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Khutba #20

Islam as a Universal Divine Religion


May we all practice Taq’wa (righteousness), and to connect with God and obey His divine commands!  Let us be heedful of our choices in this life and their likely consequences in eternity in the hereafter.  Let us be aware of our final destination, our eventual end into the everlasting life.  May Allah provide us all with the spirit of righteousness by way of His divine obedience as best thing for our salvation.


Weakness of the faith in Divine religion (in a real sense) is an important issue in the present age.  In this era, despite or because of the enormous progress in science and technology, we are faced with a crisis in commitment in faith, its depth, and belief itself. 


Let us make a comparative discussion about Islam and Christianity.  We all know that Islam is a universal religion; it is for all people, in all places, and for all times.  Though as far as Christian fundamental message and teachings are concerned, the religion of Jesus was not different from Islam, yet Christianity did not contain comprehensive and complete guidance for all aspects of man’s life for all ages.


During antiquity when different races lived in more or less complete isolation, God sent different Prophets to different peoples.   Jesus was one of these Prophets.  He was the Messiah of the Israelites.  In a separate manner each nation was guided by its national Prophet.  However, with the passage of centuries, the time became ripe to raise a Prophet with the Divine Message to the whole world, i.e. to be universal.


Thus God raised Prophet Muhammad to represent the essential message of all the Prophets.  The Message to Muhammad amalgamated all previous religious traditions into a single universal faith.  It united the people of numerous nations into a single world-wide brotherhood.  The Message to Muhammad (pbuh) gave the world a complete code of life for the entire humanity.


To establish the Truth of Islam, Prophet Muhammad did not resort to miracles to win over the few who witness them, but fail to carry conviction to those of subsequent generations.  Instead, the appeal of his religion is to use Reason and Conscience of man.   To carry the Truth home to us the Quran, besides other matters, draws our attention in particular to:

▪    the phenomena (signs or marvels) of nature,

▪    the lessons of history, and

▪    the teachings and experiences of the previous Prophets of various nations.

The Holy Quran enjoins what is uniformly inspiring, edifying and practical for peoples of all nations and times.  The religious and moral teachings of Islam are of universal nature.  In considering the proposition that Islam is the universal religion, we must bear in mind the following facts:


Firstly, the mission of other Prophets was only for their own nations, but Prophet Muhammad was entrusted with a Message for all nations, all over the earth.  From the very beginning of his ministry Muhammad (pbuh) addressed himself to all humanity.  It was revealed to him, as the Holy Quran says in Surah 21 (al-Anbiya’), Ayah 107:


وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إلاّ رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

“We sent thee not but as Mercy unto The worlds.”

The Holy Quran also says in Surah 7 (al-A’raaf), Ayah 158:


قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ لا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوََ

“[O’ Muhammad], Say to mankind: I am the Messenger of God to you all —the Messenger of Him to whom belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth.

There is no divinity except Him…”


Secondly the Christians acknowledge only the Prophets of Israel.  But Islam says that it would be a denial of the universal providence of God to assert that Prophets were raised only in one nation.  According to the Holy Quran, God is the Lord and cherisher of all the worlds.  He has made no discrimination between nations in sending His revelations.  He has raised Prophets among all the nations of the globe.  The same religion was revealed to all the Prophets. The Holy Quran says in Surah 35 (Faatir), Ayah 24:

إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَإِن مِّنْ أُمَّةٍ إِلاَّ خلا فِيهَا نَذِيرٌ

“Verily We have sent thee [O’ Muhammad] in the Truth; as a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner: for there never was a people but a warner was sent to them.”

And quoting other verses, the Quran says in Surah 40 (Mu’min), Ayah 78:


وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلاً مِّن قَبْلِكَ مِنْهُم مَّن قَصَصْنَا عَلَيْكَ وَمِنْهُم مَّن لَّمْ نَقْصُصْ عَلَيْكَ

“Verily we have sent Messengers before thee [O’ Muhammad].

There are those among them We have related to you,

and there are those We have not related to You….”

In fact Prophet Muhammad had come to finish off, not to destroy, the work of the earlier Prophets.  He told his followers to have faith in the Prophets of all the nations, as attested in Surah 2 (al-Baqarah), Ayah 136:


قُولُواْ آمَنَّا بِاللّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَى وَعِيسَى وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ

لاَ نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

“Say [O’ Muslims]: We believe in Allah and that which has been revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ismail, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and in what Moses and Jesus received, and what was given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto God we do submit.”


Third point is that Islam, and not Christianity, gives total guidance for all aspects and conditions of life, individual as well as social, national as well as international.  Following Jesus by about five centuries the spirit of Truth appeared in the person of Prophet Muhammad to convey the truth to all mankind.  God revealed to Muhammad (pbuh), in Surah 5 (al-Maa’ida), Ayah 3:


الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا

“…This day have I perfected for you your religion and have completed My favor on you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…”

From the Holy Quran’s point of view there has been one Divine religion from beginning to end.  All Prophets had the same mission and they essentially preached the same message.  Their basic principles called religion were the same.  Their teachings differed only in rules, technique of worship (rituals) and subsidiary matters of secondary importance.  These varied according to the requirements of the time, the peculiarities of the surrounding environment, and the characteristics of the people whom these Prophets addressed.


It should also be emphasized that there exists a big difference between the Prophets and the great philosophers and other outstanding social leaders.  Each eminent philosopher has had his own school.  That is why so many schools of philosophy have existed in the world.   In contrast, the Prophets have always corroborated with the Prophets that preceded them, and never contradicted each other.  Had any one of the Prophets lived in the time and environment of another Prophet, he would have preached the rules of law and conduct similar to those preached by the latter.


The Holy Quran declares expressly that the Prophets form one single series.  The earlier Prophets foretold about the later ones, and the later Prophets acknowledged the earlier ones.  The Holy Quran calls the Divine religion Islam and described it as a continuous process from Adam to the last Prophet. This does not mean that the divine religion has always been known by this name.  What is meant is that Islam is the best word to describe the nature of this religion.  That is why the Holy Quran says in Surah 3 (Aali Imran), Ayah 19:

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ

“There is no doubt that the only true faith in Allah’s sight is Islam”

Finally, I pray to God to illuminate our hearts with the light of faith and fill them with love for Him and His Prophets, and also pray Allah to grant us a good end in life, and grant our sick ones a speedy recovery, our dead ones salvation, and to guide Muslims and believers for salvation in this world and in the next world.


For the end of the 1st part of the Khutba, read Surah Al-Asr, take a short intermission, then start the 2nd part of the Khutba with a short Du’aa.


An important issue in the present day is the weakness in faith but more importantly a creeping weakness of faith and piety.  We are faced with the question of, what is the real purpose of life?  Is life only to live for so many years concentrating on maximum pursuit of pleasure and self satisfaction, or even lustful [carnal] passions?


Humans by nature glorify power; whether in being a hero, leader, king, champion, or a superpower.  But the true power in  religious sense is God or Allah, to whom without a doubt we are connected.  A connection with the Almighty gives us security, peace of mind, serenity, and happiness of heart.  German psychoanalyst Eric Frown says: “you can find no one without a religion including agnostics who follow some moral principles which they call ethics; I call it religion”.[1]

Faith is a part of our innate nature and for this reason we have a feeling of connections with our creator, Almighty God or Allah.  As a matter of fact, the Holy Quran says in Surah 13 (al-Ra’ad), Ayah 28:


الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in remembrance of Allah,

verily, it is in the remembrance of God [that men’s] hearts find rest.”

This is not limited to the individual affairs.  Islam stresses moral values on both the individual and the society; indeed moral values are the corner stone of every healthy society.  Personal improvement rests on three main factors:

  1. The recognition of God as the only deity and master of the universe.

  2. The submission to God and obedience to Him, and to worship Him and perform all the required rituals.

  3. The continuous invocation of God and remembering Him, which is the best way to preserve the individual’s moral values.

Worshiping the Almighty as the only master and creator of the universe is the only road to salvation and happiness for human beings, that is why Allah says in the Holy Quran in Surah 51 (al-Thariyat), Ayah 56:


وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالإنسَ إِلاّ لِيَعْبُدُونِ

“And [tell them O’ Muhammad]:

I have not created the Jin and mankind except to worship Me [Allah].”

The main reason behind this creation is to recognize and connect with God Almighty as the Lord and Master of the universe.  For this very reason God created man with all the necessary talent, to be able to search for Him, recognize Him, and glorify Him.  To facilitate this job, God has invested man with the power of distinction, to differentiate the good from the obscene. To complete man’s understandings of the reality, Prophets were sent to guide and direct man towards God and prevent him from deviation.


Fortunately, in Islam we have many good models.  The Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Imams (a.s.) are the best models.  We can study them and learn from them, and emulate their deeds in our lives.  The character of the Prophet and the Imams is the best model for mankind in all ages.  The Prophet and all of Imams were against evilness, tyranny, oppression, injustice, corruption and falsehood.  The Prophet and the Imams knew that their adversaries were against good values, so they stood against them steadfastly.


We ask Allah to help us do our duties as Muslims, to be in the right path, and to obtain salvation in this world and the Hereafter.  Also we pray to Allah to help all oppressed people in the world.


Finally, let us read Surah Al-Nasr with a short Du’aa to close the Khutba.


[1] Referred to by Mutah’hari, Spiritual Discourses, Page 52.


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