Chapter 1: The Religion of Islam
Islam is the religion that God sent to Muhammad(P) and made it the final and most complete religion for His slaves. Islam is an Arabic word which means peace, purity, acceptance and commitment. As a religion, Islam calls for complete acceptance of and submission to the teachings and guidance of God.
A Muslim is one who freely and willingly accepts the supreme power of God and strives to organize his life in total accord with the teachings of God. He also works for building social institutions which reflect the guidance of God. “Mohamedanism” is a misnomer for Islam and offends its very spirit since the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was a messenger of God, and not a divine being worshipped by Muslims.
Muslims use the Arabic word “Allah for the English word “God.” The understanding of Deity in Islam differs from some of the connotations in the English word “God.” For the convenience of English-speaking readers, the word “God” is used in this article except when the word “All?” is in the quotations from the Qur’? The misguided claims of Dr. Robert Morey, who says in his book The Islamic Invasion that “All?quot; is the name of the moongod can be easily disproved when one opens the Arabic Bible and notice that the equivalent word for “God” in the corresponding English translation is the word “All?quot;.
Islam is not a new religion or ever claim itself to be as such. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which God revealed to all His previous messengers.
“Say: ‘We believe in Allah and that which was revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to the Prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit.’” (Qur’? 3:83)
The message which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form. God perfected, in this religion, the bounties that He bestowed on His slaves, and accepts only Islam from them. God said,
“Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of All? and the Seal of the Prophets.” [33:40]
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion.” [5:3]
“Truly, the religion in the Sight of God is Islam.” [3:19]
“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” [3:85].
God obligated all mankind to follow Islam, as
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of All? to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is none who has the right to be worshipped but He; It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in All?and His Messenger (Muhammad), the Prophet who can neither read nor write, who believes in All?and His Words (this Quran, the Torah and the Gospel), and follow him so that you may be guided.’” (Qur’an:158).
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of God said, what translated means, “By Whom the soul of Muhammed is in His Hand! No member of this nation, no Jew or Christian, hears of me and does not believe in what I was sent with, but he will be of the people of the Fire.” [Sahih Muslim].
Believing in the Messenger means believing in what was revealed to him, coupled with acceptance and submission; without them the belief is not sufficient. This is why Abu Talib, the Prophet’s(P) uncle, was not a believer in the Messenger, although he believed in what he was sent with and confirmed that Islam was the best religion (but without acceptance or adherence to Islam).
Islam contains all of what brings benefit which was also contained in previous religions. Islam, however, is suitable for implementation anytime, anywhere and by any nation. God said:
“And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (this Quran) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and dominant over it.” (Qur’an 5:48)
The meaning of “suitable for implementation at anytime, anywhere and by any nation,” is that Islam only brings benefit to mankind, whenever and wherever it is implemented. Islam is not under the control, and thus is not to be altered by, any nation living at any given time at any given place, as some people would want it to be.
Islam is the religion of truth. It is the religion that God guaranteed aid and dominance for whoever firmly adheres by it. He said:
“It is He who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the Religion of Truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions even though the disbelievers hate it.” [9:33]
“Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous, good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion, which He has chosen for them (Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (the believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the rebellious (disobedient to All?.” [24:55].
Islam contains belief and Law. It is a complete religion, both in its belief and in its Law. It demands from its followers the following:
- Believing in Tauhiyd (Oneness) of God and disbelieving in Shirk (polytheism).
- Being truthful and not lying.
- Being just, that is to deal comparable things with equality, and abandoning injustice.
- Being honest and abandoning treachery.
- Preserving one’s promises and contracts and not breaking them.
- Being dutifully good to one’s parents and not cutting ties of kinship.
- Keeping relations with relatives and not cutting them.
- Being good with neighbors and not harming them.
In general, Islam orders Muslims to have the best possible conduct and forbids all bad behavior. It requires Muslims to enjoin every righteous deed and avoid every evil deed. God said:
“Verily, God enjoins justice, Al-Ih’san (excellence in religion), giving (help) to kith and kin, and forbids all evil (deeds), Al-Munkar (all that is prohibited) and injustice. He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” (Qur’an 16:90].