By Waleed Ahmed Najmeddine
3 May 2013
A person by the name of Ehud Goldsmith once asked me: “I am really thinking about converting to Islam but I would like to ask you a few questions, and I would like to hear your advice: Why should I revert to Islam? (i.e. What does Islam have to offer to me?) How can you guarantee for me that I will be saved in the Hereafter by believing in Islam? What makes Islam better than other religions such as Christianity and Judaism? In other words, why is the Islamic faith good for me?”
Islam is unlike any other religion because it is not merely a belief to which one adheres, but rather Islam is a complete way of life. Muslims put their beliefs into practice on a daily basis. Islam provides guidance in all the spheres and activities of life. Furthermore, it is unique in that it is not named after any person, tribe, region or culture. Islam is named after a belief in one God, Allah, and submission to His will. In other words, Muslims put Allah’s Will before their own.
The message of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not new. His message of absolute monotheism is a reaffirmation of what came before it. We as humans constantly stray from guidance if we are left on our own without a divine reminder, thus Allah the Merciful has sent us prophets to remind us. Islam preaches the same message of all previous prophets (peace be upon them). That message is: Allah is One, worship Him alone.
Additionally, human society changes and develops with time, and so Allah has adjusted His Laws slightly over the centuries to correspond accordingly. Thus while Allah’s message of divine oneness has been the same since the beginning of time, His Sacred Law has been abrogated and amended with the advent of each new prophet. The Sacred Law of Muhammad (peace be upon him) represents the final version of Allah’s commandments applicable to all of humankind until the Last Day.
Islam invites us to what benefits us and all of humanity. It commands goodness towards all people and does not promote preferential treatment for a certain group, be they believers or not. No one is immune from Allah’s commands and laws in Islam.
Islam offers us eternity in Paradise if we obey Allah’s commands. Whether we believe in Him, follow His Guidance, practice good and forbid evil, Allah does not benefit anything from it. We are the ones who benefit from submitting to His Will. Likewise, if we refuse to believe, practice evil and prevent good, Allah is not harmed one bit by our behaviour. Rather, it is only we who suffer from our own misdeeds.
Ultimately, the only real guarantee of salvation from Allah’s displeasure and wrath is from Allah Himself. We see this through the example of His Noble Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Allah’s unfaltering promise in the Holy Qur’an, the final unaltered scripture of Allah. No one will be wronged by Allah an atom’s weight in this life or the next. Allah’s promise is reiterated many times in the Holy Qur’an: If we believe and do good deeds, we will be rewarded, while if we deny the message and do evil, we will be punished.
Islam offers guidance to all humankind, regardless of race, culture, education level, sex, and socioeconomic status. Through Islam, we achieve peace with ourselves, with Allah, with our fellow man and even with the environment so that we can live in harmony with the entire universe as Allah intended.
Then why Islam and not Judaism or Christianity? First of all, Islam is the message of the final Prophet to mankind, Muhammad (peace be upon him) and no other prophet has come with true guidance or a new message from Allah since his time. While all previous prophets of Allah (such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus) were followed by a subsequent prophet and a new Sacred Law that abrogated that which was before it, the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is final and complete — no messenger will come after him. The example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) offers solid guidance for all times and places. Islam is the only true universal religion — it is open to people of all cultural backgrounds, man and woman alike. Islam preaches the Oneness of humanity more than any other religious tradition. We are all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them), and the most beloved human before Allah is the most God-fearing. We are all brothers and sisters from a common ancestor, and we will all return to our Creator in the end.
I hope this has helped you to better understand the values of Islam and what makes it unique. Through continued research on your part and interactions with sincere Muslims, I believe you will see the beauty of Islam and how it will benefit you and those around you.