In the Name of the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, Allah
6:126 And this is the path of your Lord, [leading] straight. We have detailed the verses for a people who remember.
6:153 And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous.
7:16 [Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path.
The Straight Path is the Qur’an, the Original Torah, and the Gospel. Satan / Shaytan has vowed to block all roads leading to the word of Allah. He has successfully done so, as almost all Muslims who accept the religion called Islam do so at the hands of the Shiya’an (religions and religious sects), the Sunnis and Shi’ites, just as most of those who accepted the teachings of the Scripture (Torah and Gospel) were diverted away from true deen towards the Jewish and Christian religions and sects.
Despite having been given the Book and being sent messenger after messenger, all upholding the same book, the followers of these prophets were repeatedly and systematically lead astray from the true deen towards various religions. This is a historical fact attested to in the Qur’an. The effects of religion on the people is mass confusion. Take a simple issue of wudhu (ablution). Allah describes the process as follows:
5:3 O you who have believed, when you rise to ‘As-Sol-laa’…
1). …wash your faces
2). …and your forearms to the elbows
3). …and wipe over your heads
4). …and your feet to the ankles.
And if you are in a state of janabah (avoidance due to sexual contact), then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.
Something as simple as this can become a very complex issue among Hadithists. Questions such as how many times to wash the face and elbows, or whether or not it includes washing out the mouth, the nose, and the ears, the back of the neck, whether or not it can be done while wearing the socks, etc., despite the clarity of the Qur’anic instructions. If people just did as instructed, the confusion would disappear.
Among the Hadithist-religions there can exist countless rulings and opinions from countless clergy, based upon countless books of hadith. Even more disturbing is that the four Sunni schools that exist today are not the only schools of thought in existence, but rather they are the only “recognized” schools amongst the Sunnis.
There are also the Shi’ite Schools which are based upon a completely different collection of hadith, and opinions of a different set of clergy. As you may have guessed, all of these are completely unrecognized by one another. The only recognition I am aware of one sect by another is by the Sunni (formerly Shi’a – Ismaili/Fatimid) Al-Azhar University in Egypt which considers the “Ja’fari school” (based upon the teachings of the 6th Imam, Ja’far As-Sadiq) a fifth school of Islam.
Deen (System) & Millat (Code) vs. Religion
I would like to shift the focus of the discussion to the difference between ‘Deen’ (Way of life) and Religion. There exist today the ‘Deen of Islam’, which is the System and Order of Allah as promoted in Qur’an, and there is the ‘Religion called Islam’, which is promoted by the Hadithists.
Contrary to popular belief, the concept of religion is condemned in the Qur’an, but many Muslims are unaware of this fact due to a misunderstanding of the Arabic language or because of a reliance upon translations of Qur’an and hadith as sources of guidance. Abraham, the founder of Islam, was not a religious man, but rather a man who lived an upright life, inclined towards truth (Haneef), not static dogma, and who lived according to code (Millat) of Islam and upheld its commitments.
22:78 And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the system (deen) any difficulty. [It is] the code of conduct (Millat) of your father, Abraham. He named you “Muslims” before and in this, so that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So uphold the commitments and contribute towards zakah (purification) and hold fast to Allah . He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper.
2:130 And who would be averse to the code (Millat) of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself. And We had chosen him in this world, and indeed he, in the Hereafter, will be among the righteous.
The leadership of these religions mistakenly, carelessly, and in my opinion, intentionally use the word deen and religion interchangeably in order to cause confusion.
When approached by the people of religion, namely Christians, Jews, and Polytheists, the Prophet was instructed as follows:
2:135 They say, “Be Jews or Christians, you will be guided.” Say, “Rather, [we follow] the code (Millat) of Abraham, inclining toward truth, and he was not of the polytheists.
Note: Notice Allah calls the Jews and Christians Polytheists while the world considers them Monotheists
Note: Here, Allah shows the difference between religion (man-made dogma/ritual worship of a god/superstition, i.e., Christianity, Judaism, & Polytheism) and Millat (following a code of conduct and action prescribed by Allah Alone and seeking truth).
Religions focus on worship, while the deen focuses on belief in Allah (Iman) and deeds that reform self and society (As-Salihaat):
21:94 So whoever engages in acts of reform (ya’mal min As-Salihaat) while he is a believer – no denial will there be for his effort, and indeed We, of it, are recorders.
Righteousness is about deeds, not worship
The definition of Righteousness (Al-Birr) in Islam is not based upon dogma, worship, or rituals, or superstition. Rather, it is based deeds of righteousness, reform and belief in the truth:
2:177 Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west (which is reference to the direction of prayer), but [true] righteousness is…
1). One who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets…
2). …and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves…
3). …[and who] upholds the commitments and contributes toward zakah…
4). …[those who] fulfill their promise when they promise…
5). …and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle…
Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.
According to the Qur’an, religions are defined as that which results from the people taking the Deen of Allah and dividing it up among themselves, upholding some of the commandments and forsaking some others, each group believing they alone have the sole monopoly on the truth while adhering to only a portion of what was commanded of them, adding to or subtracting from it without confirmation in Allah’s Book:
6:159 Indeed, those who divide their System (deen) and become religions (shiya’an) – you, [O Muhammad], are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allah; then He will inform them about what they used to do.
The Qur’an makes it crystal clear. The antithesis of ‘Deen’ is ‘Shiya’an’, or religions. According to the Qur’an, Judaism and Christianity are not deen, but rather they are religions (shiya’an) which were adopted by Muslims who went astray:
2:62 Indeed, those who ‘āmanoo’ (became believers) and those who ‘hādoo’ (adopted Judaism), the ‘nasārā’ (Christians) and Sabeans (Some believe they were followers of the Seven Laws of Noah (Noahidism), or the God-Fearers (Gentile followers of Judaic Law)) – whoever believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.
The use of the word ‘Shiya’an’ is not my way of singling out the adherents of the Shi’ite religion (of which I am a former member, as well as a former Sunni) even though the name itself is the same as that of ‘Shiya’an’, except in singular form, meaning religion/religious sect of Ali. At the time that the ayats above were revealed, there was no such thing as a sect of Islam. There were no Sunni or Shi’a Islamic sects. There was only Islam. These ayats are obviously referring to the religions that sprang up out of the past communities of Muslims who abandoned their books and accepted religions in place of the deen. Sectarianism is an attribute of religion, not of deen.
Religions are only practiced by people, while the deen is upheld by all of creation. The sun, moon, stars, trees, animals, and many human beings uphold the deen, but only humans forsake the deen and substitute it with religion. Here, Allah talks about the Muslims who followed Jesus, the Son of Mary, but later started calling themselves Christians under the leadership of Rome and Greece:
5:14 And from those who say, “We are Christians” We took their covenant; but they forgot a portion of that of which they were reminded. So We caused among them animosity and hatred until the Day of Resurrection. And Allah is going to inform them about what they used to do.
The aim of the deceptive religions is to produce a delusion or false sense of having fulfilled one’s commitment to Allah through worship, rituals, blind-following, a belief in superstition, and obedience to a clerical hierarchy. It is expected that one will pass through this life having “worshipped” Allah just enough to gain mercy and enter paradise, having done nothing to reform self or society, nor having a correct belief in Allah. The Qur’an warns against this and exposes the clergy as being the primary conspirators in diverting the masses away from Deen and funneling them into the system of religion. Today, the chances of non-Muslim finding the true Qur’anic Islam is slim without first having to swim through an ocean of religions and sects. This is why most of the people on earth believe Islam to simply be just another world religion.
6:116 And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah . They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying.
Animosity, Hatred, and Violence: A result of abandoning the Deen for religion
As a result of abandoning the Deen of Islam and “forgetting a portion” of their covenant and forming a religion out of the Deen, the People of the Scripture were cursed with being stripped of their deen and downgraded religious followers, which lead to “animosity and hatred until the Day of Resurrection”. Where else do we see this taking place? The Muslims who followed Jesus “forgot a portion of what they were reminded”, in other words they neglected a portion of the deen, holding on to some aspects of it, mixing it with the teachings of other religions, and out of this Christianity sprang forth. As a result of them failing to keep their commitment, they were caused to be consumed with sectarian and religious hatred for each other until the Day of Judgment.
Allah illustrates this further here:
6:67 Say, “He is the [one] Able to send upon you affliction from above you or from beneath your feet or to confuse you [so you become] religious sects (shiya’an) and make you taste the violence of one another.” Look how We diversify the signs that they might understand.
It now becomes clear why the Sunnis and the Shi’ites have been locked in battle for over 1400 years. The negative end-result of religion on a people is that they become violent with each other, while themselves caught up in layer upon layer of confusion among themselves. The Christians, Jews, Sunni/Shi’ite Muslims, the Polytheists, and all the sects that exist under these religions are all at war with each other These ayats make it crystal clear that these ‘Shiya’an’ are religious groups, not sects of Islam, because the ‘shiya’an’ are an end-result of dividing up the Islamic System (Deen) or forgetting a portion of the covenant that was established with Allah to uphold the deen, not practice a religion.
“He named you Muslims…”
Again… I would like to emphasize the following.
2:130 And who would be averse to the code (Millat) of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself.
…[It is] the code of conduct (Millat) of your father, Abraham. He named you “Muslims” before and in this…
Sunnis and Shi’ites will openly admit that they are indeed religions, or sects of a religion which go by names other than Islam. One of the signs of the religions is that they call themselves by names other than Islam and Muslim. Examples: Sunni Islam, Shi’i Islam, Shi’ism, Sufism, Ahmediyyism, Ismailism, Zaydi Shi’ism, Salafism, Ahl As-Sunnah, Ahl Al-Hadith, Nation of Islam, Druze, Baha’ism, etc. For some reason, they just can’t call it Islam. Why? Because it isn’t Pure Islam. This should be the biggest clue to anyone with common sense. Religions are always engaged in a nonstop process of splintering. Division is the natural effect of religion on a people.
15:2-3 Perhaps those who disbelieve will wish that they had been Muslims. Let them eat and enjoy themselves and be diverted by [false] hope, for they are going to know.
28:87 And never let them avert you from the verses of Allah after they have been revealed to you. And invite [people] to your Lord. And never be of those who associate others with Allah.
31:6 And of mankind are (they) who trade DIVERTING HADITH to lead into error away from the way of Allah without knowledge, and to take it to themselves in mockery; those will have a degrading torment.
3:99 Say, “O People of the Scripture, why do you avert from the way of Allah those who believe, seeking to make it [seem] deviant, while you are witnesses [to the truth]? And Allah is not unaware of what you do.”
4:160 For wrongdoing on the part of the Jews, We made unlawful for them [certain] good foods which had been lawful to them, and for their averting from the way of Allah many [people]…
and the indictment against the clergy…
9:34 O you who have believed, indeed many of the scholars and the monks devour the wealth of people unjustly and avert [them] from the way of Allah . And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah – give them tidings of a painful punishment.
and yet another warning…
28:87 And let them not divert thee from the revelations of Allah after they have been sent down unto thee; but call (mankind) unto thy Lord, and be not of those who ascribe partners (unto Him).
In the Qur’an we can look back at the former communities and see where they went wrong. Despite this, most Muslims do not apply the lessons found in their stories to our day and age. I took the time out to examine some of the ayats dealing with the former communities and I switched some of the wording to see how well it fit in our present example. Here is what I came up with.
2:135 They say, “Be Jews or Christians [so] you will be guided.” Say, “Rather, [we follow] the code (Millat) of Abraham, inclining toward truth, and he was not of the polytheists.”
They say, “Be Sunni or Shi’ite [so] you will be guided.” Say, “Rather, [we follow] the code (Millat) of Muhammad, inclining toward truth, and he was not of the polytheists.”
2:113 The Jews say “The Christians have nothing [true] to stand on,” and the Christians say, “The Jews have nothing to stand on,” although they [both] recite the Scripture. Thus the polytheists speak the same as their words. But Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ.
The Sunnis say “The Shi’ites have nothing [true] to stand on,” and the Shi’ites say, “The Sunnis have nothing to stand on,” although they [both] recite the Scripture. Thus the polytheists speak the same as their words. But Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ.
5:68 Say, “O People of the Scripture, you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to you from your Lord.” And that which has been revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase many of them in transgression and disbelief. So do not grieve over the disbelieving people.
Say, “O People of the Qur’an, you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold what has been revealed to you from your Lord.” And that which has been revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase many of them in transgression and disbelief. So do not grieve over the disbelieving people.
The Deen of Islam is not a religion. It is a way of life. It is based upon commitments to Allah and the covenant which must be fulfilled. The religious factions which have sprung forth as a result of the Muslims forgetting a part of what was reminded to them will forever have their horns locked in battle with one another until the Day of Resurrection. The “religion called Islam” will never be a viable substitute for the Deen of Islam.
3:83 So is it other than the Deen of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they will be returned?
3:84 Say, “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [at peace with] Him.”
3:85 And whoever desires other than Islam as a System (Deen) – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.
3:86 How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their belief and had witnessed that the Messenger is true and clear signs had come to them? And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.
The Prophet Muhammad was neither a Sunni nor a Shi’a…
3:68 Indeed, the most worthy of Abraham among the people are those who followed him and this prophet, and those who believe. And Allah is the ally of the believers.
3:102 O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims.
3:20 So if they argue with you, say, “I have submitted myself to Allah, and so have those who follow me.” And say to those who were given the Scripture and to the unlearned in Scripture, “Have you submitted yourselves?” And if they submit, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away – then upon you is only the duty of notification. And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants.
To Allah belongs all knowledge…