Religion with Allah is Islam and no other

By

Dr. Mohsen El-Guindy

The Message of Islam is a decisive Message. Muhammad came as a mercy to all people. He came to show that Islam is the only religion Allah will accept from His servants on the Day of Judgment. Religion with Allah has always been Islam. Islam was the only religion given to all prophets including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. All prophets submitted to Allah and called their people to submit to Him alone in Islam.

We read in the Koran:

Indeed, We sent forth among every nation a Messenger, saying: ‘Serve you Allah, and eschew idols.’ Then some of them Allah guided, and some were justly disposed to error. So journey in the land, and behold how was the end of them that cried lies (Al-Nahl, 36).

We also read:

Surely We have sent thee with the truth good tidings to bear, and warning; not a nation there is, but there has passed away in it a Warner (Fatir, 25).

Contrary to what many believe, the word Islam is never used in the Quran as a religion that is exclusive to Prophet Muhammad! The word Islam simply means Submission to Allah. The only true religion as far as Allah is concerned is Submission to Allah in Islam. It is necessary then to stop thinking of Islam as the religion exclusive to the Koran or to Muhammad, but as a spiritual state of submitting to Allah alone.

It is important to understand that all the labels we know today like Judaism and Christianity are man- made. As an example, when Jesus Christ preached the love and submission to Allah alone, he never claimed that he is initiating a new religion which is called Christianity. In actual fact Jesus proclaimed that he has not come to change the law (of the Torah) but to confirm it (Mathew 5:17-18). The term ‘Christianity’, as a separate religion independent of Judaism, was not used except long after Jesus was dead.

In this light, Islam is not the religion of the Quran alone, nor is the religion brought by the prophet Muhammad. It is written in the Quran that Islam (Submission to God), is as old as Abraham, and that all the practices of Islam were first given to Abraham and his sons long before Muhammad was born.

He decreed for you the same religion decreed for Noah, and what we inspired to you, and what we decreed for Abraham, Moses, and Jesus – you shall uphold this one religion, and do not divide it (Ash-Shura,13).

The Koran also states:

He has laid down for you as religion that He charged Noah with, and that We have revealed to thee, and that We charged Abraham with, Moses and Jesus: ‘Perform the religion and scatter not regarding it.’ Very hateful is that for the idolaters, that thou callest them to. Allah chooses unto Himself whomsoever He will, and He guides to Himself whosoever turns, penitent (Al-Shura, 13).

The above Koranic verses confirm the truth that as far as Allah is concerned there has always been one religion – Islam, the one religion was decreed to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

The Koran confirms this important fact:

The true religion with Allah is Islam (Al-Imran, 19).

All the Scriptures revealed to mankind from Allah advocate one and the same religion – submission to Allah alone. The principal command from Allah in all Scriptures is to worship Him alone devoting all the religion to Him and rejecting all other false gods and idols.

Submission to Allah in Islam is the religion whereby we recognize Allah’s absolute authority, and reach an unshakable conviction that He alone possesses all power; no other entity possesses any power that is independent of Him. The natural result of such a realization is to devote our lives and our worship absolutely to Allah alone.

In the Old Testament we read:

“You shall have no other gods besides Me” (Exodus 20:3)

In the New Testament we read:

“You shall worship the Lord your God. And Him only you shall serve” (Luke 4:8)

And we find in the Quran:

Know thou therefore that there is no god but Allah… (Muhammad, 19).

Muhammad and all believers were commanded to follow the creed of Abraham which is strict monotheism and to refrain from associating partners with Allah.

No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one pure of faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters (Al-Imran, 67).

Then We revealed to thee: ‘Follow thou the creed of Abraham, a man of pure faith and no idolaters (Al-Nahl, 123).

Within the religion of Islam Allah decreed specific rituals and practices designed to teach man to worship his Lord. These acts (Prayer, pilgrimage, etc.) were first taught to Abraham.

Across the ages, many of these rituals were corrupted and the element of idolizing human Messengers and saints crept in. All the practices were thus restored to their pristine purity in the Quran.

Allah also promised that the Quran will never be corrupted, thus all believers will always have access to the pure way of worshipping Allah.

It is We who have sent down the Remembrance, and We watch over it (Al-Hijr, 9).

The Koran states that within each revelation there are specific laws and rites that are specific to the receivers of this particular revelation. Hence the command is issued in that Muhammad should follow the rites given to him in the Quran and not the rites of previous people.

And We have sent down to thee the Book with the truth, confirming the Book that was before it, and assuring it. So judge between them according to what Allah has sent down, and do not follow their caprices to forsake the truth that has come to thee. To every one of you We have appointed a right way and an open road (Al-Maidah, 48).

The need for different revelations at different times and for different people is justified by means of the following:

1- Mankind has gone through enormous development through the ages physically, mentally and spiritually, that there was always the need for various revelations at different times and for different peoples. Although the various revelations are united in message and truth, yet we find that Allah never addresses identical revelations to two different people. This being so, it can be said that the diverse revelation do not, and should not contradict one another, for although they differ in form, the religion decreed in all of them is one (Allah is only One – strict monotheism).

2- If there appear any apparent contradictions between different revelations, they are in human receptacles and not in the divine message. This is a result of human inability to interpret such revelations and more importantly the failure to preserve the truth contained in the revelation, which always tends to be impaired and altered with the passing of time.

Ultimately, the apparent contradiction is no more than one between corrupt scripts and interpretations of the original revelations, and not between the revelations themselves.

Priest worship and the worship of saints and ascetics is a form of superstition to which men have been prone for all ages. The growth of Jewish superstition is shown in the Talmud, and of Christian superstition in the doctrine of papal infallibility and the worship of saints. The mere idea of a separate order of priesthood to stand between Allah and man and be the exclusive repository of Allah’s secrets is derogatory to the goodness and all pervading grace of Allah.

The Jews had taken their rabbis as tutelary masters besides Allah. So were the Christians who had taken their monks and the Messiah as partners besides Allah in worship, yet they have been commanded to worship Allah alone.

The Koran says:

They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from Allah, and the Messiah, Mary’s son – and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that they associate (Al-Tawbah, 31).

The Koran mentioned the Message of pure monotheism Jesus brought to his people:

I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear you Allah, and obey you me. Surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord; so serve Him. This is a straight path (Al-Imran 50, 51).

The Jews though taught Unity, went after false gods, and the Christians invented the Trinity or borrowed it from paganism. The Jews were hampered by many restrictions and their religion was racial. Christianity as originally preached was a hermit religion: ‘Sell whatsoever thou hast’ (Mark x. 21): ‘Take no thought for the morrow’ (Matt. vi. 34).

Inevitably, and through corruption in the transfer and application of a Scripture, together with the social and cultural factors that always widen the gap between the factions, we are left with a multitude of corrupt religions. These sub-religions in many ways hardly bare any resemblance to one another, or to the original religion decreed by Allah.

It became therefore a necessity for mankind to receive another revelation that puts them back on track with Allah’s law that has been badly corrupted. For that Allah has sent Muhammad with the religion of guidance and the religion of truth to make it superior over all religions.

It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may uplift it above every religion, though the unbelievers be averse (Al-Tawbah, 32).

Now Muhammad has come to the world with a manifest light – this Koran. The Koran came to show the true road of salvation – the road to Paradise.

O men, a proof has now come to you from your Lord; We have sent down to you a manifest light (Al-Nisa’, 174).

Islam as originally preached, gives freedom and full play to man’s faculties of every kind. It is universal, and claims to date from Adam: father Abraham is mentioned as the great ancestor of those among whom Islam was first preached (Jews, Christians and Arab Quraysh).

After the revelation of the Quran, there became no need for any further revelations. Not because the Message of the Quran is much different from the Message of the Torah or the Gospel, but because of the following reasons:

1- A divine promise has been endorsed in the Quran that it will not be corrupted like previous Scriptures. As a result, and if the Message would remain intact in one Scripture, there becomes no need to reveal further Scriptures.

2- Islam revived the concept of Tawheed, literally meaning unification or asserting oneness. However, when the term Tawheed is used in reference to Allah it means the realizing and maintaining of Allaah’s unity in all of man’s actions which directly or indirectly relate to Him. It is the belief that Allah is One, without partners in His dominion and His actions, One without similitude in His essence and attributes, and One without rival in His divinity and in worship. The three aspects of Tawheed overlap and are inseparable to such a degree that whoever omits any one aspect has failed to complete the requirements of Tawheed. The omission of any of the above mentioned aspects of Tawheed is referred to as Shirk (lit. sharing); the association of partners with Allah, which, in Islamic terms, is in fact idolatry.

The word “Islam” means submission and is related to the word Salam which means peace. Islam is the realization of peace through submission to the one God, Allah. The way of submission began with the first human couple, Adam and Eve, and extended down through the ages through Allah’s prophets and their followers. Every people received a message to worship Allah alone and to shun false gods. A Muslim is one who submits to Allah. In this sense, it is easy to see that Abraham was a Muslim. He submitted. It is also easy to see that Jesus was a Muslim. He too submitted. In a more limited sense, Islam today refers to that religion which is built upon the Word of Allah and the man sent to make it known.

True faith then necessitates that the believer must believe in Allah as the only God of the universe and acknowledges His Messenger Muhammad, and gives credence to the Koran and all the Books which Allah has sent down before. He must also believe in all of Allah’s angels and Prophets and Messengers and the Day of Resurrection. And he who denies any of these shall have erred and strayed far deep in the maze of error.

O believers, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book He has sent down on his Messenger and the Book which He sent down before. Whoso disbelieves in Allah and his angels and His Books, and His Messengers, and the last Day, has surely gone astray into far error (Al-Nisa’, 136).

On the Day of Judgment Allah will accept from His servants only one religion – the religion of Islam. In order for the religion of Islam to be accepted by Allah from His servants, they must believe in the following:

1-    Allah

Islam is to believe in only one God (Allah) who is without spouse, children, partners or equals. He begets not, nor is he begotten. And there is none like unto him. He alone deserves to be worshiped. The Muslim confesses: There is no God but Allah. Allah is the Arabic name for God. It is used by Arabic-speaking Christians and Muslims of every language.

The Koran denies that Allah is a duality, or that He is a Trinity. All except Allah are his creatures. Those who are regarded as sons of Allah are in fact no more than chosen servants and Messengers of His. Every prophet and Messenger preached the same basic Message that people should shun false Gods and worship the only true God, Allah.

2- Angels

Muslims believe that angels are some of the unseen creatures of Allah. They are created without the will to disobey, and are therefore always in humble submission to Allah, carrying out his will. Most popular among the angels is Gabriel, who brought Allah’s Message to human Messengers and prophets.

3. Books

Muslims believe that Allah has revealed several Messages to all of humankind over time. Four such Messages are known by the names: Pages of Abraham, Psalms of David, Torah of Moses, Gospel of Jesus, and the Koran of Muhammad.

The Koran is the last of the revealed books. As such, it occupies a unique position as the record of Allah’s final testament for humankind. Allah promised to preserve this book from error for all time. Indeed, no one disputes that the Koran stood the test of time for more than fourteen hundred years.

Because of the Koran’s unique historical position, for the believer it acts as a control on the other Scriptures; where any of the other scriptures differ from the Koran such differences could have arisen through human error in the process of transmission.

The previous scriptures were left to humans to guard as best they could. Over time mistakes arose, commentaries were mixed with the text, and even deliberate changes were made.

The Gospel was true as preached by Jesus, but over time some of his words went unrecorded, and eventually forgotten. Moreover, incorrect teachings came to be associated with his name. The Koran is now here to restore Jesus true teachings.

4. Prophets

Muslims believe that every people received a Messenger from Allah telling them to worship Allah alone and to shun false gods. Twenty-five such prophets are mentioned by name in the Koran. Most of them have been identified as Prophets who are mentioned in the Bible. Among them are names like Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Each prophet taught Allah’s will for the people at the time. The last of all the prophets is Muhammad; his Message is universal and is addressed to all.

Muslims recognize that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he worked miracles, and that he remains alive. Muslims believe that an attempt was made on his life, but Allah foiled the plans of the enemy and rescued Jesus while the enemy thought they had him. Allah raised Jesus to Himself, and will send him into the world once again before the Last Day.

Jesus was the Messiah, a prophet of Allah and his righteous servant. Many took Jesus for the Son of Allah, and even Allah himself. Some thought that Jesus’ mother also deserves worship. But the Koran restores the teachings of Jesus, who said: “”Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship him. This is a straight path”” (Al-Imran, 51).

Some saw his virginal conception as a proof of his divinity. But Allah replies that he shapes everyone in the wombs as he wants (Al-Imran, 7). Moreover, Jesus is like Adam (Al-Imran, 59), neither had a father. Both were created by the All-Powerful Allah who when he intends to create a thing He only says to it: “Be” and it is (Al-Imran, 47).

On the Day of Judgment Jesus will deny those who worshipped him; he will clarify that he preached only that which Allah authorized him to preach: “Worship Allah, my Lord and yours” (Al-Nisa’, 159; Al-Maidah, 110).

5. The Last Day

Muslims believe that in the end Allah will judge humans for their terrestrial actions. Those who have done well will enter Paradise where they will have everlasting bliss. Others will be doomed to hell.

The judgment will first separate between believers and disbelievers. Disbelievers will be thrown into the fire to dwell therein eternally. Their goodness is already rewarded in this world.

Believers will then be tried according to their actions. Those whose balance of good deeds weighs in their favor will be admitted into Paradise. Of the others Allah will forgive some and admit them to Paradise. Some He will purify after punishment. Eventually all believers will enter Paradise for their final abode.

The Koran is clear that none shall bear the sins of another. Each will carry his own burden. But Allah is merciful, and will forgive as He pleases.

How does one overcome the burden of sin? First, there is the sin that Allah will not forgive. That is the sin called shirk – the sin of associating with Allah in worship other deities (Jesus as god or son of God, priest, pope, tree, animal, idol etc). Second, there is the sin that Allah may forgive, that is everything else but shirks (associating with Allah in worship other deities) the one unforgivable sin. Third, there is the sin that Allah will forgive, that is the sin which was followed by sincere repentance. One who repents after having sinned is like one who has not sinned. For example, entering Islam is a mark of sincere repentance from one’s past life. At that moment all of one’s previous sins are forgiven.

But how can one be perfect enough to please Allah? The answer is that we cannot be perfect, but Allah is easy to please. He only requires that we try our best. Ultimately it is not one’s deeds that get one into Paradise but the grace of Allah.

6. Pre-destination

Nothing happens except by the will and permission of Allah. Although from our limited human perspective things happen according to immediate causes, Allah is the ultimate cause.

These are the principles of true belief that Allah will accept from His servants in the Day of Resurrection and no other.

The Jews and the Christians must work out their own salvation by adhering to the above mentioned principles. If they don’t, they must bear the consequences of their rejection.

The Jews must worship the One universal God, Allah and do not confine him to themselves as a tribal god. They must believe in all Prophets including Jesus and Muhammad. They must believe in all divine Books including the Gospel of Jesus and the Koran of Muhammad. If they don’t reform their religion based on these principles their faith and worship will not be accepted from them on the Day of Judgment.

The Christians must believe in Muhammad and his Book, the Koran. They must abandon the false dogmas they invented in their religion, i.e. the concept of Trinity; Jesus is god or the son of God; original sin; vicarious atonement; crucifixion; priests as intermediaries between Allah and his servants etc.

The Koran serves as a reference Book for the Jews and the Christians to make amends. No excuses Allah will accept from his servants on the Day of Judgment if they don’t adhere to the Koranic principles of strict monotheism.

Now the Word of Allah has come to the world. The Prophet has suffered for all people in order that they may be guided. People must use their free will to choose between the right and wrong. He who chooses to follow the right path shall only profit his own soul. The Prophet was sent to deliver the Message and not to watch over the people.

Say: ‘O men, the truth has come to you from your Lord. Whosoever is guided is guided only to his own gain, and whosoever goes astray, it is only to his own loss. I am not a guardian over you (Yunus, 108).

Had Allah willed, all people on earth would have believed. The Prophet and all his followers after him were ordered to just deliver the Message of Islam and not to impose it on others. Forced faith is no faith.

And if thy Lord had willed, whoever is on the earth would have believed, all of them, all together. Wouldst thou then constrain the people, until they are believers? (Yunus, 99).

It is not for any person to believe, except by the leave of Allah.

It is not for any soul to believe save by the leave of Allah, and He lays admonition upon those who have no understanding (Yunus, 100).

Whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islam; and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He tightens his breast as if he were climbing up to the sky. Thus Allah puts his wrath on those who believe not.

Whosoever Allah desires to guide, He expands his breast to Islam; whomsoever He desires to lead astray, He makes his breast narrow, tight as if he were climbing to heaven (suffocating because of lack of oxygen). So Allah lays admonition upon those who believe not. This is the path of your Lord; straight; We have distinguished the signs to a people who remember. Theirs is the abode of peace with their Lord, and He is their protector for that they were doing (Al-An’am 125-137).

Because religion with Allah is only Islam, Allah has made the nation of Islam the best nation ever raised up for mankind. Muslims enjoin equity, and they recourse to justice, and they forbid all that is obscene and they conform their will to Allah’s blessed will.

You are the best nation ever brought forth to men, bidding honor, and forbidding dishonor, and believing in Allah. Had the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) believed (in Islam), it were better for them; some of them are believers, but the most of them are ungodly (Al-Imran, 110).

In point of fact, neither wealth nor progeny shall be of advantage on the Day of Judgment to those who deny Allah and it is they who will be the fuel of the Fire.

As for the unbelievers, their riches will not avail them. Neither their children, aught against Allah; those they shall be fuel of the Fire (Al-Imran, 10).

In the end the one true reality then emerges:

Allah is One and Only; Eternal, Free of all needs, to Whom go back all things; He has no son, nor father, nor partner. There is no person like unto Him. There is nothing else like Him. All the varying and conflicting forces in creation are controlled by Him. His knowledge extends to everything seen and unseen, present and future, near and far, in being and not in being. His Grace and His mercy are unbounded. Blessed are those who treasured this truth in their souls while still living the life of probation.

Here follows Koranic verses of great sublimity summing up the attributes of Allah:

He is Allah; there is no god but He. He is the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible; He is the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate. He is Allah; there is no god but He. He is the King, the All-Holy, the All-peaceable, the All-Faithful, the All-Preserver, the All-Mighty, the All-Compeller, the All-Sublime. He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the shaper. To Him belong the names Most Beautiful. All that in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise (Al-Hashr 22-24).

On the Day of Judgment all men and women shall sally forth unto Allah, the One, the Omnipotent. On that Day of Reckoning let it not be supposed that, because there will be millions of souls to be judged, there will be any delay in judgment as in a human tribunal. It will be a new world and beyond the flight of time, it will be as it were in a twinkling of an eye.

To Allah belongs the Unseen in the heavens and in the earth. And the matter of the Hour is as a twinkling of the eye, or nearer. Surely Allah is powerful over everything (Al-Nahl, 77).

Out of His mercy and for the last time, Allah has sent the Koran to Muhammad to use it as a warning to the whole and to spread it in the wide circle of the all so that they may hopefully realize that Allah their Lord is only One God and none has the right to be worshipped but Him alone, and that people of understanding may take heed.

This is a Message to be delivered to mankind that they may be warned by it, and that they may know that He is One God, and that all possessed of mind may remember (Abraham, 52).

 

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