If Allah had willed he would have sent only one divine religion; why did he allow the formation of three different religions?

The Details of the Question
If Allah had willed he would have sent only one divine religion; why did he allow the formation of three different religions?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The word Islam is used in several senses. However, the special name of the religion that was sent to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is also Islam. Therefore, the name of the religion sent to our Prophet and the one sent to Abraham is different. These religions have different names but their main issues are the same. However, there are differences in details.

All prophets, from Adam to Muhammad (pbuh), conveyed the true religion to people. The principles of belief, which are the fundamentals of the religion, always remained the same.  However, the issues related to worship and worldly affairs, which we call shari’ah, and some decrees changed based on the necessities of each period and people beginning from Adam to Muhammad (pbuh). God Almighty sent a different shari’ah to every ummah taking into consideration the living styles and interests of the people of each era. The following is stated in verse 48 of the chapter of al-Maida:

“…To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way...”

For instance, Jews can worship only in synagogues and Christians only in churches; however, we, Muslims, can worship anywhere. The suet of cattle and sheep was forbidden in the shari’ah of Moses but is permissible in our religion.

This issue is stated as follows in Risale-i Nur Collection:

“Sacred Laws change according to the ages. Indeed, in one age different prophets may come, and they have come. Since subsequent to the Seal of the Prophets, his Greater Shari'a is sufficient for all peoples in every age, no need has remained for different Laws. However, in secondary matters, the need for different schools has remained to a degree.” (Sözler (Words), p. 485)

“For very many of these are beneficial at one time yet harmful at another, and very many medicines were efficacious in mankind’s infancy yet ceased being remedies in its youth. This is the reason the Qur’an abrogated some of its secondary pronouncements. That is, it decreed that their time had finished and that the turn had come for other decrees.” (İşarât-ül İ’caz (Signs of Miraculousness), p.50)

Main decrees are the same for all prophets; they do not change and they are not abrogated. For instance, the principles of belief are the same in all heavenly religions, and worship is present in all of them. However, there are some differences in the secondary decrees (details) of worship. There were changes in the decrees like the form and times of the prayer and the direction of the qiblah.

Since in the divine books except the Quran, the name of the religion that the followers of those books is not mentioned and since the names Judaism and Christianity were coined afterwards and since the followers of those prophets were called like that afterwards, we think that the meaning of the phrase “the Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His will)” in the Quran is understood better. The religion that Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) conveyed to people has decrees peculiar to it but the fact that it is insistently emphasized in the Quran that this book also confirms what the previous prophets brought shows that what they conveyed was generally within the sphere of Islam but, due to divine wisdom, the perfect form of these teachings was attained when Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) was sent as a prophet. Then, the only way to attain the consent of Allah is to believe in all of the things that He sent to us.

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