Introduction to Islam
What Does ‘Islam’ Mean?
“Islam” is an Arabic term which means to submit one’s will to the will of God. Islam is a monotheistic religion that teaches that there is only one divine being, one supreme Creator of the universe. Muslims believe that Islam is the true religion of God revealed to humanity. It is a universal religion that can be practiced by anyone at any time and in every place. The central concept of this way of life is total submission to God.
Islam is a complete, holistic way of living that covers every aspect of life. Islam leaves no stone unturned as it teaches mankind on how to behave in every area of life: individual, social, material, moral, ethical, legal, cultural, political, economical, and global.
What is a Muslim?
A Muslim is anyone who submits their will to the one and only true God who is worthy of worship, “Allah” (God). A Muslim also believes in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last and final prophet of God. By submitting oneself and worshiping Allah (God), a Muslim attains peace through obedience to his commandments. Peace is a natural result of submitting to the will of Allah.
For a person to become a Muslim and accept Islam as their faith, they must say and believe in the following phrase:
لآ اِلَهَ اِلّا اللّهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوُل اللّهِ
La ilaha illa Allah. Muhammad rasool Allah
This sentence literally means “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.” The sentence also means “There is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger.” The moment a person says this phrase and begins to act upon it they become a Muslim.
Who is Allah?
Allah is the name God Almighty has given Himself as is mentioned many times in the Holy Quran.
Say: He is Allah, (the) One; Allah, the Eternal; He did not beget (give birth) and He was not begotten (given birth to); And there has never been anyone equal to Him. Qu'ran, Chapter 112, Verses 1 - 4
Muslims believe He has no partners in divinity, which includes having no son, and nothing in the universe is similar to Him. Muslims believe that Allah is the Originator and Sustainer of the universe and that he created human beings for only one purpose: to worship Him alone.
To worship anything besides Allah is considered a grave sin. The reward for worshiping Him alone and following his path is goodness in this world and Paradise in the next .
“Truly, Allah will admit those who believe and do righteous good deeds to Gardens underneath which rivers flow (in Paradise), wherein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls and their garments therein will be of silk.”
Qur'an, Chapter 22, Verse 23
The Holy Quran
A core belief taught in Islam is that human beings are unique from among God’s creation. We have the ability to think freely and choose to behave in any way we wish. In order to communicate and guide mankind, Allah sends Prophets and Messengers with scriptures to teach mankind about the true message.
Muslims believe that many scriptures have been revealed to mankind in the past. They include the Torah sent to Moses, the Psalms sent to David, and the Gospel sent to Jesus Christ (peace be upon them all).
The Holy Qur’an is the last revelation from Allah sent to all of mankind and it was revealed to his final messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Muslims believe that Islam is not a new religion, but rather a continuation and completion of the message revealed to the Prophets of the past. Allah teaches in the Quran:
Say (O Muhammad): “We believe in Allah and in what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismail, Ishaq (Isaac), Ya’qub (Jacob) and Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya’qub (Jacob)] and what was given to Musa (Moses), ‘Isa (Jesus) and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between one another among them and to Him (Allah) we have submitted (in Islam).Quran, Chapter 3, Verse 84
And in another verse Allah tells us that Islam is the final message for mankind:
“This day have I (Allah) perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”.
Quran, Chapter 5, Verse 3
The Holy Qur’an contains 114 chapters and it was revealed over 1,400 years ago to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Muslims believe that it is the verbatim word of Allah; it has not been tampered, edited, or changed in any way throughout those years. The Qur’an we have today is the same Qur’an that was originally revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him). This scripture covers the major themes of life such as piety, worship, belief, morals, good deeds, sins, death, the afterlife, and much more.
Who is Prophet Muhammad?
From the beginning of mankind until the present day Allah has sent a Prophet to every nation to guide them to the truth. They were sent to teach their people to worship God alone and not to ascribe any divine partners to Him.
The names of these Prophets may sound familiar to you. They include Adam, Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismail, Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob), Jesus, Muhammad, and many others (peace be upon them all).
Muslims believe Jesus to be a Prophet of God rather than a divine being or son. We will cover this difference in faith between the Muslims and Christians in a future guide.
He was born in Makkah in the year 570, about six centuries after Jesus. He grew up to be known as an honest and truthful person throughout the city. When he reached the age of 40 he was chosen to be a Prophet of Allah.
He was chosen at a time when mankind had turned away from the original message of Islam that the previous Prophets had come with. Muslims believe the Gospel, Torah, and other scriptures were distorted by people after their Prophets had passed away.
Allah sent the archangel Gabriel to reveal the Qur’an to Muhammad (peace be upon him) to spread the correct, unadulterated teachings of Islam to the four corners of the globe. Allah gave Muhammad (peace be upon him) the ability to carry on the message successfully and today 1.6 billion believe in this faith. They are grateful for the blessing of calling themselves Muslim.