Since all the prophets called for monotheism and invited mankind to worship the Almighty God alone and liberate themselves from servitude to others, Islam is thus a general title for their calls.
In attempting to analyze this subject, one should refer to Quranic verses which deal with the concept of ‘Islam’. Among these numerous verses which discuss religion, servitude and submission to the Lord of the worlds, preached by the prophets and messengers from Noah (PBUH) to Mohammad (PBUH), one should also note when and how the term ‘Islam’ has been used. In this way, the clear meaning of ‘Islam’ and its relation with the calls of all the prophets becomes readily clear.
Total submission to the Lord of the worlds
The Quran uses this word repeatedly and in diverse forms to define true faith and complete submission to Allah’s commands. ‘Islam’ has been used in the form of commands, benedictions and other expressions by the prophets and their faithful followers, announcing their submission or response to its call.
Allah, the Exalted, proclaims through His servant Noah (PBUH) in Quran:
“But if you are averse I have asked of you no wage; my wage is only with Allah, and I am commanded to be of those who are Muslims (submit to Him).” (Quran, 10:72)
Also, Allah proclaims through Abraham (PBUH):
“When his Lord said to him; be a Muslim, he said: I submit to the Lord of the worlds. And the same did Abraham enjoin upon his sons, and (so did) Jacob, (saying): O my sons! Surely Allah has chosen for you this (We) faith, therefore die not unless you are Muslims.” (Quran, 2:131 – 132)
“….the faith of your father Abraham (is yours). He named you Muslims before (in previous scriptures)….” (Quran, 22:78)
Allah also relates Joseph’ prayer:
“My Lord! You have given me (something) of the kingdom and taught me (something) of the interpretation of events: Originator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Guardian in this world and the hereafter; make me die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.” (Quran, 12:101)
Allah the Exalted, relates Moses’ proclamation in the Quran:
“And Moses said: O my people! If you believe in Allah, then rely on Him (alone), if you have indeed become Muslims (those who submit to Him).” (Quran, 10:84)
Allah also says:
“Surely We revealed the Torah, in which Was guidance and light, by which the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) judged the Jews…” (Quran, 5:44)
“And when I inspired the disciples, (saying): Believe in Me and My Apostle (Jesus), they said: We believe and bear witness that we are Muslims (have submitted).” (Quran, 5:111)
Allah also commands Mohammad (PBUH) like all other prophets to say:
“I am commanded only to serve the Lord of this land (Mecca), Who has made it sacred, and His are all things: And I am commanded to be of those who are Muslims (submit to Him)” (Quran, 27:91)
Thus, all these divine invitations meet along the line of submission – Islam – to the Lord of the worlds in its true context; that is, servitude and true faith in Allah, the Exalted.
The explicit meaning becomes apparent in Abraham’s (PBUH) words: “I submit to the Lord of the worlds”; that is, he regards his submission as a religion for worship, as a trust he commits to his sons and his followers, as a slogan for the monotheists, and as a motto for the invitation to faith:
“….. the faith of your father Abraham (is yours); He named you Muslims before (in previous scriptures)…..” (Quran, 22:78)
Through these Quranic verses we understand that all the prophets followed this unified line of faith with a single aim: The implementation of servitude to Allah mankind’s submission to the Lord of the worlds liberating them from the worship of tyrants or their own inner desires.
Belief in Prophets – a major basis of a Muslim’s ideology
As such, the Quran regards belief in the prophets as a major basis of a Muslim’s ideology and as a historical and logical proof of the truthfulness of prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) message:
“Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and (in) that which has been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit (become Muslims).” (Quran, 2:136)
“Say: I am not the first of the apostles, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you: I do not follow anything but that which is revealed to me, and I am (nothing) but a plain warner.” (Quran, 46:9)
Salvation for Humanity
All the prophets, as is understood from the above verses, offered to mankind the same religion and the same belief which Allah considered to be the base and the starting point for the reformation of man.
It would deliver him from the dark labyrinth of ignorance which has resulted from the ages of legends and myths fabricated by primitive peoples. Man has suffered from this ignorance as he has suffered from the oppression of tyrants, and from poverty, injustice and corruption.
He will continue to suffer unless he turns to the path of the prophets who all shared the same call. This call aimed at the salvation of humanity – generation after generation, nation after nation – from its sufferings and tragedies.
Islam prevails all other religions
Allah, the Exalted, willed that all His messengers should pour their offerings into the same stream, which their flames should unite into a single illumination. This was the call of Islam, the message of dear prophet Mohammad (PBUH), as the eternal religion, the final message, and the theme dominating and encompassing all other missions of the apostles.
“And We have revealed to you the Book (Quran) with the truth confirming whatever of the Book(s) was before it and a guardian over it, so judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth which has come to you; for every one of you We have appointed a divine law and a (traced out) way…” (Quran, 5:48)
“He it is Who sent His Apostle with the guidance and the true religion; that He may make it overcome (other) religions, all of them, however much the polytheists may be averse.” (Quran, 61:9)
Islam overcame all other religions as it is characterized by equality, rationality, universality and eternity, enabling it to expand over vast periods of man’s history, encompassing all aspects of human growth and development.