Islam vs. Submission to God

In today’s article we will look at the word al-islam in the Qur’an. Muslims claim that this word is referring to the religion of Islam. But if we really investigate the usage of this word in the Qur’an we realize that it simply means submission to God. Am I saying that billions of Muslims are wrong? The short answer is yes and the Qur’an confirms this to be the case:

“Is it other than God I should seek as judge when He it is that sent down to you the Writ set out and detailed?” And those to whom We gave the Writ know that it is sent down from thy Lord with the truth; so be thou not of those who doubt.

And perfected is the word of thy Lord in truth and justice; there is none to change His words; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

And if thou obey most of those upon the earth, they will lead thee astray from the path of God; they follow only assumption, and they are only guessing.


Prophet Muhammad’s statement on the Day of Judgment

Let us begin by considering the statement of prophet Muhammad on the Day of Judgment regarding the people he was sent to.

And the Messenger will say: “O my Lord: my people took this Qur’an as a thing abandoned.”


The religion of Islam

I give credit to Brother Gerrans for a lot of ideas presented in this work. You can read and download his entire work for free. All translations used in this article are from The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation.

Muslims claim that their religion is the only religion accepted by God and those who do not convert to their religion will not enter Paradise in the Hereafter. They advance the following verse in support of their argument:

Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah , then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account. (3:19)

In this translation by Saheeh International (which is a typical translation) it is understood that Allah (which is God in Arabic) will only accept the religion of Islam — by which they mean the Sunni flavor of the religion of Islam with its invented 5 pillars. It is ironic that they fail to realize that the latter part of the verse is talking about them; that those who were given the Scripture (which now includes Muslims as well) differed after knowledge has come to them due to jealousy i.e. people who were given the Qur’an (God’s Scripture) have differed among themselves due to jealousy and have invented an entire separate religion called Islam with its various sects such as the Sunni and Shia sects.

Here is a neutral translation of this verse:

The doctrine with God is submission. And those given the Writ differed only after knowledge had come to them, through sectarian zealotry between them; and whoso denies the proofs of God — then is God swift in reckoning.


Now, here is another verse that talks about the breaking off the people of the Scripture into sects:

Those who ignore warning among the doctors of the Law and the idolaters were not to desist until the clear evidence came to them:

A messenger from God, reciting purified pages

In which are upright writs.

And those given the Writ were divided only after the clear evidence had come to them.

And they were commanded only to serve God, sincere to Him in doctrine, inclining to truth; and to uphold the duty, and to render the purity — and that is the doctrine of the upright.


So, those who were given the Scripture “were commanded to only to serve God, sincere to Him in doctrine, inclining to truth; and to uphold the duty, and to render the purity — and that is the doctrine of the upright.” They were not commanded to establish a separate religion called Islam with its invented 5 pillars. And they were not commanded to set up a stone idol in Mecca and make it a focus of their ritual prayer. Nor were they commanded to bow, prostrate and circle this idol. 

We can verify that the arabic word al-islam ( الْإِسْلَامِ ) which Muslims claim to mean the religion of Islam is not how the Qur’an uses this word. The Qur’an uses it in a general sense to mean submission to God. This word occurs in 5 other places in the Qur’an.

Is it then other than the doctrine of God they seek, when to Him has submitted whoso is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him they will be returned?

Say thou: “We believe in God, and what has been sent down upon us, and what was sent down upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob and the Grandsons; and what was given to Moses and Jesus and the prophets from their Lord. We make no division between any of them, and to Him we are submitting.”

And whoso seeks a doctrine other than submission الْإِسْلَامِ, it will not be accepted from him; and he in the Hereafter will be among the losers.

How will God guide a people who denied after their faith, and had borne witness that the Messenger is true, and clear signs had come to them? And God guides not the wrongdoing people.


O you who heed warning: fulfil contracts. Made lawful for you is grazing livestock save what is recited to you, hunting not being permitted when you are forbidden; God ordains what He wills.

O you who heed warning: violate not the tokens of God, nor the inviolable month, nor the offering, nor the necklaces, nor the visitors to the inviolable house seeking the favour of their Lord and approval. And when you are permitted, then you may hunt. And let not hatred of a people who turned you away from the inviolable place of worship move you to commit injustice. And assist one another to virtue and prudent fear; and assist not one another in sin and enmity. And be in prudent fear of God; God is severe in retribution.

Forbidden to you is carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that dedicated to other than God, and the strangled, and the beaten, and the fallen, and the gored, and that eaten by the beast of prey save what you slaughter, and that sacrificed upon the altar, and that you seek apportionment by divining arrows — that is perfidy — (this day have those who ignore warning despaired of your doctrine, so fear them not, but fear Me; this day have I perfected for you your doctrine and completed My favour upon you, and approved for you submission الْإِسْلَامَ as doctrine) but whoso is compelled by hunger, without inclination to sin — God is forgiving and merciful.

They ask thee what is made lawful for them. Say thou: “Made lawful for you are good things; and what you have trained of animals of prey as trainers teaching them of what God taught you — eat of what they catch for you, and remember the name of God over it. And be in prudent fear of God; God is swift in reckoning.”

This day are good things made lawful for you; and the food of those given the Writ is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them, as are chaste women among the believing women and chaste women among those given the Writ before you, when you have given them their dowries, being chaste and not fornicators, nor taking secret friends. And whoso denies the faith: his work has been in vain, and he in the Hereafter is among the losers.


And whom God wills to guide, He expands his breast towards submission لِلْإِسْلَامِ; and whom He wills to lead astray, He makes his breast constricted, distressed, as if he were ascending into the sky; thus does God appoint abomination for those who do not believe.

And this is the path of thy Lord, one straight; We have set out and detailed the proofs for people who take heed;


Is then he whose breast God has expanded to submission لِلْإِسْلَامِ so that he follows light from His Lord[…]? Then woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of God! Those are in manifest error.

God has sent down the best narration: a Writ of paired comparison whereat shiver the skins of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts soften to the remembrance of God — that is the guidance of God wherewith He guides whom He wills;and whom God sends astray, for him there is no guide.


And who is more unjust than he who invents a lie about God, when he is invited to submission الْإِسْلَامِ? And God guides not the wrongdoing people.

They want to extinguish the light of God with their mouths; but God will perfect His light, though the false claimers of guidance be averse.

He it is that sent His messenger with the guidance and the doctrine of truth that He might make it manifest over all doctrine, though the idolaters be averse.


All man-made religions are the same

Any man who has dispassionately looked at major world religions will see that they all share a common theme.

  • They require a belief in a deity or deities. This may be one God (monotheism), many gods (polytheism), or no god (atheism). 
  • They comprise a religious class tasked with explaining complicated instructions and presiding over rituals. They claim to have access to specialized knowledge to which the masses are not privy. In the case of atheism, the religious class are the scientists. 
  • The religious class cannot be questioned by the masses about their interpretation of the holy texts. Their judgment is final. 
  • The specific deity of each religion requires the performance of specific rituals and sacrifices to appease it.
  • All followers are required to give some money (tax, tithe or zakat) which goes towards the maintenance of religious institutions, paying the salaries of the religious class, and helping the needy.

The above points are clear to any thinking man. However, what is surprising is that the Qur’an does not contain the blueprint of a religion. We are neither required to start or join a religion. The One True God calls us to believe in Him and the Last Day, and to do good works.

(Those who heed warning, and those who hold to Judaism, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans — whoso believes in God and the Last Day and works righteousness — they have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.)


And they say: “None will enter the Garden save such as hold to Judaism, or are Christians.” Those are their vain desires. Say thou: “Bring your evidence, if you be truthful.”

Verily, whoso submits his face to God and is a doer of good, he has his reward with his Lord; and no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.

And the Rabbinic Jews say: “The Christians have nothing to stand upon,” and the Christians say: “The Rabbinic Jews have nothing to stand upon,” when they read the Writ; thus say those who know not likewise. And God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differed.


And never will the Rabbinic Jews be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, until thou follow their creed; say thou: “The guidance of God, that is guidance”; and if thou follow their vain desires after the knowledge which has come to thee, thou wilt have against God neither ally nor helper.


God’s Straight Path

God outlines simple and clear rules for a sincere man who wishes to serve Him alone. A consistent and reasonable application of these rules contributes to moral individual development and a collective just society. In contrast, the performance of empty rituals — inherent in all religions — are of no benefit to an individual or society; they are a diversion. The ruling elite invented these rituals to keep people busy performing useless rituals. Naturally, if men were to follow God’s call of purifying themselves and standing up against the rampant corruption, oppression and injustice around them, they would threaten the elites’ exploitative system.

All of God’s messengers were sent to warn their respective communities. They exhorted their people to shun idols and believe in the One God and turn away from evil deeds. 

So remind thou; if the reminder should benefit

He will take heed who fears.

But the most wretched will avoid it,

Who will burn in the Great Fire,

Then will he neither die therein nor live.

He is successful who has purified himself,

And remembers the name of his Lord and performs the duty.

The truth is, you prefer the life of this world

When the Hereafter is better and more enduring.

This is in the former scriptures,

The scriptures of Abraham and Moses.


The straight path of God is simple. All men are exhorted to follow this straight path if they want to attain salvation.

The Straight Path in the Qur’an

Say thou: “Come, I will recite what your Lord has made unlawful for you: that you ascribe a partnership with Him ­­to anything (while towards parents good conduct); and kill not your children out of poverty,” — We will provide for you and for them — “and approach not sexual immoralities, whether open or concealed; and kill not the soul which God has made unlawful save with justice; ­— that He enjoined upon you, that you might use reason.

“And approach not the property of the fatherless save with what is better before he reaches his maturity; and fulfil the measure and the balance with equity,” — We burden not any soul save to its capacity —  “and when you speak, be just (though he be a relative); and the covenant of God fulfil; — that He commanded you, that you might take heed.”

And this is My straight path, so follow it; and follow not other ways, for they will separate you from His path; — “that He commanded you, that you might be in prudent fear.”


Complicated Rules

Religions confuse their followers by imposing complicated rules and regulations. This results in an explosion of priests, rabbis, muftis and imams whose sole job is to issue edicts and clarifications on the implementation of God’s supposed complicated rules. While they themselves make an easy living. The Qur’an exposes this tactic with a rhetorical discussion.

And they make for God, of what He creates of tilth and cattle, a portion; they say: “This is for God,” — according to their claim — “and this is for our partners”. And what is for their partners, it does not reach God; and what is for God, it reaches their partners. Evil is what they judge.


“Eight pairs: of sheep two and of goats two––” Say thou: “Is it the two males He has forbidden or the two females? If what the wombs of the two females contain: inform me with knowledge, if you be truthful.”

“And of camels two and of oxen two––” Say thou: “Is it the two males He has forbidden or the two females? If what the wombs of the two females contain: — or if you were witnesses when God enjoined this upon you: — then who is more unjust than he who invents a lie about God, that he might lead people astray without knowledge? God guides not the wrongdoing people.”


Warning to the Religious Class

All religions have a religious class which claims to be a mouthpiece for God. Its members dress up in ridiculous clothes and finery. Why does a priest wear a robe? Why does a king wear a crown? Why does a judge wear a ceremonial gown? We must look at their motives. Men are impressed by appearances and outward show. Intelligent men know that the populace is not swayed by reason and logic; far more potent is the display of power and prestige. 

Our rulers understand well the fears and desires of their subjects. People long to be told what to do by someone in authority. They are afraid of exercising the awesome responsibility of using their God-given reason. They want someone to blame for their condition in life. Men in power play upon these base emotions of fear and wonder to control the crowd. 

O you who heed warning: many among the rabbis and the religious scholars consume the wealth of men in vanity, and turn away from the path of God. And those who amass gold and silver and spend it not in the cause of God: give thou them tidings of a painful punishment: —


A priest uses bits of Latin during mass. An imam uses Arabic catchphrases in his sermon to an English audience. Why do they not speak plainly? There are two reasons for this. Firstly, they want to impress their listeners with their command of a holy language. Secondly, by using these foreign words, they become interpreters of their meaning. This is very important. It is precisely because of the masses’ ignorance of the meanings of key terms in the Qur’an that the elites were able to graft an entirely alien religion onto the Qur’an. 

This is not exclusive to the domain of religion. Economists use complicated jargon when justifying over their system of exploitation and usury. Every scam has such experts whose job is to deceive men into thinking that it is for their benefit. The masses are simply in awe of them and submit to their decorated speech unquestioningly.

And thus have We appointed for every prophet an enemy — satans of servi and domini — instructing one another in the decoration of speech as delusion, (and had thy Lord willed, they would not have done it; so leave thou them and what they fabricate)

And that the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter might incline thereto, and be pleased therewith, and that they might commit what they are committing.

“Is it other than God I should seek as judge when He it is that sent down to you the Writ set out and detailed?” And those to whom We gave the Writ know that it is sent down from thy Lord with the truth; so be thou not of those who doubt.


Most of what these religious scholars speak is falsehood. A thinking man would do well to avoid them entirely. Telling the truth to the masses is of no benefit to them. If men were told that God has sent down a plain and clear book ordaining His simple laws, which can be grasped and applied by anyone, then there would be no need for these charlatans. These religious scholars need people to believe that God’s scripture is inscrutable and difficult to comprehend. Religious scholars are professional deceivers. 

Many among the doctors of the Law wish to turn you back as atheists after your faith out of envy from their souls after the truth has become clear to them. But pardon and forbear until God brings His command; God is over all things powerful.


A number of the doctors of the Law would love to lead you astray; and they lead astray only themselves, and they perceive not.

O doctors of the Law: why deny you the proofs of God, when you are bearing witness?

O doctors of the Law: why clothe you the truth in vanity and conceal the truth, when you know?


And among them a faction distorts the Writ with their tongues, that you might think it from the Writ, but it is not from the Writ. And they say: “It is from God,” but it is not from God. And they ascribe the lie to God, when they know.


The journey of prophet Abraham to find God

The three Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — claim Abraham as their patriarch. His journey to God is detailed in many instances in the Qur’an. He was a man of insight who did not hesitate to question his ancestral beliefs. He questioned the cult of polytheism of his day. It would serve us well to learn from his example. The majority is wrong because they do not use reason but instead follow their inherited traditions, passions, and assumptions. 

And if thou obey most of those upon the earth, they will lead thee astray from the path of God; they follow only assumption, and they are only guessing.


There is no mention of Abraham starting a religion or cult in the Qur’an. He was a staunch monotheist. He started with the basic premise of questioning the cult he was born into and then used reason to arrive at the conclusion that there is One God who created everything. 

Abraham was neither one who holds to Judaism, nor a Christian, but was inclining to truth as one submitting; and he was not of the idolaters.


We are told that the path to salvation lies in following rituals, dogmas and practices of the religion we are born into. Although conversions happen, usually a person lives and dies clinging to his ancestral religion. Some become fundamentalists, some remain lukewarm and others embrace atheism. It is truly a few who question the basic premise of the religion of their ancestors. 

And when it is said to them: “Follow what God has sent down,” they say: “Nay, we will follow that upon which we found our fathers,” — even though their fathers did not reason, nor were they guided?


And when it is said to them: “Come to what God has sent down, and to the Messenger,” they say: “Sufficient for us is that upon which we found our fathers.” Even though their fathers knew not anything and were not guided?


They found their fathers astray,

And in their footsteps are they hastening.


As thinking men, we must question our basic beliefs. We all have a world-view that is influenced by our environment and our prejudices. What is needed is the attitude to not accept anything unless it has passed through the forge of reason. Truth will survive and falsehood will perish. Abraham’s search for the truth was guided by reason alone. He did not accept the beliefs of his forefathers, but questioned them. When reasonable answers were not forthcoming he rejected their false beliefs. 

And when Abraham said to his father Āzar: “Takest thou idols as gods? I see thee and thy people in manifest error.”

And thus We showed Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; and that he might be of those who are certain.

Then when the night covered him, he saw a star. He said: “This is my Lord.” Then when it set he said: “I love not those that set.”

Then when he saw the moon rising he said: “This is my Lord.” Then when it set he said: “If my Lord guide me not, I will be of the people who stray.”

Then when he saw the sun rising he said: “This is my Lord; this is greater!” Then when it set he said: “O my people: I am quit of that to which you ascribe a partnership.

“I have turned my face towards Him who created the heavens and the earth, inclining to truth; and I am not of the idolaters.”


Abraham used his reason and realized that everything created, whether by man or by God, is transitory and ephemeral. He realized that the One True God is the one who made the heavens and the earth. The Qur’an also details how he became a monotheist.

When his Lord said to him: “Submit thou,” he said: “I have submitted to the Lord of All Creation.”


The religion of Islam requires that a convert recite a declaration of faith — the shahadah — which is not found in the Qur’an. Similarly, baptism is required for induction into the Christian religion. Abraham simply said, “I have submitted to the Lord of All Creation.” As you can see, induction into a specific religion in any shape or form is not required to submit to God. 

Submission to God Alone

Men have been fooled into thinking that in order for them to be successful in this life and the next, they must follow a religion. The Islamic religion claims that by saying the shahadah a person becomes a Muslim. If he performs certain rituals and follows certain regulations dictated by the religion of Islam he will enter paradise. The religions of Christianity and Judaism have their own prescribed set of beliefs and rituals in order to please God.  All religions claim that their specific group is the chosen one while condemning others to Hell. So who is right? Is God concerned with superficialities — and make no mistake, empty rituals are just that — or is He concerned with true belief and action? Did God create us to sing hymns in churches and loudly proclaim “God is greater” in a mosque, or to help our fellow man? The Qur’an sets out the criteria for salvation: belief in God and the Last Day, and the doing of good works. The Qur’an condemns religions plainly.

“O you Messengers: eat of the good things, and work righteousness; I know what you do.”

And this, your community, is one community, and I am your Lord; so be in prudent fear of Me.

But they divided their command among them into writings, each party exulting at what it has,

So leave thou them in their flood of ignorance for a time.


God is accusing men of dividing their community into religions and sects. This is the plain truth, but men are seldom interested in the truth. For those who insist that their path is the only right path to salvation, the Qur’an answers:

And they say: “None will enter the Garden save such as hold to Judaism, or are Christians.” Those are their vain desires. Say thou: “Bring your evidence, if you be truthful.”

Verily, whoso submits his face to God and is a doer of good, he has his reward with his Lord; and no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.


Those in power do not take kindly to men bringing the truth and dismantling the false premises of their religions. It is high time that we see religions for what they are: a means to divide, conquer, and rule over mankind.

Peace and blessings be upon you,

Said Mirza