Introduction to Islam
By: A. Mohamed

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

What the words in 3:19 say is that Islam (Submission to God) is the only religion authorised by God. On first impression, many would immediately ask: Wait a minute! What about Judaism and Christianity? After all, these religions were also authorised by God, or are they?

The name 'Islam' (Submission to God) is given in the Quran as the name of the religion authorised by God. However, we do not find the word Judaism in the Old Testament, nor do we find the word Christianity anywhere in the New Testament. This significant absence indicates that these two names are not names of religions authorised by God, but are man-made names.

Contrary to what many believe, the word Islam is not a religion that is exclusive to the Quran, nor a religion that was initiated by prophet Muhammad! The word Islam does not mean peace. The Arabic word for peace is 'salam' and not Islam. The word Islam means 'Submission to God' and accepting God's absolute authority over all things.

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

1- Christianity: Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Eastern Orthodox, etc.
2- Islam: Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Sufi, Ahmadi, etc.
3- Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Hasidic, etc.

The only name from the above names that is found in the Quran and in the Old and New Testaments is 'Submission to God' (details below).
As for the sub-divisions, when Moses delivered the law and the commandments of God to his people, he never advocated being an Orthodox, Conservative, Reformist or Hasidic. And when Jesus preached the Word of God and the Gospel, he never advocated being a Catholic, Baptist or Protestant. Equally, when Muhammad delivered the Quran, he too never advised his people to be Sunni, Shia or any of the other sects of Islam.
We read in the Quran that God prohibited all sects:

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

The following verses, taken from the Quran, the Old Testament and the New Testament, confirm that Submission to God is the religion authorised in all Scriptures:

- Indeed, the religion in the sight of God is Islam (Submission to God).3:19
- Whoever seeks other than Islam for a religion, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be among the losers. 3:85

Old Testament
- Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you. (Job 22:21)
- Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to His sanctuary, which He has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that His fierce anger will turn away from you. (2 Chronicles 30:8)
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

New Testament
- Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
- Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)
- The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. (Romans 8:7)
- For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:3)

4- 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 Islam 'Submission to God'.
We read in 3:67 that Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, he was a Muslim:

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

Before him, Noah was a Muslim (10:72). Equally, in 2:133, the sons of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, as well as Jacob and his sons were all Muslims. In 5:111 we read that the disciples of Jesus were all Muslims. The religion inspired to prophet Muhammad was the same religion inspired to all the previous prophets:

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

It is of great significance that when the words Jews and Christians are mentioned in the Quran, God refrains from using the word 'religion':

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

The keyword in this glorious verse is the word
'creed'. Why did God use the word creed and not the word religion? Why did God not say 'until you follow their religion'? The obvious reason is that Judaism and Christianity are not names of religions authorised by God. Indeed, the only religion authorised by God for mankind is Islam (Submission to God). In contrast, Judaism and Christianity are man-made creeds.

Submission to God endorses the belief in the One God, worshipping Him alone, devoting the religion to Him alone, and rejecting all other gods/idols. Once again, we find this to be the fundamental message endorsed in all Scriptures:

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 a person recognises God's absolute authority and reaches 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 outcome of such a realisation is to devote one's life and 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


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 is that 'truth' and 'revelation' are not absolutely equivalent terms. Because 'truth' is an absolute term, it is situated independent of form. In contrast, 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 was necessary due to 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 the different revelations are identical in message and truth, each is tailored to a specific people and a specific era. The various revelations do 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.

If there appears any apparent contradiction between different revelations, they are in human receptacles and not in the divine message. This is usually due to one or more of the following reasons:

1- The misinterpretation of the Scriptures.
2- The corruption of the Scriptures resulting in the
failure to preserve the truth contained in the revelation.
3- The inevitable infiltration of tradition and culture and their adverse role in impairing the purity of the revelation.

These factors, together or singly, widen the gap between people. The result of which is the emergence of a multitude of man-made religions that have veered off the original revelation. These religions and their inevitable sub-religions in many ways bare little resemblance to the original religion decreed by God. Whenever that happens, divine intervention sees to it that a new revelation is sent to put mankind back on track with God's Law.

3- We find that up until the advent of the industrial revolution and the fast travel era, the world was still a wide expanse of remote lands and peoples.
Many people would not have even heard of previous Scriptures that were revealed in other parts of the world. That 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 given to previous prophets, but because of the following reasons:

a- A divine promise has been endorsed in the Quran that the Quran will never be corrupted (15:9). As a result, since the Quran would always remain 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 no longer need to travel to hear or receive information. This can be transmitted instantly through social media, a convenience that was not available in the past.