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Are Religions the Same?

19 January, 2024
Q Hello, fellow friends. I am Sven, a Canadian friend from Toronto. My question is as follows: Does Islam view other religions in other parts of the world, as part of God? I’m a bit un-educated on religion teachings and how they each view other religions. Need help to understand the views of different religions in the world and how they respect or disrespect each other’s religions. My personal view is that even a Muslim and a Muslim (or Christian and a Christian) have different views of God... even with the same “Book” and from the same “temple/church”... just as every snowflake is different (when they are looked at closely)... they are still the same (a snowflake). Would it not be the same for every soul... different but the same? Thank you for your time and as always, God bless you and your cool Web site.


Salam Dear Sven,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Religion has always been at the core of human thought, civilization, and history. Throughout history, there have been so many religions everywhere in the world, whether primal, mostly pagan, or the so-called universal, encompassing wider aspects and influencing larger groups and extending through longer epochs of time.

The essence of any religion is to try to explain the reality of creation (visible and unseen), the purpose and the code of life, and the final destiny of human beings. Looking more closely, we find that at the core of religious thought is the Unseen, the infinite existence in terms of space and time.

In such an infinite universe, this planet Earth is no more than a minute particle of sand in an endless desert. To illustrate, our Milky Way galaxy, one of thousands in the visible part of the universe, is 50,000 light years in radius. (A corollary to this is that we are not sure of the present existence of any celestial body that is tens, hundreds or thousands of light years away, for what we see is the light emitted tens, hundreds, or thousands of years ago.)

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Our lifetime, as well as the whole human history, is no more than a moment of the infinite time of creation (believed to be more than 15 billion years since the so-called big bang). Hence, it is impossible for human thought alone, through philosophy, meditation, not to say mythical thinking, to find a proper answer to the major issues of religion.

Of the multitude of religions embraced by human groups in history, none can claim authenticity or truth unless it emanates (and proves to do so) from the Supernatural Creator of this marvelous universe. Truth is always one.

In contrast, the overwhelming man-made religions are as diverse, disparate, and contradictory as their numbers. They can hardly be described as “the same, with different views of the same god, like a snowflake” as you suggested!

With a more analytical look into the history, details, and features of different religions, you cannot fail to conclude that almost all—apart from Islam—show different degrees and forms of deviation or distortion from a basic (original) thread, that is, belief or strife to recognize the Ultimate (One) Creator, an ideal system of values regarding right and wrong, as well as the just reward expected in the afterlife.

However, human distortions away from this basic thread have produced the multitudes of visions, myths, traditions, and codes of life, that is, religions. Weaknesses of human minds, ignorant submission to myths invented by prominent figures (clergy, philosophers, leaders, and so on), and hardships and stresses of life all combined to lead people to imagine a power that could heal illness, bring rain or hunting game, combat death, and achieve either immortality or union with an everlasting spirit.

Failing to encompass the Ultimate Creator, this led different communities first to seek intermediaries that took the form of sanctified human beings (philosophers, leaders, prophets, or pious people), and later idols, pantheons, shrines, and the like, and even animals in which sacred souls are said to reside.

Later, these imagined intermediaries, whether mythical figures or secret powers, replaced the truth of the universal One God, Creator, Guider, Preserver Who cares for all His creatures all the time—without intermediaries, without mythical mysteries or philosophical jargon. That simple truth was revealed to, and preached by, a long array of prophets sent with the same divine guidance to nations throughout history.

However, that simple divine truth remained in its pure form only in Islam. All other religions have been mixed with different distortions: regarding the nature of God; His role and relation to all humanity or towards a specific nation; the introduction of various forms of polytheism; the deification of human beings, animals, or imaginary beings; the consecration of idols, statues, figures, or symbols. All religions, except Islam, are practiced through intermediaries: churches, castes, clergy, ascetics, and the like.

Most of these deviations spread epidemically between different religions, either by imitation, political influence, or military pressure. Hence, striking similarities can frequently be traced between pairs of religion, for example, between Christianity and Buddhism regarding the story of Christ and Buddha (even their birthdays); and also between Trinitarian beliefs such as Hinduism, Christianity, and Mithraism.

Disparity of visions regarding the nature of God between this panorama of distorted beliefs are as wide as their disagreement on every other aspect of these man-made religions. In one major religion, Christianity, the nature of Christ, as well as the other components of Trinity, is widely different between each Eastern and each Western church.

This is not the case with Islam, in which all Muslims believe in the same God (Allah), the same human prophet (Muhammad, peace be upon him) and the same Book (the Quran), word for word and letter for letter. Islam is the only religion that believes in a message common with all previous religions (in their original undistorted form). Islam believes that the original messages are all genuine messages from God and recognizes and reveres all their prophets.

The Quran says what means:

{Say [O Muslims], “We have believed in Allah, and whatever has been sent down to us, and whatever was sent down to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob and the Grandsons, and whatever was brought down to Moses and Jesus, and whatever was brought to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we are Muslims.} (Al-Baqarah 2:136)

I hope this answer clarifies the matter.

Thank you and please keep in touch.


About Dr. Nabil Haroun
He got the bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering, Cairo University, in 1960. He, then, got the PhD degree in ceramic materials from Sheffield University, England, in 1967. He worked as a professor in the University of King Abdul-Aziz in Saudi Arabia. Afterwards, he worked as an editor-in chief- for the English textbooks of the American Open (Islamic) University in Qatar in 2000. He also worked as the consultant editor of the Islamic Translation Department at Dar Al-Farouk for Publication in 2000-2003