What is the Religion of Islaam?
Islaam in its general sense is the worship of Allaah, The Most High, in the way in which He Prescribed through the Messengers that He sent, from the time He Ordained for His Creation to follow His Legislation until the time when the Hour will be established. So, it comprises that which Noah (عليه السلام) came with from guidance and truth, as well as that which Ibraaheem (عليه السلام), the leader of the pure Muslims (Imaam al-Hunafaa’), came with. It also includes that which Moosaa (Musa), and ‘Eesaa (Jesus) [عليه السلام] came with, as has been mentioned by Allaah, The Most High, in many aayaat which show that the previous revealed laws were all submission (Islaam) to Allaah (سبحانه وتعالى ). However, in its particular sense, Islaam is specific to that which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was sent with. This is because that which the Prophet () was sent with abrogates all of the previous religions. So whoever follows him becomes a Muslim, and whoever declines to follow him is not a Muslim because he did not submit himself to Allaah. Rather he submitted to his vain desire. So the Jews in the time of Moosaa (عليه السلام) were Muslims, and the Christians in the time of ‘Eesaa (عليه السلام) were Muslims; but since the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was sent and they disbelieved in him they are not Muslims. And because of this it is forbidden for anyone to believe that the religion of the Jews and Christians which they adhere to today is correct and accepted with Allaah or that it is equal to the Religion of Islaam. Verily, whoever believes in this then he is an unbeliever who has left the Religion of Islaam. This is because Allaah (سبحانه وتعالى ) Says:
And He, The Most Mighty and Most Majestic, Says:
And whoever seeks to follow a religion other than Islaam then Allaah will not accept that from him. [Qur’aan, soorat aal- ‘Imraan (3): 85].
This Islaam, which Allaah has pointed out, is the Islaam with which Allaah favoured Muhammad () and his nation, due to His Saying:
This is an explicit textual proof that after Muhammad () was sent, any nation other than this nation [of Muhammad ()] is not on Islaam. Accordingly, the religion with which they serve Allaah, Allaah will not accept from them and will not benefit them on the Day of Resurrection. And it is not permissible for us that we consider their religions as truly established and upright. And for this reason those who describe the Jews and Christians as our brothers, or say that their (Jews and Christians) religions today are truly established religions, commit a grave error due to what we have mentioned earlier. 70
So if we say that Islaam is the worship of Allaah, The Most High, in the way in which He Prescribed, then this includes the submission, outwardly and inwardly, to Him alone. Thus it comprises the entire Religion: creed, actions, and sayings. But when stated in association with Eemaan (faith), then Islaam refers to the apparent actions pertaining to the tongue and the actions of the limbs, and Eemaan means the inward actions pertaining to the creed and the actions of the heart. And the proof for this distinction is the Saying of Allaah, The Most Blessed:
And also in the Saying of Allaah, The Most High, in soorat ath-Thaariyaat (Hood):
Allaah here distinguished between the believers and the Muslims. The reason for this is that the household in the village of Loot was, in the outward, a Muslim one, since it comprised the wife of Loot who betrayed him and was an unbeliever. And as for those who were brought out from the village, then they were the true believers in whose hearts faith had entered. The proof for this distinction between Eemaan and Islaam when they are stated together is in the hadeeth reported by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab () and in which Jibreel (Gabriel) asked the Prophet () about Islaam and Eemaan. The Prophet () said: “Islaam is that you testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; establish the Prayer; pay the Zakaat; Fast Ramadaan; and perform Pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House if you are able to do so.” And concerning Eemaan, he () said: “It is that you truly believe in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day; and that you truly believe in Pre-Decree–its good and its bad.”
Consequently, Islaam, upon generalization, comprises the entire Religion and Eemaan falls under it; and that if it is stated in association with Eemaan, then it is interpreted to mean the outward actions from the saying of the tongue and the actions of the limbs. And Eemaan is meant to be the inward actions from the beliefs and actions of the hearts.
69 In our times there are those who call for religious dialogues aimed at “bridging the gaps” between religions. This is a very dangersous approach, because the objective of the believers is to propagate Islaam and remove any misconcepts about it, not to accommodate the creeds of kufr propagated by other religions. In addition, there are those who mislead people through the idea that Christianity, Judaism, and Islaam are sharaai’ samaawiyyah (lit. heavenly revelations), in order to establish that the Chrisitian and Jews of our times are not kuffaar. The Jews and Christians follow altered versions of the original revelations. Many texts in the Qur’aan and in the authentic sunnah excplicitly state the kufr of the Jews and Christians and that their Books are abrogated by the Qur’aan. The fact that Allaah, Most High, gave special rulings regarding the food of the Christians and Jews (who believe in their books even though they are abrogated) as well as marrying from their women does not preclude the fact that Allaah called them kuffaar. In this respect, I humbly remind the reader to refer to our book entitled “The Call for the Unity of Religion: A False and Dangerous Call” for further discussion on this matter.
70 May Allaah bestow his Mercy on our Shaykh for his deep insight into this matter. Nowadays some people blinded by nationalism and/or driven by political agendas, have lost the sense of distinguishing between the creed of Islaam and the corrupt creeds of the Christians and Jews. They call the Jews and Christians “our brothers” and that Muslims should concentrate more on matters common to all rather than point out to disagreements. May Allaah guide all Muslims to the truth regarding all corrupt creeds and methodologies.