The True Religion
By Abu Ameenah
Religion Of Islam
The first thing
that one should know and clearly understand about Islam is what
the word "Islam" itself means. The religion of Islam is not named
after a person as in the case of Christianity which was named after
Jesus Christ, Buddhism after Gotama Buddha, Confucianism after Confucius,
and Marxism after Karl Marx. Nor was it named after a tribe like
Judaism after the tribe of Judah and Hinduism after the Hindus.
Islam is the true religion of "Allah" and as such, its name represents
the central principle of Allah's "God's" religion; the total submission
to the will of Allah "God". The Arabic word "Islam" means the submission
or surrender of one's will to the only true god worthy of worship
"Allah" and anyone who does so is termed a "Muslim", The word also
implies "peace" which is the natural consequence of total submission
to the will of Allah. Hence, it was not a new religion brought by
Prophet Muhammad (saws) in Arabia in the seventh century, but only
the true religion of Allah re-expressed in its final form.
Islam is the
religion which was given to Adam, the first man and the first prophet
of Allah, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah
to mankind. The name of God's religion Islam was not decided upon
by later generations of man. It was chosen by Allah Himself and
clearly mentioned in His final revelation to man. In the final book
of divine revelation, the Qur'aan, Allah states the following:
day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour
upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion".
anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah
(God) never will It be accepted of Him"
was not a Jew nor Christian; but an upright Muslim."
Nowhere in the
Bible will you find Allah saying to Prophet Moses (as) people or
their descendants that their religion is Judaism, nor to the followers
of Christ that their religion is Christianity. In fact, Christ was
not even his name, nor was it Jesus! The name "Christ" comes from
the Greek word Christos which means the anointed. That is, Christ
is a Greek translation of the Hebrew title "Messiah". The name "Jesus"
on the other hand, is a Latinised version of the Hebrew name Esau.
sake, I will however continue to refer to Prophet Esau (as) as Jesus.
As for his religion, it was what he called his followers to. Like
the prophets before him, he called the people to surrender their
will to the will of Allah; (which is Islam) and he warned them to
stay away from the false gods of human imagination.
the New Testament, he taught his followers to pray as follows: "Yours
will be done on earth as it is in Heaven".
Message Of Islam
Since the total
submission of one's will to Allah represents the essence of worship,
the basic message of Allah's divine religion, Islam is the worship
of Allah alone and the avoidance of worship directed to any person,
place or thing other than Allah. Since everything other than Allah,
the Creator of all things, is Allah's creation; it may be said that
Islam, in essence calls man away from the worship of creation and
invites him to worship only its Creator. He is the only one deserving
man's worship as it is only by His will that prayers are answered.
If man prays to a tree and his prayers are answered, it was not
the tree, which answered his prayers, but Allah who allowed the
circumstances prayed for to take place. One might say, "That is
obvious," however, to tree-worshippers it might not be. Similarly,
prayers to Jesus, Buddha, or Krishna, to Saint Christopher, or Saint
Jude or even to Muhammad, are not answered by them but are answered
by Allah. Jesus did not tell his followers to worship him but to
worship Allah. As the Qur'aan states:
behold Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary Did you say to men,
Worship me and my mother as gods besides Allah He will say-"Glory
to you I could never say what I had no right (to say')"
Nor did he worship
himself when he worshipped but rather he worshipped Allah. This
basic principle is enshrined in the opening chapter of the Qur'an,
known as Qur'an Al-Fatihah, verse 4:
alone do we worship and from you alone do we seek help".
the final book of revelation, the Qur'an, Allah also said:
your Lord says: "Call on Me and I will answer your(prayer)."
It is worth
noting that the basic message of Islam is that Allah and His creation
are distinctly different entities. Neither is Allah His creation
or a part of it, nor is His creation Him or a part of Him.
This might seem
obvious, but, man's worship of creation instead of the Creator is
to a large degree based on ignorance of this concept. It is the
belief that the essence of Allah is everywhere in His creation or
that His divine being is or was present in some aspects of His creation,
which has provided justification for the worship of creation though
such worship maybe called the worship of Allah through his creation.
How ever, the message of Islam as brought by the prophets of Allah
is to worship only Allah and to avoid the worship of his creation
either directly or indirectly. In the Our'aan Allah clearly states:
We assuredly sent amongst every people a prophet,(with the command)
worship me and avoid false gods ".
When the idol
worshipper is questioned as to why he or she bows down to idols
created by men, the invariable reply is that they are not actually
worshipping the stone image, but Allah who is present within it.
They claim that the stone idol is only a focal point for Allah's
essence and is not in itself Allah! One who has accepted the concept
of the presence of God's being within His creation in any way will
be obliged to accept this argument of idolatry. Whereas, one who
understands the basic message of Islam and its implications would
never concede to idolatry no matter how it is rationalized. Those
who have claimed divinity for themselves down through the ages have
often based their claims on the mistaken belief that Allah is present
in man. They merely had to assert that although Allah according
to their false beliefs, is in all of us, He is more present in them
than in the rest of us. Hence, they claim, we should submit our
will to them and worship them as they are either God in person or
God concentrated within the person.
who have asserted the godhood of others after their passing have
found fertile ground among those who accept the false belief of
God's presence in man. One who has grasped the basic message of
Islam and its implications could never agree to worship another
human being under any circumstances. God's religion in essence is
a clear call to the worship of the Creator and the rejection of
creation-worship in any form. This is the meaning of the motto of
Elaaha lllallaah" (There is no god but Allah)
automatically brings one within the fold of Islam and sincere belief
in it guarantees one Paradise.
Thus, the final
Prophet of Islam is reported to have said:
"Any one who
says: There is no god but Allah and dies holding that (belief) will
Abu Dharr and collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
in the submission to Allah as one God, yielding to Him by obeying
His commandments, and the denial of polytheism and polytheists.
Message Of False Religion
There are so
many sects, cults, religions, philosophies, and movements in the
world, all of which claim to be the right way or the only true path
to Allah. How can one determine which one is correct or if, in fact,
all are correct? The methods by which the answer can be found is
to clear away the superficial differences in the teachings of the
various claimants to the ultimate truth, and identify the central
object of worship to which they call, directly or indirectly. False
religions all have in common one basic concept with regards to Allah.
They either claim that all men are gods or that specific men were
Allah or that nature is Allah or that Allah is a figment of man's
Thus, it may
be stated that the basic message of false religion is that Allah
may be worshipped in the form of His creation. False religion invites
man to the worship of creation by calling the creation or some aspect
of it God. For example, prophet Jesus invited his followers to worship
Allah but those who claim to be his followers today call people
to worship Jesus, claiming that he was Allah!
Buddha was a
reformer who introduced a number of humanistic principles to the
religion of India. He did not claim to be God nor did he suggest
to his followers that he be an object of worship. Yet, today most
Buddhists who are to be found outside of India have taken him to
be God and prostrate to idols made in their perception of his likeness.
By using the
principle of identifying the object of worship, false religion becomes
very obvious and the contrived nature of their origin clear. As
God said in the Qur'an:
That which you
worship besides Him are only names you and your forefathers have
invented for which Allah has sent down no authority: The command
belongs only to Allah:
has commanded that you only worship Him; that is the right religion,
but most men do not understand ".
It may be argued
that all religions teach good things so why should it matter which
one we follow. The reply is that all false religions teach the greatest
evil, the worship of creation. Creation-worship is the greatest
sin that man can commit because it contradicts the very purpose
of his creation. Man was created to worship Allah alone as Allah
has explicitly stated in the Our'aan:
have only created Jinns and men, that they may worship me"
the worship of creation, which is the essence of idolatry, is the
only unforgivable sin. One who dies in this state of idolatry has
sealed his fate in the next life. This is not an opinion, but a
revealed fact stated by Allah in his final revelation to man:
Allah will not forgive the joining of partners with Him, but He
may forgive (sins) less than that for whom so ever He wishes".
An- Nisaa 4:48 and 116)
Universality Of Islam
Since the consequences
of false religion are so grave, the true religion of Allah must
be universally understandable and attainable, not confined to any
people, place or time. There can not be conditions like baptism,
belief in a man, as a saviour etc., for a believer to enter paradise.
Within the central principle of Islam and in its definition, (the
surrender of one's will to God) lies the roots of lslam's universality.
Whenever man comes to the realization that Allah is one and distinct
from His creation, and submits himself to Allah, he becomes a Muslim
in body and spirit and is eligible for paradise. Thus, anyone at
anytime in the most remote region of the world can become a Muslim,
a follower of God's religion, Islam, by merely rejecting the worship
of creation and by turning to Allah (God) alone-It should be noted
however, that the recognition of and submission to Allah requires
that one chooses between right and wrong and such a choice implies
accountability. Man will be held responsible for his choices, and,
as such, he should try his utmost to do good and avoid evil. The
ultimate good being the worship of Allah alone and the ultimate
evil being the worship of His creation along with or instead of
Allah. This fact is expressed in the final revelation as follows:
those who believe, those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures), the
Christians and the Sabians any who believe In Allah and the last
day, and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord;
They will not be overcome by fear nor grief."
only they had stood by the law, the Gospel, and all the revelation
that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness
from every side. There Is from among them a party on the right course;
but many of them follow a course that Is evil".
which arises here is, "How can all people be expected to believe
in Allah given their varying- backgrounds, societies and cultures?
For people to be responsible for worshipping Allah they all have
to have access to knowledge of Allah. The final revelation teaches
that all mankind have the recognition of Allah imprinted on their
souls, a part of their very nature with which they are created.
Al-A'raaf, Verses 172-173; Allah explained that when He created
Adam, He caused all of Adam's descendants to come into existence
and took a pledge from them saying, Am I not your Lord? To which
they all replied, " Yes, we testify to It:'
Allah then explained
why He had all of mankind bear witness that He is their creator
and only true God worthy of worship. He said, "That was In case
you (mankind) should say on the day of Resurrection, "Verily we
were unaware of all this." That is to say, we had no idea that You
Allah, were our God. No one told us that we were only supposed to
worship You alone. Allah went on to explain That it was also In
case you should say, "Certainly It was our ancestors who made partners
(With Allah) and we are only their descendants; will You then destroy
us for what those liars did?" Thus, every child is born with a natural
belief in Allah and an inborn inclination to worship Him alone called
in Arabic the "Fitrah".
If the child
were left alone, he would worship Allah in his own way, but all
children are affected by those things around them, seen or unseen.
(saws) reported that Allah said, "I created my servants in the right
religion but devils made them go astray". The Prophet (saws) also
said, "Each child is born in a state of "Fitrah", then his parents
make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian, the way an animal gives
birth to a normal offspring. Have you noticed any that were born
mutilated?" (Collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
So, just as
the child submits to the physical laws, which Allah has put in nature,
his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord
and Creator. But, his parents try to make him follow their own way
and the child is not strong enough in the early stages of his life
to resist or oppose the will of his parents. The religion, which
the child follows at this stage, is one of custom and upbringing
and Allah does not hold him to account or punish him for this religion.
lives from childhood until the time they die, signs are shown to
them in all regions of the earth and in their own souls, until it
becomes clear that there is only one true God (Allah). If the people
are honest with themselves, reject their false gods and seek Allah,
the way will be made easy for them but if they continually reject
Allah's signs and continue to worship creation, the more difficult
it will be for them to escape. For example, in the South-Eastern
region of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, South America, a primitive
tribe erected a new hut to house their main idol Skwatch, representing
the supreme God of all creation. The homage to the God, and while
he was in prostration to what he had been taught was his Creator
and Sustainer, a mangy old flea-ridden dog walked into the hut,
The young man looked up in time to see the dog lift its hind leg
and pass urine on the idol. Outraged, the youth chased the dog out
of the temple, but when his rage died down he realized that the
idol could not be the Lord of the universe. Allah must be elsewhere.
he now had a choice to act on his knowledge and seek Allah, or to
dishonestly go along with the false beliefs of his tribe. As strange
as it may seem, that was a sign from Allah for that young man. It
contained within it divine guidance that what he was worshipping
sent, as was earlier mentioned, to every nation and tribe to support
man's natural belief in Allah and man's inborn inclination to worship
Him as well as to reinforce the divine truth in the daily signs
revealed by Allah. Although, in most cases, much of the Prophet’s
(saws) teachings became distorted, portions remained which point
out right and wrong. For example, the ten commandments of the Torah,
their confirmation in the Gospels and the existence of laws against
murder, stealing and adultery in most societies. Consequently, every
soul will be held to account for its belief in Allah and its acceptance
of the religion of Islam; the total submission to the will of Allah.
We pray to Allah,
the exalted, to keep us on the right path to which He has guided
us, and to bestow on us a blessing from Him, He is indeed the Most
Merciful. Praise and gratitude be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds,
and peace and blessings be on prophet Muhammad, his Family, his
companions, and those who rightly follow them.