Characteristics of Divine Religion —from the Creator, not from Man
- Clarity in the concept of God
Divine religion preserves the Oneness of God without partners, which is the universal monotheist message of all God’s prophets.
In the book, The Original Concept of God, Faten Sabri presents the monotheism clauses in many major religions as follows:
- “So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” Quran 18:110
- “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3, Bible
- “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” First Commandment, Bible.
- “They enter darkness, those who worship the natural elements…(Air, Water, Fire, etc.). They sink deeper in darkness, those who worship sambhuti (created things like idols, stones, etc.).” Yajurveda 40:9 Hindu Vedas
- “He is One only without a second.” Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1, Hindu Vedas
- “There exists but one God, who is called The True. The Creator.” Sikhism: Sri Guru Granth Sahib, vol:1, Japuji verse:1.
- “He is one; He is without an origin or end. He has no father or mother, wife or son.” Zoroastrianism: Dasatir, Ahura Mazda. Refer to Yasna 31:7&11.
- “Confess and believe in God, who is the worthy object of obedience…” Buddhism, India in Primitive Christianity, p.85.
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This recognition of God as one and unique in all the universe of existence is the first commandment —the most important commandment— in every major religion, and is the key to Paradise. For example, in the world’s largest two religions, we find:
- Bible: “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods beside me.”
- Quran: “There is no other deity beside God.”
Monotheism must have preceded polytheism in the history of humanity, because before one can imagine multiple Gods, one has to understand the concept of one God. This seems to be borne out by historical accounts.
Xenophanes, the early Greek philosopher —despite his polytheistic social environment— talked of one God, an eternal being, who shared no attributes with human beings. (https://www.worldhistory.org/Xenophanes_of_Colophon/, para. 2)
Wilhem Schmidt, the German anthropologist and Roman Catholic priest, in his 12-volume Der Ursprung der Gottesidee (The Origin of the Idea of God), presents similarities of belief in one creator throughout the various cultures he studied. He concludes that monotheism, not polytheism or totemism, was the most primitive type of religion worldwide. (https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/social-sciences-and-law/anthropology-biographies/wilhelm-schmidt, para. 11 )
Thus, polytheism is a distortion of the original monotheistic message of all prophets.
The Oneness of our Creator and his non-divisibility, explains the harmony inherent throughout this universe and provides the simplest and most comprehensive explanation for the uniformity of raw elements, consistency in universal laws, and the regularity of motion patterns. One All-powerful, Independent Creator is all that is required. In fact, One is all that there is room for! This avoids the problem of conflicting wills and contradicting laws of multiple Gods.
Melvin Calvin, 1961 Nobel Prize winner in organic chemistry and author of the 1969 book, Chemical evolution: Molecular evolution towards the origin of living systems on the earth and elsewhere (Clarendon Press) said:
“The universe is governed by a single God, and is not the product of the whims of many gods, each governing his own province according to his own laws. This monotheistic view seems to be the historical foundation for modern science.” (http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Nave-html/Faithpathh/Calvin.html)
A fundamental fallacy committed by many atheists is their assumption that, if some people practice polytheism or worship false gods, then there must be no True God.
- True religion provides a direct path between our Creator and us; it frees man from subservience to anyone but God. There are no intermediaries between us and God.
One God has one way to worship him. All prophets of God came with the message to worship God alone and directly, without detours or intermediaries. All prophets forbade people to worship them. This is echoed throughout the Quran and the Bible. The opening chapter in the Quran states:
You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help. (Quran 1:5)
The First Commandment in the Bible is to put God first. Furthermore, Jesus, peace be upon him, says:
“They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. You have disregarded the commandment of God to keep the tradition of men.” (Bible, Gospel of Mark 7:7, alluding to Isaiah 29:13)
Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. (Bible, Gospel of Matthew 15.9)
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Bible, Isaiah 29:13)
It is people who have installed their preferred intermediaries into each religion.
Most similarities in religions are from God, the single source. Most differences are from people.
When asked why they go through intermediaries to worship God, people often claim that the intermediaries bring them closer to God, while the opposite is true: to get closer to God, we should obey Him when He tells us to worship Him directly.
Common sense tells us that an intermediary is needed if the intended target is difficult to reach or is unapproachable. For example, we might go through our mother to get our father’s approval as mothers are usually more approachable. But this does not apply to our relationship with God. He is closer to us than anyone else and more approachable than our mothers or spouses; infinitely more caring and more loving.
It is We who have created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein. (Quran 50:16)
So why not go to Him directly? Why go through an intermediary, who is as helpless as we are?
- True religion has a clear unchanged scripture as reference. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klr3Jy2e3mk)
This is where the Quran stands unique. Its single version is the only known fully preserved word of God.
Indeed, it is We who sent down the Quran and indeed, We will be its guardian. (Quran 15:9)
Despite the countless attempts by the many enemies of Islam to distort this 600+ page book over the past 14 centuries and the extreme pressure to have the Quran conform to the ideology of contemporary ruling dynasties across its 14 centuries, it has remained preserved in a single unchanged original language version throughout the world.
While the Biblical texts (Torah, Evangel, Psalms, and other revelation) came originally from God, the only revealed Scripture with completely reliable word-for-word textual validation going back to its original source is the Quran.
For example, we have multiple variant textual wordings of the New Testament component texts, some of which contradict each other. The oldest available copies of the New Testament Gospels are the Greek versions. We have no reliably original versions of the Gospel [Evangel] books in the original language (Aramaic) spoken by Jesus and his disciples.
The authentic message of the Torah and Gospel (Evangel) is preserved through the Quran, which reproduces the most relevant content of their messages, without the man-added distortions, and which re-emphasizes their central theme of monotheism.
It makes sense that the final revelation is preserved so that Mankind can have a lasting authentic manual from their Creator.
According to the BBC, the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit showed that some of the oldest fragments of the Quran date back to the time of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Comparison with the present-day version supports the claim that the Quran has maintained its textual integrity in the fourteen centuries since its revelation. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-HDFiC2boQ
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APPENDIX: Miracles of the Quran
In Islamic understanding, each prophet has been given a miracle. The main miracle associated with Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the text of the Quran and its preservation across time.
Preservation is not the Quran’s only miracle. It is also miraculous in the way that the pieces of the text came together:
Imagine a man in a desert receiving a nail one day, a piece of wood the next, a door handle one week, a piece of glass the next, and so on over a period of 23 years. Imagine him placing each piece, as soon as it arrives, in its rightful place in a planned building project, without ever seeing the blueprint for that project or knowing any of the future functions for the building! Can you imagine anybody executing this construction project faultlessly as the pieces come into his possession?
Sounds impossible, right? Yet this is what happened with the Quran. It came down, sometimes only a few lines at a time, over a period of 23 years to address past, present and future events that would occur over the next two decades. Each piece was placed by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in its appropriate place in what would become the Quran’s 114 chapters, until a perfect book emerged 23 years later. (Muhammad Abdullah Draz, in his 2014 book: Al-Nabâ’ Al-‘Aẓîm, Dar Al-Kitab Al-Lubnani, p. 181)
How could Prophet Muhammad have known that these future events would happen? How could he know beforehand the proper placement for each section? And how could he end up with a logically sequenced and unparalleled composition in smooth flowing chapters?! (Muhammad Abdullah Draz’s book, The Qur’an: An Eternal Challenge, the Kindle version, or the video series)
This, for Muslims, is proof of a divine revelation from a Creator Who had foreknowledge of the events that would provide the material for His final revelation, the Quran.
While the rest of the seventh century world was holding food and product markets, the Arabs were holding “poetry markets.” Language was the Arabs’ unparalleled skill and point of pride. Yet when the Quran continuously challenged them in the arena of their expertise —to come up with a single chapter similar to the Quran— they failed miserably. With a single composition, the enemies of Islam could have delivered a death blow to Islam, yet even the best of them, despite continued efforts, were unable to do so!
Because of this failure they resorted to warfare to fight Islam and the Muslims; to force people away from the Quran in armed combat was easier than producing a single chapter comparable to the inimitable style of the Quran!
The Quran is the most memorized book on Earth. It has inimitable patterns and linguistic expressions. It foretold future events and presented knowledge unknown to the Arabs of that time. It also provided facts about the universe which were discovered in the scientific community only recently. The Quran is timeless in that it describes natural phenomena in a way that is acceptable to people of all eras regardless of the science of the time. Furthermore, there are no inconsistencies in the Quran and nothing in it contradicts proven science.
When the Quran talks about the past, it is confirmed by history; when it foretells the future, it is confirmed by events; when it talks about other religions, it is confirmed by their holy books; when it talks about creation and natural phenomena, it is confirmed by scientific discoveries.
The Quran transformed Arabs from uncouth warring Bedouins with no civilization to speak of—who buried their daughters alive and inherited women as baggage— to role models and leaders of the world in ethics and science.
Which other book is credited with the creation of at least 20 world empires, the last of which was the Ottoman Empire?
As described by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, the Quran’s miracles never end and you never tire of re-reading it. He also said:
“The superiority of the speech of God (the Quran) compared to all other speech is like the superiority of God over His creation.” (Jami‘Al–Tirmidhi 2926)
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…To be continued in Part 21