Can a person bear the sins of another person? Christianity teaches a person can bear other people’s sins. Most Muslims believe that isn’t possible. But what does Islam really teach?
Bearing the Sins of Another Person According to the Quran
The Quran mentions bearing other people’s sins in several verses.
“. . . No bearer of burdens can bear of burdens of another. . .” (Qs 6:164).
“. . . No bearer of burdens can bear of burdens of another. . .” (Qs 17:15).
“And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another . . .” (Qs 35:18).
“. . . No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another . . .” (Qs 39:7).
It appears that the Quran is clear that a person can’t bear other people’s sins. But, if you read closely, you can see that in all those verses, there is a phrase “no bearer of burdens . . .” Why is it important?
The existence of this phrase means there is a possibility that if there’s a person who has no sin (burden), this person can bear the burdens or sins of other people. There is no verse in the Quran that eliminates this possibility. Please email us if you disagree.
Was there ever a sinless person?
The Prophets Sinned
We all have sinned, including the prophets.
“. . . if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers”(Qs 7:23).
“. . . Because you . . . ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,cursed is the ground because of you . . .”(Torah, Genesis 3:17).
“. . . And unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I will be among the losers” (Qs 11:47).
“When he[Noah]drank some of its wine, he became drunk . . .” (Torah, Genesis 9:21).
“Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established” (Qs 14:41).
“Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said, ‘What have you done to us . . . that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom?”(Torah, Genesis 20:9).
“He[Moses] said: “My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me. . .” (Qs 28:16).
“Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he[Moses]killed the Egyptian . . .”(Torah, Exodus 2:12).
“. . . he asked forgiveness of his Lord and fell down bowing [in prostration] and turned in repentance [to Allah ]” (Qs 38:24).
“Then David said . . . ‘I have sinned against the Lord . . .’”(2 Samuel 12:13).
Other prophets also sinned. Please email us if you believe the prophets were sinless.
What about Muhammad and Isa Al-Masih? Did they ever sin? We will answer in the next article.
QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION
We encourage our readers to comment on the article above. Comments that don’t directly relate to the topic will be removed. Please start a dialogue with us by focusing on the following questions:
- In your opinion, do our sins cause a heavy burden for us? Do you think you can carry that burden yourself?
- Is there a possibility that a person can bear the sins of another person? Please elaborate on your answer!
- In your opinion, is there any prophet who has never sinned, thus doesn’t need to ask for forgiveness from God? Please tell us more!
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