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Why Do Muslims Believe that Islam began before Prophet Muhammad?

April 22, 2011

Many think that a religion starts with its main figure and very often we see that many religions get names after those important religious personas. Christianity was named after Jesus Christ, Buddhism after Buddha, etc. Very few religions carry the name independent of its “founder” and one of those is Islam. For Muslims, Islam did not begin with Prophet Muhammad but has existed since the time humanity came into being.

In order to understand the belief that Islam existed before Prophet Muhammad, it is essential to understand the meaning of Islam. In the Arabic language, “Islam” means submission. In a religious context it simply means submission to the Will of Allah (God). By following His commandments and laws, one submits to His Will. And this is a choice that people are instructed to take if they wish to end up in Heaven.

According to Islamic teaching, the first humans (Adam and Eve) and other creations were offered a choice: to take free will or not. Out of all creations, the jinns (invisibles) and humans took on this burden. This is seen through this verse:

Chapter 33, verse 72:
“We did indeed offer the Trust (Free Will) to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it;- he was indeed unjust (toward himself) and foolish.”

The fact that the creations who refused the offer of free will tremble in fear tells us that all creations were told of possible consequences from having such burden (Hell vs. Heaven). The jinn ultimately failed, having the free will, when their leader Iblis (Satan) refused to bow down (to be in service) to Adam as was commanded by Allah (God). The humans, Adam and Eve, failed with their free will too when they disobeyed Allah (God) by listening to Iblis and eating from the tree. Finally, the mankind’s and jinns’ salvation comes through choosing by their own free will to follow Allah (God). And such choice is called Islam.

Secondary Islamic religious source quotes Prophet Muhammad to have said that there were 124,000 Prophets of Allah (God) starting with Adam ending with Muhammad. The primary Islamic religious text, the Holy Qur’an, states as well:

“For We assuredly sent amongst every people a messenger …” Qur’an 16:36.

We sent not an apostle except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them. Now God leaves straying those whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases: and He is Exalted in power, full of Wisdom.  (The Noble Quran, 14:4)”

“The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah – which We have sent by inspiration to thee – and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein…” Chapter 42 (Ash-Shura), verse 13.

‘Say ye: “We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam).” Qur’an 2:136.

“Ye People of the Book (Bible)! Why dispute ye about Abraham, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have ye no understanding?” Qur’an 3:65.

Qur’an also mentions various Revelations from Allah (God) to humankind, and some of these are named by name:

  1. Scrolls of Abraham and Scrolls of Moses (Qur’an 87:18–19: “And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation).
    The Books of Abraham and Moses.”
  2. Torah to the Hebrews (Qur’an 5:44: “Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein is guidance and a light, by which the prophets who surrendered (unto God) judged the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of God’s Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witnesses. So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And barter not My revelations for a little gain. Whoso judgeth not by that which God hath revealed: such are disbelievers.”)
  3. Gospel to the House of Israel (Qur’an 5:46: “And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein were guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.”)
  4. Psalms revealed to David (Qur’an 17: 55: “And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some prophets more (and other) gifts than on others: and We gave to David (the gift of) the Psalms.”)
  5. The Book of Yahya/John the Baptist (“(And it was said unto his son) 0′ John! Hold fast the scripture.  And We gave him wisdom when he was a child! And compassion from Our presence and punity, and he was devout.  And dutiful towards his parents.  And he was not arrogant, rebellious.  Peace on him the day he was born and the day he dies and the day he shall be raised alive.” (Qur’an 19: 12-15)
  6. Qur’an as universal Book and final Revelation (Qur’an chapter Bani-Israel, verse 105: “We sent down the Qur’an in truth, and in truth has it descended: And we sent thee but to give glad tidings and to warn (mankind).”)

 

The fact that so many religions share similar/the same teachings with Islam may explain Qur’an’s teachings that all human communities received Messengers who delivered the Same Message (“submit to the Will of God”).

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. Cleophus Cavin permalink
    January 3, 2017 4:21 pm

    Excellent article! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Founder Vann Imperial permalink
    August 27, 2016 1:35 pm

    Let me ask just a simple question to you brother DreamAdventurer

    If Allah ( The Muslim God .)
    And Quo’ran ( Islamic Book ) Is consistent and true.

    Then why was it that the following pasages
    Negatively supports Islamic claims
    That in every nations there is a messenger…??

    Because if these are true
    Then it means , Muhammad is only a messenger in Saudi Arabia
    And Egypt has its own messenger , Kuwait , Sudan , Sri Lanka
    Qatar , Dubai , America , Malaysia , Indonesia and even Philippines.

    Quo’ran says with the Following verses:

    “And for every Ummah (a community or a nation), there is a Messenger; when their Messenger comes, the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged.” (Qur’ân 10:47)

    “And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e., do not worship Taghut besides Allah).” Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth).” (Qur’ân 16:36)

    Can you honestly explain why Muhammad does not only exercise his messengership
    In Arab countries but had crossed the line beyond what the passage had clearly stated.

    This is just a question for you my brother in Humanity

    • dreamadventurer permalink*
      September 9, 2016 1:33 pm

      Thank you for your question. In order to understand what the Qur’anic passages mean it is important to understand what the word “Ummah” means and the context in which it is used. While the word does translate as “community, nation, group of people,” it is generally understood as a group of people collectively united with a common trait. For example, when Muslims say “Muslim Ummah” they are not just talking about one country. Rather, they are talking about all Muslims across the world, as according to our religion we make One Community. Jesus pbuh is said to have his Ummah, the Christians. And that too is understood as all Christian Ummah across the world, not just nation of Israel. I think that the translators of the Qur’anic passages would be more accurate to translate the word Ummah as “global community,” because that is how it is understood and meant by people using the word to describe religious communities in Islam. Now, if you understand Ummah as “global community,” then the passages are not as confusing. Also, keep in mind too that Prophet Muhammad pbuh is said to have come to humanity as a whole, not just Arabs. Qur’an calls him Seal of Prophethood and Mercy to mankind. Whenever Qur’an speaks of “mankind” it is addressing all of the humanity, not just Muslims. Why is that? Because by the time of Qur’an Revelation, the information was spread much more easily and this is why Muhammad saws “crossed” the geographical lines of Arabia, as you wrote, just as Jesus’ message had too. Jesus’ saws message spread across the borders, even though the Bible claims he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. But, Qur’an does not put limits to how far God’s Message goes. Say, South American peoples may have had their own prophets (Islam said it is so, so for Muslims, they must have had their own prophets). However, their prophets may have had more difficult time spreading the Message across the oceans then Messengers who lived in Asia, Europe or even Africa in the ancient world. This is why in their case the word “ummah” is referring to limited geographical regions and in that context saying “every nation/ummah had a prophet” may point to the limitations of information sharing in the old times.

  3. MUSA MATTHEW permalink
    March 14, 2016 1:50 pm

    I Salute The Courage Of Owais Khalil For This Piece!I Will Use This Information On My Project Topic “THE MESSIAHSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE QURAN”

  4. Adebamiji Musa Matthew Ogoyinka permalink
    March 14, 2016 1:34 pm

    One Thing I Like About The Truth Is That It Does Not Die No Matter The Accident!If Islam As A Religion Was Before Mohammed,What Was The Ealiest Holy Book?When Did Islam Start And With Whom?Wasnt Quran Given To Mohammmed?If Islam Was Before Mohammed,Then,There Was Cement Before Limestone And Petrol Before Crude Oil!THE BITTER TRUTH IS THAT ISLAM IS COLLAPSING DAY BY DAY!

    • dreamadventurer permalink*
      April 26, 2016 9:22 pm

      Hi Adebamiji! Thank you for visiting my site. When it is said that Islam came before Muhammad, it means that the Message of One God has been the same since the dawn of the humanity. God Himself, in the Qur’an, says that in terms of how people were asked to practice the belief in One God had some differences (in terms of rituals, observances and even some laws), but that overall the Message has been the same: there is only One God, not multiples, that God is above all His creation, that He is beyond anything He has created. For example, the laws for the Muslim community have not yet been developed during Messenger Muhammad’s pbuh time so in the matter of family or similar laws, the Jews and Christians were referred back to the Law of Moses they already got: “But how do THEY come to YOU for decision while THEY have the Taurat (Torah), in which is the (plain) Decision of Allah…” (Qur’an surah/chapter 5, verse 43). The major important religious issues are clear (e.g. belief in One God, do not steal, do not murder), but issues like divorce and property laws may have not been completed for Muslims yet. Plus, there is something called abrogation of laws given to humanity because Allah SWT in the Qur’an says that sometimes He lets laws be forgotten or replaces them with better. This would explain why Jews were forbidden to eat pork and Christians got to be flexible about it. Or, that some faithful Christians look down on divorce, while Qur’an permits it, etc. However, in spite of different expectations from each community of people, the constants are the same: belief in One God. Peace be upon you. And no, Islam is not collapsing day by day. Muslims might be in a difficult position, but Islam never will be. This is not the first time that there was a world campaign against the faith, but it survived. True, never like on this scale have the enemies of Islam joined together to destroy it, but Islam will survive. As much as some may hate that fact.

  5. December 8, 2015 1:04 pm

    I experience look into great deal of web sites and additionally read and studied some,but your work is actually outstanding.Caps off to your devotion not to mention candor.Do continue all of us educated in future as well.

  6. Simon permalink
    July 22, 2015 2:45 pm

    Wait till you all find out that your religion is but a made up lie by the elite to keep you slaves/plebs from finding out the real truth. That we are the gods our children are the angels and the evil that’s persist today is only brought about by all of our evil thinking . I can prove this …… Just look inside your own heart and you will see,,,,, that’s if you are not one of the evil people.

    • dreamadventurer permalink*
      July 24, 2015 2:12 am

      Ok, prove to me how you or any other human being is divine: resurrect my dead relatives, make me rich, heal my illness and make me find a job that I have been looking for for the past 2 years. If you cannot do that, or show me any legitimate miracle, then you are believing a delusion.

    • dreamadventurer permalink*
      July 24, 2015 2:13 am

      And my religion is not a lie.

  7. John permalink
    June 15, 2015 5:52 pm

    If Islam did exist before Muhammed, how on earth, couldnt we find a single term of the word islam or muslim In holly books preceding Quran?
    if quran is proved to be existed since adam, does it mean islam is the true way? or the otherway round, if it is disproved that it existed befor Muhammed does it mean it is not a true religion?

    • dreamadventurer permalink*
      June 18, 2015 8:44 pm

      Hi John:

      Those are very interesting and valid questions. Islam as official religion may not have existed by the name, but Muslims believe that ALL prophets pbut (peace be upon them) were Muslims. In essence, word Islam means submission to the Will of God. Muslim means the one who submits to the Will of God. And if all prophets submitted to the Lord, then they were Muslim and practiced Islam.

      If there is Only One, True God, then He will be sending the same and one Message to humanity. Why would he play games and decide “Oh, well, these people are going to be believing in this many idols just for the fun of it.” No. God is One and Only, and He only sent One Message.

      By the time Qur’an was revealed, the only communities still proclaiming to believe in One God were Jews, Christians, Muslims and Sabians. Hence, to unite these peoples in belief in One God, with all their individualities, God SWT in the Qur’an states: “However, those who have become believers (the Muslims), and the Jews, the Christians and the Sabaeans who believe in God and the Day of Judgment and strive righteously will receive their reward from the Lord and will have nothing to fear nor will they be grieved” (chapter 2, verse 62).

      Further, the Noble Qur’an talks about how every community/nation received a Messenger/Prophet so on the Day of Judgment there is no excuse:

      “And for every Ummah (a community or a nation), there is a Messenger; when their Messenger comes, the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged.” (Qur’ân 10:47)

      “And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e., do not worship Taghut besides Allah).” Then of them were some whom Allah guided and of them were some upon whom the straying was justified. So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth).” (Qur’ân 16:36)

      “Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah ]. And he was not of the polytheists” chapter 3 verse 67. Why was not Abraham a Jew or a Christian? Because neither Old Testament nor New Testament were revealed at the time. In fact, Qur’an talks about Scrolls of Abraham, the Revelation he specifically received from God and which perished over the time.

      “Joseph said: “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, Helper, Supporter, Guardian, God, Lord) in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will), and join me with the righteous.” [The Noble Quran 12:101]

      “Or were you witnesses when death approached Ya’qub (Jacob)? When he said unto his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We shall worship your Ilah (God – Allah), the Ilah (God) of your fathers, Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), One Ilah (God), and to Him we submit (in Islam, Muslims).” [The Noble Quran 2:133]

      “Then when ‘Isa (Jesus) came to know of their disbelief, he said: “Who will be my helpers in Allah’s Cause?” Al-Hawariun (the disciples) said: “We are the helpers of Allah; we believe in Allah, and bear witness that we are Muslims (i.e. we submit to Allah).” [The Noble Quran 3:52]
      “And when I (Allah) revealed to Al-Hawarieen (the disciples)(of ‘Isa (Jesus)) to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: “We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.” [The Noble Quran 5:111].

  8. Zaheer Zakariya permalink
    June 11, 2015 7:04 am

    Explained very well. Keep up the good work. May Allah guide and help you with the endeavour.

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    • dreamadventurer permalink*
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  15. Noj permalink
    March 26, 2013 6:39 pm

    Sorry but your statement is inaccurate. “Very few religions carry the name independent of its “founder” and one of those is Islam. For Muslims, Islam did not begin with Prophet Muhammad but has existed since the time humanity came into being.”

    Modern Christianity was based on Christ or Jesus but goes way back before that to Adam and Eve. Before calling themselves christians it was known as “the way”. Before that guess what? It was called Judaism which traces back to 1800BC. The Jews simply dont beleive Jesus was the messiah since they were expecting a king to rule and crush their enemies.

    Research Islam and before it came into existance (around 600AD) Arab people worships several gods just like the Egyptians. They were real big on the moon god. It is a known fact that Mohammed read or was familiar with the Jewish Torah or old testament as christians call it now. It is very evident that he used the same matrial as both faiths claim Abraham as the “father” of their religions and both talk about Adam and Eve. Islam does not deny that Jesus even existed but says he was just a prophet and not the messiah.

    Islam did not exist before Mohammed and simple searching for this on the web can prove it.

    • dreamadventurer permalink*
      August 21, 2013 9:27 pm

      noj1290,
      Please read my post about “Muslim” Jesus. In Islam, Jesus is the only one mentioned as Messiah. Even Prophet Muhammad pbuh was not mentioned as the Messiah. Further, Jesus pbuh was called the Spirit sent from God SWT (the Rooh), a Sign and is believed by Muslims to be a major figure at the End Times. Here are some of the verses from the Qur’an to support what I am saying:

      Qur’an chapter 4, verses 156-157: “And (We cursed them) for their disbelief… and their boastful claim: Indeed, we have killed the [so-called] Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God. And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him.”

      Qur’an chapter 5, verse 72″ “But the Messiah said, ‘O Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord.’”

      Qur’an chapter 23, verse 50: “And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign.”

      Qur’an chapter 43, verse 61: “And indeed, Jesus will be a sign for the Hour (of Judgment), so have no doubt about it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.”

      Allah (God) SWT BLESS!

    • Owais Khalil permalink
      September 4, 2013 11:48 pm

      Most of the Christians are incompetent about Islam and you are one of them ! Yes we do accept that Jesus Christ is the Messiah ! see what the Holy Qur’an say about it : “People of the Book (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, and attribute to God nothing except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His command that He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and in His Messengers, and do not say: ‘God is a Trinity.’ Give up this assertion; it would be better for you. God is indeed just One God. Far be it from His glory that He should have a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth. God is sufficient for a guardian” (Quran 4:171).

      • Amanda permalink
        August 25, 2015 9:20 pm

        Still wondering which type of hominids were Adam and Eve supposed to be? Six species have become extinct, only homo sapiens, which is the present species still exist. Explain this if you can………..I am waiting.

      • dreamadventurer permalink*
        August 28, 2015 5:36 pm

        I am not a scientist, but perhaps the explanation might lie in the fact that there had existed different races? Or maybe, knowing that the modern science has not yet discovered the “missing link” maybe there is no missing link. Perhaps the first humans, Adam and Eve, have been homo sapiens all along. According to some Islamic traditions, there existed a race of beings prior to humans on Earth. And, according to Qur’an, God has a plan to create a completely new creation never seen before either by men or jinn, called Huris (mistakenly believed by non-Muslims and misguided Muslims as the virgins of Heaven created only for sexual pleasure).

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