Allah has granted people countless blessings. His sending them messengers and books that guided them onto the true path is one of the blessings of this world.
How Do Religious Moral Values Benefit Individuals and Society
Where am I coming from, where will I go? What is the meaning and purpose of my life? What is death like? Is it certain that there is life after death? Do Paradise and Hell exist? What is the origin of life? Where is our Creator? What does the Creator demand from us? How can I discern between right and wrong? Where do I find the answers to these questions?..
For ages, people have sought answers to these crucial questions, given serious thought to them and discussed them thoroughly. Yet, contrary to what is generally believed, in all ages, the most reliable answers to these questions have been provided, not by the philosophers, but by the "true religion" which is the revelation of Allah.
Many superstitious religions have attracted adherents throughout the world-shintoism, shamanism and paganism to name but a few. However, these superstitious religions are nothing more than a philosophy or a movement. Some, having merely a symbolic or cultural meaning, provided no social or psychological solutions to problems. Those who developed these superstitious religions also, too, thought about these crucial questions, yet they could never find reliable answers.
The most important feature of the true religions, which distinguishes them from false religions, is their Divine origin: they all have their roots in revelation. Allah informs mankind in the Qur'an about the superiority of the religion of truth over all other religions, philosophies or sociological systems:
It is He Who sent His messenger with guidance and the religion of Truth to exalt it over every other religion, and Allah suffices as a witness. ((Surat al-Fath: 28)
It is He Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of Truth to exalt it over every other religion, much as the idolaters may hate it.( (Surat as-Saff: 9)
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the religions which have their roots in revelation. Originally, they were all revealed by Allah, yet after their respective messengers, Christianity and Judaism were corrupted.
Man made countless distortions in the Torah and the Gospel-making additions and deletions-and as such the original Divine books disappeared in time. Meanwhile, the originals of these Divine books were completely forgotten.
After the distortion of these religions, Allah revealed the last Divine Book, which will remain unchanged until the Day of Judgment, and He will be the One Who will surely guard it against all distortions:
We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (Surat al-Hijr: 9)
For fourteen centuries, the Qur'an has remained unchanged and free from corruption. Every single letter of the original hand-written copies of the Qur'an is identical to the copies we have today. In every corner of the world, people read the very same Qur'an, which proves that the Qur'an is preserved under the special protection of Allah.
Throughout history, Allah communicated His commands, either through His messengers or His books. The Prophet Adam (pbuh), the first man Allah created on earth, was assigned the same duty by Allah. There subsequently followed many other messengers and books all throughout world history. Allah reveals this fact in the Qur'an:
Mankind was once a single community. Then Allah sent out prophets bringing good news and giving warning, and with them He sent down the Book with the truth to decide between people regarding their differences… (Surat al-Baqara: 213)
As is also stressed in the above-mentioned verse, Allah communicates His messages to man through His messengers and Books. Messengers always warn their people against the Day of Judgment and an eternal Hell, while they also give them the good tidings of an eternal bliss-Paradise. Allah, the One Who created man, is also the One Who surely knows the proper conditions in which man would feel most comfortable in this world. That is why the lifestyle and moral values Allah demands from His servants shape a comfortable life on earth, as well as in the hereafter. In brief, by the mercy of Allah, religion is the system enabling man to attain an ideally structured life, both psychologically and sociologically.
Although bringing different commandments according to the different environments and conditions of the time they were revealed in, Divine religions present to man essentially the same beliefs and moral examples. All Divine religions convey fundamental facts about the existence of Allah. They explain the attributes of Allah, the purpose in the creation of man and all other living beings, how to be a decent servant of Allah, the ideal attitude and behavior praised by Allah, the way to distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad, how to conduct one's life to earn Allah's approval and how to attain Paradise.
The truly righteous religion in the Sight of Allah is Islam. The basis of all religions revealed to man since the time of the Prophet Adam (pbuh), is Islam, which means "submission to Allah." This fact is stressed as follows:
The religion with Allah is Islam... (Surah Al 'Imran: 19)
Muslims and the People of the Book – Christians and Jews – have different religious laws. But true believers, whether Jews or Christians or Muslims, live by the same fundamental values: absolute belief in Allah, living for His approval, mercy and paradise and never ascribing equals to Him. All societies have a duty to scrupulously obey Allah’s commandments to them, to sincerely surrender themselves to our Lord and to compete with one another in doing good deeds, for Allah’s sake. Members of all three faiths, who believe in the existence and oneness of Allah, who absolutely believe in the hereafter and who all do good works, in fact abide by the true religion that our Lord sent down to the Prophet Abraham (pbuh).
… He has selected you and not placed any constraint upon you in the observance of your faith-the religion of your father, Abraham. In this, as in former scriptures, He has given you the name of Muslims… (Surat al-Hajj: 78)
All prophets throughout the course of history have preached the moral values of the true faith in the Sight of Allah. The prophets Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Jesus, Noah, Shu'ayb (peace be upon them all) and all the others called on people to believe unreservedly in Allah, the One and only, to live for His approval alone and to obey His commandments. One verse reads:
He has laid down the same religion for you as He enjoined on Noah: that which We have revealed to you and which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: “Establish the religion and do not make divisions in it…” (Surat ash-Shura: 13)
As we have seen, the religion sent down to Jews and Christians is the same, albeit with a few variations in provisions. Members of all three faiths are in fact descended from the Prophet Abraham (pbuh). Just like Muslims, Jews and Christians have a duty to abide by the monotheism (serving and believing in Allah alone) of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh). Our Lord reveals as follows in one verse of the Qur’an how all believers have a responsibility to follow the faith of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh):
They say, “Be Jews or Christians and you will be guided.” Say, “Rather adopt the religion of Abraham, a man of natural pure belief. He was not one of the polytheists.” (Surat al-Baqara: 135)
Throughout the ages, every prophet communicated the same fundamental system of worship and beliefs. In the Qur'an, it is said about:
- The Prophet Zechariah (pbuh) that the angels called out to him "while he was standing in prayer"(Surah Al 'Imran: 39)
- The Prophet Jethro (pbuh) that his people called out to him saying, "Shu'ayb, do your prayers instruct you that we should renounce the gods our fathers worshipped or stop doing whatever we want to with our wealth? You are clearly forbearing, and rightly-guided!"(Surah Hud: 87)
- The Prophet Ishmael (pbuh) that "He used to enjoin upon his people worship (to do salat) and almsgiving (zakat) and his Lord was pleased with him." (Surah Maryam: 55)
- The Prophets Isaac (pbuh) and Jacob (pbuh) that Allah "enjoined on them prayer (salat) and charity (zakat) and they worshipped none but Ourself." (Surat al-Anbiya': 73)
- The Prophet Moses (pbuh) and his brother Aaron (pbuh) that Allah revealed His will to them, saying "... make your houses places of worship and conduct prayers (establish salat)…"(Surah Yunus: 87)
- The Prophet Jesus (pbuh) that he said: "He [Allah] has made me blessed wherever I go, and directed me to be steadfast in prayer (salat) and give alms (zakat) to the poor as long as I shall live."(Surah Maryam: 31)
- The Prophet Luqman (pbuh) that he addressed his son thus: "My son, be steadfast in prayer (salat) and forbid what is wrong…" (Surah Luqman: 17) and "My son, serve no other deity besides Allah, for idolatry is a terrible wrong." (Surah Luqman: 13)
- Mary (pbuh) that Allah commanded her thus: "Mary, obey your Lord, prostrate yourself and bow down with the worshippers."(Surah Al 'Imran: 43)
These are examples of a few fundamental ways of worshipping and tenets of faith, and they can be further extended since essentially the same righteous religion was revealed to all prophets. The basic and immutable features of this righteous religion are repeated in the following verse:
They were ordered to worship only Allah, making their religion sincerely His as people of pure, natural belief, and to attend to their prayers (salat) and give alms (zakat)—that is surely the correct religion. (Surat al-Bayyina: 5)