True Faith and False Religion
There are many religions in the world, each of which has its followers. Some of them account for hundreds of millions of people, but numbers cannot be an indication of truth. There are millions of Buddhists in the world, but it is an idolatrous religion. Likewise, the Hindus number in millions, but they too are idolaters. Many of the world’s religions have similarities .
There are also differences between them. They all agree that Allah created the heavens and the earth, that He provides for His creatures and actively directs events in the world. But you can realize the difference when you observe the details of each one’s faith, and the ways it manifests itself.
There are monotheists who only worship Allah and call upon none but Him, not upon idols, nor false gods, nor saints. And there are polytheists who believe in Allah but fail to worship Him alone purely, without mixing Him up with invented deities and idols. Allah said, “And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others (with Him).” (12:106)
There is no doubt that among the world’s religions there is one that is acceptable to Allah for His worshippers, a religion other than which He will not accept, and the followers of which alone will find their good works and worship accepted through this religion that He has accepted. Allah guides whomever He pleases to His religion from among those whom He knows to be good, and whomever He pleases He allows to become overcome by their own pride. Allah said, “I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant on the earth without right; and if they should see every sign, they will not believe in
it.” (7:146) Their turning away is the desire they have for living eternally in this world, while
turning themselves away from the Hereafter.
The world is another kind of religion around which most people adhere themselves to. They may relate themselves traditionally to different religions, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism…etc. They all have one worldly concern to live for; they are completely absorbed in the affairs of the world and they forget the next world, and do nothing to prepare themselves for it, nor are they concerned with searching out the truth of
religion. Allah said, “Every soul will be tasting death. And you will be paid your reward only on the Day of Resurrection. So, he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, has indeed succeeded. for the life of this world is nothing but the enjoyment of delusion.” (3:185) Every name of religion is derived from the names for some created beings, except for Islam. Christians have named their faith after Jesus Christ, but was Christ Christian? Of course not. He was a follower of the Torah, revealed to Moses.
Judaism is derived from the name of Judah, but what was Judah’s faith? In another word, was Judah a Jew?
Thus, we can see the birth of new religions that occurred at the same time as the birth of Judah and Christ. The Buddhists take their name from Buddha, but was Buddha a Buddhist? What was the name of the true religion during the life time of Buddha? We also ask, what was the name of the religion at the time of Abraham? (1) Though he was the father of the prophets, was he a Jew or a Christian? Not likely, since both
Judah and Christ were his descendants and neither the Torah nor the Gospels were revealed until after he had gone. If we were to say that either of these two religions, Judaism and Christianity, is the true faith, then what of those who died before the coming of the Messiah and who never knew about Christianity? What of those who died before Judah and who never knew Judaism? The answer to these incomprehensible questions is that we can be certain that all the prophets submitted in humility to the command of Allah. This is what the Arabs call Islam. They submitted and humbled themselves before Allah.
This is the meaning of “Islam.” In this way we can know the religion of all the prophets through which they were brothers. It is the religion of Islam, Submission to Allah. Islam does not derive its name from the name of any of Allah’s creatures. It is not a mere name, but it is an abstract noun, a kind of description of behavior.
Whoever behaves in a certain way can be described as having this quality of “Islam.” Whoever submits himself totally to the will of Allah, and abides by the limits which Allah has set, and who proclaims his unconditional obedience to Allah, who allies himself completely to Allah, he is a Muslim. Allah does not name His religion after any person, nor is it dependent on the birth of any person, because the religion of Allah is the religion of all humanity from Adam to the last believer who will walk on the earth. Allah had commanded that all of creation submit to Him, saying, “And turn to your Lord and surrender to Him, before the punishment comes upon you suddenly, then you will not be helped.” (39:54) And He said, “And who is there that has a fairer religion than he who submits his will to Allah, being a good-doer, and who follows the creed of Abraham, a man of pure faith?” (4:125) And He said,
“Do they seek something different than the religion of Allah, when whoever is in the heavens and the earth submits to Him, willingly, or unwillingly, and to Him will be their return.” (3:83) All the prophets submitted humbly to the command of Allah, and they were the first of their peoples to do so. This is why they are called “Muslims” in the Qur’an: “Surely We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light; the prophets who submitted [to Allah] judge by it for the Jews.” (5:44) And again, “Abraham was neither a Jew, nor a Christian; but was inclining toward truth, a submissive to Allah (Muslim) and he was never of the
polytheists.” (3:67) The quality that is shared by all of the prophets is their submission to Allah. They
were the humblest of all people before Allah, submitting to His command in all things. They were all brothers in a single faith. They committed themselves to this, to submission and to humility before Allah. This is why the Prophet said, “The prophets are paternal brothers, their mothers are many, but their faith is one.”(2)
Thus on the basis of that we conclude this: How distant from the religion of the prophets is he who calls himself a Muslim but does not submit to Allah and does not pray to Him. Could someone be a Muslim, submitting to Allah, yet not pray and not pay zakat and not fast in Ramadan and not perform the Pilgrimage? Could he be a Muslim, submitting to Allah, and not hesitating to commit any forbidden act from fornication to drunkenness? If Satan was ordered to prostrate to Adam but he refused to do so and thus he became the worst of creation, what then of someone who is commanded to prostrate himself to Allah, not to Adam, but refuses to do so out of pride?
(1) It is noteworthy to know that the names of the prophets in Christianity changes from language to another, if you speak English you say Jesus but if you speak Spanish you say Khosies like wise
Peter to Patros…Etc. I decided to mention the names of the prophets according to English
language, yet I did not do the same concerning the name of Allah. Christians think that the word
God is a proper noun while it’s a common noun. The word God means One who people worship,
while Allah refers to the name that should only be worship. If we fail to know the name of the
true God then how far are we from guidance.
(2) Al-Bukhari (3442) and Muslim (2365).