One of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity is that sin is inherited. It is alleged that human beings are sinful by birth due to the sin committed by Adam (alayhi salaam) who ate from the tree made forbidden to him, which caused him to be expelled from Paradise. Although it’s interesting to note that within the Bible itself there are different versions of the same story and the accounts vary considerably. Nevertheless, this doctrine, known as the “Original Sin”, forms the very basis of the Christian faith as other important doctrines of the religion like incarnation, atonement and redemption are directly linked to it. If one were to reject the original sin it would lead to the rejection of the atonement and in turn Christianity itself. Because if human beings do not bear the sin of Adam in the first place then there would be no need for a sacrifice to atone for it.
Prophet Adam (as) is mentioned at various places in the Quran too. For instance, in Surah Ta-Ha verses 115-122, Allah ‘Azza Wa Jal mentions the creation of Adam, His Command to the angels to prostrate to Adam as a sign of honor and respect. The enmity of Iblis for the Children of Adam (his descendants, the entire human race) is also mentioned.
One important difference in Islam and Christianity is that Islam DOES NOT promote the Original Sin. Regarding the sin of Adam (as), the Quran tells us that he repented for his sin. Allah revealed to him words of repentance, which He then accepted from him and thus he was cleansed of the sin which he committed.
~فَتَلَقَّى ءَادَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ ~
“Then Adam received Words (of forgiveness) from his Lord, and He accepted his repentance. Verily, He is the One Who repeatedly accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.“ (Quran 2:37)
This verse tells us about two of the Divine Attributes of Allah, that of Forgiveness and Mercy.
~إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ~
“He is the One Who repeatedly accepts repentance, the Most Merciful” Meaning Allah forgives whoever regrets his error and returns to Him in repentance. This meaning is similar to Allah’s statements,
~أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ~
(Know they not that Allah accepts repentance from His servants) (9:104),
~وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءاً أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ~
(And whoever does evil or wrongs himself) (4:110) and
~وَمَن تَابَ وَعَمِلَ صَـلِحاً~
(And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds) (25:71).
The Ayat mentioned above, testify to the fact that Allah forgives the sins of whoever repents, demonstrating His kindness and mercy towards His creation and servants.
[Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
Therefore unlike Christianity that considers sin to be passed down from Adam to the rest of the creation and human nature to be sinful (which, if true, would’ve been quite unfair to be honest), Islam holds Adam (as) was forgiven by Allah and that sin is not inherited. Also that every individual is born in a state of spiritual purity, free from sin known as the fitra. Every person is equally capable of both good and evil. We’ve been created with free will, so it is only natural that we may fall into sin if we let ourselves be tempted by Satan. For this very reason it is important that we strive hard to stay away from temptations and work towards attaining the Pleasure of Allah. We are not expected to be perfect but that doesn’t mean we won’t be held accountable for our deeds.
~وَلاَ تَكْسِبُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ إِلاَّ عَلَيْهَا وَلاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى~
“..And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another…” (Quran 6:164)
I’ll address this in more detail in another post insha’Allah.
P.S: I was initially going to write on another topic, but it turned out that it was huge and there was a lot to read on it so this is kinda like a last minute thing. I’m travelling this week, but once I’m back I’ll make it up to you guys haha. Insha’Allah.