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Interfaith Movement: An Entrapment?

    Should Muslims engage in discussion with non-Muslims to invite them to Islam? The answer is most certainly yes. A Muslim is duty-bound to try to convey the message of Islâm to all of humanity. Allâh orders the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and us in the Qur’ân thus:

Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. An-Nahl 16:125

To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow: let them not then dispute with thee on the matter, but do thou invite (them) to thy Lord: for thou art assuredly on the Right Way. Al-Hajj, 22:67.

And let nothing keep thee back from the Signs of Allah after they have been revealed to thee: and invite (men) to thy Lord, and be not of the company of those who join gods with Allah. Al-Qasas, 28:87.

    Should Muslims get involved in the “Interfaith Movement”? The answer is most certainly not. Allâh most high has ordained only one religion for humanity and all other creations around us from the beginning of times to the end. With Allâh there is only one religion, Deen-e-fitrat (most natural way of life). It demands that all creations of Allâh submit to His will unconditionally. This is how Allâh warns us about this fact.

Is it then other than Allah’s religion that they seek (to follow), and to Him submits whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him shall they be returned. Aal-e-Imran, 3:83.

And unto Allah prostrates whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, as do their shadows in the morning and the evening hours. Ar-Rad, 13:15

Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient.. Fussilat, 41:11.

    Inter-anything means, in ordinary terms, between or among two or more than two more or less equal entities. Thus international means between or among two or more nations, interuniversity means between or among two or more universities and so forth. To say interfaith is to say that there are two or more than two more or less equal religions. This to Allâh is most unacceptable if we are to believe the verses quoted above and His following categorical declaration:

And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers. Aal-e-Imran, 3:85.

    Lest someone is misguided by the often mentioned Ibrahimic reference as justification to say that Judaism or Christianity had any claim because of this reference to be on equal footing with Islam, this is how Allâh informs Muslims that all the prophets and their rightly guided followers were Muslims and followed Islam and that the religion given to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is no different than the one given to earlier prophets.

Say ye: “We believe in Allâh, and the revelation given to us, and to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaq(Isaac), Yaqoob (Jacob), and the Tribes, and that given to Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus), and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam).” Al-Baqara, 2:136.

Say: “We believe in Allâh, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaq(Isaac), Yaqoob (Jacob), and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus), and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam).” Aal-e-Imran, 3:84.

We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Nuuh (Noah) and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqoob (Jacob) and the Tribes, to Isa (Jesus), Ayyoob (Job), Younus (Jonah), Haroon (Aaron), and Sulaiman (Solomon), and to Dawood (David) We gave the Psalms. An-Nisa, 4:163.

The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Nuuh (Noah) - the which We have sent by inspiration to thee - and that which We enjoined on Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and I’sa (Jesus): Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him). Ash-Shura, 42:13.

    In fact any Muslims who make any distinction between any of the apostles is not a believer. Here is a declaration from Allah to show this truth.

The apostle, and the believers with him, believe in what has been bestowed upon him from on high by his Sustainer: they all believe in God, and His angels, and His revelations, and His apostles, making no distinction between any of His apostles; and they say: We have heard, and we pay heed. Grant us Thy forgiveness, O our Sustainer, for with Thee is all journeys’ end! Al-Baqara, 2:285

    Have you ever wondered why almost all “secular” institutions of higher learning who can financially afford it and many non-Muslim theological institutions are active supporters of “Interfaith Movement”? They have changed their modus operandi a bit but the aim is the same. If Muslims cannot be converted outright to secularism and paganism at least they should start having doubts about the validity of Qur’ân. They should at least make distinctions between various apostles. Consciously or unconsciously they should accept that Isa  belongs to the Christians and Musa  belongs to the Jews and only Muhammad  is their prophet. That is how these three religions can justify interfaith dialogue.

    Those Muslims who are deluded by their persuasive, though mostly uninformed non-Muslim, interfaith compatriots can try a test. Tell them the truth that we as Muslims have no option except to confirm, proclaim, attest and believe that Musa and Isa (peace be upon him) are the true messengers of Allâh and further inform them that we believe in every word of Taurait (Torah) and Injeel (Gospels) and Zaboor (Psalms) that were revealed to Musa, Isa and Dawood (peace be upon him). Confirm it to them that every word that these prophets of Allâh said we believe was a truth. Ask them now if they will, if Islam is genuinely recognized by them as a legitimate bona fide interfaith component, confirm and believe that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the last prophet of Allâh and that Qur’ân is the final testament? Do they confirm, proclaim, attest and believe that every word that came out of the lips of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is a binding truth on all human beings to follow if they wish to worship their Lord as is His due right? They have two choices; If they attest that indeed, as partners in interfaith movement, they recognize Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as the last true prophet, then have two Muslims ready to make them repeat the shahadatain. If they are reluctant to accept Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as the genuine messenger of Allâh, then they do not recognize Islam as two or more universities are recognized in inter-university relationship or two nations are granted genuine recognition in international relationship. You now have the plain truth in front of you. Keep on fooling yourself that you as a Muslim are a bona fide interfaith partner or get out of this relationship without more ado.

    Some really witty non-Muslim interfaithers may try to entangle you in an enigma of confused logic. They may say, “Just because we recognize two universities in an interuniversity relationship or two nations in an international relationship does not demand that we give up our university or our nation and join the other”. They know it very well and you ought to know it too, that as soon as one recognizes Adam  as the first and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as the last and Nooh, Ibrahim, Dawood, Musa, Isa (peace be upon him) and thousands of others in between as the prophets of Islam there is nothing “inter” left in the interfaith relationship. There is only one religion and it is Islam, total submission to Allâh and all the prophets and all the true believers belong to it.

    Let us for a moment and for learning-sake only compare this perfect, magnificent, just, non-oppressive, non-discriminating, non-segregating, unprejudiced, unbiased, and impartial organizational phenomenon of Islam with the admittedly imperfect organizational setup in the United States of America. Let there be no doubt that at present, as the world of humanity is constituted, there is no better system in action than the US system. The reason unfortunately is that there is at present no sovereign human population that is being ruled by the constitution that Allâh gave to humanity. All systems are man-made, one somewhat better than the others. 

    The forefathers of America articulated a constitution for this country, just as Allâh ordained a constitution for all of humanity. This constitution was given by Allâh to the people according to their needs. Allâh informs us of this fact thus:

To every people have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow: let them not then dispute with thee on the matter, but do thou invite (them) to thy Lord: for thou art assuredly on the Right Way. Al-Hajj 22:67

Another place He confirms that what is given to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is no different than what was given to Musa and Ibrahim (peace be upon him).

Lo! This is in the former scrolls, The Book of Ibrahim and Musa. 87:18-19

    It was the responsibility of the people who demanded this responsibility not to let the words be changed or forgotten. They were unable to shoulder this self-imposed responsibility and changed the words:

But the transgressors changed the word from that which had been given them; so We sent on the transgressors a plague from heaven, for that they infringed (Our command) repeatedly. Al-Baqara 2:59

But the transgressors among them changed the word from that which had been given them so we sent on them a plague from heaven. For that they repeatedly transgressed. Al-A’raf, 7:162

Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who have changed the favour of Allah into blasphemy and caused their people to descend to the House of Perdition? Ibrahim 14:28

The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Isaiah, 24:5


    Thus, not to discriminate, Allâh sent messenger after messenger to teach people the constitution. The same constitution was given to all, Musa, Isa and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Some people hold reconstructed versions of the constitution given to Musa and Isa (peace be upon him). They insist on following it even though the most perfect copy of the constitution was once again and for all times this time revealed by Allâh to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the last messenger. How absurd is this insistence!

    The constitution of America formulated by the forefathers, had to be amended many times. We have the original and all the amended versions intact. Let any American today insist that they are going to be governed by the constitution as formulated at the time of George Washington and that they do not recognize the present updated version. Or let someone else insist that they are going to be governed by the constitution as formulated at the time of Abraham Lincoln and that they also do not recognize the present updated version. No one can deny the validity of those past versions of the US constitution during the time when they were legal, but today the only legal and functional version is the update version.

    The only document that made George Bush’s oath as president valid is the updated version. George Bush, if he were to insist that he will only defend the constitution as it existed at the time of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or  Theodore Roosevelt will not only be an illegal president but also cause tremendous upheavals in the US.

    For if George Bush were to only recognize George Washington’s version, blacks would not only be barred from voting and other civil rights they would also be sold as slaves and all women, black and white, would not be able to take part in politics. If George Bush were to insist that he would only recognize the constitution as formulated at the time of Abraham Lincoln (to get some of the black votes), women would still be on the streets demanding his impeachment.

    The present version of the US constitution is still not perfect. Amendments are being contemplated as we write this article. Yet no one wants to go back and recognize an earlier version. Is it not a shame, when it comes to the constitution that Allâh has decreed for all His creations and that is indeed with no doubt the final, complete and the perfect document, that so many insist on following an earlier version, which by the admittance of its own proponents has more that 5,000 errors. Muslims who have unwittingly fallen into the interfaith trap should ponder about this declaration by Allâh Himself.

This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. Al-Ma’idah 5:3