Introduction to Islam

(Submission to God)

The religion in the sight of God is Islam (Submission to God). 3:19

On first impression, many who read the above statement will immediately say: Wait a minute! What about Judaism and Christianity? After all, these religions were also authorised by God!

If we discard all labels (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and inspect the ideology of any of these divine revelations we would discover the following:

1- Contrary to what many believe, the word Islam is never used in the Quran as a title for a religion belonging exclusively to the Quran, nor a religion that was initiated by Prophet Muhammad! The word Islam simply means Submission to God alone and accepting God's absolute authority over all things.

2- All the prophets of God submitted to Almighty God and called their people to submit to the One and only God. In that sense, it can be said that all God's prophets and messengers followed the religion of Submission to God.

3- Let us examine the labels we have today, as well as the sub-divisions that have branched out of each:

1- Christianity: Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodox, Non-trinitarian restorationism, etc.
2- Islam: Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Sufi, etc.
3- Judaism:
Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform, Hasidic, etc.

What is immediately noticeable is that we do not find any of the above sub-names in any of the 3 related Scriptures (Old Testament, New Testament, Quran). This is clear evidence that none of these sub-divisions was authorised by God but that all were man-made.

When prophet Muhammad proclaimed the Quranic message to his people, he never said Sunni, Shia or Salafi! Similarly, when Jesus preached the Injeel, he too never said Catholic, Baptist or Protestant! As a result, those who claim that they follow their prophets should ask themselves as to why they are following sects never approved by their prophets? And in following any of these sects, are they really following their prophets?

God commands all believers not to follow any sects, but devote themselves wholeheartedly to the name of God alone:

As for those who have divided their religion and broke up into sects, you shall have nothing to do with them. Their case rests with God, then He will inform them of what they used to do. 6:159

If that is the case concerning the sub-divisions (sects), what about the names of the 3 religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism)? Indeed, we find the word Islam mentioned in the Quran several times as the name of the religion chosen by God for mankind (3:19).
By the same token, we are entitled to find the names Judaism and Christianity mentioned in the Old and NewTestaments, for those were also names of religions authorised by God.

What is quite remarkable is that these 2 names are never mentioned even once in the Old and New Testaments! What would the reason be? If these were religions authorised by God, would God keep their names secret and never mentioned in the Scriptures?

The answer to such a question is found in the following Quranic verse:

Neither the Jews nor the Christians will approve of you until you follow their 'millat' (creed).
2:120

The keyword in this glorious verse is the word 'creed'. Why did God use the word creed and not the word religion (until you follow their religion)? The obvious reason is that God never authorised religions called Judaism or Christianity. Indeed, the only religion authorised by God for mankind is the religion of Submission to God (Islam).
God mentioned Judaism and Christianity as names of man-made creeds but not religions sanctioned by God.

When we look into the names Judaism and Christianity we find that these words were never used in the days of Moses or Jesus respectively.
These man-made names were named after men. Judaism was named after Judah who was the 4th son of Jacob, while Christianity was named after Jesus Christ. Moses never preached a religion called Judaism nor did Jesus ever claim that he came to start a new religion called Christianity.

In this light, Islam is not the religion of the Quran alone, nor is the name of a religion started by prophet Muhammad. It is written in the Quran that Islam (Submission to God), is as old as Abraham (22:78) and that all the practices of Islam were first given to Abraham and his sons long before Muhammad was born.

He has legislated for you of the religion what He has instructed for Noah. What We inspired to you, and what We instructed Abraham, Moses and Jesus, is to establish the religion and not be divided therein. 42:13

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian but was a monotheist Muslim and was not one of the mushrikeen (those who set up partners with God). 3:67

The religion of submitting to God alone is one of Monotheism. The principal command from God in all Scriptures is to worship God alone devoting all the religion to Him and rejecting all other gods/idols:

Old Testament:

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

New Testament:

"You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Luke 4:8)

The Quran:

So know that there is no god except God. 47:19

Submission to God is the religion whereby we recognise God's absolute authority and reach an unshakable conviction that God alone possesses all power over all things; no other entity possesses any power that is independent of Him. The natural result of such a realisation is to devote our lives and our worship absolutely to God alone:

Say, "My Salat (prayer), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted to God, the Lord of the worlds. He has no partner. This is what I was commanded with and I am the first of the submitters." 6:162-163

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Essentially, if there is only one religion decreed by God there must be one 'truth'. Do we then conclude that there should be one revelation? The answer to this question is that 'truth' and 'revelation' are not absolutely equivalent terms. Because 'truth' is an absolute term it is situated independent of form, whereas revelations are relative to time, people and place, and thus require a form, but to speak of form is to speak of diversity and thus plurality.

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

1- Mankind has gone through enormous developments through the ages, physically, mentally and spiritually, and thus there was always the need for various revelations at different times for different peoples. Although various revelations are identical in message and truth, we find that God never addresses identical revelations to peoples of different eras. This being so, it can be said that diverse revelations do not, and should not contradict one another, for although they differ in form, the religion decreed in all of them, which is Islam (Submission to God), is one and the same.

2- If there appears any apparent contradiction 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 also due to 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 usually due to the acquisition of corrupt scripts, or due to the misinterpretation of the original script.
If we add the effects of culture and tradition in their application of the revelation, we can understand what causes the widening gap between the factions. The result of that is we are
left with a multitude of corrupt man-made religions. These sub-religions in many ways hardly bare any resemblance to the original religion decreed by God.

For that, there becomes a necessity for mankind to receive another revelation that puts them back on track with God's law which has been badly corrupted.

3- We find that up until the advent of the industrial revolution and the fast travel era, the world was still just a wide expanse of disjointed lands and peoples.
Many people would not have even heard of those Scriptures that had already been revealed in various other parts of the world. This is why a new Scripture would be revealed to new communities who had not received a Scripture.

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

a- A divine promise has been endorsed in the Quran (15:9) that the Quran will not be corrupted like previous Scriptures. As a result, since the message of the Quran remains intact, there becomes no need for further revelations.

b- With the advent of the modern fast travel means of today, the whole world became a closer-knit unit. People do not have to travel to hear or receive information, as it can be received through the numerous media channels that were not available a few centuries ago.