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People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that they are on a better path than the peoples of other sects are on. How come could they be so sure?

As a Muslim, how can I be sure that my religion or sect/madhab/path is the rightful one? How can I be sure that there isn't any other religion sent by Allah which is better than Islam, but it is wrongly advertised so that I think that it is wrong?

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Ahmed Han, I would like to ask your same question on Christianity.SE if that is okay with you. I'll mention this question and a link to it, however I'll revise some of the wording for a Christian based question - if that is okay with you (I won't do this until you agree). –  user206 Aug 21 '12 at 17:28
    
@DanAndrews No problem. It is OK with me. –  hkBattousai Aug 21 '12 at 18:35
    
Thank you, you can watch the answers here too - HERE –  user206 Aug 21 '12 at 18:40
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@adopilot: Yes I will. They will probably close it, but why not :D –  user206 Aug 21 '12 at 18:59
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@adopilot Please find it here –  user206 Aug 21 '12 at 19:04

4 Answers 4

My answer in one word would be the Quran.

Quran: Miracle of Prophet(pbuh)

The only miracle that the Prophet(pbuh) left Muslims with is the Quran. So by reading and analyzing this Quran, you can assure yourself that you are on the right path.

A person can also assure themselves by implementing the Quran in their life and see the transformation it brings.

There are many miracles associated with Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) like splitting of the moon or that he(pbuh) had no shadow etc. But you will rarely see muslims talk about these miracles. The reason for this is that there is no strong empirical way of proving them.

A) Assure yourself by: Analysis of the Quran

The Quran repeatedly calls people "men of understanding" , this simply implies that we are expected to analyze the message of the Quran.

In one of the verses the Quran goes way out to challenge everyone to analyze the Quran.

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction (Quran 4:82)

Today you can pick up books of any religion and you will see many scientific errors and internal contradictions in them. But this is not the case with the Quran.

Many facts mentioned in the Quran (like motion of the sun etc) are "advance facts" because they are recent discoveries by humans but have been a part of the Quran since 1400 years.

B) Assure yourself by: Implementation of the Quran

When people implement the simple teaching of the Quran in their life, you will actually see transformations happen to individuals & societies.

For example:

1) Praying 5 times will reduce you chances of back or knee problems.

2) Eating halal will not transfer germs from blood of animals to you.

3) Fast in ramadhan to increase intestinal absorption.

4) Pray in the mosque as one ummah with others and it will reduce racism.

5) Dont drink alcohol, this will keep your brain healthy.

..and the list goes on

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I see this "advance facts" claim very often with Islam, but I have yet to see a compelling overview of these statements. Do you have a reference to such? Maybe I should ask it as a new question... Re no scientific errors in the Qur'an, that is a questionable claim, as is no contradictions –  Marc Gravell Aug 22 '12 at 7:00
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@MarcGravell yes its pretty unique to Islam. How many religions can actually say their books are intact even?. I will give you a few pointers to help you open questions. "suns motion"- 36:40,"big bang theory"-21:30 (not to be confused with darwins theory), "water cycle"- 30:48 and other verses too, "embryology" - 23:14 and other verses too. –  islam101 Aug 22 '12 at 7:16
    
I will look into the references you added, thanks. –  Marc Gravell Aug 22 '12 at 7:18
    
@MarcGravell rather than add comments to a topic which is totally unrelated to the suns orbit, just open a new question. –  islam101 Aug 22 '12 at 14:27

وَمَن يَعْشُ عَن ذِكْرِ الرَّحْمَنِ نُقَيِّضْ لَهُ شَيْطَانًا فَهُوَ لَهُ قَرِينٌ
And whoever is blinded from remembrance of the Most Merciful - We appoint for him a devil, and he is to him a companion.
وَإِنَّهُمْ لَيَصُدُّونَهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُم مُّهْتَدُونَ
And indeed, they avert them from the way [of guidance] while they think that they are [rightly] guided
Zukhruf 36-37

A Muslim is someone who always considers the probability that he may be in the wrong path. Someone who is so sure about being in the right path will only limit himself from improving further. Because there is no perfect person, and everyone have flaws.

Even the world of Islam doesn't have a rigid body. There are a lot of sects and madhabs. Every sect claim that they are the rightful ones, and they are the ones who are living in the rightful path.

There are some conflicting decisions between the sects on some matters. When two sects have contrasting opinions on a matter, one of them will be wrong for sure. Christianity, Judaism or Atheism may have a better decision on that matter compared to that wrong-thinking sect. Every person in a sect must consider this probability; but they don't. They think that what they found from their fathers is enough for them, and they are being happy with what they found from their fathers.

مِنَ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا كُلُّ حِزْبٍ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ فَرِحُونَ
[Or] of those who have divided their religion and become sects, every faction rejoicing in what it has.
Room 32


وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّبِعُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ قَالُواْ بَلْ نَتَّبِعُ مَا أَلْفَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءنَا أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ شَيْئاً وَلاَ يَهْتَدُونَ
And when it is said to them, "Follow what Allah has revealed," they say, "Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing." Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided?
Bakara 170

Being a Muslim is not joining to a group, or defining yourself as "Muslim". Someone cannot be a Muslim just by defining himself as a "Muslim". And someone may be a Muslim even if he is defining himself as a "non-Muslim"; this is theoretically possible. Someone can be defining himself as a "non-Muslim" because of the reason that he heard bad things about Islam on TV and he is brainwashed, but at the same time he could be living according to the will of God (even if he is not naming Him/It Allah) as much has he could according to his capacity and knowledge. Again: this is theoretically possible. In this case, we cannot say that he is a kafir (non-believer) just because of not joining our club named "Islam".

The reason why all people think they are on the right path is that, they think their religion as a club, and they think that their "club" always know the best and is always perfect.

However, being in the right path is not labeling yourself with the name of a religion. The word "Islam" simply means "submission" and used for naming the path of "submitting to Allah". The name "Islam" is not emphasized in Quran. 3/19 is usually translated as "the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam", but it could also be translated as "the religion in the sight of Allah is submission".

In the entire Quran, Allah does not call people to gather under a name or label. Throughout the history, Allah called people to obey the rules He inspired to His nabis, like inspired to Nooh, Ibrahiym, Ishaq, Yaqoob, Moosa, Isa, Muhammad. The meaning and aim of this right path was always "submission to Allah".

Labeling ourselves "Muslim" does not guaranty that we are on the path of "submission to Allah". It doesn't imply that. Being in the right path is nothing but:

وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاء وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَذَلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ
And they were not commanded except to worship Allah , [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer salat and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion.
Bayyina 5
("Salat" has a more general meaning, it is not only the practice we do as "prayer".)

We don't have any right to feel ourselves safe or on the right path. We must always consider the possibility of being wrong. We mustn't take decisions of a person, group, sect, group as absolute truths. We mustn't be "so sure" by labeling ourselves as "Muslim", what is important is how Allah labels us.

أَفَأَمِنُواْ مَكْرَ اللّهِ فَلاَ يَأْمَنُ مَكْرَ اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْقَوْمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ
Then did they feel secure from the plan of Allah ? But no one feels secure from the plan of Allah except the losing people.
Araf 99

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-1: Couple of unsupported claims. –  yasar Aug 21 '12 at 20:48
    
@ahmedhan I always love this: "And someone may be a Muslim even if he is defining himself as a "non-Muslim"; this is theoretically possible." I find it very interesting to me. –  user206 Aug 21 '12 at 23:05
    
@DanAndrews: There is a term for those who follow the Abrahamic monotheism - Hanif. I don't think they are 'Muslims' per se, especially if they choose to leave out the Pillars of Islam like Salat, fasting, etc. But the Quran does imply that such sincere, non-idolizing monotheists have a chance of going into heaven. –  Muz Aug 22 '12 at 18:25
    
@Muz Four of the Five are doable, however the fifth is a problem (Hajj) for two reasons. First, you cannot enter Mecca w/o being Muslim. Second, it is not safe or practical for an American to travel there. –  user206 Aug 22 '12 at 19:03
    
@Ahmed Han: +1. Good answer –  Mozibur Ullah Dec 10 '12 at 13:37

I have no better idea than to encourage thinking, using the intellectual power God has given to any of us!

This may vary for different people how they can find the truth, but for the people joining the StackExchange who are commonly educated with a good amount of knowledge I will suggest a gradual (step by step) but rigorous proof! Uneducated people may even never need such proofs, they have not learned and practiced to repeatedly ask why? Why? and Why? They easily trust in scholars, in parents, in family and friends, in news from radio and TV and internet, less suspect, less question, and more move with their hearts and hopefully good will. But for people here (and similar to them off this site), it is more than recommended to provide ourselves with reasons and rigorous proofs, otherwise today we are satisfied with an answer and tomorrow will be another challenge with a new question! We can classify the questions like this:

  • Those that are fundamental about religion: These cannot be answered from Quran or Hadeeth but merely reasons. For personal reasoning one can also trust in his/her inside feelings and understanding, although reason is reliable anyway in challenging with doubts.

  • Those that are fundamental to our sect but not religion: These can be addressed based on reasons and Quran (in Islam of course, and similarly other books for other religions) only, but still not hadeeth or scholarly opinions depending on assumptions from a specific sect.

  • Those that are neither fundamental to our religion nor to our sect: These can be addressed like most of the questions are answered now in Islam.SE, based on Quran, Hadeeth, reasoning, scholarly opinions and etc.

Among these three classes of questions the first two is of interest to the present question. The reasoning part of the answers is common in both of these classes. So let me clarify my idea about this issue:

When a religion/sect can be considered reasonably righteous?

If a religion/sect is to be the righteous one, the one that we are expected to admit currently, then it must be the true one, that is others should be the fake ones. There are two ways to determine a right answer among the available answers: the direct method and the indirect method. The direct method tries to prove why a religion/sect is righteous, usually difficult. The indirect method tries to get rid of the other wrong answers, the remaining one would be the right answer. That which method is best depends on the difficulty of what we are to prove directly and the number of available answers that should be proved to be wrong.

In Arabic, truth (حق) has the same root as Mutihaqqiq (متحقق) which implies "existed or occurred". Baatil (باطل) is somewhat its antonym, something that cannot exist or occur. Like in axiomatic mathematics that a system of mathematics is existable only if it is self-consistent (otherwise in a single system we will have e.g. two contradicting theories, so that based on a same assumption we will have two contradicting results, a statement and its contradiction will be equally considered true in one system, self-contradiction, quite illogical) anything that is to exist in a rational (logically existable) universe should undergo its logical rules, otherwise the universe would be self-contradicting and not existable any longer.

Let me bring you an example. If we know that an idol is not a god, we can equivalently call an idol a fake god (الها باطلا). According to Islam, e.g., God is the only one existing god, so He is Haqq (حق). And He is the only Haqq, Al-Haqq, so that nothing exists (independently) along with Him, and if we now exist our existences are dependent on His existence, we exist only to the extent He has given us existence (creation). Also equivalently, any existence in this universe is truth (حق) and should be rational (as it has been already occurred really in the rational universe, it is متحقق, if it was not rational it couldn't exist alongside the other existences there). An idol is truth as a piece of stone, wood or whatsoever, but is fake as a god. A stone being god is not rational (referring to the definition of a god, and a stone or sculpture or etc.) as it cannot exist as what it is not created to be. A man is truth as a man not a woman and vise versa. A cat is truth as a cat and not a dog, and infinitely many other examples.

Anything that exists is truth and truth is rational (based on the underlying logic of the universe which is container of such existences) and will never cause in any contradiction with any other existence in the same universe. To put it other way in this Existing universe only rational objects receive any credit for existence and they will exist only in their rational form, and any rationality needs self-consistency, and truth --in contrary to lie-- is always self-consistent. All these introduction will conclude one statement and that's it: "A true religion/sect cannot contain any paradox in it and cannot cause to any contradiction with any other existence in the same universe. Every aspect of truth should always go well with other aspects of the truth!" So let study our religion/sect. Is there any paradox in it that is not resolvable at all? [we should always bear in mind that our knowledge of truth is epistemical and probably lam in most of the occasions, so something that may be recognized as a paradox may be resolved sometimes later, but there are paradoxes that can be proved to be un-resolvable and such paradoxes can be the basis of the present discussion only!] If so, then there is a problem, we should try to find the source of the paradox and then revise our assumptions (some of our beliefs) for the whole system of our beliefs to seem rational again. If there was no way to revise our beliefs in the context of the religion/sect that we presently have then we should be brave enough to convert!

Let me bring you some examples of paradoxes:

  • God, the Omnipotent according to the definition, can do anything with no restriction! This is wrong, as He cannot create such a heavy stone that Himself cannot lift! So there should be a restriction on His creation. That he can create only the existable (rational according to the logical rules Himself has set for the universe we are talking about) things. He is then not omnipotent? Yes He is. But creation has two sides, one side the Creator and the other side the thing to be created. Each side that has a weakness the weakness would appear in the creation anyway. Allah has no weakness (according to the definition) but the thing to be created has weakness in that it is not existable, so the result would be God not creating it!

  • God, the omnipotent, can in principle be incarnated in a flesh, like Christians think about Jesus --peace be upon him-- or some other people may think about it in the Day, after this life. No, again similar to above, according to definition God cannot be limited to anything. His being limited will be an imperfection and contradiction to Him being a god.

  • Jesus --peace be upon him-- was a god (like the son of God or God Himself) but at the same time history tells us that he was worshiping father God, doing prayers and fast a lot. Again is a paradox, since a god according to definition is independent and cannot be affected by any other existence, so does not pray or fast.

and etc.

Islam.SE can be even more informative and useful for others if people can find, question and answer around such paradoxes. This will help all of us to reinforce our beliefs!

Godspeed

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I do not know what other religions think, but Muslims accept that Christianity and Judaism WERE rightful religions in their original forms when they was sent by Allah. After those ummats, once again Islam was sent by Allah as a correction to the man made corruptions entered into earlier sets of laws and to make perfected religion and completed Allah's favor .
Islam inherits some laws and rules of Judaism and Christianity. We in Islam, believe that original word of God sent to Christianity and Judaism has been changed too much by humans. This is why they are not valid today and that is why God send us mercy with the prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him).
If we put all (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) together, we have the majority of the population of world united on a common word, this is one of the many reason why we can be so sure that we are on the right tracks.

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+1 Adopilot, very nice answer and exactly how I personally feel about the big three monotheistic religions. I consider myself Christian, however I admire and respect Islam, and Judaism. –  user206 Aug 21 '12 at 17:31
    
@oshirowanen Can we change verb "upgrade" with "have perfected" as it is mentoined at Surat Al-Mā'idah (The Table Spread) ayah 3th quran.com/5/3 –  adopilot Aug 21 '12 at 20:11
    
That is appeal to popularity, a logical fallacy - it says nothing about any particular position being correct –  Marc Gravell Aug 22 '12 at 7:04
    
what does it means "After those ummats, once again Islam was sent by Allah"? -1 –  Möbius Aug 23 '12 at 13:34
    
@RobinHood Perhaps ummats is plural word of Ummah, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ummah As I understand English first there was Judaism , then Christianty after that Islam is came as final word. –  adopilot Aug 23 '12 at 14:04

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