All humans are born in a pure state and are free from sin. Anyone who has ever seen a newborn baby can clearly see that if only they open their hearts and eyes to the precious gift of life. Unlike Christianity, Islam categorically rejects the concept of Original Sin. This dogma states all humans are born shrouded in sin as a result of Adam and Eve's original transgression against God's command. However, God reveals in the Holy Quran that all souls are responsible for their deeds from the time they reach the age of discernment, or puberty, until their death.
"Each person is responsible for his own deeds and no one shall bear the burden of others. And to your Lord is your return..."(Quran 6:164)
In infinite love and mercy, God has created several means by which humans can achieve salvation and truly become successful in both this World and the Hereafter.
Islam is the only religion that subscribes to pure monotheism. Islam is about a direct personal relationship with God Almighty which means He is worshipped alone without partner or intercessor. When a Muslim prays or supplicates to God he finds a private audience with the Creator of this World. He does not have to confess his sins to anyone who acts as a supposed intercessor between the one who has sinned and God. In Islam, a human can privately admit his sins to God in repentant humility seeking His abundant forgiveness. The Holy Qur'an teaches us that all humans that have ever lived or will live were already asked to affirm belief in God at the time of Adam's creation.
God says in the Holy Quran:
"And (mention) when your Lord took a covenant from Adam's progeny; asking them 'Am I not your Lord' They replied 'Yes we have now testified.' This is lest you say on the Day of Resurrection 'Truly, we were unaware'." Or that you might say, "It was only our fathers who associated other in worship with God before us and we were just their descendents after them."(Quran 7:172-173)
It is by this pure belief in the One and only Almighty God that one may enter heaven. Glorification and reverence is solely for Almighty God. The one thing which can surely prevent one from going to heaven is to worship or deify other than the One who deserves it.
Prayer and supplications are two ways that Muslims can fulfill the rights that God has upon us. Through the five obligatory prayers, and even optional ones, a Muslim shows his obedience to God's command while also purifying his own soul. However, performing the prayers should in no way be mechanical otherwise they might not count. A Muslim should worship consciously knowing the meaning behind every word he speaks. All Muslims, whether Arabic speakers or not, should know the meaning behind every word of the Islamic prayer. Being humble in the prayer and doing it for Allah's sake rather than showing off for the sake of man is essential for the prayer to be valid.
Doing goods deeds and refraining from sowing discord on the Earth are righteous actions that all Muslims must strive to accomplish in order to attain salvation.
God says in the Holy Quran:
"(All are going to Hell) except those who repent, have faith, and work righteousness. For them, God will replace their bad deeds with good deeds and Indeed God is ever Forgiving and Merciful." (Quran 25:70)
When God refers to "having faith", He is naturally referring to the pure monotheism taught to us by the Almighty by all His Prophets which found preserved without man's distortion in Holy Qur'an. When He says to "work righteousness", He is referring to acting on that faith by living in submission and obedience to God Alone. Once someone has purified their faith from manmade beliefs and sincerely submitted their will to Almighty God, they are still bound to make mistakes and fall into sin from time to time. To be forgiven for these sins humans must repent, ask God's forgiveness, pray, perform good deeds and do everything in their power to refrain from sin.
Virtuous deeds in and of themselves erase bad deeds from ones account. God Almighty says,
"Indeed good deeds erase bad deeds and that is a reminder to those who will take heed."(Qur'an 11:114)
The Steps to Repentance
The way to Heaven is simple to find. All it takes is piety, good deeds, prayers and submission to the Creator of this World through pure Islamic worship. There are no smoke and mirrors to disguise the path to God nor is there a one way ticket to Heaven which is achieved just by holding a belief. It takes work; God will judge all humans by their deeds and the intentions behind them.
God says in the Holy Quran:
"And hasten to the forgiveness of your Lord and a Paradise that has an expanse of the whole universe. This is prepared for the God-Conscious. (They are) those who give in charity in times of ease and hardship, those who control their anger and pardon other people (for their mistakes). And God loves the pious. They are those remember God when they do an immoral act or do wrong, then they ask his forgiveness for their sins. And who forgives sins other than God! Then they leave that sin (and sincerely intend) not to return to that sin thereafter. For those people is the forgiveness of their Lord and a Paradise with gardens with rivers flowing through them. They will abide therein eternally. Excellent is the reward of the workers (of righteousness). (Quran 3:133-36)
This has been the system of Salvation with God since Adam and Eve. All Prophets were sent teaching the pure monotheism found throughout the Qur'an and even clearly visible in the bible and even the Hindu scripture believe it or not. The one for sure guarantee to Heaven is the pure belief and testimony that God is one and of unique perfection. Those who learned of the pure unaltered message of a given Prophet are responsible for following that message which they were sent. For this reason, there is no doubt that Prophets would teach the people that they (the Prophets) are the way and the truth and the eternal life and that there is no way to God except trough their teachings.