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The Unity of All Monotheistic Faiths

The plurality of different religions is undoubtedly one of the most important issues that concern people who are interested in religious studies today. Some of the questions they may ask include:

- Which religion is right?

- What do they have in common?

- How should the followers of different faiths behave when faced with the followers of other religions?

- Will all religions lead to eternal salvation?

In this article we will see how Islam regards other religions and more specifically how it deals with the questions above.

 

All Divine faiths lead to the same God

According to the Islamic viewpoint, all Divine religions have been sent for the purpose of connecting human beings to their Gracious Creator, the only one God. Quran says:

O People of the Book! Come to a common word between us and you: that we will worship no one but Allah, that we will not ascribe any partner to Him, and that some of us will not take some others as lords besides Allah…” (3:64)

As per this verse, Islam holds that all the other Divine religions root in Monotheism. The idea of God is actually so clear in these monotheistic faiths that some religious studies scholars regard it as an essential requirement for them to be included in the category of religions; in other words, those faiths that have no belief in God or practices of worship cannot be called religion at all.

monotheistic, faiths, religion, Islam

Moreover, though the followers of some other faiths may worship different gods, all the Abrahamic religions assert the unity of God, and that He is the only Creator. This has been mentioned in the holy Quran many times:

We did not send any apostle before you but that We revealed to him that ‘There is no god except Me; so worship Me.’” (21:25)

The belief in One God is somehow evident in the other religions as well; lots of them admit the fact that they feel there is some being which created the world and life and influences it to some extent. Quran says:

If you ask them, ‘Who created the heavens and the earth, and who has disposed the sun and the moon?’ They will surely say, ‘Allah.’” (29:61)

This has also been asserted in the verses of Bible and Torah:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before Me. "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.…” (Exodus 20:3) [1].

 

Islam has completed the previous religions

Contrary to popular belief, the religion of Islam does not deny the truth of the previous monotheistic religions, rather the religion of God was perfected in Islam through the revelation that was sent to the last messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

We have sent down to you the Book with the truth, confirming what was before it of the Book and as a guardian over it…” (5:48)

In fact, Islam has been revealed to purify the previous faiths from distortions and to complete their teachings:

Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion…” (5:3)

The advent of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with his true religion was also predicted in the Bible:

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come” (John, 16:13) [2].

respect, follower, monotheistic faiths, unity

Muslims respect the followers of the previous monotheistic faiths

Also, Islamic teachings and the holy Quran always emphasize the significance of respecting the freedom and other rights of the followers of the previous religions; Muslims, accordingly, hold the followers of those religions in high regard:

Do not argue with the People of the Book [the followers of the previous monotheistic faiths] except in a manner which is best, except such of them as are wrongdoers, and say, ‘We believe in what has been sent down to us and in what has been sent down to you; our God and your God is one [and the same], and to Him do we submit.’” (29:46)

In Islam “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256) and even if one chooses to follow another monotheistic faith other than Islam, he/she has every right to live in peace among Muslims as an honored citizen with all rights and privileges [3].

Islam is a general title for all the prophets’ call

So set your heart as a person of pure faith on this religion, the original nature endowed by Allah according to which He originated mankind…” (30:30)

Muslims believe that the innate religion is something both Muslims and non-Muslims possess by birth; this original religion is what Muslims define as Islam. They also hold that the differences of various religions are due to particular requirements and potentials of societies during the various periods of prophecy:

We did not send any apostle except with the language of his people, so that he might make [Our messages] clear to them.” (14:4)

Consequently, the calls of the prophets were alike since all their invitations originated from a single source and followed a unified line of faith with a single aim, i.e. submission to the Lord of the worlds, which is the real meaning of Islam:

“Indeed, with Allah religion is Islam” (3:19)

In fact, Islam i.e. submission to Allah is the cornerstone of all religions.

So, Muslims testify to the truth of all God’s Messengers and that they have all been in agreement with each other, each of them testifying to the truth of the words of the preceding Prophets (AS) and giving the tidings of the Divine appointment of the next Messenger:

Say, ‘We have faith in Allah and what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus were given, and that which the prophets were given from their Lord; we make no distinction between any of them and to Him do we submit’” (2:136).

Allah, religion, Islam, monotheistic faiths

Indeed, with Allah religion is Islam [4]

Islam is a religion for all human beings of all time:

 “We did not send you [Muhammad] but as a mercy to all the nations” (21:107)

This verse clearly indicates the universality of the message brought by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Although the holy Quran regards belief in the prophets a major basis of a Muslim’s ideology, it maintains that what was revealed to the last Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), was the most advanced program and the most perfect law of the divine religion:

It is He who has sent His Apostle with guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all religions though the polytheists should be averse” (61:9).

Accordingly, it will not be accepted by Allah to remain on the previous incomplete paths after the revelation of the holy Quran:

Should anyone follow a religion other than Islam, it shall never be accepted from him, and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter” (3:85).

There will be no fear for the true followers of other faiths

The verse above does not, however, mean that the followers of other faiths will be all losers. Quite the opposite! There are believers who have not had a chance to reach the completed and updated truth, or those who are exposed to intense propaganda against Islam and think it is impossible that such a religion (distorted image of Islam) might be the right way to salvation, or even those Christians, Jews or any other believers who have searched enough and have been convinced, based on reasons, that their beliefs are right (even if their reasons seem invalid and wrong in the eyes of Muslims); what do you think Quran says about them?

Indeed, the faithful, the Jews, the Christians and the Sabaeans—those of them who have faith in Allah and the Last Day and act righteously—they shall have their reward from their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve” (2:62).

Finally, going through the Quranic verses about religions and their messages, we may conclude that Islam encompasses all the other divine revelations; the ones that have been distorted throughout history, or simply do not sufficiently meet people’s needs any longer; Islam is in fact the final, authentic, complete, and updated message of God that draws a perfect picture of man and the base for his reformation that will ultimately lead to his salvation.

 

References:

[1] http://biblehub.com/exodus/20-3.htm

[2] http://biblehub.com/john/16-13.htm

[3] https://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=3282

[4] Quran 3:19

[5] http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=932

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