1992, pp. 105-110. But see Cragg’s reply, “Prepositions and Salvation” IBMR Vol. 17, No. 1, Jan. 1993, pp. 2-3.
Gordon Nickel teaches at the Church of Pakistan Seminary in Karachi, Pakistan, under the sponsorship of Mennonite Brethren Missions and Services.

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