The True Religion


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The True Religion

By Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips


The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about
Islam is what the word "Islam" itself means. The religion of Islam is
not named after a person as in the case of Christianity which was
named after Jesus Christ, Buddhism after Gotama Buddha, Confucianism
after Confucius, and Marxism after Karl Marx. Nor was it named after
tribe like Judaism after the tribe of Judah and Hinduism after the
Hindus. Islam is the true religion of "Allah" and as such, its name
represents the central principle of Allah's "God's" religion; the
total submission to the will of Allah "God". 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
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) I in Arabia in the
century, but only the true religion of Allah re-expressed in its

Islam 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. The name of God's religion lslam was not
decided upon by later generations of man. It was chosen by Allah
Himself and clearly mentioned in His final revelation to man. In the
final book of divine revelation, the Qur'aan, Allah states the

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour
upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion". (Soorah
Maa'idah 5:3)
"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah
(God) never will It be accepted of Him" (Soorah Aal'imraan 3:85)
"Abraham was not a Jew nor Christian; but an upright Muslim." (Soorah
Aal'imraan 3:67)
Nowhere in the Bible will you find Allah saying to Prophet Moses'
people or their descendants that their religion is Judaism, nor to
followers of Christ that their religion is Christianity. In fact,
Christ was not even his name, nor was it Jesus! The name "Christ"
comes from the Greek word Christos which means the annointed. That
Christ is a Greek translation of the Hebrew title "Messiah". The name
"Jesus" on the other hand, is a latinized version of the Hebrew name
For simplicity's sake, I will however continue to refer to Prophet
Esau (PBUH) as Jesus. As for his religion, it was what he called his
followers to. Like the prophets before him, he called the people to
surrender their will to the will of Allah; (which is Islam) and he
warned them to stay away from the false gods of human imagination.
According to the New Testament, he taught his followers to pray as
follows: "Yours will be done on earth as it is in Heaven".


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
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
or Saint Jude or even to Muhammad, are not answered by them but are
answered by Allah. Jesus did nottell his followers to worship him but
to worship Allah. As the Qur'aan states:

"And behold Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary Did you say to
men, Worship me and my mother as gods besides Allah He will
to you I could never say what I had no right (to say')" (Soorah Al-
Maa'idah- 5:116)
Nor did he worship himself when he worshipped but rather he
Allah. This basic principle is enshrined in the opening chapter of
Qur'aan, known as Soorah Al-Faatihah, verse 4:

"You alone do we worship and from you alone do we seek help".
Elsewhere, in the final book of revelation, the Qur'aan, Allah also

"And your Lord says:"Call on Me and I will answer your
(prayer)."(Soorsh Mu'min 40:60)
it is worth noting that the basic message of Islam is that Allah and
His creation are distinctly different entities. Neither is Allah His
creation or a part of it, nor is His creation Him or a part of Him.
This might seem obvious, but, man's worship of creation instead of
Creator is to a large degree based on ignorance of this concept. It
the belief that the essence of Allah is everywhere in His creation or
that His divine being is or was present in some aspects of His
creation, which has provided justification for the worship of
though such worship maybecalled the worship of Allah through his
creation. How ever, the message of Islam as brought by the prophets
Allah is to worship only Allah and to avoid the worship of his
creation either directly or indirectly. In the Our'aan Allah

"For We assuredly sent amongst every people a prophet,(with the
command) worship meand avoid false gods " (Soorsh Al-Nahl 16:36)
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
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
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
worship in any form. This is the meaning of the motto of Islam:
"Laa Elaaha lllallaah" (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-
Bukhaaree 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


There are so many sects, cults, religions, philosophies, and
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
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
today call people to worship Jesus, claiming that he was Allah!
Buddha was a reformer who introduced a number of humanistic
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
By using the principle of identifying the object of worship, false
religion becomes very obvious and the contrived nature of their
clear. As God said in the Our'aan:
That which you worship besides Him are only names you and your
forefathers have invented for which Allah has sent down no authority:
The command belongs only to Allah:

He has commanded that you only worship Him; that is the right
religion, but most men do not understand ". (Soorah Yoosuf 12:40)
It may be argued that all religions teach good things so why should
matter which one we follow. The reply is that all false religions
teach the greatest evil, the worship of creation. Creation-worship 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 Our'aan:

"I have only created Jlnns and men, that they may worship me"(Soorah
Zaareeyaat 51:56)
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
but a revealed fact stated by Allah in his final revelation to man:

"Verily Allah will not forgive the joining of partners with Him, but
He may forgive (sins) less than that for whom so ever He
wishes"(Soorah An- Nisaa 4:48 and 116)

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
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
lslam's universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that
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)
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:

"Verily those who believe, those who follow the Jewish (******ures),
the Christians and the Sabians any who believe In Allah and the last
day, and work righteousness *hall have their reward with their
Lord;They will not be overcome by fear nor grief (Soorah Al-Baqarah
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.".
Al-.Maa'idah 5:66)

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 Soorah Al-A'raaf, 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
their creator and only true God worthy of worship. He said, "That was
In case you (mankind) should say on the day of Resurrection, "Verily
we were unaware of all this." 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, "Certainly It was our ancestors who made partners
(With Allah) and we are only their descendants; will You then destroy
us for what those liars did?" Thus, every child is born with a
belief in Allah and an inborn inclination to worship Him alone called
in Arabic the "Fitrah".

If the child were left alone, he would worship Allah in his own way,
but all children are affected by those things around them, seen or
The Prophet (PBUH) reported that Allah said, "I created my servants
the right religion but devils made them go astray". The Prophet
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
mutilated?"(Collected by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim).
So, just as the child submits to the physical laws which Allah has
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
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
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 Lordof the universe. Allah must be elsewhere. he now
had a choice to act on his knowledge and seek Allah, or to
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
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.
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
the worlds, and peace and blessings be on prophet Muhammed, his
Family, his companions, and those who rightly follow them.

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