“The word Islam means “Submission” or “Surrender” to the Will of God. It derives from the root word “salam,” meaning peace.
In the Quran, God defines that the only purpose for which He created mankind is to Worship Him. Islam recognizes that humankind has free choice in whether to obey or disobey God, but ultimately we will be held accountable to God in the next life for the choices that we make in this life.
God sent Prophets to teach mankind how to worship Him; starting with Adam, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the last of the messengers, Muhammad (peace be upon them all). The Islamic position is that all of these prophets came with the same message, that there is no deity worthy of worship except the One True God, known in Arabic as Allah.
Islam recognizes the close relationship between the body and soul. Whereas the body originates from the earth and has a defined period of life on this earth, the soul originates from God and does not die. Islam encourages the individual to focus on keeping the soul healthy, through the remembrance, obedience and worship of God. There should be a correct balance in strengthening the soul and not over-indulging with the pleasures of the body.
Islam is a natural way of life that encourages one to give due attention to their relationship with God and His creation. Islam teaches that it is through the doing of good deeds and seeking the pleasure of God that souls find true happiness and peace. It is in this context that the word Islam derives from the root word “salam,” or peace. In addition the only way a being can find true peace, tranquility and serenity is through the innate recognition of their initial origin. Since God is the Originator of all things, including the creation; it is only natural to yearn for a connection with the Original Source of creation. Once the soul comes to the realization of its purpose, there will naturally be a sense of fulfillment and direction.” (WhyIslam.org)
Since the meaning of Islam is, ‘peaceful submission to the Will of God’; understanding the term “Will of God” is important. God has many Divine Attributes and Characteristics. Part of his attributes is the ‘One who Wills’. This attribute encompasses the fact that, everything that happened in the past, everything that is happening now, and everything that will happen in the future is already known to God. That every factor that happened in life happens because He determined it to happen.
For example; we do not have a say in being born. We just ‘become’.
“His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, “Be,” and it is.” Quran 36:82
When we are born, we do not have a choice in what color hair we want, what color eyes, skin, or even our facial features.
When we are born, the moment we take our first breath; we do not have a choice in whether we want to breath or not. It just happens.
Since God had already predetermined all that will happen, this means, every single breath we took since the moment we were first born we were and still are submitting to the Will of God.
So by default and by definition, every single child born into this world is considered a Muslim because the first heartbeat they experience, the first gasp of air they breath; they are willingly accepting the Will of their Lord. A Muslim is; one who peacefully submits to the Will of God, and since the child is sinless, unknowing, innocent, and on top of that they are willingly submitting to the Will of God they are considered a Muslim. It isn’t until the growing child is raised into another belief that they are no longer in tune with the origin of their actuality.
Furthermore, all of the Prophets of God, Messengers of God, and Men of God who taught the Oneness of God to their given nations are considered Muslim. Since each Prophet and Messenger, preached Submission to the Will of God they were by essence teaching the true basis of the meaning of Islam.
Allah named the final teaching of mankind Islam.
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” Quran 5:3
Islam is collective and inclusive; not selective and exclusive. Islam is a teaching and reminder for all of mankind.
“We sent down the Quran in truth, and in truth has it descended: And we sent thee but to give glad tidings and to warn mankind.” Quran
“If they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then they are your brothers in religion.” Quran 9:11
“Say O people of the Book come to an agreement between us and you: That you shall worship none but God and that we shall ascribe no partners to him and that none of us shall take others for Lords beside God.” Quran 3:64
“It is nothing but a reminder to the world.” Quran 68:52
Islam to me; is not just a set of rules, regulations, and commandments. The most annoying phrase I have ever heard is that Islam is based on “Rituals”. Don’t ever say that word in front of me (I’m just kidding, do what you want, who am I?) But still, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t. Whenever that word is said, regardless of its actual meaning; I imagine a tribe of dancing men and women around a bonfire yelling gibberish chants and weirdly scripted lines once recited by their ‘ancient ancestors’.
Islam is not based on blind rituals. That could not have been far from the truth.
Let me put it this way for you. When someone finally recognizes who their Lord and Creator is. When man finally comes to the realization of the One who created them, and their actual origin… nothing else would matter. That self-realization is what will make worship feel like heaven on earth. So yes, you may see Islam as having so many “rules” and “obligations” or whatever you want to call it. But once a given soul makes that necessary connection with their Creator and Maker through worship, the feeling that this connection entails will make nothing else matter.
The framework of Islam is such that it touches upon all aspects of lively circumstances, it isn’t just based on personal tenets and worship. Islam covers aspects from the individual; to the mind, body, heart, and soul; to family, marriage, gender relations, economy, earthly calamities, Divine and Natural Law, society, proper governance and rule of law. It touches upon all of these factions while securing and upholding all natural, moral and ethical guidelines.
The fundamental Law or Shari’a of Islam is based on the Quran and Sunnah. The Quran being the Divine Word of God, and the Sunnah being the teachings, actions, and silent approvals of His Last Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him).
Islam teaches to follow the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah in its exact accordance. If a situation arises where the solution is not present in the Quran, one must look into the Sunnah. If the Sunnah does not satisfy that then one must generally look into consensus scholarly agreement. If consensus agreement of scholars is not found for the given situation, then Qiyas or (analogy) according to the Quran and Sunnah must be made. This analogy can be made by comparing the situation to one from the Quran and Sunnah, and following the solution it presents.
There are five pillars to the teachings of Islam.
The first pillar is;
To withhold the Testimony of Faith; that there is only One God and Muhammad is his final Messenger
to pray the five daily prayers
to give in charity
to fast the month of Ramadan
to perform the pilgrimage (hajj) a tleast once during lifetime
A common misconception is that, “Islam was born in Saudi Arabia”, or that “Islam was founded by Muhammad”.
Islam (Peaceful Submission to the Will of God) was a teaching delivered from God to men chosen by God. These men preached the Oneness of God. They came with glad tidings, signs, and a warning. The good news was that there is a God, and that mankind is not all alone in this world. The warning was; once the given nation witnessed the signs and miracles, the prophet or messenger came with, if they refuse there would be a consequence and the reprimand would be hell.
From the first man to walk this earth; Adam (peace be upon him), to Noah, Abraham, David, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them all)… up until the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Islam was their mission. They were sent to their given nations as examples to learn from. As men of knowledge and teachers who came with clear proof and guidance. These men were a blessing to their people from God. They shared the same mission, the same core beliefs, and the same tenets: Islam. They worshiped one Lord and prayed to one Lord, knowing that their destination will be back to Him in the end game: they were Muslim.