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OnIslam.net

Is Islam a Tribal Religion?

Question and answer details
Salma
Is Islam a Tribal Religion?
2008-05-20
Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. Would it be wrong to describe Islam as a seventh-century tribal religion? Jazakum Allahu khayran.
Ahmad Kutty
Answer
Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


Sister, thank you for your question. Allah commands Muslims to refer to the people of knowledge to get themselves well-acquainted with the teachings of Islam, as well as all aspects of life. May Allah help us all keep firm on the Right Path; amen.


Islam, the message of monotheism, is a universal religion. It was revealed to suit every age and every place. It is the last message sent to humankind and the religion that Almighty Allah wants for all humans until the Day of Judgment.


The Prophet of Islam is the seal of all Prophets; he was sent to the whole world.


Almighty Allah says,
(Blessed is He Who has revealed unto His slave the Criterion [of right and wrong] that he may be a Warner to the worlds) (Al-Furqan 25:1).


Almighty Allah also says,(Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets) (Al-Ahzab 33:40).


In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Canada, stated,

You have raised an important question. Let's reason together to come to a sound understanding. By its very definition, a tribal religion is limited to a tribe; it does not have a universal message. 

The teachings of a tribal religion are limited to a specific tribe in a specific time or place. The members of this religion would generally be those who were born into a particular tribe. They may often claim for themselves a special status, which they refuse to accord to others.

 

Islam is different from all of the above: Its message is addressed to all of humanity. Allah addresses Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, (Say: "O humankind, surely I am the Messenger of Allah to you all — (the messenger of) Him to Whom belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and earth. There is no [true] god but He; He brings to life and causes to die; therefore, believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him so that you may find guidance") (Al-A`raf 7:158).

 

Islamic teachings are also for all times and places. Among its universal teachings are the Oneness of God (Allah) and the oneness of the human family.

Furthermore, Islam teaches justice and compassion as overriding values to govern all human interactions. Its core beliefs, besides Oneness of Allah and oneness of the human family, include accountability before Allah and belief in the final judgment when Allah will judge all based on their faith and good works.

 

Thanks to its universal teachings, Islam's followers come from all the known racial and ethnic stocks that make up the humanity. It is also worth mentioning that although Islam originated in Arabia, more than 80 percent of modern-day Muslims are non-Arabs.

In the past, Islam successfully built a rich civilization, which was far more pluralistic and tolerant than all of the previous civilizations. It united various races and ethnicities into a universal brotherhood based on the belief in the Oneness of Allah and prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
 

 

In conclusion, Islam is a universal religion that transcends all barriers of tribe, race, color, and language.

Excerpted with slight modifications from Islam.ca.

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