The reality (Al-haqeeqa) is the reality of the deen the deen of the Lord of the worlds: i.e. that about which all of the prophets and messengers have agreed, though each of them had their own law and program. The word shir’a in the following verse is the same in meaning as the word shari’a i.e. law. Allah said:

“And for each (i.e. of the prophets) we assigned a law (shir’a) and a program (minhaaj).” Qur’an 5:48

“And then we put you on the straightest (shari’a) of affairs, so follow it, and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know. They will be of no use to you with Allah. The oppressors are only allies of one another, and Allah is the ally of those who have taqwa.” Qur’an 45:18-19

The “program” (minhaaj) here is the path, Allah said:

“If only they kept straight on the path, we would have sent down to them water in plenty, so to test them therewith, and whoever turns away from the reminder of his Lord He will send him to a severe punishment.” Qur’an 72:16- 17

So, the shari’a is like the banks of the river, and the minhaaj (program) is like the course which it follows. The sought after goal is the reality of the way of Islam, and that is the worship of Allah alone and with no partners – this is the haqeeqa (reality) of Islam and it has no other reality. It is to actively submit to Allah the Lord of the worlds and not to submit to anything else. Whoever submits to other than Allah is an associationist (mushrik), and Allah “…does not forgive that any partner be associated with Him” (Qur’an 4:48). Whoever does not actively submit to Allah and is too arrogant to worship Him is among those about whom Allah said:”

“Verily those who are too arrogant to worship Me will enter the hell-fire humiliated.” Qur’an 40:60

The way of Islam is the way of the early prophets and messengers as well as the later ones. Allah’s statement:

“Whoever seeks other than Islam as his way will never have it accepted from him.” Qur’an 3:85

is general and applies to all places and all times.

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The religion of Ibrahim, Ya’qub, the tribes, Musa, ‘Isa, and the Disciples – all of them – was the way of Islam, which is the worship of Allah alone and with no associates. Allah said, quoting the Prophet Nuh:

“O, my people, if my position and my reminding you of the signs of Allah is so outrageous to you, know that I have depended fully on Allah, so gather all of your forces and your associates (which you associate in worship with Allah), and give me no breaks. And if you turn away (remember that) I have not asked you for any compensation, my reward is only upon Allah, and I have been ordered to be among those who submit (to Allah).” Qur’an 10:71-72

“And who rejects the tradition of Ibrahim (pure monotheism) except for one who has immersed himself in foolishness. We have selected him (i.e. (Ibrahim) in this world, and he is, in the next life, among the righteous. When his Lord said to him: “Submit”. He said: “I submit to the Lord of the worlds.” And Ibrahim counselled his children with it, as did Ya’qub: O, my children, Allah has selected for you the way, so do not die except that you are in a state of submission.” Qur’an 2:130-132

“And Musa said to his people: O, my people, if you believe in Allah, then depend fully on him, if truly you have submitted.” Qur’an 10:84

When the sorcerers of the people of Pharaoh realized the truth of the message of Musa, they said:

“Our Lord, pour onto us patience, and take our souls in a state of submission (i.e. Islam)” Qur’an 7:126

Allah also narrates the statement of the Prophet Yusuf in the Qur’an:

“Take my soul in a state of submission (Islam), and join me with the righteous.” Qur’an 12:101

And Bilqis (the “Queen of Sheba”) said when she became Muslim:

“I have submitted, along with Sulaiman to Allah, Lord of the worlds.” Qur’an 27:44

And Allah said:

“It was We who sent down the Taurah in which there was guidance and light. With it the prophets who had submitted to Allah ruled and judged for the Jews and for their Rabbis and their scholars of law.” Qur’an 5:44

The Disciples (of ‘Isa) said:

“We believe in Allah and bear witness that we have submitted (i.e. are Muslim)” Qur’an 3:52

Thus, the way of the prophets is one, even though their laws varied, as is recorded in the two books of Muslim and Bukhari, where it is reported that the Prophet said:

“We, the prophets, have a single way (deen)” And, Allah said:

“He has ordained for you as your way that with which He counselled Nuh, and that which we have sent down to you, and that with which we counselled Ibrahim, Musa, and ‘Isa: to establish the deen, and not to become divided therein. This to which you call weighs heavily on the associationists.” Qur’an 42:13

“O, Messenger (), eat of the clean things, and do good works, verily, I am all- knowing of that which you do. And this nation of yours is one nation and I am your Lord, so protect yourself from Me (i.e. from Allah’s punishment by obedience to Him). Then, they divided their affair up between them into many pieces, each group rejoicing with what they have.” Qur’an 23:51-53