According to a survey of adherents.com there are about 4,300 religions or religious faiths around the globe. However, the largest and internationally most widespread religions are Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism are considered as “the Big Five” while some scholars also include other religions, such as Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, or the Bahá’í Faith. Thus, Islam is the world’s second-largest religion with over 1.9 billion followers or 24.4% of the world’s population, commonly known as Muslims being the Quran is a source of divine laws and teachings. The Quran teaches that God is the Al-mighty, the Wise and unique, and it guides mankind being the word of God as guidance and clear teachings revealed through Prophet Muhammad. However, those who claim Muslims and are proud of being Muslims as followers of the final edition of the divine scripture can verify how true their claim is to confirm whether they are Muslims or Muhammedans based on their faiths and practices.
The Arabic words, Islam and Muslim are closely related while Islam in the verbal noun form means “submission to God” or “surrender to God” and Muslim in the active participle form means “submitter to God” or “one who surrenders to God”. Thus, a submitter simply means that someone who has submitted to the will of God and it commonly applies to an adherent to Islam. God has instituted certain rites that a submitter should practice to worship Him alone following His guidance as reflected in the following verses cited as examples from the Quran that we may know what we should believe and practice as submitters according to the faith: There is no other god except God.
[2:128] “Our (Abraham and Ismael) Lord, and make us submitters (both) to You, and from our descendants a submissive community to You. And show us our rites and turn to us. Indeed, You are the Redeemer, the Most Merciful.
[2:132] And Abraham enjoined his sons and Jacob: “O my sons, God has chosen the religion for you, so do not die except when you are submitters.”
[2:133] Or had you witnessed when death came to Jacob, when he said to his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We will worship your god; god of your fathers Abraham, Ismail, and Isaac; one god and to Him we are submitters.”
[2:136] Say: “We believe in God and what is sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Patriarchs, and what was given to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make a distinction between any of them and to Him we are submitters.”
[3:84] Say: “We believe in God and what is sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Patriarchs, and what was given to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make a distinction between any of them and to Him we are submitters.”
[3:102] O you who have believed, you shall honor God as He should be honored, and do not die except when you are submitters.
[10:84] And Moses said, “O my people, if you have believed in God, then put your trust on Him, if you are submitters.”
[16:102] Say, “The Holy Spirit (Gabriel) has brought it (Quran) down with the truth from your Lord to strengthen those who believe, and as a guidance and good news for the submitters.”
[21:108] Say, ”It is inspired to me that your god is One god, then will you be submitters?”
[22:78] And you all shall strive in the cause of God as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you in the religion – a religion of your father Abraham (millata abeekum ib’raaheema). He named you the submitters before and in this that the messenger may be a witness among you, and you may be witnesses among the people. So, you shall observe the Contact Prayer (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and hold fast to God; He is your Protector, the best Protector and the best Supporter.
[27:81] Nor can you be of a guide for the blind from their astraying, nor can you make hear except whoever believes in our revelations as they are submitters.
[28:53] And when it is recited to them, they will say, “We believe in it. Indeed, it is the truth from our Lord. Even, we were submitters before it.”
[33:35] Surely, the submitter men and the submitter women, the believer men and the believer women, the obedient men and the obedient women, the truthful men and the truthful women, the steadfast men and the steadfast women, the reverent men and the reverent women, the charitable men and the charitable women, the fasting men and the fasting women, the chaste men and the chaste women, the frequently commemorating God men and the commemorating women -God has prepared for them forgiveness and a great recompense.
[39:12] “And I (Muhammad) have been commanded that I would be first of the submitters.”
[41:33] And who is better in utterance than whoever has invited to God, and has done as righteous, and says, “Indeed, I am one of the submitters?”
[43:69] Those who believed in our revelations, and they were submitters.
[46:15] And we enjoined the human being to honor his parents. His mother bore him with hardship and gave birth to him in hardship. His bearing and weaning is until thirty months. When he reaches his maturity and reaches forty years, he says: “My Lord, direct me to appreciate the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. And make my children be righteous as well. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am one of the submitters.”
Historically, Islam was called Muhammedanism in Anglophone societies. This term has fallen out of use and is sometimes said to be offensive because it suggests that a human being rather than God is central to Muslims’ religion, parallel to Buddha in Buddhism. However, some authors continue to use the term, Muhammedanism as a technical term for the religious system as opposed to the theological concept of Islam that exists within that system or as a Muslim-Christian conflict. Thus, Muhammedan is a term for a follower of Muhammad, the Islamic prophet. It is used as both a noun and an adjective, meaning belonging or relating to, either Muhammedan or Muhammedanism for the religion that he established. The word was formerly common in usage, but the terms, Muslim and Islam are common today, even though they differ in Islamic domain in matters of faith, jurisprudence and legislation beyond abusive use due to Muslim-Christian conflict.
It is unfortunate that the Islamic faith has changed over the period of time since when Islam is powered by the revelation of the Quran through Prophet Muhammad updating its rites and laws. It is well known to the world that there are 2 major groups in Muslims: Shia and Sunni along with sub-divisions in each group. Thus, Muslims are divided and sub-divided yet claiming Muslims belonging to Islam while the majority over the world belongs to Sunni group.
However, there exist many groups and sub-groups even claiming Muslims despite God’s warning belong to three major groups according to what they follow such as: (1) Quran, (2) Quran and Hadith and (3) Quran and hadiths which are consistent with Quran. In fact, those who follow the Quran and practice what has been instituted by God are Muslims belonging to Islam while the rest can be best described to be Muhammedans belonging to Muhammedanism who follow alleged Hadiths (sayings) and Sunnah (deeds) assigning to Muhammad, and practice what has been authorized by the Muhammedan scholars. It is regret that the terms once were used to abuse Islam have come back in the Islamic domain for following man-made laws and rituals for Islamic teachings other than the Quran given as guidance and the statute book for the Muslims as well as for focusing on the corrupt faith: there is no other god except God, Muhammad is a messenger of God despite mentioning of clear faith for us in the Quran as well as the Quran being the means to become righteous.
Belonging to various sects/sub-sects
[6:159] Indeed, those who have divided their religion and have become sects, you have not been with them in anything. Their matter is only to God, then He will inform them of what they had done to achieve.
[30:32] Of those who have divided their religion and have become sects, every party with what is of their rejoicing.
[42:13] He has decreed for all of you the religion what He had enjoined for Noah, and what we have inspired to you (Muhammad), and what we had enjoined for Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. That you shall establish the religion, and you are not to divide in it, is difficult for the idolaters what you (Muhammad) call them to it. God chooses to Himself whomever He wills and He guides to Himself whoever turns.
Upholding alleged Hadiths
[6:112] Thus, we have permitted an enemy of every prophet, the devils from the human and the jinn to inspire in each other the fancy words (zukh’rufa al-qawli), in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and what they fabricate.
[6:113] This is so that the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter listen to it, and accept it, and thus, they commit what they are committing.
[31:6] And among the people, there are those who accept idle tales (lahaw al-hadeethi) to mislead from the path of God without knowledge, and to take it for a mockery. These have incurred a humiliating retribution.
[39:23] God has revealed best of the hadith, a book consistent in two paths. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it, then their skins and their hearts soften up to God’s message. That is God’s guidance; He guides with it (Quran) whoever He wills, and whoever God sends astray, then there is no guide for him.
[45:6] These are God’s revelations that we recite to you (Muhammad) with the truth. Then, in which Hadith other than God and His revelations do they believe?
Proclaiming corrupt shahaadah (faith)
[3:18] God bears witness that there is no other god except He and so do the angels and possessors of the knowledge established with the justice; there is no other god except He, the Almighty, the Wise.
[6:163] There is no partner for Him and in that I (Muhammad) have been commanded, and I am first of the submitters.
[47:19] So you (Muhammad) shall know that there is no other god besides God; and you shall ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and the believing women while God knows (all) your return and (all) your reward.
[39:45] And when has been mentioned God alone, has shrunk in aversion hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter, and when has been mentioned those other than Him, then they rejoice.
Being prevented access from the Quran
[17:45] And when you have recited the Quran, we have placed an invisible barrier between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter.
[17:46] And we have placed coverings over their hearts lest they understand it, and deafness in their ears. And when you have mentioned your Lord in the Quran alone, they have turned on their backs in aversion.
[18:57] And who is more wrong than whoever has been reminded with the revelations of his Lord, while he has turned away from them, and has forgot what has sent forth his hands. Indeed, we have placed coverings on their hearts lest they understand it, and deafness in their ears, and if you invite them to the guidance, while never ever then they guide.
[41:44] If we had made it a non-Arabic Quran, they have said, “Why has not its verses been explained in detail?” Is it non-Arabic or Arabic? Say, “It is for those who have believed, is a guidance and a healing, and those who do not believe, there is a deafness in their ears and it is blindness for them. These are being addressed from faraway.”
The history of changing the centrality of the Quran in the religious life of the Muslims dates back to the time of Muhammad, who prohibited the writing of hadiths and one of his companions and successor, Umar also prohibited the writing of hadith and destroyed existing collections during his rule as Caliph. However, which today comprises the Sunnis, and to some extent Shias, which first emerged during the 2nd/3rd Islamic centuries of the Islamic era (late 8th and 9th century CE) as a movement of Hadith scholars who considered the Quran and Hadith to be the legislative authority in matters of law and creed. Even, they believe, “The Qur’an needs the Sunnah more than the Sunnah needs the Qur’an” and apply exegetic principle of tafsir al-qur’an bi-al-ma’thur (interpretation of Quran with hadiths). Thus, the vast majority who claims Muslims fall into Muhammedans being their faith of Muhammedanism making them different from Islam and Muslim.
Muslims and Muslim scholars often referred to Quranists who believe that the Quran is the sole source of religious law and guidance in Islam rejecting the authority of sources outside of the Quran like Hadith and Sunnah. They believe that the Quran is clear, complete, and fully detailed as stated in the Quran, and it can be fully understood without recourse to the hadith and sunnah. Thus, according to their view Islamic law and guidance should only be based on the Qur’an, opposing the religious authority, reliability, and/or authenticity of hadith literature. They affirm that the hadith literature which exists today is apocryphal, as it had been written three centuries after the death of Prophet Muhammad; thus, it cannot have the same status as the Quran while they apply the exegetical principle of tafsir al-qur’an bi al-qur’an (explaining the Qur’an with the Qur’an).
Hence, if we can differentiate Islam and Muslim from Muhammedanism and Muhammedan disregarding what is being unduly presented to the world through most people, so called scholars, organizations, social media and countries that do not act or function in an Islamic manner, according to teachings of the Quran, we may deserve the blessing of God as promised in the Quran (6:126-127).
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.