Among the blessings and favors that God has bestowed upon humanity is
that He endowed them with an innate ability to recognize and acknowledge His
existence. He placed this awareness deep in their hearts as a natural disposition
that has not changed since human beings were first created. Furthermore, He
reinforced this natural disposition with the signs that he placed in Creation
that testify to His existence. However, since it is not possible for human
beings to have a detailed knowledge of God except through revelation from
Himself, God sent His Messengers to teach the people about their Creator Who
they must worship. These Messengers also brought with them the details of how
to worship God, because such details cannot be known except by way of
revelation. These two fundamentals were the most important things that the
Messengers of all the divine revelations brought with them from God. On this
basis, all the divine revelations have had the same lofty objectives, which
1. To affirm the Oneness of God - the praised
and glorified Creator – in His essence and His attributes.
2. To affirm that God alone should be worshipped
and that no other being should be worshipped along with Him or instead of Him.
3. To safeguard human welfare and oppose
corruption and evil. Thus, everything that safeguards faith, life, reason,
wealth and lineage are part of this human welfare that religion protects. On
the other hand, anything that endangers these five universal needs is a form of
corruption that religion opposes and prohibits.
4. To invite the people to the highest level of
virtue, moral values, and noble customs.
The ultimate goal of every Divine Message has always
been the same: to guide the people to God, to make them aware of Him, and to
have them worship Him alone. Each Divine Message came to strengthen this
meaning, and the following words were repeated on the tongues of all the
Messengers: “Worship God, you have no god other than Him.” This message was conveyed
to humanity by prophets and messengers which God sent to every nation. All of
these messengers came with this same message, the message of Islam.
All the Divine Messages came to bring the life of the
people into willing submission to God. For this reason, they all share the
name of “Islam”, or “submission” derived from the same word as “Salam”, or “peace”,
in Arabic. Islam, in this sense, was the religion of all the prophets, but why
does one see different variations of the religion of God if they all emanated
from the same source? The answer is twofold.
The first reason is that as a result of the passage of
time, and due to the fact that previous religions were not under the Divine
protection of God, they underwent much change and variation. As a result, we
see that the fundamental truths which were brought by all messengers now differ
from one religion to another, the most apparent being the strict tenet of the
belief and worship of God and God alone.
The second reason for this variation is that God, in His
infinite Wisdom and eternal Will, decreed that all the divine missions prior to
the final message of Islam brought by Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of
God be upon him, be limited to a specific time frame. As a result, their laws
and methodologies dealt with the specific conditions of the people whom they
had been sent to address.
Humanity has passed through numerous periods of
guidance, misguidance, integrity, and deviation, from the most primitive age to
the heights of civilization. Divine guidance accompanied humanity through all
of this, always providing the appropriate solutions and remedies.
This was the essence of the disparity that existed
between the different religions. This disagreement never went beyond the
particulars of the Divine Law. Each manifestation of the Law addressed the
particular problems of the people it was meant for. However, the areas of
agreement were significant and many, such as fundamentals of faith; the basic
principles and objectives of the Divine Law, such as protecting faith, life,
reason, wealth, and lineage and establishing justice in the land; and certain
fundamental prohibitions, some of the most important of these being idolatry,
fornication, murder, theft, and giving false witness. Moreover, they also
agreed upon moral virtues like honesty, justice, charity, kindness, chastity,
righteousness, and mercy. These principles as well as others are permanent and
lasting; they are the essence of all the Divine Messages and bind them all