Will keeping the Five Pillars of Islam get me to heaven/Paradise?

Muslims are taught that to enter Paradise, they must faithfully abstain from sin and keep the Five Pillars of Islam. Will keeping the Five Pillars get a person into Paradise?

According to the Qur'an, the answer is no. Salvation is never guaranteed outside of jihad and martyrdom (Sura 3:157). According to Sura 5:57, Allah saves only those he wishes to save. Though living the Five Pillars is vital to Muslim belief and practice (Sura 2:277), salvation is based on scales of doing good and evil. Sura 17:13-14 teaches, "Every man's fate We have fastened on his own neck: On the Day of Judgment We shall bring out for him a scroll, which he will see spread open. (It will be said to him:) 'Read thine (own) record: Sufficient is thy soul this day to make out an account against thee.'"

In contrast, Isa (Jesus) taught in the Injils (The Gospels) that a person could be assured of eternity with God by faith in Him. In John 3:16 Jesus taught, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son [Isa, Jesus], that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:36 (NIV) adds, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son [Isa] will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them."

No person is perfect (Romans 3:23). At the end of life, there is no way to know for certain if you have done enough good works to know you will be in Paradise based on your service to Allah. In contrast, Jesus offers assurance of Paradise based on faith in Him as God's Son. When Jesus was on the cross, one of the other men dying on the cross next to Him chose to believe in Jesus. He asked Jesus, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replied to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:42-43). This man had no time to change his life or perform good deeds for God. Instead, he believed in Jesus as God's Son by faith just before he died. Yet Jesus promised him Paradise on that day.

The same is true for us now. No matter how hard we try, our works are not enough to earn God's favor. At any time, we could make a mistake and would be rejected from Paradise if it were based on our efforts. In truth, we have all sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Yet God provided Jesus as One who could take our place and offer eternity with God through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9). If you wish to be certain of eternity with God, you must come to Him by faith. John 1:12 teaches, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." Through faith, we become children of God and can know we will live with Him forever.

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