Contrary to popular belief, Islam is not a relatively new religion that came into existence only 1400 years ago, back in the 7th century. Islam, in truth, has existed since the first moment humankind set foot on Earth. The final Prophet of humanity, Prophet Muhammad PBUH, was not the founder of Islam–as many people mistakenly believe. Instead, he was sent as the last and final Prophet of God.
He was delivered by God the Almighty to convey His universal and eternal message to our nation – the final nation. When Prophet Muhamad PBUH appeared, he did not bring a new religion. Instead, he cast light upon a faith that already existed. Prophet Muhammad PBUH renewed the preceding monotheistic religion, that which has been preached and taught by every previous Messenger and Prophet of God.
Prophet Muhammad PBUH was only the last and final Prophet, the very seal of the Prophets. Islam is the continuation, the culmination, and the completion of God’s universal and eternal message to humanity, as revealed to all of God’s previous Messengers and Prophets.
Like all previous Prophets and Messengers of God, Prophet Muhammad PBUH preached and taught Tawheed—the oneness of God. He taught that God Alone is worthy of worship and veneration and is the Creator of all. No other being is worthy of worship, not the Sun, the Moon, or idol.
People have been practicing Islam since the creation of Prophet Adam PBUH. Throughout history, anyone who practiced monotheism, submitted to God’s will, and followed the Prophet sent to them was considered a Muslim. Throughout the ages, God the Almighty sent Prophets and Messengers to guide and teach their nations in the way of Islam. All Prophets preached the same general message to their nations. All of God’s Messengers and Prophets were Muslims by definition because the term Muslim translates to mean ‘those who submit their will to God the Almighty.’
“He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein. Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back to Him” (Quran 42:13)
All three major world religions–Islam, Christianity, and Judaism–portray the Prophet Abraham PBUH as an inspiring example of someone who submitted himself entirely to God and worshipped Him alone. As a result, the Prophet Abraham, PBUH, plays a prominent role in history and religion.
The Holy Quran shares stories of Prophet Abraham’s firm and steadfast belief in God. He is one who called and preached the oneness of God and rejected the idea of idolatry. However, he later faced various difficult tests and hardships God placed before him, testing his belief and loyalty.
The Holy Quran states that Prophet Abraham PBUH was neither a Jew nor a Christian. Prophet Abraham PBUH could not have been a Jew as the term Judaism originates from the name Judah, a name belonging to a man who resided in the land of Judea and was the grandson of Prophet Abraham PBUH. How could Prophet Abraham PBUH be a Jew if he was born before his grandson, for which Judaism was named? The term ‘Judaism’ is not found anywhere in the Torah.
Prophet Abraham PBUH could not have been Christian since Christianity follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, and Prophet Abraham PBUH was born before Jesus Christ. The term ‘Christianity’ is also not found anywhere in the Bible, nor has any Prophet, including Jesus Christ, ever acknowledged it. The word Christianity was introduced much later and never was spoken in the life of Jesus Christ.
The question arises: What was the religion of Prophet Abraham PBUH and all the previous Messengers and Prophets of God up until Prophet Adam PBUT, if not Judaism or Christianity? It was Islam! Islam, by definition, means the act of submitting fully to God. This act determined the way of life that God, the Almighty, prescribed to all the previous Messengers, Prophets, and humanity. Islam means the voluntary “submission” or “surrender” to the Will of God, and in exchange, one would acquire peace and contentment in this life and the hereafter.
The Holy Quran states that Prophet Abraham PBUH was indeed a Muslim. As noted a few times already, by definition, a Muslim is someone who submits wholly to God, and—according to this definition–Prophet Abraham PBUH was indeed a Muslim, one that submitted himself to God.
“People of the Book! Why do you dispute with us about Abraham even though the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after the time of Abraham? Do you not understand? Behold, you are one of those who have disputed greatly concerning matters which you knew; why are you now disputing about matters that you know nothing about? Allah knows it whereas you do not know. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian; he was a Muslim, wholly devoted to God. And he certainly was not amongst those who associate others with Allah in His divinity. Surely the people who have the best claim to a relationship with Abraham are those who followed him in the past, and presently this Prophet and those who believe in him; Allah is the guardian of the men of faith” (Quran 3:65:68)
Islam teaches the oneness of God. Islam forbids the association of partners with Him, whether in belief or worship. Islam teaches that Allah neither begets nor is born. There is, very simply, nothing like Him. Islam teaches that one should live a righteous life with God consciousness ever present in mind and heart, always following God’s Laws. The one who lives by this teaching will live in Paradise eternally in the hereafter; the one who does not could be thrown into a pit of hellfire. This edict always has served as the Universal Message of the previous Prophets sent by God, fulfilling the natural predisposition and inclination of the soul in every person. The Holy Quran teaches that the signs and proofs of God’s Wisdom, existence, and power, are always evident in the world around us.
God sent Prophet Muhammad PBUH, 600 years after the coming of Prophet Jesus, intending him as the world’s last and final Prophet who came to correct and renew some deviations in monotheism during a time when the world lived in darkness and when God’s Message was altered once again. God the Almighty sent his Final Messenger to guide humanity to a better place and faith. Since the Holy Quran is the final Testament of God the Almighty, God has taken it upon Himself to safeguard and protect his final Book from human-made alterations, or any form of corruption, for the good of humanity.
“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an, and indeed, We will be its Guardian” (Quran 15:9)
The Laws of the Holy Quran now serve to abrogate all previous laws. Islam spread more rapidly throughout the world than any other religion. Within its first hundred years, Islam came to dominate the Middle East, Northern Africa, parts of Asia, and Europe. Islam remains the largest growing religion in the world, despite all the negative publicity and wrongful actions of the few misguided extremists committed in the name of this faith. Now the faith boasts 1.8 billion followers, which equates to 24% of the global population. Islam is not limited to one ethnicity or group of people.
Muslims originate from various ethnic backgrounds, races, cultures, and national origins. And although the world contains more Christians than Muslims, Islam has the most followers actively practicing their faith and its rituals around the globe. The world boasts a higher percentage of Muslims practicing Islam than Christians practicing Christianity. Islam is projected to surpass Christianity by the year 2070 as the largest religious group in the world.
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