The Meaning of Islam
“ISLAM” is derived from the Arabic root salaama peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law
Everything and every phenomenon in the world, other than man and jinn is administered totally by God-made laws,they are obedient to God and submissive to His laws, i.e. they are in the state of Islam. Man possesses the quality of intelligence and choice, thus he is invited to submit to the good will of God and obey His law, i.e. become a Muslim. Submission to the good will of God, together with obedience to His beneficial law, i.e. becoming a Muslim, is the best safeguard for man’s peace and harmony.
Islam dates back to the age of Adam and its message has been conveyed to man by God’s Prophets and Messengers including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Islam’s message has been restored and enforced in the last stage of the religious evolution by God’s last Prophet and Messenger Muhammad.
The word Allah in the Arabic language means God, or more accurately The One and Only Eternal God, Creator of the Universe, Lord of all lords, King of all kings, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. The word Allah to mean God is also used by Arabic speaking Jews and Christians.
Articles of Faith in Islam
> Allah , the One and Only God
> Messengers and Prophets of God
> Revelations and the Quran
> The Angels
> The Day of Judgement
> Qadaa and Qadar
> The purpose of life
> Status of Human Beings
> Acceptance of Faith
Allah , the One and Only God
A Muslim believes in ONE GOD, Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and Provider. God has neither father nor mother, neither sons nor was He fathered. None equal to Him. He is God of all mankind, not of a special tribe or race.
God is High and Supreme but He is very near to the pious thoughtful believers; He answers their prayers and helps them. He loves the people who love Him and forgives their sins. He gives them peace, happiness, knowledge and success. God is the Loving and the Provider, the Generous, and the Benevolent, the Rich and the Independent, the Forgiving and the Clement, the Patient and the Appreciative, the Unique and the Protector, the Judge and the Peace. God’s attributes are mentioned in the Quran.
God creates in man the mind to understand, the soul and conscience to be good and righteous, the feelings and sentiments to be kind and humane. If we try to count His favours upon us, we cannot, because they are countless. In return for all the great favours and mercy, God does not need anything from us, because He is Needless and Independent. God asks us to know Him, to love Him and to enforce His law for our benefit and our own good.
Messengers and Prophets of God
A Muslim believes in all the Messengers and Prophets of God without any discrimination. All messengers were mortals, human beings, endowed with Divine revelations and appointed by God to teach mankind. The Holy Quran mentions the names of 25 messengers and prophets and states that there are others. These include Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Their message is the same and it is Islam and it came from One and the Same Source; God, and it is to submit to His will and to obey His law; i.e., to become a Muslim.
Revelations and the Quran
A Muslim believes in all scriptures and revelations of God, as they were complete and in their original versions. Allah , the Creator, has not left man without guidance for the conduct of his life. Revelations were given to guide the people to the right path of Allah and sent down to selected people, the prophets and messengers, to convey it to their fellow men.
The message of all the prophet and messengers is the same. They all asked the people of their time to obey and worship Allah and none other. Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad who were revealed their own book of Allah , were sent at different times to bring back straying human beings from deviation to the right course.
The Quran is the sacred book of the Muslims. It is the last book of guidance from Allah , sent down to Muhammad, peace be upon him, through the angel Jibraeel (Gabriel). Every word of it is the word of Allah . It was revealed over a period of 23 years in the Arabic language. It contains 114 Surahs (chapters) and over 6000 verses.
The Quran deals with man and his ultimate goal in life. Its teachings cover all areas of this life and the life after death. It contains principles, doctrines and directions for every sphere of human life. The theme of the Quran broadly consists of three fundamental ideas: Oneness of Allah , Prophethood and life after death. The success of human beings on this earth and in the life hereafter depends on obedience to the Quranic teaching.
The Quran is unrivalled in its recording and preservation. The astonishing fact about this book of Allah is that it has remained unchanged even to a dot over the past fourteen hundred years. No scholar has questioned the fact that the Quran today is the same as it was revealed. Muslims till today memorize the Quran word by word as a whole or in part. Today, the Quran is the only authentic and complete book of Allah . Allah is protecting it from being lost, corrupted or concealed.
There are purely spiritual and splendid beings created by Allah . They require no food or drink or sleep. They have no physical desires nor material needs. Angels spend their time in the service of Allah . Each is charged with a certain duty. Angels cannot be seen by the naked eyes. Knowledge and the truth are not entirely confined to sensory knowledge or sensory perception alone.
The Day of Judgement
A Muslim believes in the Day of the Judgement. This world as we know it will come to an end, and the dead will rise to stand for their final and fair trial. On that day, all men and women from Adam to the last person will be resurrected from the state of death for judgement. Everything we do, say, make, intend and think are accounted for and kept in accurate records. They are brought up on the Day of Judgement.
One who believes in life after death is not expected to behave against the Will of Allah . He will always bear in mind that Allah is watching all his actions and the angels are recording them.
People with good records will be generously rewarded and warmly welcomed to Allah ’s Heaven. People with bad records will be fairly punished and cast into Hell. The real nature of Heaven and Hell are known to Allah only, but they are described by Allah in man’s familiar terms in the Quran.
If some good deeds are seen not to get full appreciation and credit in this life, they will receive full compensation and be widely acknowledged on the Day of Judgement. If some people who commit sins, neglect Allah and indulge in immoral activities, seem superficially successful and prosperous in this life, absolute justice will be done to them on the Day of Judgement. The time of the Day of Judgement is only known to Allah and Allah alone.
Qadaa and Qadar
A Muslim believes in Qadaa and Qadar which relate to the ultimate power of Allah . Qadaa and Qadar means the Timeless Knowledge of Allah and His power to plan and execute His plans. Allah is not indifferent to this world nor is He neutral to it. It implies that everything on this earth originates from the one and only Creator who is also the Sustainer and the Sole Source of guidance.
Allah is Wise, Just, and Loving, and whatever He does must have a good motive, although we may fail sometimes to understand it fully. We should have strong faith in Allah and accept whatever He does because our knowledge is limited and our thinking is based on individual consideration, whereas His knowledge is limitless and He plans on a universal basis. Man should think, plan and make sound choices, but if things do not happen the way he wants, he should not lose faith and surrender himself to mental strains or shattering worries.
The purpose of life
A Muslim believes that the purpose of life is to worship Allah . Worshipping Allah does not mean we spend our entire lives in constant seclusion and absolute meditation. To worship Allah is to live life according to His commands, not to run away from it. To worship Allah is to know Him, to love Him, to obey His commands, to enforce His laws in every aspect of life, to serve His cause by doing right and shunning evil and to be just to Him, to ourselves and to our fellow human beings.
Status of Human Beings
A Muslim believes that human beings enjoy an especially high ranking status in the hierarchy of all known creatures. Man and woman occupy this distinguished position because they alone are gifted with rational faculties and spiritual aspirations as well as powers of action. Man and woman are not a condemned race from birth to death, but dignified beings potentially capable of good and noble achievements.
A Muslim also believes that every person is born Muslim. Every person is endowed by Allah with the spiritual potential and intellectual inclination that can make him a good Muslim. Every person’s birth takes place according to the will of Allah in realization of His plans and in submission to His commands. Every person is born FREE FROM SIN. When the person reaches the age of maturity and if he is sane, he becomes accountable for all his deeds and intentions. Man is free from sin until he commits sin. There is no inherited sin, and no original sin. Adam committed the first sin, but he prayed to Allah for pardon and Allah granted Adam pardon.
A Muslim believes that man must work out his salvation through the guidance of Allah . No one can act on behalf of another or intercede between him and Allah . In order to obtain salvation, a person must combine faith and action, belief and practice. Faith without doing good deeds is as insufficient as doing good deeds without faith.
Also, a Muslim believes that Allah does not hold any person responsible until he has shown him the Right Way. If people do not know and have no way of knowing about Islam, they will not be responsible for failing to be Muslim. Every Muslim must preach Islam in words and action.
Acceptance of Faith
A Muslim believes that faith is not complete when it is followed blindly or accepted unquestioningly. Man must build his faith on well-grounded convictions beyond any reasonable doubt and above uncertainty. Islam ensures freedom to believe and forbids compulsion in religion (one of the oldest synagogues and one of the oldest churches in the world are in Muslim countries).
A Muslim believes that the Quran is the word of Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. The Quran was revealed from Allah on various occasions to answer questions, solve problems, settle disputes and to be man’s best guide to the truth. The Quran was revealed in Arabic and it is still in its original and complete Arabic version today. It is memorized by millions.
A Muslim also believes in a clear distinction between the Quran and the Traditions (called Hadiths) of the Prophet Muhammad . Whereas, the Quran is the word of Allah , the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (hadiths – i.e. his teachings, sayings, and actions) are the practical interpretations of the Quran. Both the Quran and the Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad are the primary sources of knowledge in Islam.