Fundamentally, Islam means complete submission or surrender to the will of Allah.

Islam teaches that there is only one God, who is called Allah in Arabic. He has created all and is above all things in the universe, and there is no one and nothing which is like Him or can be compared to Him. God loves us, and for our guidance and benefit has sent his commandments and laws through persons specially chosen by Him who are called prophets or messengers of God.

Islam also means:
a) peace
b) the way to achieve peace
c) submission or surrender

Since the time of the emergence of the first man on this earth, God in his mercy has raised from among men numerous prophets or messengers, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David and Jesus. The last of all the messengers was Prophet Muhammad (peace be on them all).

Islam is not a new religion. It consists of the same basic message which God has given in all true religions, and all prophets brought this same message for our guidance. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last prophet of God, taught us the full and complete meaning o Islam (surrender and commitment to the will of God) through his words, his actions and the revealed Book, the Holy Quran.

The articles of faith in Islam is called iman (belief), thus:

  • aa-man-tu : I solemnly believe
  • bil-laa-hi : in Allah
  • wa ma-laa-i-ka-ti-hi : and in His angels
  • wa ku-tu-bi-hi : and in His books
  • wa ru-su-li-hi : and His prophets
  • wal-yau-mil aa-khir : and in the Day of Judgement
  • wal qad-ri-khai-ri-hi wa shar-ri-hi-mi-nal-laa-hi : and the power of doing actions good and bad comes from Allah
  • ta ‘aa-la : the most High
  • wal ba’-thi ba’-dal-maut : and each in the life after death

A Muslim must believe in the above faith completely. He cannot have a partial belief. True faith or iman can be termed as “Your heart believes, your lips confess and your entire body acts towards obedience to Allah.”

When asked, “What is Islam?” Prophet Muhammad said, “Abstinence from prohibitions and obedience to the commandments of God.

In other times, when asked, “What is one of the most excellent virtues of Iman (Faith)?“He said, “An amiable disposition.” When asked, “Which is the most excellent Hijrat (Renunciation)?” He said, “Abandoning that which God disapproves.

What is Islam?” someone asked prophet Muhammad. He said, “Purity of speech and charity.

The Prophet said: “Religion is easy, and no one exerts himself too much in religion but it over-powers him; so act right and keep to the mean and be of good cheer and ask for Divine help in the morning and in the evening and during a part of the night.” (Narrated by Abu Huraira, refer Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 39, or click here)

The Prophet was one day sitting outside among the people when a man came to him and asked, “What is Iman (faith)?” He said: “Iman is that you believe in Allah and His angels and in meeting with Him and in His Messengers and that you believe in being raised to life after death.” Then he asked, ‘What is Islam?” The Prophet said: “Islam is that you shall worship Allah and not associate any with Him and that you shall keep up prayer and pay the zakat as ordained and fast in the month of Ramadan.” The man then asked, “What is Ihsan (goodness)?” The Prophet said: “That you worship Allah as if you see Him for if you see Him not, surely He sees you.”

The man who questioned was Angel Gabriel in human form, and this conversation has been recorded by Abu Hurairah. (Refer Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 300)

[1] Essence Of Islam. (1999). Published by The Muslim Converts Association of Singapore.
[2] Gary Miller (Abdul-Ahad Omar). (1999).The Basis of Muslim Belief. Published by The Muslim Converts Association of Singapore.

Image Sources: Gamze Bozkaya

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