Why did the three big religions originate in the Middle East?
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
I have a question pertaining to religions in general, not just Islam. Why do you suppose that all the big three religions originated in the Middle East rather than in Europe or the West? Surely, the West is far better at preserving documents (e.g. Holy Scriptures) than the Arabs and advocating the message of God. If God had revealed the Torah to the West there would not have been the need for the Bible, or the Quran as the original book would not have been corrupted. Would you not agree? I will appreciate your answer greatly.
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Why did the three big religions originate in the Middle East?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Maa-Sha-Allah. May Allah bless the brother for asking these interesting and thought provoking questions.
Firstly, we must realize that there are only three divine religions in the world today, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All the others like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, Jainism, etc. are all either mythology or movements started by man himself. The root of the three major religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is the belief in One God.
Your comment: Why did all the three major religions originate in the Middle East?
Islam or the deen of surrendering the will of man to the Will of Allah, was the religion which originated from the first man in this world, our father and the Prophet of Allah, Adam (a.s.). This way of life (Islam) was the deen of all the Prophets who ever came to this earth, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohamed (saws).
The Holy Quran mentions by name only about 24 messengers of Allah by name, and the fact is that they all originated in the Middle East. All of them were from Bani Israel except four prophets who were from the Arabs.. namely: Prophet Hud, Prophet Saleh, Prophet Shuaib, and finally Prophet Mohamed (saws).
Prophet Mohamed (saws) said in an authentic narration that Allah has sent in excess of 124,000 Prophets all over the world.
Allah did not name the balance 123,976 in the Quran and we do not know who or where they were sent as revealed by Allah in the
Holy Quran Chapter 40 Surah Gafir verse 78: O Prophet, We have sent many a Messenger before you. Of them there are some whose stories We have related to you, and of others We have not related.
But as muslims, it is an article of faith, that we believe in all the Prophets of Allah, because the fundamental message and guidance brought by all the Prophets of Allah was one and the same. That fundamental message as revealed by Allah to all the Prophets in the
Holy Quran in Chapter 11 Surah Hud verse 61: (The Prophet said): O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other deity than He. It is He Who has created you from the earth and made it a living place for you. So ask His forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance. Most surely our Lord is near at hand and answers prayers.
Thus we realize from the Quran, that not all the Prophets of Allah came to the Middle East. They were sent all over the world, to give the same above message. One more thing to note here is that all the other Prophets, except Prophet Mohamed (saws), came to give the message only to their people. Their message was not universal like the message of Prophet Mohamed (saws). If you read the Quran, all the other Prophets start their sermons in the Quran with the words: Ya Qaumi. (O, my people.), except for Prophet Mohamed, whose message always starts with the words: Ya ayyo han naas. (O mankind.).
The main reason the Quran only mentions the Prophets that originated in the Middle East, is that when Prophet Mohamed (saws) told them the stories of these Prophets, the people were already aware of their names, their message and their existence. The Quran cites the stories of various Prophets as examples, to warn the people, that Allah destroyed those communities before you that rejected the Message of Allah, and give good news to the believers. It was also to reconfirm to the Jews and Christians of the time (and even today), that Mohamed (saws) had not come with a new religion, but came to confirm the religion that they claimed they followed, that is, the religion of Abraham, and the Quran clearly states that Abraham was a muslim. The Quran also states that Mohamed (saws) was sent to confirm the message of the previous Prophets, and correct the corruptions these people had innovated/subtracted in their religions, according to their priests whims and fancies.
The rejecters of Mohameds (saws) message opposed everything that was revealed in the Quran, even though they knew the names and stories of the ancient Prophets from their own Scriptures. Can you even imagine what they would have said, if Prophet Mohamed (saws) told them the names and stories of the Prophets they did not recognize!
Our Lord, Allah is a Just Lord, and one of His attributes is Al-Aadil (The Just). He sent this message of One God to all communities in the world through his 124,000 messengers, who must have gone to every corner of the world in every age. He says in the Quran that He never judges people, until the message has been received by them and they are warned in clear terms. Only then, after receiving the message, if they reject it, then the punishment of Allah comes to the rejecters of the Truth.
Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 35 Surah Fatir verse 24: And there has been no nation which was not visited by a warner (messenger).
Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 17 Surah Bani Israel verse 15: And We do not inflict punishment on a nation until We have sent to them a Messenger.
I hope the above statements clarify the point that Allah did not send all the Messengers to the Middle East, but rather, He in His Divine Wisdom, sent messengers all over the world to proclaim the religion of Tauheed (One God).
Your comment: Surely, the West is far better at preserving documents (e.g. Holy Scriptures) than the Arabs and advocating the message of God?
Brother, we cannot look at todays time and judge what would have been better in our opinion. At the times of the Prophets of Bani Israel to the time of Prophet Mohamed (saws), the west were in the dark ages. The two super-powers of the known world of those times were the Romans, with their seat of power in Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Iranians. Thus, yes, it might seem today that the West is advanced in technology, but at those times, they were not even considered part of the known world. Columbus only discovered America in the 15th Century AD! Thus it would be unfair of us to judge Allahs Divine Wisdom of choosing His location to spread His Deen. Thus, even it retrospect, it would have been a disaster to send His final message to the West, who were not even part of the known world at those times, and Allah alone knows Best! But today, there are many muslims in the West who are spreading and advocating the Message of Allah. May Allah guide them and help them to advocate His Message, using the technology available today, to the whole of mankind. And again in retrospect, it seems that the Jews, Christians and Muslims have not done a bad job Out of the 6 billion population of the world today, I would guess that at least 3 billion claim to belong to one of the 3 major religions, whose root concept is: One God! If we look around and see today, Islam has spread to every nook and corner of the world .. from Alaska to Australia, and from Japan to Jamaica!!! And of course, today, with the help of the internet, the world has actually become a Global Village. Brother, it is upto Allah to make sure that His deen of Islam reaches every individual in the world. If one receives the message, and then rejects or ignores it, then he has wronged himself and has himself to blame.
Your comment: If God had revealed the Torah to the West there would not have been the need for the Bible, or the Quran as the original book would not have been corrupted?
First of all, we must try to comprehend the Power of Allah. Had He willed, nobody would have changed any of His Books in the least! Thus, if the Jews and the Christians changed their Scriptures, it is only because Allah allowed them to not that He was pleased with that, but it did happen with His permission, because nothing happens in this world without the Permission of Allah. Not even a leaf from a tree falls, but Allah has full knowledge and control over it! That is our Lord, Creator and Sustainer of everything in the heavens and the earth!
Now the question arises, why did Allah allow them to change their Books? Allah, sent so many Prophets to the Bani Israel, and they rejected most of them. Even when they accepted, they always did so with a heavy heart, as they always wanted to follow their lusts and fancies, and their pagan ways, and just did not want to follow the Straight Path (Siraat Mustaqeem). They degenerated to such a degree, that they even changed the words and the deen of Allah! Allah allowed them to change their Books and their deen, so that on the Day of Judgement, they would not have any excuse to present for themselves! Theirs (and ours) will be a tough reckoning indeed we got the message of Allah directly to us, and just look around and see what we have done with His Divine Message? We use it as a mubarak book and keep it for barakah! We read and read and read the Book, without understanding one word of it! We use it to start our ceremonies! We use it to read over somebody who dies! We use for all our rituals, thinking this is Islam. We do everything, except try to understand the Message!!
The Day of Judgement is not far from us. As every mans death, is the beginning of his judgement! And Allah is enough for taking retribution and revenge!
The only Holy Book revealed by Allah, which has remained unchanged is the final Message of Allah to mankind.. the Al-Quran. Not one letter has been changed since its inception, and it will remain so until the end of Time. That is not because, some modern or moderate muslims do not want to change it (because some of these intelligent people think that the laws of Islam are not valid today), but because Allah has taken it upon Himself to preserve His Last Message in its original form and promises in the Quran that this Book will never be corrupted.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 15 Surah Al Hijr verse 9: It is We (Allah), Who has sent down this Quran, and We will assuredly guard it against corruption.
Thus, today, it is the responsibility of the muslims worldwide to present Allahs deen to all mankind, as no more messengers are going to come till the end of Time. The brothers who recognize this responsibility are spending their time, effort and resources to fulfill this great responsibility Allah has bestowed upon the muslim Ummah, and their reward is in the safe custody of Allah Subhanah. The ones who ignore Allahs message, and takes it lightly, should rest assured that they will have to meet Allah one day for their accounting, where there will be no protector, no helper and no intercessor! Allah, will then Judge Justly between all His slaves, and reward the ones who believed and did good deeds, and take retribution with the ones who rejected and ignored the Message of the Lord of the Worlds The Al Quran!
May Allah make us of those who realize our responsibility as Muslims, and keep us away from doing the same deeds that the Jews and the Christians did to their religions and their Scriptures.
May Allah guide you and us all to the Straight Path of Islam.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,