Like Love, Peace, Joy, Well-being, Islam is not a mental construct nor is it local in any sense, form or fashion. Islam, Like Love or Peace, is a state of Being; An inner state that inevitably translates to outer reality. Like Love or Peace, Islam is Universal. Like Love or Peace, Islam is the state in which nature abides and in which every human is born in.
The Quran categorically confirms, repeatedly, the universality of its message (Al-Baqarah is replete with such references and so are numerous other chapters of the Quran). It repeats the fact that Islam is a way of being that is not novel or unique to Muhammad but rather that Islam is the state and way of being of nature in its entirety and of every messenger of the Eternal, therein referred to as Allah (Al-Baqarah).
All the character examples in the Quran (Adam, Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Mary, Moses’ mother, the Pharaoh’s wife, Suleiman, the Queen of Sheba, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus and several others) are described as acknowledging and surrendering to the Oneness of the Eternal Creator; the One Creator who imbued all creation with His spirit.
In Al-Baqarah, the Quran points out the false claims of previous people of the book/religions (Jews and Christians mainly) who taunted others (in the same manner Muslims do today) that unless one was a Jew or Christian they would not go to Heaven. This of course implies that heaven’s access is controlled by certain rules that belonged to a man made (albeit divinely inspired) institutionalized religion. The Quran dispels these false claim, assuring those who were concerned by the claims that as long as one embraced the Oneness of the Creative Source, abided in Unity Consciousness and duly respected the validity of all Divine revelation, past and present (and, impliedly, future), they would reside in Heaven and have no fear.
Note, the Quran does not ever mention that one must physically die to access the state of heaven – in fact there are several references in the shorter chapters of the Quran that indicate Heaven is a spiritual state that may be attained and lived as reality right here on Earth, as did Adam and Eve. Their ‘fall from Grace’ was simply an ejection from their Heavenly state of being; they always existed on Earth (Al-Baqarah) from which they were created and to which they return.
It is congruent therefore, if there is no distinction, of religion, creed or otherwise, in the eyes of the Creative Source, that the only valid distinction or preference of one over the other in the eyes of the Creative source is the spiritual embodiment of Unity consciousness (less accurately translated as piety).
It is through Unity consciousness – the awareness of consciousness in and as all of Life – that one truly appreciates the Oneness of all Life and is able to fully surrender to that Oneness.
‘Surrender’, doesn’t imply loss or enslavement of any kind; one is not defeated or reduced but rather empowered just as a stream that joins a lake or a river that joins the seas. Though the stream or river may lose its perceived separate form, it gains power, capacity, Life force etc. though the joining with the larger source. Likewise, through surrender, the fragmented self/ego ceases operation and becomes whole again; Oneness with all of Life is restored.
Note, the self/ego ceases operation. Surrender is not an assertive ‘doing’ but rather a release of or a letting go of a prior holding out of an illusory separateness.
In this state, one appreciates that all ‘others’ are extensions of the One Creative Life Force. Thus, serving any part of Life is serving All of Life including one’s self (Al-Nisaa). Service becomes natural just as the birds sing and flowers fragrantly bloom.
One realizes that in the web of life to serve one is to serve all and to serve the collective is ultimately to serve one’s self as part of that collective. The circle of Life is always complete.