Abraham, Not Muhammad, Was the Founder of Islam

Abraham was the founding father of Submission (Islam)

Contrary to popular belief, the religion of Submission (Islam) did not begin with Muhammad but rather with Abraham.

مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
… [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. God named you “Submitters” (“Muslims”) before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation (the Quran)] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to God. He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper. (22:78)

Prophet Muhammad was not original or any more special than the other messengers

قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًا مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
Say (O’ Muhammad), “I am not something original among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner.” (46:9)

Muhammad was specifically told to follow the religion of Abraham

ثُمَّ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ أَنِ اتَّبِعْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
“Then we inspired you (O Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, monotheism; never was he an idol-worshiper.” (16:123)

Even followers of the Quran are told to follow the religion of Abraham

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًا مِّمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ وَاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۗ وَاتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلًا
And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to God while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And God took Abraham as an intimate friend. (4:125)

Muhammad’s sole mission was to deliver the message (the Quran)

وَإِن مَّا نُرِيَنَّكَ بَعْضَ الَّذِي نَعِدُهُمْ أَوْ نَتَوَفَّيَنَّكَ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ
And whether We show you part of what We promise them or take you in death, upon you (O Muhammad) is only the [duty of] notification (of the Quran), and upon Us is the account. (13:40)
فَإِنْ أَعْرَضُوا فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا ۖ إِنْ عَلَيْكَ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَإِنَّا إِذَا أَذَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِنَّا رَحْمَةً فَرِحَ بِهَا ۖ وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ فَإِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ كَفُورٌ
But if they turn away – then We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], over them as a guardian; upon you is only [the duty of] notification (of the Quran). And indeed, when We let man taste mercy from us, he rejoices in it; but if evil afflicts him for what his hands have put forth, then indeed, man is ungrateful. (42:48)
مَّا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا تَكْتُمُونَ
Not upon the Messenger is [responsibility] except [for] notification (of the Quran). And God knows whatever you reveal and whatever you conceal.(5:99)

The Quran is complete in truth and justice

وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
And the Word of your Lord is complete in truth and justice; there is none to change His Words; He is the All Hearing, the All Knowing. (6:115)
وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا طَائِرٍ يَطِيرُ بِجَنَاحَيْهِ إِلَّا أُمَمٌ أَمْثَالُكُم ۚ مَّا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يُحْشَرُونَ
And there is not an animal moving in the earth nor a bird flying on its wings, but they are a nation like you; We have left out nothing in this Book – then towards their Lord they will be raised. (6:38)

Since God says the Quran is “complete” and He “left out nothing”, then followers must accept this and not argue that it is incomplete and therefore the hadith are necessary.


Origin of names of religions

Many people nowadays think of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as three completely different religions that all originate from Abraham. However, Judaism and Christianity are actually just incorrectly modified versions of Islam (Submission).

Judaism is named as such because it originates from the Hebrew word Yehudah (Judah)”. Source

Judah is the name of an ancient kingdom in present-day southern Israel. Source

Christianity is named as such because it is based on the name of its leader, Jesus Christ. Christianity grew out of Judaism and began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century. Source

Christ comes from the Greek word χριστός (chrīstós), meaning “anointed one”. The word is derived from the Greek verb χρίω (chrī́ō), meaning “to anoint.” In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Mašíaḥ, messiah), meaning “[one who is] anointed”. Source

Unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam (Submission) is not named after a kingdom such as Saudi Arabia or a person such as Muhammad. If it did, it might be called Saudi Arabianism or Muhammadism.

As explained above,

  • Islam is a word that has a meaning which is “to submit (to one true God).”
  • As a meaningful word, Islam can be translated as “Submission” in English and “Penyerahan” in Indonesian.
  • Jesus Christ (Prophet Jesus) was a Muslim (3:52)
  • The People of the Book (Jews and Christians) were actually followers of Islam (Submission) as they were also called Muslims (Submitters). (28:52-53)
  • Jews and Christians wrongfully divided their original religion of Submission (Islam) (21:92-93)

The Quran always references Jews and Christians as

  • Jews (Yahuud) (e.g. 5:82)
  • Christians (Nasaara) (e.g. 5:82)
    Note that Nasaara is an Arabic word which, according to the Edward Lanes Lexicon, means Nazarenes, i.e. people from Nazareth.
  • Children of Israel (e.g. 17:2)
  • People of the Book (Ahli-l-kitaab) (e.g. 3:199)

The Quran never mentions that the Jews follow a separate religion called Judaism and that the Christians follow a separate religion called Christianity.

Most Jews don’t believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and most Christians don’t believe that Muhammad is the final messenger of God. However, at the time of Muhammad, there were some Jews and Christians who did believe in Muhammad and the revelation to him (the Quran).

وَإِنَّ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَمَن يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ خَاشِعِينَ …
And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in God, in the revelation to you (Muhammad), and in the revelation to them (Torah, Injil), bowing in humility to God …. (3:199)

Though Judaism and Christianity originally were no different than Abraham’s religion of Submission (Islam), they have changed a lot, e.g. Christians now believe that Jesus is the son of God, which is clearly a violation of Submission (Islam) as stated in the Quran (4:171)

The religion of Noah, Muhammad, Abraham, Moses and Jesus is the same

شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ ۖ أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ
He has ordained for you of religion (Arabic: Deen) what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein …. (42:13)

The message given to Noah, Muhammad, Abraham, Moses and Jesus was the same

مَّا يُقَالُ لَكَ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ قِيلَ لِلرُّسُلِ مِن قَبْلِكَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغْفِرَةٍ وَذُو عِقَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. (41:43)

Correct Jews, Christians and Muslims are all muslims who share the same God

وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ ۖ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَٰهُنَا وَإِلَٰهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ
And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (29:46)

“Deen” (religion) vs “millat” (ways / practices of a religion)

Many Muslims use verse 2:120 to infer that the Jews and Christians follow a different religion.

وَلَن تَرْضَىٰ عَنكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلَا النَّصَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ ۗ وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ ۙ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their form of religion (Arabic: Millatahum). Say, “Indeed, the guidance of God is the [only] guidance.” If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against God no protector or helper. (2:120)

However, you will see a difference between verse 42:13 and 2:120 in that 42:13 uses the word “deen” whereas verse 42:13 uses the word “millatahum”.

The word “deen” means “religion” whereas the word “millat”, in the context of verse 2:120, means “way of belief or form of religion.” According to the Edward Lanes Lexicon, we see this definition as follows:

image alt text

The word “millat” is also in verse 16:123 where prophet Muhammad was told to follow Abraham’s “form of religion” (millat).

ثُمَّ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ أَنِ اتَّبِعْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Then We revealed to you, [O Muhammad], to follow the form of religion (Arabic: millat) of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of those who associate with God. (16:123)

Abraham’s “way” (millat) is the correct way of God’s religion

In other words, people can be part of the same “deen” (religion” but their way / form (“millat”) may be different. The correct way, according to verse 16:123, is the way of Prophet Abraham. This “way”, according to this verse, is to not join anything with God including partnerships, idols, and intercessors. This “way” applies to Muslims, Christians and Jews.

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