Muslims today generally believe that they are the ‘chosen people’. This belief is completely alien to Islam. According to the true teachings of Islam, every man and woman is equal in the eyes of God. No one enjoys a special status. God’s blessings in this world are given to people to test them, regardless of their beliefs, race or sex. God’s blessings are given to people on the basis of merit, not on the basis of group or race.
This concept of the ‘chosen people’ is a phenomena of degenerated societies. This is just wishful thinking; it has no base in the religion revealed by God to Muhammad. Those who claim such special positions for themselves will be asked by God as to where they derived this notion from.
The Quran refutes this kind of thinking, and clearly says:
It is not your desires, nor the desires of the People of the Book, that shall prevail. Anyone who commits evil will be rewarded accordingly. He will not find any protector or patron for himself besides God.
(QURAN 4: 123)
This Quranic verse tells us without any ambiguity that those who do wrong will receive the results of their bad deeds, with no mention of any qualifying beliefs, race or sex. It is only merit that will determine who are the blessed and who are not. Salvation in the hereafter will be given to those who prove, in terms of their actions, that they are deserving candidates for it. These people are the ones described in the Bible as ‘rejected silver’ (Jeremiah, 6: 30).
The Quran is very clear about this. For example, the Quran says:
And that man shall have only that for which he strives.
(QURAN 53: 39)
Clearly, only the deeds of a person count before God. Every man and woman will be judged by Him according to this criterion. No self-invented criterion will be accepted in His court.
According to the Quran, salvation will not be awarded generally to any group, but on the basis of personal merit. This Quranic verse makes it very clear:
The believers, the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabaeans—all those who believe in God and the Last Day and do good deeds—will be rewarded by their Lord.
(QURAN 2: 62)
This verse of the Quran refers to four religious groups—the Muslims, the Jews, the Christians and the Sabaeans, and says that none of these groups will be awarded salvation as a whole. Salvation depends on every individual’s deeds. It is notable that in this verse, the Quran brackets Muslims in with other religious groups, denying them any special status.
There are many verses that make this point clear. For example, in another verse the Quran says:
Paradise is for those who purify their souls.
(QURAN 20: 76)
Again, there is no mention of qualifying beliefs, race, or sex.
Salvation in the hereafter will be given to those who prove to be deserving candidates for it. The fact is that God created men and women, and then He settled them on this planet and gave them complete freedom. We have different options—good behaviour or bad behaviour, negative responses or positive responses, adopting a disciplined way of life or living in indiscipline and anarchy, following the divine path or going astray. In all these situations, if we follow the right path, we purify our souls and if we deviate from the right path, we pollute ourselves.
This is the scheme of things set by God—those who purify their souls will be settled in paradise, and those who pollute their personality will go to the eternal Hellfire.
For more articles by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan in English, see www.spiritofislam.co.in and http://cpsglobal.org/books/mwk/english