Islam and Muslims
The word "Islam" is an Arabic word which means "submission to the will of God".
This word comes from the same root as the Arabic word "salam", which means
"peace". As such, the religion of Islam teaches that in order to achieve true
peace of mind and surety of heart, one must submit to God and live according to
His Divinely revealed Law.
The most important truth that God revealed to mankind is that there is nothing
divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God, thus all human
beings should submit to Him. The word "Muslim" means one who submits to the will
of God, regardless of their race, nationality or ethnic background.
Being a Muslim entails willful submission and active obedience to God, and
living in accordance with His message. Some people mistakenly believe that Islam
is just a religion for Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth. Not
only are there converts to Islam in every corner of the world, especially in
England and America, but by taking a look at the Muslim World from Bosnia to
Nigeria, and from Indonesia to Morocco, one can clearly see that Muslims come
from many various races, ethnic groups and nationalities. It is also interesting
to note that in actuality, more than 80% of all Muslims are not Arabs - there
are more Muslims in Indonesia than in the whole Arab World!
So though even though it is true that most Arabs are Muslims, the large majority
of Muslims are not Arabs. However, anyone who submits completely to God and
worships Him alone is a Muslim.
Continuity of the Message
Islam is not a new religion because "submission to the will of God", i.e. Islam,
has always been the only acceptable religion in the sight of God. For this
reason, Islam is the true "natural religion", and it is the same eternal message
revealed through the ages to all of God's prophets and messengers.
Muslims believe that all of God's prophets, which include Abraham, Noah, Moses,
Jesus and Muhammad, brought the same message of Pure Monotheism. For this
reason, the Prophet Muhammad was not the founder of a new religion, as many
people mistakenly think, but he was the Final Prophet of Islam. By revealing His
final message to Muhammad, which is an eternal and universal message for all of
mankind, God finally fulfilled the covenant that He made with Abraham, who was
one of the earliest and greatest prophets.
Suffice it to say that the way of Islam is the same as the way of the prophet
Abraham, because both the Bible and the Qur'an portray Abraham as a towering
example of someone who submitted himself completely to God and worshipped Him
without intermediaries. Once this is realized, it should be clear that Islam has
the most continuous and universal message of any religion, because all prophets
and messengers were "Muslims", i.e. those who submitted to God's will, and they
preached "Islam", i.e. submission to the will of Almighty God.
The Oneness of God
The foundation of the Islamic faith is belief in the Oneness of Almighty God -
the God of Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus. Islam teaches that a pure belief in
One God is intuitive in human beings and thus fulfills the natural inclination
of the soul. As such, Islam's concept of God is straightforward, unambiguous and
easy to understand.
Islam teaches that the hearts, minds and souls of human beings are fitting
receptacles for clear divine revelation, and that God's revelations to man are
not clouded by self-contradictory mysteries or irrational ideas. As such, Islam
teaches that even though God cannot be fully comprehended and grasped by our
finite human minds, He also does not expect us to accept absurd or demonstrably
false beliefs about Him.
According to the teachings of Islam, Almighty God is absolutely One and His
Oneness should never be compromised by associating partners with Him - neither
in worship nor in belief. Due to this, Muslims are required to maintain a direct
relationship with God, and therefore all intermediaries are absolutely
forbidden. From the Islamic standpoint, believing in the Oneness of God means to
realize that all prayer and worship should be exclusively for God, and that He
alone deserves such titles as "Lord" and "Savior".
Some religions, even though they believe on "One God", do not make all of their
worship and prayers for Him alone. Also, they also give the title of "Lord" to
beings that are not All-Knowing, All-Powerful and Un-Changing - even according
to their own scriptures. Suffice it to say that according to Islam, it is not
enough that people believe that "God is One", but they must actualize this
belief by proper conduct.
In short, in the Islamic concept of God, which is completely based on Divine
Revelation, there is no ambiguity in divinity - God is God and man is man. Since
God is the only Creator and continual Sustainer of the Universe, He is
transcendent above His creation - the Creator and the creature never mix. Islam
teaches that God has a unique nature and that He is free from gender, human
weaknesses and beyond anything which human beings can imagine. The Qur'an
teaches that the signs and proofs of God's wisdom, power and existence are
evident in the world around us. As such, God calls on man to ponder over the
creation in order to build a better understanding of his Creator.
Muslims believe that God is Loving, Compassionate and Merciful, and that He is
concerned with the daily affairs of human beings. In this, Islam strikes a
unique balance between false religious and philosophical extremes. Some
religions and philosophies portray God as just an impersonal "Higher Power" who
is uninterested, or unaware, of the life of each individual human. Other
religions tend to give God human qualities and teach that He is present in His
creation, by being incarnate in someone, something - or even everything.
In Islam, however, Almighty God has clarified the truth by letting mankind know
that He is "Compassionate", "Merciful", "Loving" and the "Answerer of Prayers".
But He as also emphasized strongly that "there is nothing like unto Him", and
that He is high above time, space and His creation. Finally, it should be
mentioned that the God that Muslims worship is the same God that Jews and
Christians worship - because there is only one God. It is unfortunate that some
people mistakenly believe that Muslims worship a different God than Jews and
Christians, and that "Allah" is just the "god of the Arabs".
This myth, which has been propagated by the enemies of Islam, is completely
false since the word "Allah" is simply the Arabic name for Almighty God. It is
the same word for God which is used by Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians.
However, it should be clarified that even though Muslims worship the same God as
Jews and Christian, their concept of Him differs somewhat from the beliefs of
other religions - mainly because it is based completely on Divine Revelation
For example, Muslims reject the Christian belief that God is a Trinity, not only
becaue the Qur'an rejects it, but also because if this was God's true nature, He
would have clearly revealed it to Abraham, Noah, Jesus and all of the other
The Arabic world "Al-Qur'an" literally means "the recitation". When used in
regards to Islam, the word Qur'an means God's final message to mankind that was
revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The Qu'ran, sometimes spelled Koran, is the
literal the word of God - as it clearly says time and time again. Unlike other
sacred scriptures, the Qur'an has been perfectly preserved in both its words and
meaning in a living language.
The Qu'ran is a living miracle in the Arabic language; and is know to be
inimitable in its style, form and spiritual impact. God's final revelation to
mankind, the Qur'an, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23
years. The Qur'an, in contrast to many other religious books, was always thought
to be the Word of God by those who believed in it, i.e. it wasn't something
decreed by a religious council many years after being written. Also, the Qu'ran
was recited publicly in front of both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities
during the life of the Prophet Muhammad.
The entire Qur'an was also completely written down in lifetime of the Prophet,
and numerous companions of the Prophet memorized the entire Qur'an word-for-word
as it was revealed. So unlike other scriptures, the Qur'an was always in the
hands of the common believers, it was always thought to be God's word and, due
to wide-spread memorization, it was perfectly preserved.
In regards to the teachings of the Qur'an - it is a universal scripture, and it
is addressed to all of mankind, and not to a particular tribe or "chosen
people". The message that it brings is nothing new, but the same message of all
of the prophets - submit to Almighty God and worship Him alone. As such, God's
revelation in the Qur'an focuses on teaching human beings the importance of
believing in the Unity of God and framing their lives around the guidance which
He has sent.
Additionally, the Qur'an contains the stories of the previous prophets, such as
Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus; as well as many commands and prohibitions from
God. In modern times in which so many people are caught up in doubt, spiritual
despair and "political correctness", the Qur'anic teachings offer solutions to
the emptiness of our lives and the turmoil that is gripping the world today. In
short, the Qur'an is the book of guidance par excellence.
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)
Unlike the founders of many religious, the final prophet of Islam is a real
documented and historical figure. He lived in the full light of history, and the
most minute details of his life are known. Not only do Muslims have the complete
text of God's words that were revealed to Muhammad, but they have also preserved
his saying and teachings in what is called "hadith" literature.
This having been said, it should be understood that Muslims believe that the
Prophet Muhammad was only a man chosen by God, and that he is not divine in any
way. In order to avoid the misguided wish to deify him, the Prophet Muhammad
taught Muslims to refer to him as "God's Messenger and His Slave". The mission
of the last and final prophet of God was to simply teach that "there is nothing
divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God", as well as being
a living example of God's revelation.
In simple terms, God sent the revelation to Muhammad, who in turn taught it ,
preached it, lived it and put it into practice. In this way, Muhammad was more
that just a "prophet" in the sense of many of the Biblical prophets, since he
was also a statesman and ruler. He was a man who lived a humble life in the
service of God, and established an all-encompassing religion and way of life by
showing what it means to be an ideal friend, husband, teacher, ruler, warrior
For this reason, Muslims follow him not for his own sake, but in obedience to
God, because Muhammad not only showed us how to deal with our fellow human
beings, but more importantly, he showed us how to relate to and worship God,
worship Him in the only way pleasing to Him. Like other prophets, Muhammad faced
a great deal of opposition and persecution during his mission. However, he was
always patient and just, and he treated his enemies well.
The results of his mission were very successful, and even though his mission
started in one of the most backward and remotes places on earth, within a
hundred years of the death of Muhammad, Islam had spread from Spain to China.
The Prophet Muhammad was the greatest of all of God's prophets, not because he
had new doctrines or greater miracles, but because the results of his mission
have brought more human beings into the pure and proper belief in the One True
God than any other prophet.
The Islamic Way of Life
In the Holy Qur'an, God teaches human beings that they were created in order to
worship Him, and that the basis of all true worship is God-consciousness. Since
the teachings of Islamic encompass all aspects of life and ethics,
God-consciousness is encouraged in all human affairs. Islam makes it clear that
all human acts are acts of worship if they are done for God alone and in
accordance to His Divine Law. As such, worship in Islam is not limited to
The teachings of Islam act as a mercy and a healing for the human soul, and such
qualities as humility, sincerity, patience and charity are strongly encouraged.
Additionally, Islam condemns pride and self-righteousness, since Almighty God is
the only judge of human righteousness. The Islamic view of the nature of man is
also realistic and well-balanced. Human beings are not believed to be inherently
sinful, but are seen as equally capable of both good and evil. Islam also
teaches that faith and action go hand-in-hand. God has given people free-will,
and the measure of one's faith is one's deeds and actions.
However, human beings have also been created weak and regularly fall into sin.
This is the nature of the human being as created by God in His Wisdom, and it is
not inherently "corrupt" or in need of repair. This is because the avenue of
repentance of always open to all human beings, and Almighty God loves the
repentant sinner more than one who does not sin at all. The true balance of an
Islamic life is established by having a healthy fear of God as well as a sincere
belief in His infinite Mercy.
A life without fear of God leads to sin and disobedience, while believing that
we have sinned so much that God will not possibly forgive us only leads to
despair. In light of this, Islam teaches that: only the misguided despair of the
Mercy of their Lord. Additionally, the Holy Qur'an, which was revealed to the
Prophet Muhammad, contains a great deal of teachings about the life hereafter
and the Day of Judgment. Due to this, Muslims believe that all human beings will
ultimately be judged by God for their beliefs and actions in their earthly
In judging human beings, Almighty God will be both Merciful and Just, and people
will only be judged for what they were capable of. Suffice it to say that Islam
teaches that life is a test, and that all human beings will be accountable
before God. A sincere belief in the life hereafter is key to leading a
well-balanced life and moral. Otherwise, life is viewed as an end in itself,
which causes human beings to become more selfish, materialistic and immoral.
Islam for a Better Life
Islam teaches that true happiness can only being obtained by living a life full
of God-consciousness and being satisfied with what God has given us.
Additionally, true "freedom" is freedom from being controlled by our base human
desires and being ruled by man-made ideologies. This stands in stark contrast to
the view of many people in the modern world, who consider "freedom" to be the
ability to satisfy all of their desires without inhibition.
The clear and comprehensive guidance of Islam gives human-beings a well-defined
purpose and direction in life. In addition to being members of the
human-brotherhood of Islam, its well-balanced and practical teachings are a
source of spiritual comfort, guidance and morality. A direct and clear
relationship with Almighty God, as well as the sense of purpose and belonging
that ones feels as a Muslim, frees a person from the many worries of everyday
life. In short, the Islamic way of life is pure and wholesome.
It builds self-discipline and self-control thought regular prayer and fasting,
and frees human-beings from superstition and all sorts of racial, ethnic and
national prejudices. By accepting to live a God-conscious life, and realizing
that the only thing that distinguishes people in the sight of God is their
consciousness of Him, a person's true human dignity is realized