This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. You can also find the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.Muhammad acknowledges that mankind is composed of a body and a soul. However, he has some interesting theories on the soul.
"It is He who recalls you [takes your soul] by night, and He knows what you work [what ye have merited] by day" (Koran 6:60)
"God takes the souls [unto Himself] at the time of their death, and that which has not died, in its sleep [and during their sleep those who do not die]; He withholds that against [restaineth] which He has decreed death, but looses the other [sendeth the others back] till a stated term [a time that is fixed]." (Koran 39:43)
Muhammad believed that, during the night, while one slept, their soul departed their body and returned to the Lord. Those who were appointed to die, God retained their souls, but those whose time had not yet come, He returned their souls to their bodies as they awoke. Some have taught that, in referring to a silver cord, Solomon was referring to a connection between the soul and body that kept the soul tethered to the body while it took flight at night. "Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; 7 then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7) I personally believe that such an interpretation is quite a stretch and not well born out by this scripture. Personally, I believe that James better understood the relation of the soul and body. "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (James 2:26) One could argue that James was referring to the spirit and not the soul leaving the body, but then we have two separate events to explain, the soul leaving and the spirit leaving. My personal beliefs, and one that I believe is founded and justified by the scriptures, is that when the soul leaves the body, the body is dead, not merely sleeping and awaiting the soul's return. David said, speaking of the resurrection of the dead, "For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay." (Psalms 16:10) No where in the Jewish scriptures are we instructed that the soul, when departing from the body, goes anywhere but Sheol, and never it is intimated that it departs except in death.
As to the make up of the soul, Muhammad teaches that God created it with the propensity for evil.
"Man was created of haste. Assuredly I shall show you My signs; so demand not that I make haste [desire them not to be hastened]." (Koran 21:38)
"Surely man was created fretful [Man truly is by creation hasty]" (Koran 70:19)
Man, by his very creation by God was created with flaws, weaknesses, and tendency to sin. His spirit is hasty; always running ahead of his reason, always disregarding the commands of God in favor of the commands of his flesh. Mankind runs into sin before they even realize what they are doing. As a result, mankind, from the very nature of their creation, is a pit of error and always in opposition to God.
"He created man of a sperm-drop [moist germ]; and, behold, he is a manifest adversary [an open caviller]." (Koran 16:4)
To "cavil" it to be complaining and to be constantly raising trivial, petty, and unnecessary objections to situations, commands, and conditions. This is how Muhammad believes that mankind was created. These traits, and the hastiness of his soul, are not the result of his fall into sin but are the results of how he was created by God. God created him this way; it was not the result of his own choices and sin. However, the Jewish scripture clearly tells us that what God created including mankind, was good and not flawed in any way. We are told that God created mankind in His own image; an image that is completely without flaws and weaknesses and an image that is full of light and one from which all darkness must flee. It was only when man disobeyed God that his soul started to change and sin entered in and worked a work of degradation both in his body and in his soul. Paul says of Adam, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12) We were not created with sin, but sin entered when Adam first disobeyed God and when we each, in our own ways, disobey God. We were created perfect, but sin has spoiled us. Fortunately, there is one who can take away our sin and restore our souls pure and whole before God. Paul goes on to say, "So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:18-19) Thanks be to God for sending His Son that we might be forgiven, redeemed, and set free from the power of sin!
More to come...