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Dawah and Interfaith

Salvific Exclusivity: Part One

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Introduction

Part One: The Islamic Beliefs Regarding Salvific Exclusivity

It is a fundamental belief of Muslims that Islam is not only a divinely revealed religion from God, but rather that it is the only acceptable religion and the sole legitimate path to His pleasure. Such a belief is not an abstract, minute, theological frivolity, relegated to the more finer points of obscure works, but rather a foundational premise that is explicitly mentioned throughout our Divine Texts and upon which our religion is based. To deny it is simply the demolition of the entire religion. In other words, one cannot seriously and earnestly make such a claim and remain a Muslim (unless ignorance is accepted as an excuse on Judgment Day – and that is an exception that only God can allow).

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These are bold claims, no doubt. Many will find them unpalatable. Yet they are claims that are clearly substantiated throughout the entire Quran and in the teachings of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. These beliefs have been held unanimously by all the major theological branches of Islam, throughout its history (except for a handful of exceptions, to be discussed in part two of this series). These beliefs also make complete rational sense; in fact to hold the contrary position is illogical. Hence, the salvific exclusivity of Islam is proven extensively by the Quran, the Sunnah, ijmāʿ (to such a level that ijmāʿ exists with groups whose opinion does not count), and human rationality (ʿaql).

But before even quoting one verse, this belief can be proven from the very crux of the faith, the testimony upon which the religion stands. The kalimah, which is the essence of Islam and by which a person enters the faith, states, “I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger.” No one can claim to be a Muslim until he or she believes in both parts of the kalimah.

For our subject matter, if any person were to claim that another being (Jesus Christ, for example) is worthy of worship, it would be a direct negation of the first half of the testimony, even if he himself were not to worship Jesus. The mere theoretical acknowledgment of the moral permissibility to worship other than Allah contradicts this testimony. And for any person to deny the prophethood of Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam is a denial of the second half. Hence, all those who refuse to accept Islam after hearing of it have ipso facto rejected both kalimas.

The evidences from the Quran to substantiate this belief are simply too numerous to list. All the verses that command mankind to worship Allah, or to single Him out in worship, or to submit to Him, or to believe in the Prophet or prophets, or command mankind to be righteous, can be understood as proof for this claim. So too are the hundreds of verses that divide mankind into ‘believers’ and ‘disbelievers’, affirming Paradise for the former and Hell for the latter. Likewise, those verses that criticize the theological doctrines held by Christians, Jews, or idol-worshipers are clear indications in this regard. If one were to compile all such verses, they would number in the hundreds if not thousands.

There are also many explicit verses on this subject matter. One of the last verses to be revealed is the famous, “Today, I have completed your religion for you, perfected My favors upon you, and am pleased with Islam as your religion (dīn)” (5:6). To claim that Allah is pleased with another religion besides Islam would contradict this verse.

Another verse, revealed in the context of the pagan religion of the Quraysh, states, “To you is your religion, and to me, mine” (110:4). This verse was revealed in the context of an attempt by the Quraysh to find some type of middle ground between Islam and paganism; the verse delineates that the two religions are too distinct to have any common theological ground. In another verse, Allah explicitly states that both idol-worshippers and the People of the Book are considered disbelievers, “Those who disbelieve, from the People of the Book and the pagans, are of the denizens of the Fire; they shell dwell therein for all of eternity. They are the worst of creatures.” (Bayyinah:6). The verse describes those who reject faith as being either of the People of the Book or of the pagans. In yet another verses (Tawbah: 29), Allah once again describes the Jews and Christians as not truly believing in Allah, nor in the true faith (dīn al-ḥaqq). In another verse, Allah states that the Jews and Christians shall never be fully pleased with the Muslims until they embrace their faiths. As a response to this, Allah states, “Say: the true guidance is the guidance of Allah. And if you were to follow their capricious whims (ahwā) after the knowledge that has come to you, then you shall have no protector or guardian against Allah” (Baqarah: 120). A few verses later, the Christians and Jews are told that it is not their religion, but rather the religion of Abraham, that is the true religion, and included in that is belief in all the prophets. “Thus, only if they believe as you have believed shall they be rightly guided. But if they reject, then they are indeed at odds with you (shiqāq)…” (Baqarah: 137). There are many other verses where the Jews and Christians are chastised for claiming to be following divine truth, or for presuming that they follow Abraham.

Some of the most explicit verses regarding salvific exclusivity occur in the second longest Surah in the Quran, Surah Ale-Imran. When one takes into account the context in which the Surah was revealed, these verses become even more poignant. The books of hadith, tafsir and sira all inform us of a delegation of Christians that came from Najran to meet the Prophet. The Prophet spoke to them about Islam and invited them to the faith. It was during their visit that these verses were revealed. Keeping in mind that the verses were directly first and foremost to these Christians of Najran, it is impossible to understand them to mean anything except the salvific exclusivity of Islam. “Indeed, the religion in the sight of God is Islam,” states 3:19, which is then followed up by the even more explicit 3:85, “So whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and he shall be of the losers in the Hereafter.” This is perhaps the most unequivocal and straightforward verse in the entire Quran regarding Islam’s belief in its salvific exclusivity.

There are also numerous ḥadīths regarding this issue, once again too many to be listed in such a brief article. In one tradition narrated in al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam stated that all people shall follow their object of worship on the Day of Judgment into the Fire of Hell. Listed as well in this tradition are the Christians (who shall follow Jesus) and the Jews (who shall follow Uzayr). Of the most explicit hadiths in this regard is that narrated by Imam Muslim in his ‘Book of Faith’, under the heading, ‘Concerning the obligation to believe in the prophethood of our Messenger Muhammad.’ The Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said, “I swear by him in whose hands is my soul, no Jew or Christian hears about me, and then dies without believing in what I have been sent with, except that he will be of the denizens of the Fire.” The hadith is quite explicit; also note that the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam attached a condition to this, and that is that the message of his prophethood reach this person. More on this condition later.

As another proof, the famous letter that the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam wrote to Heraclius, the Roman Emperor, is quite explicit. Part of it states, “Accept Islam, and you shall be safe. Accept Islam, and Allah will double your reward. But if you turn away, then you shall bear the sin of the peasants [under you]…” (Reported by al-Bukhari in his Saḥīḥ). If the religion of the Emperor – who was a pious and knowledgeable Eastern Orthodox Christian – had been acceptable, the letter becomes pointless to send, and meaningless to read.

From a rational standpoint, this belief too makes sense. The claim that there are alternative religions acceptable to Allah defeats the very purpose of revealing the message of Islam, and of sending the Prophet Muḥammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. If Christianity, for example, is an acceptable path to achieve God’s salvation, then what was the need to send another prophet, and another Book, and add yet another religion to the many religions on Earth? The claim that other religions are morally acceptable to God is a direct challenge to the very coming of the Prophet Muḥammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

As a further rational proof, most religions (as shall be discussed in part three of this series) do hold some type of belief about salvific exclusivity. Logically, they can’t all be correct, as such beliefs are mutually exclusive. If a person claims that the only path to God the Father is by going through the Son, and another person claims that to believe God has a Son disqualifies you from being on His path in the first place, then there is little common ground for extending salvation to the opposing group (although there might be a lot of common ground on other fronts).

What of those who never heard of Islam?

It is important to point out that the foregoing discussion centers around proving that the general rule is that the only path to achieve God’s salvation is through Islam. Hence, if someone reads about Islam and understands the basic theological pillars, it becomes obligatory upon him to accept the religion or else face the consequences in the Hereafter. However, the foregoing discussion does not apply to two categories of people. Firstly, those who never heard of Islam for whatever reason, and, secondly, those who heard a very distorted picture and were not able to verify the true teachings of Islam. For such people (along with those who were mentally not capable of understanding or receiving the message), God might indeed forgive them on Judgment Day if He wills. But this is an exception that proves the general rule, and is more an indication of God’s infinite Mercy than anything else. As to what exactly constitutes an acceptable ‘presentation’ of Islam to a specific person (i.e., the issue of bulūgh al-daʿwah), that is an alternate topic altogether and beyond the scope of this article.

The Political Ramifications of this belief

The belief in salvific exclusivity is purely a moral and personal belief, and not one that is politically enforceable, even in an ‘ideal’ Islamic state. No person may be forcibly converted from another religion to Islam, and it is with regards to such freedom that the Quran states, “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (2: 256). No scholar in the history of Islam has ever sanctioned the use of force or any type of coercion in order to convert people to the faith. It is for this reason that even after fourteen centuries of Islamic rule, one still finds Jews and Christians living in Muslim lands (such as Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Iran).

[As for the claim that this belief fosters ill-will amongst people of a society, and that it leads to an unbridled religious hatred of others, then we shall have recourse to clarify this point in a later series of this article.]

Conclusion

To conclude the first part of this series, it is an undeniable reality of Islam that Islam claims to be the sole morally acceptable path to God. Anyone who rejects this claim cannot do so in good faith while believing in the texts of the Quran or in the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

In part two, we’ll discuss and properly understand some evidences that are used in order to claim that other religions are acceptable to God…

Project for the readers of MM:

Can you list other verses and ḥadīths which prove the Islamic concept of salvific exclusivity?

(Please note that any evidences listed in the comments are in no way a part of the article, and its posting below does not imply the tacit consent of the author of the article regarding its validity).

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Sh. Dr. Yasir Qadhi is someone that believes that one's life should be judged by more than just academic degrees and scholastic accomplishments. Friends and foe alike acknowledge that one of his main weaknesses is ice-cream, which he seems to enjoy with a rather sinister passion. The highlight of his day is twirling his little girl (a.k.a. "my little princess") round and round in the air and watching her squeal with joy. A few tid-bits from his mundane life: Sh. Yasir has a Bachelors in Hadith and a Masters in Theology from Islamic University of Madinah, and a PhD in Islamic Studies from Yale University. He is an instructor and Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib, and the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center.

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Steve

    January 23, 2008 at 12:19 PM

    How do Muslims feel about Jesus?

    I realize they don’t see him as God as the Christians do, but do they not see him as someone who is worthy of respect?

    And if that is the case wouldn’t the following offend Muslims almost as much as it would Christians?

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59822

    Muslims are in an unique situation in the West where they can influence things better than Christians can. I urge you to express outrage to ESPN. After all Jesus is part of your religion too so disrespecting Jesus is in effect disrespecting Islam.

    • Shahzad Latif

      November 7, 2016 at 6:13 PM

      Good question.

      If I may say without offending my Christian friends, that we Muslims respect Jesus
      more than the Christians do, then it would not be wrong.

      When we call his name we say Huzrat Essa. Huszrat is a title that means a dignified person.
      An utter respect.

      We do not simply say jesus.

      Dr. Shahzad Latif

  2. AnonyMouse

    January 23, 2008 at 1:37 PM

    A wonderful article, al-Hamdulillaah. JazakAllahu khair, yaa Sheikh!

    Very clear-cut, to the point, and easily understood.

  3. Solomon2

    January 23, 2008 at 2:01 PM

    The flow of logic and faith in this essay leaves much to be desired. Just one is sufficient: in the Jesus argument and the following paragraph the obligations of those who accept what the kalima are confused with those who have not, resulting in circular logic. Not much point in reading after that.

  4. ibnabeeomar

    January 23, 2008 at 2:57 PM

    how is it circular logic exactly?

  5. Sami Elzaharna

    January 23, 2008 at 3:33 PM

    Excellent Article, masha’Allah. Are you going to mention some of the misconceptions that people have (like the verse inna aladheena amanu waladheena hadu…)? I think you mentioned in the introduction that you will. Jazaka Allahu alf khayran ya Sheikh Yasir.

  6. Charles

    January 23, 2008 at 3:48 PM

    How do you interpret this verse from the Kuran (Al-Ma’idah):

    5:69 for, verily, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Sabians, [86] and the christians – all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds – no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.

    • Hanif Soysal

      July 5, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      Assalamu Alaykum, Charles! :D

      It’s pretty simple actually. These two links (probably moreso the second one) should do ample job to answer your question regarding 2:62 (and by extension, since the quran is an exegesis of itself, 5:69)

      http://podcast.bayyinah.com/2012/04/19/surah-al-baqarah-ayahs-61-to-62/
      http://podcast.bayyinah.com/2012/04/26/surah-al-baqarah-ayah-62/

      [As for why not calling those people scholars…the term “scholar” in Arabic applies to a REALLY high class of people who are very few. I actually am not sure (but do not think) that there are scholars on MM (though I’m not familiar with MM so I wouldn’t know).
      As for simply reading the commentaries and footnotes such as from Muhammad Asad, Yusuf Ali and others in English you may find (such as fizilal al quran, maariful quran, tafheem ul quran, bayan ul quran, etc.), that’s actually really good, but still there is so much missing from even that it’s ridiculous. But keep at it. This was in 2008, so I don’t know what you are doing now lol]

      Ohhh there is so much more to say regarding your questions which are great questions, but for now I don’t know if the other parts came out, or if your questions were answered, so I will leave the matter of the guidance of your questions to our Master. May He continue to guide us.

  7. ibnabeeomar

    January 23, 2008 at 4:23 PM

    Charles – this has been commented on by many scholars of exegesis of the quran.

    basically though, one interpretation is that this ayah applies to those of their times who followed the true faith sent down. i.e., the jews who followed the message of musa, the christians at the time of jesus who followed the true message that he preached (ie that of worshipping God alone without any partner).

  8. Charles

    January 24, 2008 at 2:31 PM

    A few comments/questions.

    There are some (not many) Christians today (for example, some members of the Unitarian Church) that do worship God alone without partners. Why wouldn’t this interpretation of following the message that Jesus preached apply to such Christians today?

    On different interpretations, in the Kuran translated and interpreted by Abdullah Yousuf Ali, I read this viewpoint:

    “As God’s Message is one, Islam recognizes true faith in other forms, provided that it be sincere, supported by reason, and backed up by righteous conduct” (p. 265).

    He obviously disagrees with the interpretation of the scholars you refer to. If there is more than one plausible interpretation, how can one argue for salvific exclusivity with 100% certainty? Wouldn’t it be better to say, “This is my opinion based on …, but Allah knows best”?

  9. Abu Bakr

    January 24, 2008 at 2:47 PM

    Abdullah Yusuf Ali was not a scholar of the Islamic religion.

    The response to this argument is found in a number of verses, amongst them the verse, “And if anyone from any of the sects/religions disbelieves in it (the Qur’an), then his place is in the Hellfire.” [11:17]

    If you read through Surat al-Baqara as well, you will find the Children of Israel are repeatedly and charged with disbelief for rejecting the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, while their own scriptures confirm him.

  10. Charles

    January 24, 2008 at 3:30 PM

    It was no small amount of knowledge that led to his translation and interpretation. Why do you say he wasn’t a scholar?

    To dismiss the interpretation because it wasn’t written by a scholar is an attack against the individual, but it is not an attack against the interpretation. So even if he weren’t a scholar, that is not relevant to whether or not his interpretation is plausible. Note that I am not saying that the interpretation is correct or wrong. Rather, is it plausible? Are there no scholars past or present that take the same interpretation as Ali? If not, that would be one argument against its plausibility. Even so, I would still want to know what they didn’t have that interpretation.

    From what you wrote, it seems that there are two reasons for rejecting Ali’s interpretation. One is that Kuran speaks of the Israelites’ repeated disbelief in the Prophet Muhammed. But do these verses speak of ALL Israelites? Or most of them? According to 5:66, “there is a party of them keeping to the moderate course, and (as for) most of them, evil is that which they do.” This seems to say that it is not all Israelites. What’s your interpretation of this verse?

    A second point from what you wrote is that another verse, 11:17, nullifies 5:69.

    An earlier commenter wouldn’t say nullify, but restricted 5:69 to people in earlier times, but that doesn’t seem to accord with 5:66 and 5:68, “Say: O followers of the Book! you follow no good till you keep up the Taurat and the Injeel and that which is revealed to you from your Lord.” In other words, if they do keep up the Taurat and the Injeel, etc., they will be following good. So, I’m back to wondering if you are using one verse to nullify another? Is that what you’re doing? On what basis do you choose which verse nullifies this verse?

  11. Charles

    January 24, 2008 at 4:45 PM

    I have another comment/question concerning verses 3:19 and 3:85. Faruq Sherif in “A Guide to the Contents of the Qur’an” notes that some take your position but writes concerning 3:79 (he seems to be using a different numbering system):

    “‘He that chooses a religion other than Islam it will not be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the lost.’ Here if the two verses which immediately precede the text are carefully examined it will become clear that the word Islam and other derivates of Salama are used in the wider sense of submission to God. Verse III.77 says that all creatures in heaven and earch have submitted (aslama) to Him willingly or by compulsion. Obviously here the word aslama cannot mean ‘have become Moslems’. More particularly verse III.78 commands the faithful to say: ‘We believe in God, in what had been revealed to us and to Abrabam [sic], Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, and in that which Allah gave to Moses, Jesus and the prophets. We make no distinction between one and another among them and to God do we submit our will [Muslimun].’ Accordingly the word Islam used in verse III.79 as the only acceptable religion can only mean any faith which teaches submission to God and recognises the prophets of the past” (p. 118).

    I can see your perspective on these verses, but I find it difficult to understand your certainty in saying, “it is impossible to understand them to mean anything except the salvific exclusivity of Islam.” It wasn’t impossible to Sherif. Why are you claiming such certainty concerning these verses?

  12. Yus from the Nati

    January 24, 2008 at 10:40 PM

    Maybe we should wait till all the articles come out for a good discussion insha’Allah. Some of these points being mentioned might be in the articles. Allah hu alam.

  13. Suhail

    January 25, 2008 at 12:34 PM

    Because Yasir Qadhi is a scholar with background from muslim scholars. He isnt affected by orientalist bias towards the verses or the quran as was Abdullah Yusuf Alli and Sherif.

    All the scholars from past and present without mordernist leanings (which is especially started in these times) have always told of salivific exclusivity.

    It is there for all the muslims with open minds to see in the Quran that if the person rejects Muhammad Sallahu Alyhe wa sallam as a messanger than he wont be granted paradise.

    The verses Yasir quotes are indeed exlicit proofs that to Allah only Islam is the deen which is acceptable.

  14. Suhail

    January 25, 2008 at 12:37 PM

    Anyways who is Faruq Sharif and how many people know of him. Anybody can come and distort things in the quran according to his own whims and desire.

    But if you look at the traditional scholarship of Islam then the message which Yasir is conveying is always found.

    Only people with mordernist leanings and orientelist heritage twist Quranic verses to suit there agenda.

  15. ibnabeeomar

    January 25, 2008 at 1:03 PM

    yes lets wait for the series to finish, inshallah these questions will all be addressed :)

    also regarding yusuf ali’s translation, if i remember correctly, jamal zarabozo mentioned in one of his tafseer lectures that this translation is actually copied from a qadiyani translation (but with the qadiyani references taken out).

  16. ibnabeeomar

    January 25, 2008 at 1:04 PM

    btw for a very quick classical explanation of the verses, you can check http://www.tafsir.com (though admittedly its sometimes difficult to find a specific verse in there)

  17. Abu Bakr

    January 25, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    much of his commentary is also taken from the Qadiyani translation of Muhammad Ali.

    In truth, the translation of Pickthall is much more scholarly.

    There are responses for all the issues that have been raised by Charles, but I think we should wait for the series to end to engage in such discussions.

  18. Charles

    January 25, 2008 at 3:10 PM

    I can wait for the series to end. How many parts will there be to the series?

    On a sidenote, I remember vaguely (perhaps someone can give the source) of a story about an old woman in the mosque who challenged Umar on his proposal to limit the amount of mahr. He didn’t say “who are you?” or discount her challenge because she was an old woman. Instead, he asked for an explanation, and upon receiving a verse from the Kuran, accepted that she was right.

    Hopefully, the writer(s) will explain their positions and why they disagree with other interpretations based upon analysis of the Kuran rather than discounting interpretations by attacking the credentials of those who they disagree with.

  19. Ibrahim

    January 25, 2008 at 4:52 PM

    Charles said:

    “Hopefully, the writer(s) will explain their positions and why they disagree with other interpretations based upon analysis of the Kuran rather than discounting interpretations by attacking the credentials of those who they disagree with.”

    Charles your questions are best answered by a Sheikh or Imam. They will give you the sources for their response.

    Also the so called interpretations of the Qur’an. Fail badly at interpreting the meaning of the Qur’an. All original meaning is lost. English interpretations being the worst. These interpretations fail to convey how a word or phrase is being used. What’s its tense, gender, number, etc…. English and other languages that don’t share the language beauty of Arabic can’t interpret the meaning properly.

  20. Charles

    January 25, 2008 at 7:04 PM

    Ibrahim, I am aware of the problems with relying on translations alone. Not knowing Arabic, I read the interpretations in the footnotes of translations plus other books, such as Sherif’s, that may speak to particular verses. And that’s why, instead of relying on translations, I ask the writers for their interpretation of particular verses and how others have arrived at different interpretations–not only Abdullah Yousuf Ali, but also Muhammad Asad, who, commenting on verse 2:26, wrote:

    “The above passage – which recurs in the Qur’an several times – lays down a fundamental doctrine of Islam. With a breadth of vision unparalled in any other religious faiths, the idea of ‘salvation’ is here made conditional upon three elements only: belief in God, belief in the Judgment, and righteous action in life. The statement of this doctrine at this juncture – that is, in the midst of an appeal to the children of Israel – is warranted by the false Jewish belief that their descent from Abraham entitles them to be regarded as ‘God’s chosen people'” (fn. 50, p. 14).”

    According to this site’s About page, they have scholars and specialists to consult. Is there some reason they can’t answer my questions and respond to these differing interpretations?

  21. Amad

    January 25, 2008 at 7:11 PM

    Charles: Ibrahim is correct to point to people of knowledge for answers, and you are correct to point out that we have scholars/specialists aboard MM (“scholars” in the sense of common English usage, not ulemah). The article was written by a knowledgeable person and as such questions are welcome.

    As someone already mentioned, perhaps the questions may be immature until the post is complete. If your questions are not answered by the end of the postings, then you can bump up your questions again.

    thanks.

  22. concerned muslim

    January 26, 2008 at 9:32 PM

    Assalamu alaykum, Alhamdullilah, this is a good topic…
    I perfectly understand that we should wait for Sheik Yasir Qadhi’s final postings, and that the questions are premature, but maybe the input/comments will enable the scholar to formulate a more comprehensive response, Insha’Allah…
    This subject revolves around the idea of the “Abrahamic Faiths”, which I felt was dealt clearly with Sheik Ali Timimi’s lecture. This lecture/transcript can be found on the web, maybe some one can post it…
    however a book by brother Reza Aslan, entitled “No god but God”, rechallenged my clarity on the issue, and encouraged me to further my own research(to say the minimum this book is controversial)…Aslan, cites ayats 5:69, (another is 2:62), that gives the impression that those of the people of the book will be saved…Aslan, references Mohammed Baymeh’s term of “monotheistic pluralism” to support his views…I understand that there may be orientalist biases, and the issue of verifying narrations, but at the same time the arguments are out there, and they must be addressed in an equally scholarly manner…
    Another reason that encouraged me to read Aslan’s book was that he had the courage to debate publicly the ardent atheist Sam Harris….The ideas of “secular humanism”, and its branches, which are being promoted fiercely, like the atheist Richard Dawkins, are really the thoughts that are taking people away from God/morality, and of course accountability in the Hereafter (which is after-all the whole point)…For an example of the “secular approach” of religion, see the open online course on
    http://open.yale.edu/courses/index.html

    go to religious studies section and choose Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) by Prof. Christine Hayes
    In my opinion, it seems that a person who has a voice in the debate should be “formally educated” in Religion in general, and those who are specialists/ulema, should have formal training from both, traditional and western/orientalist scholarships, if one is going refute arguments, regardless of one’s background…As one knowledgeable person said, “truth is the lost property of the believer”

    For a person like “Charles”, and anyone who has questions, these books maybe of benefit, Insha’Allah…

    1) The First and Final Commandment by Laurence Brown. Amana publications. ( I heard that Sheik Yasir Qadhi recommended this book)
    2) The Mysteries of Jesus by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood. Sakina books (www.astrolabe.com)
    3) Personally, I think anyone involved in dawah should read the book by Reza Aslan, “No god but God” also, (this book is disheartening but again, arguments must be made)
    4) The Quran and the Orientalists by Dr. Muhammad Mohar Ali.
    5) The History of the Qur’anic Text by Muhammad Azami
    6) A Textbook of Hadith Studies by Mohammed Kamali
    7) Also for those involved with debate/argument,
    “The Language of God” by Francis Collins (christian, who believes in evolution but does not deny the Creator)
    8) I’m sure many of you know about, Harun Yayha’s and his works on evolution/materialsim.
    9) The Abrahamic Faiths by Jerald F. Dirks. Amana publications.
    10) God Arises by Wahiduddin Khan
    11) Abraham’s Children: Jews, Christians and Muslims in Conversation . (the muslim editor is T.J. Winter, who is Abdul Hakim Murad
    12) The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi translated by Sheik Hamza Yusuf
    and last but definitely not final from an exhaustive point of view
    13) Al Tawhid by Ismail Raji al-Faruqi. International Institute of Islamic Thought.

    I surely did not read everything cover to cover, also as you can tell, did not study religion “formally”…

    May Allah (Swt) reward those who are involved in maintaining http://www.muslimmatters.org
    Salam

  23. Ruth Nasrullah

    January 28, 2008 at 10:28 AM

    Going back to Sh. Yasir’s challenge to his readers (“Can you list other verses and ḥadīths which prove the Islamic concept of salvific exclusivity?”), based on my very modest knowledge I believe that surah Taghabun, verses 9 and 10, also demonstrate that disbelief and denial of revelations lead to the fire. Am I correct in my understanding?

  24. abuabdillah

    January 29, 2008 at 3:47 PM

    Charles – It seems like you have some contentions with the idea of exclusivity. At the same time, however, you seem to agree that there is nothing worthy of worship except God (your comment about Unitarian Christians hinted at this). Is this correct?

  25. Charles

    January 31, 2008 at 5:44 PM

    Abuabdillah: I am a Muslim, who having converted, know quite a bit about Christianity but less about Islam. However, as I’ve read more than once that Prophet Muhammad confirmed what had come before, I assume that the principles of religion, such as the Unity of God and only God being worthy of worship, are constant across revelations.

    Despite the beliefs of many, perhaps most, Christians, Christianity is not exclusive. For example, Peter Lombard (a major Catholic theologian in the 12th century) stated that although the way of Jesus was the best, anyone who believed in God and that God rewarded good would go to heaven. (I no longer have access to this source, but I believe I read it in his Commentary on Romans.) By extension of the principle of “constancy of principles (not expression) across revelations,” then, religion as “expressed” through Prophet Muhammad cannot be exclusive. What is exclusive is the practice of islam in its meaning of submission to Allah and to Allah alone. All who follow the path of submission to Allah are of the faith of Abraham, and to such, Allah is Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.

    I do not wish to argue with those who take an exclusivity position. My goal is to learn. So, I am very much interested in how the verses of the Kuran are being interpreted to support that position. As I mentioned earlier, I am aware of the problems with translation. When a Christian, in order to better understand the Bible, I formally studied Latin and Greek for 4 years each, Hebrew for 6 years, and a few years of linguistics. So, although I’m not a scholar in this area, my background gives me the ability to follow and evaluate the textual analyses and interpretations of scholars.

    As Yasir and perhaps others continue this series, I hope they will explain how they came to their conclusions, how they analyzed the Kuran linguistically and contextually, what sources were used in that analysis, and so on, in order to gain a better understanding of the Kuran.

  26. Yasir Qadhi

    January 31, 2008 at 8:39 PM

    Salaam Alaikum

    I appreciate all the comments and questions.
    All of these issues will be discussed in the future parts of this series. However, for those parts, this first part will have to be kept in mind, in which the exclusivity of Islam is as explicit as can possibly be. It is primarily because of these verses, which are unequivocal, that the more ambiguous verses cannot be distorted to derive a theology that is Perennialist.

    A basic principle to understand ANY author, and especially the Quran, is to understand ambiguous phrases in light of explicit ones. Any verse that is claimed to condone the moral and theological premises of other religions would simply contradict the implicit and explicit message of literally hundreds of verses in the Quran.

    Again, we will talk about this in more depth in later articles.

    Yasir

  27. niamah

    January 31, 2008 at 10:24 PM

    Masha’Allah, Br Charles Allah swt has blessed you with an ability to learn languages (not many people have that skill) so i guess next language you should study is Arabic =) Insha’Allah

  28. Charles

    February 1, 2008 at 12:36 PM

    Yasir, I’m wondering about your method of interpretation. I can see two types of ambiguous verses. The first type is ambiguous in and of itself. That is, even apart from other verses, its meaning is not clear. The second type is ambiguous because it seems to contradict other verses.

    The first type shouldn’t be a problem. If it’s not clear, then it’s best left alone unless as you mentioned, it can be interpreted in light of other verses.

    The second type can be a problem. That is, it’s not the verse that is ambiguous. Instead, it’s the relationship between one or a few clear verses and other clear verses that is ambiguous. In this case, I’m wondering if you’re also saying that we should formulate our understanding of Allah’s principles on the basis of the frequency of their being mentioned in the Kuran. That is, a principle that is mentioned many times in the Kuran cancels a principle mentioned only once or a few times in the Kuran. Is this method part of your interpretation framework?

  29. Pingback: Salvific Exclusivity « Islam|HD

  30. muslim

    April 1, 2008 at 1:54 PM

    Any idea, if the remaining parts will be published any sooner?

  31. ibnabeeomar

    April 1, 2008 at 4:33 PM

    soooon inshallah.. they’re being worked on :)

  32. Gohar

    April 9, 2008 at 1:06 PM

    I wonder whether, in addition to discussing our attitude to other religions, it would also be possible to cover our attitude to their followers.

    Is it okay for a muslim to feel more sad at the sight of seeing another muslim being oppressed or in difficulty than it is to see a non-muslims being opressed? Is there any obligation in this regard?

  33. Gohar

    April 9, 2008 at 1:15 PM

    Here if the two verses which immediately precede the text are carefully examined it will become clear that the word Islam and other derivates of Salama are used in the wider sense of submission to God. Verse III.77 says that all creatures in heaven and earch have submitted (aslama) to Him willingly or by compulsion. Obviously here the word aslama cannot mean ‘have become Moslems’.

    For anyone of whom the message of Muhammad has come, then it certainly MUST mean to become Moslems, for otherwise they would be rejecting this massive truth and by definition by violating the meaning of the word submision. Of course, for those who havn’t heard of Muhammad, then the wider sense of submission (i.e. accepting whatever of the truth has come to them at that stage) would be appicable, even though they don’t know themselves to be Moslem in Allah’s eyes.

  34. Benyamin

    July 8, 2008 at 6:25 PM

    Looking forward to some more parts soon……
    ;-)

  35. zaytoon

    August 30, 2009 at 1:45 PM

    I am really looking foreward to Part 2. When do you think it will be finished?

  36. Pingback: Book Review: “The Future of Islam” By John Esposito | MuslimMatters.org

  37. Pingback: Path of Allah or Paths of Allah? Survey of Classical and Medieval Interpretations of Salvific Exclusivity | Yasir Qadhi Vid | MuslimMatters.org

  38. Parvez Khan

    November 20, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Masha Allah nice article.
    May I ask where can i find the second part since i can’r find it on muslimmatters.
    thank you

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