The True Religion
The True Religion
By Dr. Abû Ameenah Bilaal Philips
The Arabic word “Islam” means the submission or surrender of one’s will to the only true god worthy of worship “Allah” and anyone who does so is termed a “Muslim”, The word also implies “peace” which is the natural consequence of total submission to the will of Allah. Hence, it was not a new religion brought by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Arabia in the seventh century, but only the true religion of Allah re-expressed in its final form.
Since the total submission of one’s will to Allah represents the essence of worship, the basic message of Allah’s divine religion, Islam is the worship of Allah alone and the avoidance of worship directed to any person, place or thing other than Allah. Since everything other than Allah,the Creator of all things, is Allah’s creation; it may be said that Islam, in essence calls man away from the worship of creation and invites him to worship only its Creator. He is the only one deserving man’s worship as it is only by His will that prayers are answered. If man prays to a tree and his prayers are answered, it was not the tree which answered his prayers but Allah who allowed the circumstances prayed for to take place. One might say, “That is obvious,” however, to tree-worshippers it might not be. Similarly, prayers to Jesus, Buddha, or Krishna, to Saint Christopher, or Saint Jude or even to Muhammad, are not answered by them but are answered by Allah. Jesus did not tell his followers to worship him but to worship Allah. As the Qur’aan states:
Nor did he worship himself when he worshipped but rather he worshipped Allah. This basic principle is enshrined in the opening chapter of the Qur’an, known as Surah Al-Fatihah, verse 4:
When the idol worshipper is questioned as to why he or she bows down to idols created by men, the invariable reply is that they are not actually worshipping the stone image, but Allah who is present within it. They claim that the stone idol is only a focal point for Allah’s essence and is not in itself Allah! One who has accepted the concept of the presence of God’s being within His creation in any way will be obliged to accept this argument of idolatry. Whereas, one who understands the basic message of Islam and its implications would never concede to idolatry no matter how it is rationalized. Those who have claimed divinity for themselves down through the ages have often based their claims on the mistaken belief that Allah is present in man. They merely had to assert that although Allah according to their false beliefs, is in all of us, He is more present in them than in the rest of us. Hence, they claim, we should submit our will to them and worship them as they are either God in person or God concentrated within the person.
Similarly, those who have asserted the godhood of others after their passing have found fertile ground among those who accept the false belief of God’s presence in man. One who has grasped the basic message of Islam and its implications could never agree to worship another human being under any circumstances. God’s religion in essence is a clear call to the worship of the Creator and the rejection of creation-worship in any form. This is the meaning of the motto of Islam:
“Laa ilaha ilallah” (There is no god but Allah) Its repetition automatically brings one within the fold of Islam and sincere belief in it guarantees one Paradise.
Thus, the final Prophet of Islam is reported to have said,
“Any one who says: There is no god but Allah and dies holding that (belief) will enter paradise”. (Reported by Abu Dharr and collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
It consists in the submission to Allah as one God, yielding to Him by obeying His commandments, and the denial of polytheism and polytheists.
There are so many sects, cults, religions, philosophies, and movements in the world, all of which claim to be the right way or the only true path to Allah. How can one determine which one is correct or if, in fact, all are correct? The method by which the answer can be found is to clear away the superficial differences in the teachings of the various claimants to the ultimate truth, and identify the central object of worship to which they call, directly or indirectly. False religions all have in common one basic concept with regards to Allah. They either claim that all men are gods or that specific men were Allah or that nature is Allah or that Allah is a figment of man’s imagination.
Thus, it may be stated that the basic message of false religion is that Allah may be worshipped in the form of His creation. False religion invites man to the worship of creation by calling the creation or some aspect of it God. For example, prophet Jesus invited his followers to worship Allah but those who claim to be his followers today call people to worship Jesus, claiming that he was Allah!
Buddha was a reformer who introduced a number of humanistic principles to the religion of India.
He did not claim to be God nor did he suggest to his followers that he be an object of worship. Yet, today most Buddhists who are to be found outside of India have taken him to be God and prostrate to idols made in their perception of his likeness.
By using the principle of identifying the object of worship, false religion becomes very obvious and the contrived nature of their origin clear. As God said in the Qur’an:
It may be argued that all religions teach good things so why should it matter which one we follow.
The reply is that all false religions teach the greatest evil, the worship of creation. Creationworship is the greatest sin that man can commit because it contradicts the very purpose of his creation. Man was created to worship Allah alone as Allah has explicitly stated in the Qur’an:
Consequently, the worship of creation, which is the essence of idolatry, is the only unforgivable sin. One who dies in this state of idolatry has sealed his fate in the next life. This is not an opinion, but a revealed fact stated by Allah in his final revelation to man:
THE UNIVERSALITY OF ISLAM
Since the consequences of false religion are so grave, the true religion of Allah must be universally understandable and attainable, not confined to any people, place or time. There can not be conditions like baptism, belief in a man, as a saviour etc., for a believer to enter paradise. Within the central principle of Islam and in its definition, (the surrender of one’s will to God) lies the roots of Islam’s universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that Allah is one and distinct from His creation, and submits himself to Allah, he becomes a Muslim in body and spirit and is eligible for paradise. Thus, anyone at anytime in the most remote region of the world can become a Muslim, a follower of God’s religion, Islam, by merely rejecting the worship of creation and by turning to Allah (God) alone-It should be noted however, that the recognition of and submission to Allah requires that one chooses between right and wrong and such a choice implies accountability.
Man will be held responsible for his choices, and, as such, he should try his utmost to do good and avoid evil. The ultimate good being the worship of Allah alone and the ultimate evil being the worship of His creation along with or instead of Allah. This fact is expressed in the final revelation as follows:
If only they had stood by the law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side.
” There Is from among them a party on the right course; but many of them follow a course that Is evil.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:66)
RECOGNITION OF ALLAH
The question which arises here is, “How can all people be expected to believe in Allah given their varying- backgrounds, societies and cultures? For people to be responsible for worshipping Allah they all have to have access to knowledge of Allah. The final revelation teaches that all mankind have the recognition of Allah imprinted on their souls, a part of their very nature with which they are created.
In Surah Al-A’raf, Verses 172-173; Allah explained that when He created Adam, He caused all of Adam’s descendants to come into existence and took a pledge from them saying,
Am I not your Lord? To which they all replied, ” Yes, we testify to It:’
Allah then explained why He had all of mankind bear witness that He is their creator and only true God worthy of worship. He said,
That is to say, we had no idea that You Allah, were our God. No one told us that we were only supposed to worship You alone. Allah went on to explain That it was also In case you should say,
The Prophet (PBUH) also said, “Each child is born in a state of “Fitrah”, then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian, the way an animal gives birth to a normal offspring. Have you noticed any that were born mutilated?” (Collected by Al- Bukhari and Muslim).
So, just as the child submits to the physical laws which Allah has put in nature, his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord and Creator. But, his parents try to make him follow their own way and the child is not strong enough in the early stages of his life to resist or oppose the will of his parents. The religion which the child follows at this stage is one of custom and upbringing and Allah does not hold him to account or punish him for this religion.
Throughout people’s lives from childhood until the time they die, signs are shown to them in all regions of the earth and in their own souls, until it becomes clear that there is only one true God (Allah). If the people are honest with themselves, reject their false gods and seek Allah, the way will be made easy for them but if they continually reject Allah’s signs and continue to worship creation, the more difficult it will be for them to escape. For example, in the South Eastern region of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, South America, a primitive tribe erected a new hut to house their main idol Skwatch, representing the supreme God of all creation. The homage to the God, and while he was in prostration to what he had been taught was his Creator and Sustainer, a mangy old flea-ridden dog walked into the hut, The young man looked up in time to see the dog lift its hind leg and pass urine on the idol. Outraged, the youth chased the dog out of the temple, but when his rage died down he realized that the idol could not be the Lord of the universe. Allah must be elsewhere. He now had a choice to act on his knowledge and seek Allah, or to dishonestly go along with the false beliefs of his tribe. As strange as it may seem, that was a sign from Allah for that young man. It contained within it divine guidance that what he was worshipping was false.
Prophets were sent, as was earlier mentioned, to every nation and tribe to support man’s natural belief in Allah and man’s inborn inclination to worship Him as well as to reinforce the divine truth in the daily signs revealed by Allah. Although, in most cases, much of the prophets’ teachings became distorted, portions remained which point out right and wrong. For example, the ten commandments of the Torah, their confirmation in the Gospels and the existence of laws against murder, stealing and adultery in most societies. Consequently, every soul will be held to account for its belief in Allah and its acceptance of the religion of Islam; the total submission to the will of Allah.
We pray to Allah, the exalted, to keep us on the right path to which He has guided us, and to bestow on us a blessing from Him, He is indeed the Most Merciful. Praise and gratitude be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be on prophet Muhammad, his Family, his companions, and those who rightly follow them.
By Shariffa Carlo
been revealed to them, and that haply they may reflect. (16:43-44)
Let’s try an experiment. Look at your hand. Now reflect. Five fingers, one an opposable thumb. Remove that thumb, you can’t properly grasp, your dexterity is gone. Let, go a bit deeper, how many muscles, nerves, tendons etc. does it take to make this hand function? Deeper: How many veins provide blood to this hand? Deeper: How are the bones, and joints configured? This is but one small piece of the whole puzzle, a chunk of the human mechanism. We try to create some sort of robot to mimic the role of the hand, but we fall so short. Every detail, down to the amount of pressure exerted on the object being picked-up has to be programmed. Yet, we automatically know how much pressure we need when we pick something up with our hand. Let’s reflect on the wonder of such a small gift which we never consider, never think about, never even pay attention to, unless it is hurt.
Let’s reflect again: Let’s think about a breath. We inhale and exhale without thinking about it. We breathe in oxygen, it circulates through our body being pushed and transformed by bodily processes and we exhale carbon dioxide which is taken by the plants that surround us, goes through various processes and returns to us as oxygen which we breathe in… This is a simple breath. Now reflect: Ibin revealed to him to take a breath. Dawud did so, and Allâh told him, ” This is the least of my(Patience and Gratitude by Ibin Qayim Al Jawziyyah, p. 70). blessings on you.”
This simple breath, that is anything but simple, is Allâh ‘s smallest blessing confired upon us.
Reflect. Think about this.
آbid -Dunya mentioned that Dawûd asked Allâh , “What is the least of your blessings?” Allâh ?
in this for a people who reflect. (16:10-11)
Allâh gave us all a mind. He gave us all the ability to reason, to think, to reflect. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me that someone can look to this great earth from the largest items, a mountain, to the smallest, a breath, and deny the existence of Allâh , to deny the hand of Allâh in creating such an extraordinary world. I know that even when all the evidences are laid before man, if Allâh does not confer him with guidance as well, he will remain blind, deaf and dumb. Reflect on this. Allâh places a seal on people’s hearts, keeping them from recognizing the truth but for us, he has opened our eyes. We see all of this. We have accepted Allâh . We recognize Him. So, why do we not reflect? Why do we deny the blessings, not by saying we do not accept them or believe in them, but by refusing to obey Allâh , by refusing to submit to Allâh ?
Every day, we go along with our insignificant lives and play out our days, not reflecting. We fail to be what Allâh asked us to be:
Why do we continue to immerse ourselves in the pleasures of this world without regard to our duty as Muslims, our duties as the slaves of Allâh , our duty to be grateful to Allâh ? Rasûl Allâh was forgiven all his sins, yet he would spend his nights in prayer. When questioned about this, he said, “Should I not be a grateful slave?”
Rasûl Allâh warned us that Allâh had filled the path to Jannah with trials and the path to Hell was filled with pleasure. But do we reflect?
Narrated Anas ibn Malik:
The Paradise is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by temptations. Sahih Muslim:Book 39, Number 6778.
Do we not reflect on this as we consume the pleasures of the world and reject our duties to Allâh because they are too hard? Do we feel the power of Allâh ? Do we recognize His Greatness in the world around us? Do we truly accept Him as our Lord? Or do we continue to muddle along, ignoring the warnings, ignoring the signs, ignoring the miracles that surround us?
Allâh commanded us to look around us and reflect. It is in this reflection that we can see the truth and follow the way of Allâh . When we see the effects of gravity, holding us on this earth, preventing us from floating away…when we see the moon’s weightlessness and how people do float away… when we see this, do we recognize the power of Allâh and bow down to Him in gratitude? Or do we ignore it ? Do we ignore the signs and their blessings?
Allâh has given us so much to think about, so much to reflect upon. He has provided us with so much. He wants us simply to reflect and be grateful. He wants us to accept His Majesty and worship Him, alone, without partners. He wants us to give Him His Due, and not deny His favours upon us: Allâh says:
raised it high, and He made the balance In order that ye may not transgress (due) balance So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance. It is He Who has spread out the earth for (His) creatures:
Therein is fruit and date-palms, producing spathes (enclosing dates); Also corn, with (its) leaves and stalk for fodder, and sweet-smelling plants. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
So look to your hands, keying the letters on the keyboard, and reflect upon the magnificence of His great creation, take a breath and tell me, which of His favours, can we deny?
Ya Allâh guide us. Ya Allâh , open our eyes, our minds and our hearts. Ya Allâh give us Jannah. Ameen.