We are all born in a situation where we have to make our own choices. Initially we follow the religion that our parents, friends, environment follows. As soon as we become teenagers, we get brainwashed into fully believing that the religion that our family follows is indeed the true religion. With time people mature and begin to be curious about other religions. So we begin to ask questions about other faiths. Later on, we become as confused as each faith claims to be the right religion. How do we know which one is right when they all encourage good and forbid bad? What are the characteristics of a true religion? God gives us intellect to be able to read and discover right from wrong.
So what are the characteristics of a true religion? According to Dr. Bilal Philips “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.”(Source; Bilal Philips)
Why is Islam the true religion?
Let us look at the 3 characteristics mentioned above to see if Islam fits them;
1. The name “ Islam”
Islam means “submission of one’s will to the only true God”. A Muslim is someone who submits his will to Allah. It is important to note that the name ‘Islam’ did not originate from man nor was it named by later generations of people just like Christianity named after Christ or Buddhism named after Gautama Buddha, and lastly Marxism named after Karl Marx etc. Allah himself chose the name Islam and mentioned it in the final revelation;
“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor 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]
So the above clearly demonstrated that, submission to god expresses Islam’s most central principle and the name Islam was chosen by God.
2. Allah and his creation
One of the most fundamental messages of Islam is the worship of one God alone. (Tawheed). Muslims are required not to direct prayers to other human beings or objects in the place of Allah. He is the only one that deserves our worship.
“You alone do we worship and from you alone do we seek help”. (suratul fatiha)
Islam further shows that God is different from his creations. He is not equal to us nor part of us. His creation is also not equal to Allah nor part of him. So it is safe to conclude that it is only Islam that distinctly distinguished God form t=his creation, emphasizes o the uniqueness of God and his attributes and also the worship of God with no partners.
“For we assuredly sent amongst every people a prophet, with the command Worship Me and avoid false Gods.” [Qur’an 16:36]
3. Allah’s Religion is universal
There are grievous consequences of following false religions, so it means the true relation must have been fully accepted and understood in the past and must continue to be accepted and attained throughout this life. This further means true religion are not constricted to just a particular people or time nor place. And as such does not impose principles that does not involve the relationship of Man and God such as baptism. Anybody at any time can become a Muslim. In order to gully submit one has to distinguish between right and wrong.
“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]
It is safe to conclude that as a result of signs sent by God to all ages, all people, or the divine inclination to worship God, Islam can be adopted by anyone and at all times.
Additionally there are other reasons why Islam is the true religion;
4. Islam is simple, rational and practical
There are beliefs that are not rational, myths, superstitions in Islam. Its teachings are simple and direct to the point. The articles of faith such as the belief in One God, his Prophet and the hereafter are based on sound logic and reason. Islam does not have any farfetched beliefs, priests, rituals and other intermediaries. Anybody
Islam is a religion without any mythology. Its teachings are simple and intelligible. It is free from superstitions and irrational beliefs. The oneness of God, the prophet hood of Muhammad, and the concept of life after death are the basic articles of its faith. They are based on reason and sound logic. All of the teachings of Islam flow from those basic beliefs and are simple and straightforward. There is no hierarchy of priests, no farfetched abstractions, no complicated rites or rituals. The Quran can be read and translated by anyone as Islam awakens man’s faculty of reasoning and challenges him to explore his intelligence.
Everybody may approach the Quran directly and translate its dictates into practice. Islam awakens in man the faculty of reason and exhorts him to use his intellect. It enjoins him to see things in the light of reality. The Quran advises him to seek knowledge and invoke God to expand his awareness:
“Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed.” (Quran 39: 9)
5. Unified spirit and matter
Islam does not accept the concept of ascenticm. Parts of matters and spirits are not divided in Islam. To achieve spiritual elevation we have live pious lives and not by simply renouncing the universe. Islam does not prevent us from material things in the world.
A unique feature of Islam is that it does not divide life into watertight compartments of matter and spirit. It stands not for denial of life but for the fulfillment of life. Islam does not believe in asceticism. It does not ask man to avoid material things. It holds that spiritual elevation is to be achieved by living piously in the rough and tumble of life, not by renouncing the world. The Quran advises us to pray as follows:
Islam seeks to balance the material and the spiritual world. We were created to worship Allah and it is said that everything in this world is for the man
6. Complete way of life: ISLAM
Islam provides guidance on our moral, cultural, economic, political and social aspects of lives. Islam doesn’t restrict itself to just a person’s private life. Human beings are equal to God in Islam regardless of your color, accent, language or race.
7. Preservation of Quran
The guidance of God is available without any changes or alterations. The true message of God has been preserved in its original form. Some other religions such as Christianity has a lot confusion and alterations in their holy Bible. This alone is enough to confirm that Quran is indeed the words of Allah.
8. Quran and science
The Quran talks about so many things that agree with science. Such include; Quran on embryonic development, mountains, origins of universe, cerebrum, seas and rivers, deep seas/waves and clouds.
It amazing how the Quran didn’t only talk about the external form, rather it mentions stages of the embryo, its development and creation, how long it takes and all these corresponds with science
9. Evidence of coming of the Prophet (pbuh) from Bible
There are evidences from the bible that predicted the coming of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh);
“Moses stated that God told him: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)
For this verse to be true, it must fulfil the following;
a. Prophet be like Musa
b. He will hail from brothers of Israelites
c. Words will be put into his mouth by God
Evidence from the Quran has proved that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) fulfilled all 3 criteria. Firstly, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and prophet mosses had so much in common. Secondly Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the unlettered one, the angel was sent to him where he instructed him to read and he said he couldn’t. Lastly the prophet is a descendant of Ishmael.
10. Challenge of producing a verse
Allah challenged the disbelievers to produce a single verse like the Quran.
“And if you are in doubt about what We have revealed (the Qur’an) to Our worshiper (Muhammad ), then produce a chapter like it, and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides God if you are truthful. And if you do not do it, and you can never do it, then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones. It has been prepared for disbelievers. And give good news (O Muhammad) to those who believe and do good deeds that for them are gardens (Paradise) in which rivers flow” (Qur’an, 2:23-25)
No one in this world has been able to produce a single verse like the Quran until now.
The name Islam did not originate from a philosopher, psychologist or any moralist. It was sent down by the God to his messengers through angel Jibreel. All the messengers and prophets sent preached the same thing (submission to one and only true God) and this is called Islam
The name Islam, the unique attributes of Allah, the distinctiveness of Allah supports the argument that Islam is the true religion. May Allah keep us on the straight path all the way to the end. Amin
1. El-Naggar, Z. R. (1991). The Geological Concept of Mountains in the Qur’an. 1st ed. Herndon: International Institute of Islamic Thought.
2. Khurshid A. (2013). Islam: Basic Principles and Characteristics. World Assembly of Muslim Youth
3. Neufeldt, V. (1994). Webster’s New World Dictionary. Third College Edition. New York: Prentice Hall.
4. Noback, Charles R.; N. L. Strominger; and R. J. Demarest. (1991). The Human Nervous System, Introduction and Review. Lea & Febiger publishing.
5. Philips, B. (1994). The True Religion of God. Brief Illustrated Guide
6. Seeds, Michael A. (1981). Horizons, Exploring the Universe. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company.