The word islam means submission. The total submission to the will of one god: God, the Creator of everything seen and unseen. The word muslim means one, who submits, to that one god. God tells us in the Quran and in the Torah and in the New Testament to worship God alone and not to worship false idols besides. It was the first commandment given to Moses. In the Quran God also tells the followers of islam not to divide themselves into sects.
Chapter 6, verse 159
Those who divide themselves into sects do not belong with you. Their judgement rests with God then He will inform them of everything they had done.
Another very important verse in the Quran tells us, that in faith, we must appraise it wisely with our reason and senses, we must verify everything we are told.
Chapter 17, verse 36
You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.
God sends prophets with new scriptures, and messengers to convey the message in those scriptures, to every congregation, so that we can never say, ‘I did not know.’ Or plead ignorance because of language barriers or lack of education. Everything we need to know is in the Quran, nothing is left out and it has been translated for all to read.
God could have made all of us believe in and follow the same faith, but no one is forced to follow any religion (10:99). We are told, ‘there is no compulsion in religion, the right way is now distinct from the wrong way’ (2:256). It is up to each of us to decide the path we wish to take, no one forces us.
I made the decision, a very long time ago, that I would never follow anyone’s faith except my own. I went on a very long journey, that is still continuing, to reach the spiritual place that I am at today. I know that so long as I hold true to what I believe, and that so long as I do not suffer from that gut wrenching feeling I get when I know something is not right, I am being guided.
The following verse from the Quran is composed twice and it gives me great hope, because we are told, ‘anyone’. God does not say, ‘just Muslims, just Jews, just Christians’, God says, ‘anyone who believes in God’.
Chapter 2, verse 62
Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who believes in God, and believes in the Last Day, and leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
Chapter 5, verse 9
Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, and the Christians; any of them who believe in God and believe in the Last Day, and lead a righteous life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
God sees and hears everything. God knows the number of the grains of sand and He knows when a leaf falls from a tree. There is nothing that goes unnoticed by God. God does not want our religion to be a hardship for us. God wants us to willingly move forward towards Him.
My religion is between my soul and its creator. I try to live my life the best way I can, from moment to moment with God in mind. I do not answer to any body. I will not justify my belief in God to any one. I fear no one. I submit only to God.
Chapter 6, verse 116
If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.