The Quranic command to follow the "millat" of Abraham
By: A Muhammad
Some believers have interpreted the word "millat" as used in the related verses to mean all the religious practises (Salat, Zakat, Hajj, etc). As a result, they conclude that to follow the "millat" of Abraham would mean to follow all the religious practises which were first given to Abraham. This should not pause any problems for Quran alone followers provided that these rituals are clearly instituted in the Quran. However, the ones who define “millat” to mean all the religious practises go a step further by following rituals not found in the Quran with the excuse that they were given to Abraham. Considering that these believers advocate that we should all uphold the Quran, the whole Quran and nothing but the Quran, then a clear contradiction becomes apparent.
An immediate reference must be made to 6:114 where it is stated very clearly that all the details of our religion are given in the Quran and to 6:38 where it is states that nothing has been left out of the book. It is clear that there is no exception to the totality of this rule given in any of these two verses. In other words these verses do not say that all the details are in the book except what was given to Abraham! As a result, the totality in meaning of these two verses must be respected, and it means that all the lawful rituals are found in the Quran even if they were first given to Abraham as long as they are part of religion decreed for us. Among the rituals in question and which are not given in the Quran are the following:
- The 2.5% rate for Zakat (obligatory charity), not only does the Quran not specify a fixed rate for Zakat but we also have a clear Quranic evidence that God left the rate of Zakat open to each individual (for details see: Zakat in the Quran).
- The 5 daily salat, the Quran has only three names for Salat (for details see: Three Salat).
- The 24434 format for raka’s during Salat. Not only is the 24434 format not found anywhere in the Quran, but also the whole concept of “raka” is not in the Quran and the word raka does not appear in the Quran. The Quran speaks of Salat as a sequence of standing, bowing then prostrating without any mention of the need to repeat this cycle.
- The sermon during the Friday Prayer, once again is a ritual without any Quranic authorisation.
1- The Quranic definition of ‘millat Ibrahim’
We read about "millat Ibrahim" in a number of verses which include the command to follow it, the following are some examples:
"Then we inspired you (Muhammad) to follow ‘millat Ibrahim’ (creed of Abraham), the Monotheist; he was not one of the mushrekeen (ones who associate partners with God)" 16:123
They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow ‘millat Ibrahim’ (creed of Abraham) monotheism - he was not one of the mushrekeen (idol worshipers)" 2:135
"Say, "God has proclaimed the truth: You shall follow ‘millat Ibrahim’ Abraham's creed-Monotheism. He was not one of the mushrekeen (ones who associate partners with God)" 3: 95
"Who is better guided in his religion than one who submits totally to God, leads a righteous life and followed ‘millat Ibrahim’ (creed of Abraham): monotheism? God has chosen Abraham as a beloved friend. He was not one of the mushrekeen (ones who associate partners with God)" 4:125
"Say, "My Lord has guided me in a straight path-the perfect religion, ‘millat Ibrahim’ the creed of Abraham, monotheism. He was not one of the mushrekeen (ones who associate partners with God)" 6:161
Here we note that in all the verses that mention the words ‘millat Ibrahim’ we notice that they are followed by the words ‘he was a monotheist, he was not one of the mushrekeen’ …..
It is thus obvious that God is giving us the definition of the words ‘millat Ibrahim’ as being Monotheism and to refrain from associating partners with God. Consequently, when God commands Muhammad, and all of us, to follow ‘millat Ibrahim’, God is commanding us to follow Monotheism and refrain from Shirk (associating partners with God).
When Joseph declared that he follows "millat Ibrahim" he quickly added that it dictates to them (Joseph and his people) not to associate anything/anyone with God:
"And I followed the "millat" of my ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We never associate anything/anyone with God. Such is the blessing from God upon us and upon the people, but most people are unappreciative" 12:38
Should we accept God’s definition of the word "millat" (creed), or should we devise a looser definition of this word to mean all the religious rituals, rules and detailed regulations of Islam? The deliberate insertion of the words ‘the Monotheist, he was not among those who commit shirk’ after the words ‘millat Ibrahim’ in all the verses which contain the words ‘millat Ibrahim’, compel us to accept that the words ‘millat Ibrahim’ refer to Abraham’s creed which is Monotheism.
God in his infinite wisdom knows that certain Quranic concepts will be disputed by various people. The concept of "millat Ibrahim" is one example. As a result, God assures us that the Quran provides explanations for all things (16:89). When we consider the word "millat" we find further evidence in the Quran to confirm that the word "millat" does not refer to the religious rituals and practises and that the correct meaning is creed:
"I have forsaken the 'millat' of people who do not believe in God, and with regard to the Hereafter, they are disbelievers." 12:37
These words, which were uttered by the prophet Joseph, speak of the "millat" of those who are atheists, they do not believe in God nor the Hereafter. Atheists do not have a religion and thus they do not follow any religious rituals and practises, but we are told in 12:37 that have a "millat" (which is atheism). This glorious verse gives us further evidence that the word "millat" as used in the Quran means creed and not the religious practises.
Further evidence for the definition of the word “millat” can be found in the following Quranic words:
“Neither the Yahood (Jews) nor the Nasara (Christians) will accept you until you follow their millat” 2:120
We note that it is God who is speaking in 2:120, and as far as God is concerned the religion given to all people (Jews, Christians and Muslims) is one and the same, and God calls it Islam. This is confirmed in the fact that the only religion acceptable to God is Islam, and also in the verses which confirm that Abraham was Muslim and so where all the prophets.
And since the religion given to all people is one and the same there would be no reason why the Jews or Christians would not be pleased with the religion which is followed by Muhammad or us today, this is assuming that the word “millat” in 2:120 means religion.
We do follow the same religion, all receivers of the scripture were given the same religion and it is Islam (even though the man made labels are different).
As a result, 2:120 would not make any sense if the word “millat” means religion.
However, if we take “millat” to mean creed, then it would make perfect sense, this is because the Jews and Christians have each fabricated their own man-made creeds/beliefs (millat) and they would not be happy with other people until they follow these creeds.
So what are the creeds of the Jews and Christians which are not God given and which they always try to enforce on others?
With the Jews their millat (creed) is their belief in their man-made traditions and which have become the focal source of their religion. As for the Christians, they too are not short of various man made millat (creed), examples are the fictitious "Trinity", the “Atonement”, the “Salvation only through Jesus”, the "son of god", and the “Resurrection of Jesus”. All these are ideologies and creeds that have been falsely injected into these religions. What 2:120 tells us is exactly what is happening today, the Jews and Christians will never be happy until others follow these creeds which they have invented. The message of 2:120 applied at the time of Muhammad and also applies today.
Further evidence that the word “millat” does not mean religion is in the fact that the word used consistently in the Quran for religion is “deen” and not “millat”. The fact that we find some Quranic verses (e.g 4:125 and 6:161) which actually contain both words “millat” and also “deen” confirms that these two words do not have the same meaning. This is not any different from the verses which use the words prophet (nabi) and messenger (rasool) in the same verse to confirm that these two words do not have the same meaning (e.g. 22:52).
The word “millat” simply means a creed or a belief, but a religion is a complete and comprehensive set of religious laws which cover all the practises in addition to all the lawful and unlawful activities as prescribed by God.
As a result, it is not essential for a creed to be based on a belief in God, but by definition a religion must be centred around a belief in a god of some sort or another.
Atheism for example is a creed, because atheism is a belief, but it is not a religion since it is not based on a belief in God. This has been demonstrated in 12:37 (see point 2 above).
We note that God deliberately used the word Millat (creed) in 12:37 and not deen (religion) for this specific point.
In contrast, God uses the word “deen” (religion) in 5:3 to refer to all the rituals, practises, and prohibitions which God has authorised:
“Today I have completed the religion for you and completed My blessing upon you and chosen Islam as a religion for you” 5:3
2- Are we accountable to what was decreed for Abraham
The Quran confirms that the practices of Islam are older than the Quran:
"We made them imams who guided in accordance with our commandments, and we taught them how to work righteousness, and how to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat). To us, they were devoted worshippers" 21:73
According to 21:73 and other verses we are told that the rituals of Islam are older than the Quran and that they were indeed first given to Abraham. However, the words in the verse do not say that what we have inherited today, or what was practised at the time of Muhammad, are the pure rituals as given to Abraham without being corrupted.
To analyse the truth of whether we are accountable to what was decreed for Abraham and those before us it is necessary to read the following verse:
"Then We revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them. You shall rule among them in accordance with God's revelations, and do not follow their wishes if they differ from the truth that came to you. For each of you, we have decreed different ‘Shira’a wa minhaja’ (laws and rites). Had God willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He thus puts you to the test through the revelations He has given each of you. You shall compete in righteousness. To God is your final destiny-all of you-then He will inform you of everything you had disputed" 5:48
From the above Quranic words we note 3 important messages:
1- "We revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them. You shall rule among them in accordance with God's revelations"
These words confirm that we are commanded to follow what was revealed to us (Quran) and NOTHING else. In this verse the Quran is given the function of "confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them". This asserts the fact that what was given to those before us has now been replaced by the Quran. We are thus accountable only to what is revealed to us (Quran), and not what was given to Abraham or the others. To insist that we are following rituals that we inherited from as far back as Abraham is in violation of the words "superseding them" that describe the Quran in 5:48
2- The words "For each of you, we have decreed laws and different rites" tell us that the rituals given to each people (including us) are not identical to the ones given to those before them. As a result, and although we all follow the same creed of Monotheism and submission to God (Islam), yet the specific rituals and practises are different for different people.
3- Moreover, the words "He thus puts you to the test through the revelations He has given each of you" tell us a truly important matter. Here we are told that even though some (or all) of the rituals may have been passed down to us from those who came before us, yet God will test us and hold us accountable by means of the revelation He revealed to us (Quran) and NOT what was given to those before us. According to these words in 5:48, we shall be tested by the laws, regulations and rites that were given to us in the Quran, and NOT what we inherited from those before us.
Not only did God inform us that each people were given a different set of 'Shira’a wa minhaja’ (laws)', but also that every people were given different rituals:
"For each congregation, we have decreed 'Mansakan' (set of rituals/rites) that they must uphold. Therefore, they should not dispute with you. You shall continue to invite everyone to your Lord. Most assuredly, you are on the right path" 22:67 (also 22:34).
We note that the word 'Mansakan', which is used in this verse, is different from the words which are used in 5:48. While as the words ‘Shira’a wa minhaja’ may be related to the laws explaining the methodology of performing the rituals, the word 'Mansakan' is speaking of the RITUALS themselves. We are told that these are not the same for different people. Consequently to claim that we are to follow the exact rituals that were given to Abraham is in violation with 22:67.
Now let us take a closer look at verses 67 to 72 of Sura 22:
"For each 'ummah' (nation), we have decreed 'Mansakan' (set of rituals/rites) that they must uphold. Therefore, they should not dispute with you. You shall continue to invite everyone to your Lord. Most assuredly, you are on the right path.
If they argue with you, then say, "God is fully aware of everything you do".
God will judge among you on the Day of Resurrection regarding all your disputes.
Do you not realise that God knows everything in the heavens and everything on earth? All this is recorded in a record. This is easy for God to do.
Yet, they idolise beside God idols wherein He placed no power, and they know nothing about them. The transgressors have no helper.
When our revelations are recited to them, clearly, you recognise wickedness on the faces of those who disbelieve. They almost attack those who recite our revelations to them. Say, "Shall I inform you of something much worse? Hell is promised by God for those who disbelieve; what a miserable destiny".
We note from these glorious verses a number of important messages:
1- As mentioned, the word 'Mansakan' speaks of rituals and how they are not the same for every people.
2- The words 'If they argue with you, then say, "God is fully aware of everything you do' are indeed very significant. The question is 'why would the disbelievers argue with the believers in this context?' The answer is that they will argue with them because the believers choose to follow the rites given in the Quran and nothing else. The believers are not interested in rites that are inherited to them and labelled (came from Abraham)! The believers believe God, and they are content that the Quran contains all the religion they are required to follow.
3- These words are then followed by yet equally potent words, these are:
"Yet, they idolise beside God idols wherein He placed no power, and they know nothing about them. The transgressors have no helper".
With these words God is stamping His seal on those people that they are idolising others beside God. All those who do not believe God when He confirms that the Quran contains all the details of our religion, regardless of what was decreed for those before us or what we inherited, they are indeed transgressors. They are following rules and rites from outside the Quran, thus they have set up other gods to follow besides God.
4- God's words of truth continue:
"When our revelations are recited to them, clearly, you recognise wickedness on the faces of those who disbelieve. They almost attack those who recite our revelations to them".
If we take a look at the verses leading to 5:48 we note that God holds each receivers of a scripture accountable only to what they were given in their scripture, and not to what was given to those before them:
In 5:44 we read that God gave the prophets of Israel the Torah and commanded them to rule with it "Yahkum biha". The last words in the verse give this warning: 'those who do not rule with God's revelations are the disbelievers'.
Then in verse 46 God says that He gave Jesus the Injeel and once again (in verse 47) God repeats the warning He gave to the receivers of the Injeel, the warning about those who do not rule in accordance with the revelation given to them.
Then in verses 48 and 49 God tells Muhammad that He gave him the Quran and that he should rule "Bima Anzal Allah". The very first words in verse 48 confirm that "ma Anzal Allah" mean the Quran (Kitaab) and nothing else.
This time the warning of ruling with God's revelations is repeated to the reader of the Quran twice, in verse 48 and once again in the first words of verse 49.
This warning, together with the confirmation that the Quran supersedes the older scripture (5:48), confirm that we are not required to follow the previous scripture which were revealed to previous people, nor are we required to follow what we have inherited, we are only to follow the Quran.
Furthermore, the Quran confirms that our accountability on Judgement Day will only be to what was revealed to us (Quran) and nothing else. The following Quranic words confirm this meaning:
"This (Quran) is a message for you and your people which you shall all be accountable to" 43:44
"Such is a community from the past. They are responsible for what they earned, and you are responsible for what you earned. You are not answerable for anything they have done" 2:134
"That was a community from the past. They are responsible for what they earned, and you are responsible for what you earned. You are not answerable for anything they did" 2:141
The message of these two verses is once again loud and clear. We are not answerable to anything done by those before us, they had their rules and rites and we have ours.
The Quran also states a very important matter in the following verse:
"O you who believe, do not ask about matters which, if revealed to you prematurely, would hurt you. If you ask about them in light of the Quran, they will become obvious to you. God has deliberately overlooked them. God is Forgiver, Clement" 5:101
God confirms to us here that there are some matters that He has deliberately overlooked, and thus they are not required by us (they may have been required from those before us). God also tells us that if we enquire about them 'in the light of the Quran', that they will be obvious to us.
This Quranic verse assures us yet again that what is not authorised in the Quran has been overlooked by God and thus is not required of us.
Besides all the above verses, this glorious verse also renders such phrases as 'details of rituals as given to Abraham’ as irrelevant. This as well as God's assurance that nothing has been left out of the book (6:38), compels us to accept only the details of the rituals that are given in the Quran. If they are not in the Quran, it is either because God has overlooked them, or because they are a corruption that was never authorised by God.
3- Were the religious practises given to Abraham preserved, and
practised at the time of Muhammad? Were they preserved until today?
Some claim that the practises that were given to Abraham, were preserved and were practised at the time of Muhammad. They say that God would not ask Muhammad to follow the religion of Abraham if the latter was not known. They say that it must have been known and practised for Muhammad to be able to follow them.
As mentioned before, and since God is deliberate to always follow the words ‘millat Ibrahim’ with the words monotheism and not among the 'mushrekeen', it is more sensible to accept that ‘millat Ibrahim’ simply means monotheism as opposed to 'shirk'. Consequently, the question of (God would not ask Muhammad to follow the religion of Abraham if it was not known) would not be applicable. God did not ask Muhammad to follow the religion of Abraham with all its details, God asked Muhammad to follow the creed of Abraham which is Monotheism. The proof is given in 5:48 where God commands Muhammad to follow the Quran and not what was revealed before the Quran, and also in 22:67 (also 22:34) where God confirms that each people were given their own rituals.
With the correct understanding of the phrase ‘millat Ibrahim’ it becomes obvious that all God asked of Muhammad and all of us in 16:123 is to follow monotheism and refrain from idol worship. After that, all the details of our religion are given in the Quran.
Now we come to the issue of whether there were in fact a group of people who were practising the same religious practises as given to Abraham, at the time of the revelation of the Quran.
If we stick to Quranic evidence we would quickly realise that this claim is totally unfounded.
1- We are told in the Quran of various groups of people at the time of the revelation of the Quran. God mentions the Jews, also the Nasara (Christians) in various verses. God also mentions the idol worshippers who worshipped stone idols, e.g. Allaat and Al-Uzzah (See 53:19). In all the Quran, there is never a mention of ANY group of believers at the time of Muhammad who followed the pure practises as given to Abraham. To claim that the practises given to Abraham were practised in their purity at the time of Muhammad is thus an unfounded claim that has no Quranic support whatsoever.
2- We are told in the Quran repeatedly, how the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) have corrupted the scripture given to them (see 4:46, 3:78, 2:75, 5:41). In that light it is hard to see how they could have had a preserved scripture to represent the pure practises and laws that God decreed.
3- We are also told that the rituals, and specifically the Prayer, were lost by generations that followed one another. The claim that the rituals, and specifically the Salat, were preserved and passed down generation to generation contradicts the Quranic evidence:
"After them (the prophets of Israel), He substituted generations who lost the Contact Prayers (Salat), and pursued their lusts. They will suffer the consequences" 19:59
The significance of points 2 and 3 above cannot be overlooked. Not only do these two points confirm that the people of the previous scripture have corrupted their scripture, but they also lost the Salat. Therefore to still insist that the Salat and religious practises were preserved from the time of Abraham is in total contradiction to Quranic truth.
4- We are told in the Quran that although there was some kind of prayer observed by various factions at the kaaba (at the time of Muhammad) yet that prayer was totally corrupt:
"Their Contact Prayers (Salat) at the shrine (Ka`bah) were no more than a mockery and a means of repelling the people (by crowding them out). Therefore, suffer the retribution for your disbelief" 8:35
Obviously, a Prayer that is described by God as being full of mockery and a means of repelling the people, could hardly be the same Prayer that was given to Abraham. This Prayer could not be regarded in any sense as a testimony to the preservation of the Salat since Abraham.
Moreover, verse 35 and the verses before it speak specifically about the idol worshippers. Hence the reference to their prayer could not be used to imply that the correct prayer was practised at the time of Muhammad. How could the prayer of idol worshippers be a correct prayer? And since the dwellers of the Kaaba and Mecca shaped the climate in which Muhammad was born and raised, how could we say that Muhammad had access to the uncorrupted Salat as given to Abraham from those around him.
One last comment on 8:35. This verse has always been interpreted to be referring to the time of Muhammad fourteen centuries ago. However, with some analysis, it can be seen that this verse applies as much today as it did fourteen centuries ago. It is a fact that the Salat today at the Kaaba is full of idol worship and glorification of Muhammad, but more important the words in the previous verse (8:34) give us some important clues:
"Have they not deserved God's retribution, by repelling others from the Sacred Masjid ....." 8:34
We can see how these words apply today to the authorities who prohibit the believers from observing their Hajj during the four months decreed by God for Hajj (2:197), and instead they restrict the time allowed for Hajj to the first ten days of the month of Zhu Al-Hijjah.
4- Does the Quran only detail laws that have been changed or
corrupted? Is the Quran merely an ‘Amendment book’?
This is another claim made by some people. They say that the Quran does not detail everything, but only what has been changed or corrupted. Once again the Quranic evidence indicates contrary to this claim.
Nowhere in the Quran do we read ANY indication that the Quran only deals with the changes and corruption. As a matter of fact the words ‘fully detailed’ in 6:114, the words ‘nothing has been left out of the book’ in 6:38 and the words that describes the Quran as giving ‘explanation to everything’ in 16:89 all indicate that the Quran contains a complete and comprehensive law, and not just the changes.
If the Quran contains only the changes (as they claim) then we would be compelled to enquire into the Salat mentioned by name in the Quran and they are: Fajr 24:58, Wusta 2:238 and Isha 24:58. Have these 3 Salat been given originally to Abraham? Or are these 3 Salat “changes” to what was given to Abraham? Let us here examine both possibilities:
If these 3 Salat were first given to Abraham, then why are only these 3 mentioned by name in the Quran and not all 5 (assuming he was given 5 Salat)? Was that a slip up from God? On the other hand, if these 3 Salat were not originally given to Abraham but are “changes” to what Abraham received, then would that mean that Abraham was only given the remaining 2 Salat per day? Needless to say, whichever possibility we consider, the loopholes are clear and cannot be justified.
This would also mean that the details of Hajj which are given in the Quran such as the Safa and Marwa (2:158), the animal sacrifice (22:36) and mount Arafat (2:198), all these rituals would be subject to the same enquiry. If these rituals are not "changes" to what was given to Abraham then why are they repeated in the Quran but not the stoning? And if these rituals are “changes” then what exactly was the nature of the Hajj decreed for Abraham if it had none of these rituals? Was the Hajj decreed to Abraham in that case comprised of stoning and nothing else!
When we apply the same concept to 'Zakat' we must also conclude that paying Zakat as soon as we receive the money (6:141) and paying it to the recipients specified in the Quran (2:215), all these are changes, and that the only detail that has not been changed since Abraham was the one not mentioned in the Quran; the 2.5% rate!
Moreover, if the Quran only deals with the changes as they claim, then God’s command in 6:114 to accept no laws from outside the Quran would necessarily mean that the religion we are following is incomplete, since it would be no more than a collection of amendments and corrections!
Needless to say, this line of thought is full of holes and clearly violates the attribute of the Quran being 'complete' and 'fully detailed' (6:114-115).
To conclude, the attempt by some to reduce God’s assurance that the Quran contains 'all the details' and that ‘nothing has been left out of the book’ to mean the Quran only deals with the changes/corruption is indeed a great error.
When God says 'everything' God means 'everything'. The word 'everything' indicates that the Quran contains all what we need in order to practise Islam, and not just the changes.
5- Does the Quran outline only the main concepts while the details
are passed down to us from the time of Abraham?
“You shall read what you can of it (Quran), and observe the Salat, give the Zakat, and lend God a loan of righteousness.” 73:20
They add that at this early stage of the revelation Muhammad did not have all the details of the Salat, which were revealed in the later sura’s, and as a result, they claim that Muhammad would not have been able to obey the command for Salat unless the preserved Salat (as given to Abraham) was known and practised at the time, and before the full Quran was revealed.
1- The Quran is fully detailed (6:114), which is now changed to: The Quran has all the details except what was given to Abraham!
2- Nothing has been left out of the book (6:38), which is now changed to: We have left what was given to Abraham out of the book!
Now we come to the Quranic reply to their claim:
"Most Exalted is God, the only true King. Do not rush the Quran before it is revealed to you, and say, "My Lord, increase my knowledge." 20:114
The question here is: why would Muhammad “rush the revelation”? What was Muhammad impatient about? What was he commanded to wait for?
We also read:
Once again the words"do not hasten it"and also"once we recite it (to you), you shall follow such a Quran" indicate that Muhammad was not expected to follow anything until it had been revealed to him. This applies to Salat or any other Quranic command.
Sunni's say: "Quran does not have the details, Quran deals only with the highlights, the details are in hadith/sunna".
New Hadith followers's say: "Quran does not have the details, Quran deals only with the corrections. the details are inherited and passed down from the time of Abraham".
God Says: The Quran is "fully detailed" (6:114), the Quran deals with "everything" (16:89) and "nothing has been left out of the book" (6:38).
6- Does the Quran authorise us to take the inherited rituals
as a second source of law besides the Quran?
Some believers claim that we should take the inherited rituals as a lawful source of law even if some of these inherited rituals are not spelt out in the Quran. They say that the Quran alone is not sufficient for a believer to practise his/her religion but one must also uphold the inherited rituals. But somehow, and for a reason only known to them, they still claim that they follow the Quran alone!
They justify this by saying that all the practises of Islam (Salat, Zakat …etc) were first given to Abraham.
This is quite true, no one will dispute this fact since the Quran tells us that the Salat and Zakat and Hajj were given to Abraham. However, there is a massive difference between God telling us that Islam is as old as Abraham and that these practises were given to Abraham on the one hand, and to claim that we should accept and follow what we inherited of rituals on the other hand!
The first issue, that Islam is as old as Abraham is a Quranic fact, it is not subject to any dispute. The second issue, which is the legality of accepting our inherited rituals as a second source of laws besides the Quran is totally unsupported by any Quranic evidence.
For a start, the claim that the rituals have been preserved and passed down to us from the time of Abraham is absolutely without any Quranic support. Nowhere in the Quran do we read of such preservation. In actual fact, we have been discovering how the rituals we inherited are full of corruption! The only thing guaranteed preservation is the Quran itself (15:9).
To those who say we must also uphold what was authorised by God’s messenger (even if it is not found in the Quran) fall into the realm of 42:21. Moreover, the glaring fact is that the personal teachings of any messenger will also be corrupted and changed with the passing of time. What should the believers in 100 years time do? Will the personal teachings of the messenger be preserved then (15:9)? Are the personal teachings of the messenger a scripture (42:21)? Is the messenger authorised to have his own personal teachings (69:44)?
But this is not all. If we are to accept the inherited rituals in the understanding that they came to us all the way back from Abraham, we must pose the following question: How did these rituals get to us? Obviously Abraham did not come to us personally and give us what God gave him! These rituals came to each of us through our parents or our teachers. And what exactly are the words of our parents or teachers? Is it not hadith? Or should we classify the words of our parents/teachers as scripture? The mere fact that these rituals came to each of us through hadith is another nail in the coffin and a solid evidence that leads us to discard this source all together. We must always remember the Quranic command to discard all hadith (45:6).
To claim that God has preserved our rituals and passed them down from generation to generation since Abraham raises the question of why then did God allow some of these practises to be corrupted? Is God only able to preserve some of our inherited rituals and not others? The mere suggestion of this false doctrine is an insult to God. The truth of the matter is that God never promised to preserve anything but the Quran. Any claim otherwise is no more than a human innovation.
Finally, the Quran makes a mockery of those who refuse to follow the Quran alone and who insist on following what they inherited from their parents:
"When they are told follow what God revealed herein (Quran) they say: we only follow what we found our parents doing" 2:170
7- Do we have any Quranic proof for what was given to Abraham?
Do we have any Quranic evidence to support the claim that God gave Abraham any of these rituals which cannot be found in the Quran (5 Salat, 24434 raka, 2.5% rate for Zakat, stoning during Hajj, sermon during the Friday Prayer)? The answer is a straight no.
Indeed we are told in the Quran that the Salat and Zakat were given to Abraham (21:73) and also the Hajj (22:27) but we are not told the exact details. As a result, all who claim that Abraham was given any of the above un-Quranic practises must be relying on a source other than the Quran to make that claim.
It follows that all who quote verses such as 21:73 and 22:27 to enforce these un-Quranic practises are really missing the point. These verses speak about Salat, Zakat and Hajj in general but do not give the specific details which were given to Abraham in connection to any of these practises.
8- Should we rely on ‘Universal Acceptance’?
Those who uphold rules and practises which are not authorised in the Quran such as the stoning during Hajj, the 5 Salat or the 2.5% for Zakat, justify doing so by saying that the greatest number of Muslims all over the world agree on these practises and figures. Consequently, they claim that this must be a sign that these practises have been preserved.
Once again, and by consulting Quranic evidence, we realise that this argument is quite contrary to the Quranic truth.
"If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess" 6:116
From these Quranic words, we are ascertained that what the majority do or say is always astray from the path of God and that what they follow is no more than conjecture. This means that if we apply the concept of universal acceptance we must indeed reject these rituals which do not appear in the Quran such as 24434, 2.5% Zakat and so on. Indeed, absolute truth is only in God’s Scripture, anything obtained from other than the Quran is pure guesswork, and that is why we are told in 6:116 that "they follow only conjecture".
9- If the Quran contains everything why can’t
I find in it the recipe for cooking a curry?
Believe it or not, some sceptics have asked this type of question!
The answer to this question is quite straightforward. The reason why the Quran does not contain information about how to cook a curry or how to drive our cars … etc, is given in the Quran. The function of the Quran is defined very clearly in the following words:
"Shall I seek other than God as a source of law when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed?" 6:114
The above glorious verse makes a clear connection between "source of law" and the Quran being "fully detailed". In other words: the Quran is fully detailed with regards to the law of God.
Moreover, the purpose of the Quran, or any scripture, is to provide us with the means for salvation. And therefore, since the way we cook a curry or the way we drive our cars does not affect our fate on Judgement Day, then their details are not included in the scripture. We must always remember that the Quran is all we need for salvation.
The Quran, like any other scripture is a manual of how to worship God and refrain from idol worship, how to get to Heaven and how to correct our original sin, the Quran contains all the details we need for this specific purpose, (see: why we are here).
To understand the meaning of the Quranic phrase "nothing has been left out of the book" (6:38) we must read a number of other verses as well:
We read in 2:38 that God's offer to redeem mankind involved sending us ‘Hoda’ (guidance), and that the ones who will accept this guidance, which in verse 2:39 is connected to ‘Ayat Allah’ (God’s revelations) will be redeemed while those who reject it will end up in Hell.
We also read in the Quran that God sent the ‘Hoda’ (guidance) through the Quran (27:2, 31:3). We are also told that the guidance was given to the previous people in the previous scripture (3:4).
After God has defined the exact duty of the Quran (and all the other scripture), that being to provide the way for salvation, God tells us that the Quran contains everything. It is only logical to understand the completeness of the Quran in relationship to its function, which is to provide the guidance and means for salvation.
Let us compare the above with the following example:
If you are studying in school for a science exam, and your teacher gives you a book and tells you it contains everything you need to pass the exam. You cannot one day tell him I did not find in the book how to cook a pizza !!!
The teacher never claimed that the book contains how to cook a pizza, he only said it contains everything to pass the exam.
Moreover, you cannot go and borrow a science book from the class of the year before you and follow it, since the questions you will get in your exam will be based on the book the teacher gave you and not the book given to them. You have your "minhaj" (rules) and they have theirs (see minhaj in 5:48).
Similarly, since God defined for us the function of the Quran (or any scripture) as being the complete rules to attain salvation (2:38-39) (and to pass the test) then we must understand the completeness of the Quran according to the function ascribed to it and not in any other sense.
The completeness of the Quran is indeed related to it being a fully detailed source of law. This is confirmed in 6:114 where we have the direct link between accepting God as the only "source of law" and between the Quran being "fully detailed".
Once again, what all this confirms is the fact that to attain salvation and redeem our souls in God's heaven (God willing) we only need the "menhaj" (rules and laws) which was given to us, and not the "menhaj" which was given to those before us. In 5:48, we are told that our "menhaj" is the Quran and not the rituals or scripture given to Abraham or the others.
We have in the Quran a firm confirmation that we must only follow what is clearly given in the Quran and nothing else and not what was given to Abraham nor what we inherited. This confirmation is given in the following Quranic words:
"This (Quran) is a reminder for you and your people, and to which you will be accountable" 43:44