The True Religion of God

By Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips – 3rd Edition, 1994

Which Is The True Religion Of God?
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?
God 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
God. In this respect it is no different from other systems. This booklet intends to provide some
evidence for the validity of that claim. 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 God-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  God,  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
following pages will develop these concepts in some detail.
The Religion’s Name
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 God 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 God) is the religion which was given to Adam, the first man and the first prophet
of God, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah to mankind. Further its name
was chosen by God Himself and clearly mentioned in the final scripture which He revealed to
man. In that final revelation, called in Arabic the Qur’an Allah states the following:
“This  day  have  I  perfected  your  religion  for  you,
completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for
you Islam as your religion.” [Qur’an 5:3]
“If  anyone  desires  a  religion  other  than  Islam
(submission  to  God),  never  will  it  be  accepted  of
Him.” [Qur’an 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 God, Allah, as it was originally revealed to Adam and subsequent prophets.
At this point we might comment briefly on two other religions that claim to be  the  true path.
Nowhere in the Bible will you find God 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.
What, then, was Jesus’ religion in actual fact, as distinct from its name? (Both the name Jesus
and  the name Christ are derived  from Hebrew words,  through Greek and Latin. Jesus  is  the
English and Latin form of the Greek Iesous, which in Hebrew Is Yeshua or Yehoshua’ (Joshua).
The Greek word Christos is a translation of the Hebrew [for] ‘messiah’, which is a title meaning
‘the  anointed’.) His  religion  was  reflected  in  his  teachings,  which  he  urged  his  followers  to
accept as guiding principles in their relationship with God. In Islam, Jesus is a prophet sent by
Allah and his Arabic name is Eesa. Like the prophets before him, he called upon the people to
surrender their will to the will of God (which is what Islam stands for). For example, in the New
Testament it is stated that Jesus taught his followers to pray to God as follows:
“Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, may your
will  be  done  on  earth  as  it  is  in  heaven.”  [Luke
11:2/Matthew 6:9-10]
This concept was emphasised by Jesus in a number of his statements recorded in the Gospels.
He  taught,  for  example,  that  only  those who  submitted would  inherit  paradise.    Jesus  also
pointed out that he himself submitted to the will of God.
“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]
“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]
There are many reports  in  the Gospels which show  that Jesus made  it  clear  to his  followers
that he was not the one true God. For example, when speaking about the final Hour, he said:
“No-one  knows  about  the  day  or  hour,  not  even  the
angels  in  heaven,  not  the  son,  but  only  the  Father.”
[Mark 13:32]
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 God.
God And Creation
Since  the  total  submission of one’s will  to God  represents  the  essence of worship,  the  basic
message  of  God’s  divine  religion,  Islam,  is  the  worship  of  God  alone.  It  also  requires  the
avoidance of worship directed to any person, place or thing other  than God. Since everything
other  than God,  the creator of all  the  things,  is God’s 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.

Accordingly,  if a man prays  to a  tree and his prayers are answered,  it  is not  the  tree which
answers  his  prayers  but God,  who  allows  the  circumstances  prayed  for  to  take  place.  One
might  say,  “That  is  obvious”.  However,  to  tree-worshippers,  it  might  not  be  so.  Similarly,
prayers  to  Jesus,  Buddha,  or  Krishna  or  Saint  Christopher,  or  Saint  Jude  or  even  to
Muhammad,  are  not  answered  by  them,  but  are  answered  by  God.  Jesus  did  not  tell  his
followers to worship him but to worship God, as the Quran 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 say: “Glory to
you, I could never say what I had no right  (to say).”
[Qur’an 5:118]
Nor did Jesus worship himself when he worshipped, but rather he worshipped God. And Jesus
was reported in the Gospels to have said,
“It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him
only.’” [Luke 4:8]
This basic principle  is  contained  in  the opening  chapter of  the Qur’an, 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 Quran, God also said:
“And  you  Lord  says:  ‘Call  on Me  and  I  will  answer
your (prayer).’” [Qur’an 40:60]
It is worth emphasizing that the basic message of Islam (namely, the worship of God alone) also
proclaims that God and His creation are distinctly different entities. God is neither equal to His
creation nor a part of it, nor is His creation equal to Him or a part of Him.
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 God 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 God’s creation and naming it the
worship  of  God.  However,  the message  of  Islam,  as  brought  by  the  prophets  of  God,  is  to
worship only God and to avoid the worship of His creation either directly or indirectly.
In the Qur’an God clearly states:
“For  we  assuredly  sent  amongst  every  people  a
prophet,  with  the  command Worship Me  and  avoid
false Gods.” [Qur’an 16:36]
When idol worshippers are questioned as to why they bow down to idols created by men, the
invariable  reply  is  that  they  are  not  actually worshipping  the  stone  image,  but God  who  is
present within it. They claim that the stone idol is only a focal point for God’s essence and is
not in itself God! One who has accepted the concept of God being present in any way within His
creation will be obliged to accept this argument for idolatry. Whereas, one who understands the
basic message of Islam and its implications would never agree 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 God is present in man. Taking one step further, they claim
that  God  is more  present  in  them  than  in  the  rest  of  us,  and  that  other  humans  should
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therefore submit to them and worship them as God in person or as God concentrated within
their persons. Similarly, those who have asserted the godhood of others after their deaths have
found fertile ground among those who accept the false belief of God’s presence in man.
It should be abundantly clear by now that one who has grasped the basic message of Islam and
its  implications could never agree to worship another human being under any circumstance.
God’s  religion,  in  essence,  is  a  clear  call  to  the worship  of  the Creator  and  the  rejection  of
creation-worship in any form. This is the meaning of the motto of Islam:
“Laa Ilaaha Ill Allah” (there is no God but Allah)
The sincere declaration of this phrase and the acceptance of prophethood automatically bring
one within the  fold of  Islam, and sincere belief  in  it guarantees one Paradise. Thus,  the  final
Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h) is reported to have said, “Any one who says: There is no God but
Allah, and dies holding that (belief) will enter paradise.”
Belief in this declaration of faith requires that one submit his/her will to God in the way taught
by the prophets of God. It also requires the believer to give up the worship of false gods.
The Message Of False Religions
There  are  so many  sects,  cults,  religions,  philosophies,  and movements  in  the  world,  all  of
which claim to be the right way or the only true path of God How can one determine which one
is correct or whether, in fact, all are correct? One 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  identifies  the  central object  of worship upon which  they  call,  directly or
indirectly. False religions all have in common one basic concept with regard to God they either
claim that all men are gods, or that specific men were God, or that nature is God, or that God
is a figment of man’s imagination.
Thus, it may be stated that the basic message of false religion is that God may be worshipped
in the form of His creation. False religions invite 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
God, but those who claim to be Jesus’  followers  today call people to worship Jesus, claiming
that he was God.
Buddha was a reformer who  introduced a number of humanistic principles  in  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 they prostrate themselves to idols made in their perception of his likeness.
By using the principle of identifying the object of worship, we can easily detect false religions
and the contrived nature of their origin. As God said in the Qur’an:
“That which you worship besides Him are only names
and  you  and  your  forefathers  have  invented  for
which  Allah  has  sent  down  no  authority:  the
command  belongs  only  to  Allah  He  has  command
that you worship Him; that is the right religion, but
most men do not understand.” [Qur’an 12:40]
It may be argued  that all religions  teach good  things, so why should  it 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 God alone as Allah has explicitly stated in
the Qur’an:
“I have  only  created  jinns  and men,  that  they may
worship Me” [Qur’an 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
opinion, but a revealed fact stated by God 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
whomsoever He wishes.” [Qur’an 4:48 and 116]
Universality Of God’s Religion
Since the consequences of following a false religion are so grave, the true religion of God must
have  been  universally  understandable  and  universally  attainable  in  the  past  and  it  must
continue eternally to be understandable and attainable  throughout  the entire world.  In other
words, the true religion of God cannot be confined to any one people, place, or period of time.
Nor is it logical that such a religion should impose conditions that have nothing to do with the
relationship  of  man  with  God,  such  as  baptism,  or  belief  in  man  as  a  savior,  or  an
intermediary. Within the central principle of Islam and its definition (the surrender of one’s will
to God) lie the roots of Islam’s universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that God is
one and distinct from His creation, and submits himself to God, he becomes a Muslim in body
and spirit and is eligible for paradise.
Consequently, anyone at any time in the most remote regions of the world can become Muslim,
a follower of God’s religion, Islam, by merely rejecting  the worship of creation and  turning  to
God alone. It should be noted, however, that in order to actually submit to God’s will, one must
continually choose between right and wrong. Indeed, man is endowed by God with  the power
not only  to distinguish  right  from wrong but also  to  choose  between  them.  These God-given
powers carry with them an important responsibility, namely, that man is answerable to God for
the choices he makes. It follows,  then,  that man should  try his utmost  to do good and avoid
evil. These concepts are expressed in the final revelation as follows:
“Verily, those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those
who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and
the  Sabians  (angel-and-star-worshippers)  —  any  of
these who believe in Allah and the Last Day and work
righteousness  shall  have  their  reward  with  their
Lord.  They  will  not  be  overcome  by  fear  or  grief.”
[Qur’an 2:62]
If, for whatever reason, they fail to accept the final message after it has been clearly explained
to them, they will be in grave danger. The last Prophet said:
“Whoever among the Christians and Jews hears of me but
does not  affirm  his  belief  in what  I  brought  and  dies  in
this  state  will  be  among  the  inhabitants  of  hell.”  (Sahih
Muslim [English Translation], Vol.1 P.91 No, 284)
Recognition Of God
The question which arises here is : How can all people be expected to believe in  the one true
God, given their varying backgrounds, societies and cultures? For people to be held responsible
for worshipping the one true God, they all need to have access to knowledge of Him. The final
revelation teaches that all humans being have the recognition of the one true God imprinted on
their souls as a part of their very nature with which they are created.
In the seventh chapter of the Qur’an (Al-A’raaf, verses 172-173), God explained that when He
created  Adam  He  caused  all  of  Adam’s  descendants  to  come  into  existence  and  He  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 is their creator and the
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’” [Qur’an 7:172]
That is to say, we cannot claim on that day that we had no idea that Allah, was our God and
that no one told us that we were only supposed to worship Allah alone. Allah went on to further
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?’” [Qur’an 7:173]
Thus, every child  is born with a natural belief  in God and an  in-born  inclination  to worship
Him alone. This in-born belief and inclination is called in Arabic the “Fitrah“.
The  Prophet  Muhammad  reported  that  Allah  said,  “I  created  my  servants  in  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.” If the child
were  left  alone, he would worship God  in his  own way,  but  all  children  are  affected  by  the
environment. So, just as the child submits to the physical laws, which Allah has  imposed on
nature, in the same way his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord and
Creator. But,  if his  parents  try  to make him  follow  a  different  path,  the  child  is not  strong
enough in the early stages of his life to resist or oppose the will of his parents. In such cases,
the religion, which the child follows, is one of custom and upbringing, and God does not hold
him to account or punish him for his religion up to a certain stage of his life.
The Signs Of God
Throughout people’s  lives,  from  childhood until  the  time  they die,  signs of  the one  and  only
true God 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 (Allah). God says in the Qur’an:
“We will show them our signs In the furthest regions
(of  the  earth)  and  in  their  souls,  until  it  becomes
clear to them that this is the truth.” [Qur’an 41:53]
The following is an example of God revealing by a sign to one man the error of his idol-worship.
In  the  south-eastern  region of  the Amazon  jungle  in Brazil, South America, a primitive  tribe
erected  a  new  hut  to  house  their man-idol  Skwatch,  representing  the  supreme  God  of  all
creation. The following day a young man entered the hut to pay 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 slunk into the hut. The young man looked up in time to see the dog lift his 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 Lord of the Universe. God must be elsewhere, he concluded. As
strange as it may seem, the dog urinated on the idol was a sign from God for that young man.
This sign contained  the divine message  that what he was worshipping was  false.  It  liberated
from slavishly following his traditionally learned worship of a false god. As a result,  this man
was given a choice: either to seek the true god or to continue in the error of his ways.
Allah mentions Prophet Abraham’s quest for God as an example of how  those who  follow His
signs will be rightly guided:

“So  also  did  we  show  Abraham  the  power  and  the
Laws  of  the  heavens  and  the  earth  that  he  might
(with understanding) have certitude.  When the night
covered him over, he saw a star. He said: ‘This is my
Lord.’ But when it set, he said: ‘I love not those that
set’   When  he  saw  the moon  rising  in  splendor,  he
said:  ‘This  is my  Lord.’ But when  the moon  set, he
said:  ‘Unless  my  Lord  guide  me,  I  shall  surely  be
among those who go astray.’  When he saw the rising
sun in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord this is the
greatest  (of  all).’  But when  the  sun  set,  he  said;  ‘O
my people I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving
partners to Allah.  For me, I have set my face, firmly
and truly, towards Him who created the heavens and
the  earth,  and  never  shall  I  give  partners  to  Allah”
[Qur’an 6:75-79]
As was mentioned earlier, prophets have been sent to every nation and tribe to support man’s
natural belief in God and man’s in-born inclination to worship Him, as well as to reinforce the
divine  truth  in  the daily  signs  revealed by God. Although much of  these prophets’  teachings
became distorted, portions revealing their God-inspired messages have remained untainted and
have served  to guide mankind in  the choice between  right and wrong. The  influence of Godinspired
messages  down  through  the  ages  can  be  seen  in  the  “Ten  Commandments”  of
Judaism’s  Torah  which  were  later  adopted  into  Christianity’s  teachings,  as  well  as  in  the
existence  of  laws  against  murder,  stealing  and  adultery  in  most  societies  throughout  the
ancient and modern world.
As a result of God’s signs to mankind through the ages combined with His revelation through
His prophets, all mankind has been given a chance to recognize the one only true God.
Consequently, every soul will be held accountable for its belief in God and its acceptance of the
true religion of God, namely Islam, which means total submission to the will of Allah.
Conclusion
The preceding presentation has demonstrated that the name of the religion of Islam expresses
Islam’s most central principle, submission to God, and that the name “Islam” was chosen not
by man, but by God, according  to  the holy  scriptures of  Islam.  It has also been  shown  that
Islam alone teaches the uniqueness of God and His attributes and enjoins the worship of God
alone without intermediaries. Finally, due to the divinely instilled inclination of man to worship
God  and  the  signs  revealed  by  God  throughout  the  ages  to  each  individual,  Islam may  be
achieved by all men at all times.
In  short,  the  significance  of  the  name  Islam  (submission  to  God),  Islam’s  fundamental
acknowledgment of the uniqueness of God and Islam’s accessibility to all mankind at all times
convincingly support Islam’s claim that from the beginning of time in whatever language it was
expressed, Islam alone has been, and will be the true religion of God.
In conclusion we ask Allah, the exalted, to keep us on the right path to which He has guided
us, and to bestow on us His blessings and mercy, for He is indeed the Most Merciful. Praise be
to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be on prophet Muhammad and on all
the prophets of God and their righteous followers.

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