Islam is the Straight Path
In the previous Ayaat we have studied how people altered the true religion either through adding something new to it or by making a deficiency, and split into factions and groups. The Ayaat here present an authentic profile of the true religion describing its fundamental principles, and some important subsidiaries and details.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says,
Allah commands His Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam to convey the news of being guided to Allah’s straight path. Notice that the Ayah says, إِنَّنِى هَدَانِى رَبِّى إِلَى صِرَطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ “Indeed, my Lord has guided me to a straight path,” meaning that he has not taken this path prompted by his own ideas or under the weight of ancestral customs but rather he was guided to this path by his Rabb. Those who seek guidance will be guided by Him.
This path is neither wicked, nor deviant. It is established on firm grounds and the way of Prophet Ibraheem `alayhi salaam, and he was not an idolator. The reason that Prophet Ibraheem `alayhi salaam was mentioned was that every sect from the Jews, the Christians and the Mushrikeen tried to prove that they were staunch adherents of the religion of Ibraheem. To remove their misgiving it was said that he was ‘Haneef’. He has the distinction of always abstaining from bowing before anyone other than Allah and he had distaste for all kinds of Shirk.
In Surah an-Nahl Ayaat 120 – 123 Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala describes Ibraheem `alayhi salaam in the following manner,
“Indeed, Ibraheem was a [comprehensive] leader, devoutly obedient to Allah, inclining toward truth, and he was not of those who associate others with Allah. [He was] grateful for His favors. Allah chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and indeed, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. Then We revealed to you, [O Muhammad], to follow the religion of Ibraheem, inclining toward truth; and he was not of those who associate with Allah.”
In sharp contrast to him, you are all soaked in Shirk. Everyone has taken someone as a partner with Allah. The Jews did with `Uzair radhiAllahu `anhu, the Christians did with Prophet `Eesa `alayhi salaam, and the Mushrikeen are so intelligent that they have made rocks their gods.
Next, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala commands the Prophet to inform the idolators that he opposes them in all that they do. The word nusuk [نُسُك] used in the Ayah means ‘sacrifice’. Everything that one does in Hajj is also called nusuk. The rite of Hajj are known as manasik and the plural is nusuk. This word is also used for `Ibadah or worship of Allah in the absolute sense.
In the Ayah, the Prophet is being told to convey that his rituals are for Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala alone, and he doesn’t associate a partner for Him in worship.
Ayah 163 again reinforces the concept of Tawheed and ends with the affirmation by the Prophet salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam, “I am the first of the Muslims.” Qatadah said that this means from ‘this Ummah’.
This is a sound meaning, because all Prophets before our Prophet were calling to Islam, which commands worshipping Allah alone without partners. Here are some examples from the Qur’an:
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says in Surah al-Anbya Ayah 25,
“And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, ‘There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.’”
In Surah Yunus Ayah 72 Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala informs that Nuh `alayhi salaam said to his people,
“And if you turn away [from my advice] then no payment have I asked of you. My reward is only from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of the Muslims.”
About Prophet Ibraheem and Prophet Yaq`oob, He says in Surah al-Baqarah Ayaat 130 – 132,
“And who turns away from the religion of Ibraheem except him who deludes himself. Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, ‘Submit (i.e. be a Muslim)’ He said, ‘I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the all that exists.’ And this was enjoined by Ibraheem upon his sons and by Ya`qoob (saying), ‘O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except as Muslims.’”
Yusuf `alayhi salaam acknowledges Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and prays to die as Muslim in Surah Yusuf Ayah 101,
“My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me something of the interpretation of dreams — the (Only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector) in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die as a Muslim, and join me with the righteous.”
Musa `alayhi salaam called his nation Muslimeen in Surah Yunus Ayaat 84 – 85,
“‘O my people! If you have believed in Allah, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims.’ They said, ‘In Allah we put our trust. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are wrongdoers. And save us by your mercy from the disbelieving folk.’”
About `Eesa `alayhi salaam Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says in Surah al-Maidah Ayah 111,
“And when I (Allah) inspired Al-Hawariyoon (the disciples) of `Eesa to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said, ‘We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.’”
Therefore, in this Ayah of Surah al-Anaam Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala states that He sent all His Messengers with the religion of Islam, although their respective laws differed from each other, and some of them abrogated others. Later on, the Law sent with Muhammad salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam abrogated all previous laws and nothing will ever abrogate it, forever. Certainly, Muhammad’s Law will always be apparent and its flags raised high, until the Day of Resurrection.
The Prophet said,
نَحْنُ مَعَاشِرُ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ أَوْلَادُ عَلَّاتٍ دِينُنَا وَاحِد
“We, the Prophets, are half brothers, but our religion is one,” meaning we have same father but different mothers. Therefore, the religion, representing the one father, is one; worshipping Allah alone without partners, even though the laws which are like the different mothers in this parable, are different. Allah the Most High knows best.
Imam Ahmad recorded that `Ali radhiAllahu `anhu said that when the Messenger of Allah used to start the prayer with Takbeer [saying, Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Great)] he would then supplicate,
وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّذِي فَطَرَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ، إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي للهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
“I have directed my face towards He Who has created the heavens and earth, Haneefan and I am not among the Mushrikeen. Certainly, my prayer, sacrifice, living and dying are all for Allah, Lord of the worlds.”
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ الْمَلِكُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ، أَنْتَ رَبِّي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي وَاعْتَرَفْتُ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي ذُنُوبِي جَمِيعًا لَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ، وَاهْدِنِي لِأَحْسَنِ الْأَخْلَاقِ لَا يَهْدِي لِأَحْسَنِهَا إِلَّا أَنْتَ، وَاصْرِفْ عَنِّي سَيِّئَهَا لَا يَصْرِفُ عَنِّي سَيِّئَهَا إِلَّا أَنْتَ، تَبَارَكْتَ وَتَعَالَيْتَ، أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْك
“O Allah! You are the King, there is no deity worthy of worship except You. You are my Lord and I am Your servant. I have committed wrong against myself and admitted to my error, so forgive me all my sins. Verily, You, only You forgive the sins. (O Allah!) Direct me to the best conduct, for none except You directs to the best conduct. Divert me from the worst conduct, for only You divert from the worst conduct. Glorified and Exalted You are. I seek Your forgiveness and repent to You.”
This hadeeth, which was also recorded by Muslim in the Sahih, continues and mentions the Prophet’s supplication in his bowing, prostrating and final sitting positions.
We pray to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala to allow us to life our lives according to the Sunnah of our Prophets Muhammad salAllahu `alayhi wa sallam and Ibraheem `alayhi salaam, and bless us their company in the Hereafter, aameen.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Al-Anaam Ayaat 161 – 163