By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
5 Sept 2012
It is often said and believed that Islam is a religion which divides the world into two factions: a) Muslims, who will go to heaven no matter how many sins they commit (but for a little while they too will have to suffer in hell to get purged from evil) and b) non-Muslims, who will land in hell even if they are very righteous.
Is this justice? One may ask. No, it is not. Since we all are the children of Adam and Eve (theologically) or evolved from the same parents (evolutionarily), we are actually brothers and sisters, never mind if some believe and some do not.
Allah says “For Allah loveth Those who are just.” (The Noble Quran, 60:8). The concept of justice is very important in Islam; there are numerous verses which tell us to be just in dealings and in every activity. All men are equal in the sight of Allah, the only way in Islam to make oneself higher in rank is to become more righteous and have more God-conscience, this is known as ‘taqwa’. The higher degree of taqwa one has the better human being one is and in the sight of Allah one will be held in a higher rank. The criterion for judgement is not sex, wealth, caste, creed, and race but only taqwa.
Sadly, most of us have not understood this very important concept of Islam. Instead of trying to bring a compatibly between Islam and other ‘isms’ and ways of life, we are, in fact, doing just the opposite. The world is moving forward but we are going in the reverse direction.
Everything evolves, even religion. Islam is also an evolved religion. Even though Islam is present on the face of the earth since the creation of Adam, it was shaped and “perfected” during the time of the last messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Islam is the culmination of Semitic religions like Christianity and Judaism which are evolutions of even more ancient religions in all other parts of the world..
These three religions are not different; in fact they are only Islam. So for Muslims there is actually no such thing as Christianity and there is also no such thing as Judaism (shocked?). They are all Islam. The basic teachings of these (or of this) religion(s) is the same. What Moses taught what Jesus preached and what Muhammad practiced was all Islam. One may ask ‘is there no such thing as Judaism’? And one may also ask ‘is there no such thing as Christianity’? What it means is that the term ‘Judaism’ or ‘Christianity’ was not used at that time.
If Moses was alive today and if we had the opportunity to question him about his religion then I personally do not believe that he will say that his religion is ‘Judaism’. This is the term that Moses never heard in his lifetime. I expect Moses to say that his religion is ‘a religion of total submission to the will of God’.
Coming to Christianity: Jesus Christ, never heard the term ‘Christianity’ in his lifetime. If Christ was present with us and if we had the opportunity to question him, I do not expect him to say that his religion is ‘Christianity’. I expect him to say that his religion is total submission to God’s Will.
Now to the Holy Books: The Bible is divided into two parts, Old Testament and New Testament. The Jews believe that God gave everything to them in the Old Testament. A Jew puts a full stop after the Book of Malachi, he does not want to know more, and he believes that from Genesis to Malachi, God gave everything that He is supposed to give.
Christians believe that God revealed his messages till the Book of Revelation. He believes that God has put a full stop on revelations after the Book of Revelation. He does not want to know more after the New Testament. Christians feel that Jews are doing injustice to themselves by not moving a step forward. They feel that Jews will know about the ‘Love of the Heavenly Father’ if only they come forward and accept the New Testament.
Similarly a Muslim says that Christians are doing the same thing as Jews are doing: they too are doing injustice to themselves by not coming forward and accepting the Final Testament and they will know about the ‘most Gracious and Most Merciful’ God.
A Muslim says that if there is such a thing as an Old Testament and if there is such a thing as a New Testament, then there is also such a thing as the Last Testament, that is, the Quran, which was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh).
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all great religions. They are, in fact, the same religion but on different levels. Fundamentally there is not an iota of difference among them. The most important thing is the belief and worship of one God. When Moses (pbuh) was asked about the first commandment he said ‘Hear O Israel! Our Lord, Our God is one’. When Jesus (pbuh) was asked the same thing, he, too replied the same words ‘Hear O Israel! Our Lord, Our God is one’. He repeated word for word what Moses had said (in Hebrew). When we come to Muhammad, we see the same thing. When some Christians asked him ‘what is your concept of God?’ Muhammad was made to say ‘Say: God is one and only’.
But we must also keep in mind that Allah says in the Last Testament that He does not make any distinction between his prophets, they are all equal in rank. Judaism, Christianity and Islam teach the same thing but on a different level, this level is not the level of rank but the level of time and place i.e., they are equal in rank and basic teachings but they are different in the attitude they took to minor matters of their time due to the differences in context.