By Ziaur Rahman, New Age Islam
2 February 2015
According to the holy Quran the word Muslim does not apply only to the followers of the historical religion Islam. On the contrary, the word is used for the followers of all the prophets of God right from Adam to the final prophet Muhammad pbuh. The word Muslim is derived from the word Islam which means submission, surrender and obedience to God (people wrongly say Islam means peace) and one who submits to and believes in God is called a Muslim. So the Quran details the incidents from the lives of different prophets in which the prophets or their disciples or followers use the word Muslim, Muslimeen or Muslimun to describe their faith. The words Jews and Christians do not find any corroboration in the Quran. They are historically coined terms to describe certain religious communities. The Quran disapproves of the words ‘Jews’ and ‘Christians’ in some verses. We are quoting the verses from the Quran below to prove our point.
1) God has named his devotees Muslims in Quran and in scriptures revealed before it
“And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you "Muslims" before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah . He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper.”(Al Haj: 78)
2) Abraham was a Muslim
“And Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Jacob, [saying], "O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims."(Al Baqarah: 132)
So, Abraham and his sons as well as his followers were Muslims.
3) Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and his descendants were not Jews or Christians.
“Or do you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants were Jews or Christians? Say, "Are you more knowing or is Allah ?" And who is more unjust than one who conceals a testimony he has from Allah ? And Allah is not unaware of what you do. (Al Baqarah: 140)
4) Abraham was a Muslim
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah ]. And he was not of the polytheists.(Al-e-Imran:67)
5) The followers of Muhammad pbuh are also Muslims “ Say, "We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him."
6)“Prophet Yusuf was a Muslim
Prophet Yusuf prayed to God to make him die a Muslim as he was a Muslim all through his life.
“My Lord, You have given me [something] of sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams. Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim (Tawaffani Musliman) and join me with the righteous."(Yousuf:101)
7) Pharaoh was also a Muslim, finally
In the Quran, God says that he led Children of Israel safely across the sea but Pharaoh and his army drowned. Before drowning he too proclaimed he was a Muslim.
“And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them in tyranny and enmity until, when
drowning overtook him, he said, "I believe that there is no deity except that in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of the Muslims."(Yunus: 90)
8) Prophet Sulaiman the Queen of Sheba to be a Muslim
Prophet Sulaiman invited Queen of Sheba to Islam. There is long conversation between Prophet Sulaiman and the Queen in which Propeht Sulaiman asks her to be a Muslim and finally she says ‘Aslamto’ (I became a Muslim or I accept Islam)
“Be not haughty with me but come to me in submission [as Muslims].' "(Muslimeen) (Al Naml: 31)
9) Queen of Sheba said, I am a Muslim
“So when she arrived, it was said [to her], "Is your throne like this?" She said, "[It is] as though it was it."
[Solomon said], "And we were given knowledge before her, and we have been Muslims (Muslimeen) [in submission to Allah].”(Al Naml: 42)
10) Queen of Sheba says again, I submit (Aslamto – I become a Muslim or I accept Islam)
“She was told, "Enter the palace." But when she saw it, she thought it was a body of water and uncovered her shins [to wade through]. He said, "Indeed, it is a palace [whose floor is] made smooth with glass." She said, "My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, and I submit (Aslamto) with Solomon to Allah , Lord of the worlds."(Al Naml: 44)
11) House of Loth was the only house of Muslims in the city
When the angels came to the nation of Loth to destroy it, they found there only one house of Muslims, that of Loth. So Loth is also said to be a Muslim.
“And We found not within them other than a [single] house of Muslims (Muslimeen).”(Ad Dhariyat: 36)
12) Magicians of Pharaoh’s court said, ‘we are Muslims’
When the magic of the magicians of Pharaoh’s court failed before the miracles of Moses, the magicians realised that what Moses was doing was not magic but miracles of God. So they realised the power of God and submitted to Him. Pharaoh was angry with them and threatened to punish them. But the magicians said that they had got the signs of God and become Muslims and now no threats could make them leave the path of God.
“And you (Pharaoh) do not resent us (magicians) except because we believed in the signs of our Lord when they came to us. Our Lord, pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims (tawaffana Muslimeen) [in submission to You]."(Al A’araf: 126)
13) Prophet Moses was a Muslim and his followers were Muslim too (not Jews)
“And Moses said, "O my people, if you have believed in Allah, then rely upon Him, if you should be Muslims (Muslimeen)."(Yunus: 84)
14) Prophet Noah was a Muslim
Prophet Noah says to his nation:
“And if you turn away [from my advice] then no payment have I asked of you. My reward is only from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of the Muslims."
15) Followers of prophet Muhammad pbuh are also Muslims
“Say, [O believers], "We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims (Muslimun) [in submission] to Him."(Al Baqarah: 136)
16) Sons of Jacob said, ‘we are Muslims’
The Quran narrates the conversation of Prophet Jacob with his sons in which the sons say they were Muslims (not Jews)
“Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, "What will you worship after me?" They said, "We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac - one God. And we are Muslims (Muslimun) [in submission] to Him."(Al Baqarah: 133)
17) Jacob’s descendants (the Israelites) were not Jews or Christians
The Quran refutes the claim of the Jews and Christians that Jacob or his descendants were Jews and Christians in the following verse.
“Or do you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants were Jews or Christians? Say, "Are you more knowing or is Allah ?" And who is more unjust than one who conceals a testimony he has from Allah ? And Allah is not unaware of what you do.”(Al Baqarah: 140)
18) Disciples of Jesus said, ‘we are Muslims’
“But when Jesus felt [persistence in] disbelief from them, he said, "Who are my supporters for [the cause of] Allah?" The disciples said," We are supporters for Allah. We have believed in Allah and testify that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].
19) Prophet Muhammad pbuh only followed the religion of Abraham
“Then We revealed to you, [O Muhammad], to follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of those who associate with Allah.” (Al Nahl: 123)
It is clear from the verses quoted above that there is one Deen which is Islam. All the prophets of God were the prophets of Islam and all the prophets and their followers were Muslims. In fact they themselves claimed they were Muslims. God also said that Deen is one and people divided the Deen into different communities and groups and coined different names to distinguish their respective groups which Quran does not recognise. The Quran strongly rejects the words Jews and Christians and stresses that all the prophets including Moses and Jesus were Muslims and their followers were also Muslim. By calling all the prophets and their followers Muslim, the Quran tries to drive home the point that all those believing in one God are one ummah. It doesn't matter if they believed in a particular prophet or not. Obviously, they won't know the prophets that were yet to come. But as long as they believed in the oneness of God and submitted before Him, they were Muslim. Divisions are manmade and unacceptable.
Ziaur Rahman is a columnist for New Age Islam.