Abraham (peace be upon him) is a key figure in history, an honored and respected prophet by many of today’s major religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. These are all called Abrahamic religions, but did Abraham have three religions, or only one? What was Abraham’s religion? What was his creed and what did he call for? In this article, I will answer those questions showing that although the three mentioned religions are called Abrahamic, yet Abraham was neither a Christian nor a Jew, but rather a Muslim who believes in the Islamic creed and a role model for it.
First, what does it mean to be a “Muslim” and what is the Islamic creed? Islam is an Arabic word describing the action of “submitting” and a Muslim is the one doing the action of Islam. That word form is like the Arabic version of the English suffix (-er). So, a Muslim is one who does Islam and submits, but submits to whom?
Submitting to the Creator of Heavens and Earth, Allah, and believing in Him as the only God and the only One worthy of worship. This is what Islam refers to in the religious context. The name Allah summarizes this as it means “The God”.
So Islam as an act, a creed and a religion is much older than the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 1400 years ago. Islam is the belief in the One and only God, The Creator of all, submitting to Him, obeying His commands and worshiping only Him. This is the very first religion of humanity and it is the creed and message of all the prophets since the Father of humans and the very first prophet, Adam (peace be upon him) and all the prophets who came after him. What may change from one prophet to another is the teachings, commands and laws that Allah specify for each of them, but the creed of truth is the message that every one of them has called for.
We may talk about that in another article, but now let’s go back to Abraham and see that he is one of the proofs and role models for this pure creed. Abraham was a man from ancient Iraq who as a boy had a thoughtful mind. He saw people worshiping all kinds of deities; some worshiped idols they made by their own hands of stones and wood that can’t benefit nor harm yet they take them as gods; others worshiped the stars, the Sun or the Moon. He even met a king claiming to be a god and had people worshiping him.
Yet the young Abraham knew that something isn’t right about all this. All of those people worship things that are created, whether it is a thing they made with their own hands, a glorified star they see when they look up which is just a part of the created universe, or a human king whose own humanity and limits testify that he is not a god. So, Abraham left his people to search and seek the truth, seek “The God”; the one who created the sky and all its stars, the one who created the Sun and the Moon and made them rise up and set, the one who sets the laws that this whole world obeys, the one who created all humans, kings or not, the one who actually deserves to be called “The God” and the one who deserves to be worshiped and whose orders are to be followed.
Abraham challenged all of those around him including his own father who was a famous idol-maker and those who worship stars, the Sun or the Moon. He even faced the king who claimed to be god and claimed that he could give life and cause death. So, Abraham told him that God causes the sun to rise from the east and challenged him to cause it to rise from the west.
Abraham was steady in all those situations and other ones too. He did not fear the crowds that persecuted him nor the tyrant king that thought that he could decide whether people live or die as he wishes, because Abraham knew that his fate isn’t in any of their hands, but in the hands of the One who created him. Abraham knew that it is He who made him survive all that as a reward for his pure belief and not associating any partners with The God. Abraham purely used to seek Allah’s refuge and aid in whatever may come across his path with full trust, showing clear obedience and submission and trust in the One True God, The Creator of Heavens and Earth, believing and worshiping him alone, and that is what it means to be a Muslim.
Abraham wasn’t just any regular Muslim; what Abraham did sets the goals for everyone, he is the role model for all humans.
“And who would be averse to the religion of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself. And We had chosen him in this world, and indeed he, in the Hereafter, will be among the righteous.”https://quran.com/2:130
Abraham was neither a Christian nor a Jew. If Abraham was alive, he would have rejected the teachings that put man as equal to God and would have rejected not staying true to God’s commands.
“Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists.”https://quran.com/3/67
In many places in the Quran, the story of Prophet Abraham is told with its different details and here is one of them: https://quran.com/26/69-104
Abraham is a Muslim role model Allah has put to us so that we may look up to him and see someone who actually stands for the truth.