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Islam and Other Religions

John L. Esposito

Do Muslims believe Islam is the only true religion?

Islam, like Christianity, is a global religion with a universal mission, calling all of humankind to worship the one true God. Historically, Muslims have believed that God sent this revelation one final time to Muhammad and the Muslim community. The community has an obligation to spread the faith: “We have sent you only to proclaim good news and to warn all mankind” (Quran 34:28).

Islam teaches that, although God first made a covenant with Moses and the Jews, and then with Jesus and the Christians, God made a final covenant with Muhammad and the Muslim community. While the Quran and Muslim belief acknowledge that God sent many prophets and messengers, Muslims, like Jews and Christians before them, believe that they possess the fullness of God's message and truth. They also believe that other faiths have an imperfect, corrupted, and distorted version of God's word due to unintentional and purposive alterations of God's revelation by the Jewish and Christian communities. Thus, many Muslims believe that just as God sent the Gospel revelation to correct the distorted version of God's revelation in the Torah, so too did God reveal the Quran to correct the corrupted text of the Bible and the Torah. The Quran is God's final revelation to humanity, uncorrupted and pure. Therefore the ummah is responsible for sharing this message with the world, calling all people to worship the one true God and join in this community of believers.

From earliest times, Muslims of all walks of life have engaged in propagating their faith (dawa, the call) wherever they went. Merchants as well as religious leaders and soldiers spread the faith as the Islamic community expanded politically. As in the past, today many Muslims stand ready to be a witness to their faith through preaching, writing, example, and providing financial support to build mosques and schools, publish materials on Islam, and assist those agencies that seek to convert non-Muslims.

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