Islam – The Universal Religion
The Message of Islam and its Universality and Purpose
Allah sent Muhammad (peace be upon him) with the true way of worship of Allah and the complete code of law which provides mankind with the most honorable life and takes them to the highest degree a human being can attain.
In a period of about twenty-three years, the Prophet (peace be upon him) completed his mission of inviting people to Allah and preaching universal religion and gathering people into its fold.
The Universality of the Message
Islam was not meant for a certain time or a certain generation or a certain people; in fact. it was a message for all of mankind for all time. Allah says in the Qur’an,
“Blessed is He who has revealed to His slave the Criterion (of right and wrong), that he may be a warner to all of the peoples” (al-Furqan: 1).
He also said,
“And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) save as a bringer of good tidings and a warner to all mankind; but most of mankind knows not” (Saba’: 28).
“Say (0 Muhammad): O mankind, Lo! I am the messenger of Allah to you all (the messenger of) Him unto whom belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. There is no God save Him. He qives life and He gives death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, who believes in Allah and in His words and follow him that haply, you may be led aright” (al-A‘raf: 158).
In an authentic hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“Every Prophet was sent only to his people, but I have been sent to every ‘red’ and ‘black’ human” (i.e., to all of humanity).
This message of Universal Religion can be illustrated by the following:
1) There is nothing difficult in this religion for any person to believe or act upon. Allah says in the Qur’an,
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear… Also, Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you” (al-Baqarah: 286, 185).
“He has not laid upon you any hardship in religion” (al-Haji:78).
In Sahih al-Bukhari, it is recorded from Abu Sa‘eed al-Muqbiri that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
“This religion is easy. If anyone tries to make this religion difficult (upon himself), then it will overcome him.”
In Sahih Muslim, a hadith says:
“The most beloved religion in the sight of Allah is the pure and tolerant worship of Allah.”
2) Those aspects that are eternal regardless of time or place, for example, matters of belief and worship, have been thoroughly explained in clear texts that encompass every aspect of this universal religion. No one can add or delete anything from them. Those aspects that are subject to change due to time or place, for example, affairs related to politics or war, and so on, have been explained with general guidelines useful for mankind in every age. These guidelines are to be used by national leaders to establish truth and justice in their lands regard-less of time or location.
3) The teachings of this Universal Religion aim at preserving faith, life, intellect, procreations, and legitimate earnings. These goals are definitely in harmony with the nature of mankind, easy for one to accept, and fit for every time, and place. Allah says in the Qur’an,
Say, “Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?” Say, “They are for those who believe during the worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection.” Thus do We detail the verses for a people who know. Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” (al-A‘raf: 32-33).
He also says,
“My punishment – I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things.” So I will decree it [especially] for those who fear Me and give zakah and those who believe in Our verses. Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful.” (al-A’raf: 156-157)
Goal of the message of Universal religion
Islam seeks to purify the souls through the recognition of Allah and his worship and to reinforce the ties of mankind and to establish them on the basis of love, mercy, brotherhood, equality and justice. This will bring happiness to mankind in both this life and the hereafter. Allah says in Quran,
“It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom – although they were before in clear error” (al-Jumuah: 2)