Hereby the reciprocity of the relationship with God is expressed. Man cannot attain salvation through the grace of God alone nor through faith alone. What is necessary is the active response of the believing individual. The grace of God will be granted to him through faith and deeds: "But believers and doers of good works, for them is mercy, and a great reward!" (Qur'an). Thus salvation is achieved in a covenant between God and man. The concept of the covenant, which we know from the Old Testament and which is the principle of both Islam and the Baha'i Faith, means that on the one hand there is God's redemptive plan and on the other man's duty to submit to the will of God manifested in the revealed divine Law: "The essence of religion is to testify unto that which the Lord hath revealed, and follow that which He hath ordained in His mighty Book." To the Baha'i and the Muslim as to the Jew, the Law is no restraining chain, no "curse", but the basis of a life worthy of a human being. The aim of the Law is not.. to make man righteous before God, but to bring about an interrelation between God and man. It is "the necessary form for the accomplishment of the correlation between God and man". Man must fulfil the Law not in order to become righteous before God but in order to do God's will and thus to be made holy. The Law is given to men for their salvation, not their justification; and for the sanctification of mankind, not only the individual but also the whole of humanity. The universality of both Islam and the Baha'i Faith, their engagement in the things of this world and their rejection of any kind of ascetic escapism, are shown in their theocratic aims: the world is accepted, but not in its present form. On the contrary it must be transformed in accordance with the revealed divine Law. God's will must be carried out in all realms of life, especially on the social level. Both religions agree in their understanding that this sanctification of society cannot be brought about when only the individual treads the path of virtue. Both realize that from the social point of view objective measures of sanctification are necessary: the establishment of law. That is why in both, religious law and therefore justice occupy a high rank: "The Great Being saith: The structure of world stability and order hath been reared upon, and will continue to be sustained by, the twin pillars of reward and punishment". As forgiveness is one of the attributes of the Merciful One, so also justice is one of the attributes of the Lord. The tent of existence is upheld upon the pillar of justice, and not upon forgiveness." (116:2)

A further consequence of their being religions of law is that, in both, the moral act stands in the foreground. As important as right belief is right action, and more important than the dogmas are the ethics. Thus we read in the 'Qur'an': "There is no piety in turning your faces toward the east or the west, but he is pious who believeth in God, and the last day, and the angels, and the Scriptures, and the prophets; who for the love of God disburseth his wealth to his kindred, and to the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and those who ask, and for ransoming; who observeth prayer, and payeth the legal alms, and who is of those who are faithful to their engagements when they have engaged in them, and patient under ills and hardships, and in time of trouble: these are they who are just, and these are they who fear the Lord." And Baha'u'llah revealed these words: "O Son of My Handmaid! Guidance hath ever been given by words, and now it is given by deeds. Every one must show forth deeds that are pure and holy, for words are the property of all alike, whereas such deeds as these belong only to Our loved ones. Strive then with heart and soul to distinguish yourselves by your deeds. In this wise We counsel you in this holy and resplendent tablet." "The essence of faith is fewness of words and abundance of deeds; he whose words exceed his deeds, verily his death is better than his life." (119:1)

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The Light Shineth in Darkness
Udo Schaefer