Each person is born in a circumstance which is not of his own choosing. The religion of his family or the ideology of the state is thrust upon him from the very beginning of his existence in this world. By the time he reaches his teens, he is usually fully brain-washed into believing that the beliefs of his particular society are the correct beliefs that everyone should have. However, when some people mature and are exposed to other belief-systems, they begin to question the validity of their own beliefs. The seekers of truth often reach a point of confusion upon realizing that each and every religion, sect, ideology and philosophy claims to be the one and only correct way for man. Indeed, they all encourage people to do good. So, which one is right? They cannot all be right, since each claims all others are wrong. Then how does the seeker of truth choose the right way?
Allah gave us all minds and intellects to enable us to make this crucial decision. It is the most important decision in the life of a human being. Upon it depends his future. Consequently, each and every one of us must examine dispassionately the evidence presented, and choose what appears to be right until further evidence arises.
Like every other religion or philosophy, Islam also claims to be the one and only true way to Allah. In this respect it is no different from other systems.
However, it must always be kept in mind that one can only determine the true path by putting aside emotions and prejudices, which often blind us to reality. Then, and only then, will we be able to use our Allah-given intelligence and make a rational and correct decision.
There are several arguments which may be advanced to support Islam’s claim to be the true religion of God. The following are only three of the most obvious. The first argument is based on the divine origin of the names of the religion and the comprehensiveness of its meaning. The second deals with the unique and uncomplicated teachings concerning the relationship between Allah, man, and creation. The third argument derives from the fact that Islam is universally attainable by all men at all times. These are the three basic components of what logic and reason dictate necessary for a religion to be considered the true religion of God.
The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about Islam, is what the word “Islam” itself means. The Arabic word “Islam” means the submission or surrender of one’s will to the only true God, known in Arabic as “Allah”. One who submits his will to Allah is termed in Arabic a “Muslim”. The religion of Islam is not named after a person or a people, nor was it decided by a later generation of man, as in the case of Christianity which was named after Jesus Christ, Buddhism after Gautama Buddha, Confucianism after Confucius, Marxism after Karl Marx, Judaism after the tribe of Judah and Hinduism after the Hindus. Islam (submission to the will of Allah) is the religion which was given to Adam, the first man and the first prophet of Allah, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah to mankind. Further, its name was chosen by Allah Himself, and clearly mentioned in the final scripture which He revealed to man. In that final revelation, called in the Quran, Allah states the following:
“…This day have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” (Quran 5:3)
“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him.” (Quran 3:85)
Hence, Islam does not claim to be a new religion brought by Prophet Mohammed into Arabia in the seventh century, but rather to be a re-expression in its final form of the true religion of Almighty Allah, as it was originally revealed to Adam and subsequent prophets. Nowhere in the Bible will you find Allah revealing to Prophet Moses’ people or their descendants that their religion is called Judaism, or to the followers of Christ that their religion is called Christianity. In other words, the names “Judaism” and “Christianity” had no divine origin or approval. It was not until long after his departure that the name Christianity was given to Jesus’ religion. In Islam, Jesus is a prophet sent by Allah, and his Arabic name is Isaa. Like the prophets before him, he called upon the people to surrender their will to the will of aLLAH (which is what Islam stands for). For example, in the New Testament it is stated that Jesus taught his followers to pray to Allah as follows:
“Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 1 1:2/Matthew 6:9-10)
This concept was emphasized by Jesus in a number of his statements recorded in the Gospels. He taught, for example, that only those who submitted would inherit paradise.
“None of those who call me ‘Lord’ will enter the kingdom of God, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) Jesus also pointed out that he himself submitted to the will of Allah.
“I cannot do anything of myself. I judge as I hear and my judgment is honest because I am not seeking my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” (John 5:30)
Thus Jesus, like the prophets before him and the one who came after him, taught the religion of Islam: submission to the will of the one true Allah.
Since the total submission of one’s will to Allah represents the essence of worship, the basic message of Allahs divine religion, Islam, is the worship of Allah alone. It also requires the avoidance of worship directed to any person, place or thing other than Allah. Since everything other than Allah, the creator of all the things, is Allahs creation, it may be said that Islam, in essence, calls man away from worship of creation and invites him to worship only his Creator. He is the only one deserving of man’s worship, because it is only by His will that prayers are answered.
“It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” (Luke 4:8) “You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help.” (Quran 1:5) “And you Lord says: ‘Call on Me and I will answer your (prayer).’” (Quran 40:60)
This might seem obvious, but man’s worship of creation instead of the Creator is to a large degree based on ignorance, or neglect, of this concept. It is the belief that the essence of aLLAH is everywhere in His creation or that His divine being is or was present in some parts of His creation, which has provided justification for the worship of Allahs creation and naming it the worship of Allah. However, the message of Islam, as brought by the prophets of Allah, is to worship only Allah and to avoid the worship of His creation either directly or indirectly.
In the Quran God clearly states:
“For we assuredly sent amongst every people a prophet, with the command worship ALLAH and avoid false Gods…” (Quran 16:36)