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Questions and Answers on Islamic Doctrine

Chapter 3: Belief in the Divine Scriptures

Question 21: How can you tell a true religion from a false one?

Answer 21: All the religions that God revealed through His prophets are true.  Any discernible corruption in these religions is a result of human interpolation.  People had been entrusted with the preservation of these religions, but failed to fully care for this trust.  We can mention here a few criteria that can help distinguish a true religion from a false one.

1. Examine the core contents of the religion both in terms of the foundational texts and how they have been transmitted from generation to generaion.  See if there is internal consistency in the texts.  Do the prescriptions of the religion uplift man or oppress him?

2. Examine the methods of transmission in terms of their reliability and the claims of transmission.

3. Look into the life of the founder of the religion (the prophet), if applicable.

4. Look into the lives of the disciples of the prophet.

5. Is the religion monotheistic or polytheistic?

6. Are the religion’s teachings in clear contradiction with known facts about the world?