Aqeedah (Theology)

Islam: Not All Paths Lead to God. Just One

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There is this false idea among many people today that all paths lead to God and all religions are equal. Unfortunately, this idea has also crept into the minds of some Muslims and I have discussed it previously in another post. This belief is in complete contradiction to explicit verses in the Qur’an, statements of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and the historical consensus of Muslims scholars, where Islam is seen as the only way to salvation and the only religion accepted by the Creator. For example, there are numerous verses in the Qur’an that criticize idol worship, polytheism, the divinity of Jesustrinityrejection of Islamrefusal to believe in Muhammad (pbuh) as a messenger of God, etc. Not to mention the Qur’an explicitly stating that Muhammad (pbuh) was given the true religion to manifest over other religions:

9:33

It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all [other] religion, although they who associate others with Allah dislike it. [Qur’an 9:33]

There are also some very explicit statements of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), for example:

وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لاَ يَسْمَعُ بِي أَحَدٌ مِنْ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ يَهُودِيٌّ وَلاَ نَصْرَانِيٌّ ثُمَّ يَمُوتُ وَلَمْ يُؤْمِنْ بِالَّذِي أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ إِلاَّ كَانَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ

By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, he who amongst the community of Jews or Christians hears about me, but does not affirm his belief in that with which I have been sent and dies in this state (of disbelief), he shall be but one of the denizens of Hell-Fire [Muslim].

Further, the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) itself teaches us of this reality. Why would he struggle so hard in Mecca to try and change the beliefs of his people if all religions were equal? One of the main reasons the Meccans wanted him executed was because they accused him of ridiculing their ancestral beliefs about their false gods in addition to other commands that they did not like.

Dr. Yasir Qadhi has a very interesting video lecture on this topic as well which I highly recommend watching for those interested in the arguments behind the mainstream position. I’ve linked the video to the bottom of this post.

There is much more that can be written on this topic but I will end with the following verse and its commentary by the famous classical Muslim scholar Imam al-Baghawi:

16:9

It is upon Allah ˹alone˺ to ˹clearly˺ show the Straight Way. Other ways are deviant. Had He willed, He would have easily guided all of you. [Qur’an 16:9]

Imam al-Baghawi comments:

His statement {It is upon Allah ‘alone’ to ‘clearly’ show the Straight Way} means clarifying the path of guidance from misguidance and it was said that it means clarifying the truth through verses and evidences.

{Other ways are deviant} means deviating paths from the straight way are crooked. What is meant by the {Straight Way} is the religion of Islam and the deviant paths from it include: Judaism, Christianity, and all other false religions.

Jabir ibn Abdullah said {to ‘clearly’ show the Straight Way} means clarifying Islamic laws and obligations.

Abdullah ibn Mubarak and Sahl ibn Abdullah said {to ‘clearly’ show the Straight Way} means the Sunnah and {Other ways are deviant} means desires and innovations. The evidence for this is the verse where Allah instructs the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to tell his people:

6:153

Indeed, that is My Path—perfectly straight. So follow it and do not follow other ways, for they will lead you away from His Way. This is what He has commanded you, so perhaps you will be conscious ˹of Allah˺.” [Qur’an 6:153]

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