The Meaning of Islam (1)



All praise is due to Allah, the Lord and the Cherisher of the Universe. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), his household, companions and the followers of the right guidance till the Day of Judgment.

Many religions of the world took their names from the names of their prophets/founders or tribes and this imposes a restriction on them in a way. Islam is a unique name and it is the name of the religion of all prophets and sincere believers in Allah, the Almighty God. Islam is an Arabic word whose root is 'slm'. This has two meanings, the first of which is submission or obedience and the second is peace. For instance, regarding the first meaning, Allah, the Exalted, says:

Behold! His Lord said to him (Abraham): "submit (thy will to Me)"; He said: "I have submitted (my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the universe". And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons and so did Jacob; "O my sons! Allah has chosen the faith for you; then die not except in the faith of Islam." Q2:131-2.

The Arabic words (verbs) used in the above verses are 'Aslim' (submit) and 'Aslamtu' (submitted). For the second meaning, Allah says:

Peace! A Word (of salutation) from a Lord Most Merciful! Q36:58.

Peace and salutation to Noah among the nations! Q37:79.

The Arabic word (noun) used in the above verses is 'salam' (peace). Therefore, ISLAM IS THE SUBMISSION TO THE COMMANDMENTS OF ALLAH IN ORDER TO HAVE PEACE. Some people call Islam Mohammedanism, this is very wrong because Allah says:

This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: so fear them not but fear Me.  THIS DAY HAVE I PERFECTED YOUR RELIGION FOR YOU COMPLETED MY FAVOR UPON YOU AND HAVE CHOSEN FOR YOU ISLAM AS YOUR RELIGION... Q5:3

And strive in His (Allah's) cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and under discipline): He has chosen you and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the religion of your father Abraham. It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (Qur'an); that the Apostle may be a witness for you and you be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer give regular Charity and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector, the Best to protect and the Best to help. Q22:78

Verily, the Religion before Allah is ISLAM (submission to His will): nor did the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) dissent therefrom except through envy of each other after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, then surely Allah is swift in calling to account. So if they dispute with thee say: "I have submitted my whole self to Allah and so have those who follow me."  And say to the people of the Book and to those who are unlearned:

"Do you (also) submit yourselves?" If they do they are in right guidance but if they turn back thy duty is to convey the Message; and in Allah's sight are (all) His servants". Q3:19-20

It is interesting to note that Judaism and Christianity were not known to Moses and Jesus (PBUT), respectively. These are names invented after them. Similarly, it is unfortunate that the Muslims are equally guilty of the same offence mentioned above in Q3:19 i.e. disputations leading to sects despite the warning of Allah, the Exalted:

O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam. And hold fast all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you) and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favor on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His grace you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the pit of fire and He saved you from it. Allah makes his signs clear to you: that you may be guided. Q3:102-3

Verily this (Islam) is My Way leading straight: follow it: follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from His (true) path: thus does He command you that you may be righteous. Q6:153.

Unless we Muslims return to the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and unite, we will remain the most oppressed in the world. We all know what is happening all over the world. Muslim nations do not assist or care for one another. The so-called super power nations usually form coalition army to fight weak Muslim countries on flimsy excuses. Allah says in the Qur'an:

"The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year) so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred; that is the straight usage. So wrong not yourselves therein and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together.  But know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves". Q9:36



Without mincing words, Islam does not recognize any other religions of the world as divinely revealed religion except Judaism and Christianity (which were originally Islam). The Qur'an also mentioned the Serbians but very little is known about them.

"Those who believe (in the Qur'an) and those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures) and the Christians and the Sabians and who believe in Allah and the last day and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve". Q2:62

The Jews and Christians are referred to in the Qur'an as the people of the Scriptures (or books). Just as man's intellectual and technological advancement has been gradual, so also has been the religion of Allah, the Almighty God. Allah started the revelation of His religion with Adam (PBUH) in form of a simple rule. This continued with Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (PBUT). The problem has been that people deviate from the original message preached and practiced by these men of God after they left the world. Allah, the Exalted, says:

The same religion has He (Allah) established for you (Muhammad) as that which He enjoined on Noah-that which We have sent by inspiration to thee-and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: Namely that you should remain steadfast in Religion and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah hard is the (way) to which thou calls them. (to follow)  Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him in repentance).  And they became divided only after knowledge reached them through selfish envy as between themselves.  Had it not been for a Word that went forth before from thy Lord (tending) to a Term appointed, the matter would have been settled between them: but truly those who have inherited the Book after them are in suspicious (disquieting) doubt concerning it. Q42:12-3

And our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH), on the unity of divinely revealed religion, said:

My similitude in comparison with the other prophets before me, is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. The people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say: 'Would that this brick be put in its place!' So I am that brick, and I am the last of the Prophets." (Bukhari 4.735 related by Abu Hurairah).



All praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has guided us to Islam, never could we have found guidance, were it not that Allah had guided us. Q7:43. One will have no option but say the above statement from the Holy Qur'an after a careful study of the beliefs of other religions. For instance, Christianity is anchored on the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (PBUH) and can be summarized as salvation by blood and the divinity of Jesus (PBUH). This doctrine is found among the teachings of St. Paul and not Jesus (PBUH). We read in the Bible that Jesus (PBUH) said that he came to fulfil the laws of Moses (Matthew5:17-19) and he said that the most important of all laws is that God is one God and you should love this God with all your heart and strength (Mark12:29-30). Also, we read in the Bible that no one can carry the sins of another (Deut24:16, Galantians6:3-5, Ezekiel18:19-20).

There are five fundamental pillars of Islam. We should note that Islam is a complete way of life and if Islam is considered as a house, only pillars can not make a complete house, there are floor, roof, doors, windows, etc. The five pillars of Islam can be found in the following words of Allah, the Exalted:

It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward East or West; but it is righteousness to BELIEVE in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Messengers; to spend of your substance out of love for Him for your kin for orphans for the needy for the wayfarer for those who ask and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in PRAYER and practice regular CHARITY; to fulfil the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all periods of panic.  Such are the people of truth the Allah-fearing. Q2:177.

"O you who believe! FASTING is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may (learn) self-restraint". Q2:183.

"And complete the HAJJ or Umrah in the service of Allah" Q2:196.

Abdullah bin Umar (RA) related that our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH) said:

Islam is built on five pillars. The first is to bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. To perform the five obligatory daily prayers. To give alms to the poor. To fast in the month of Ramadan and to perform Hajj. (Muslim)

The pillars are:

(1) Faith in Allah-Iman.
(2) Five daily Prayers-Salat.
(3) Alms to the poor-Zakat.
(4) Fasting in the month of Ramadan-Saum and
(5) Pilgrimage to Makkah- Hajj.

Islam is a complete way of life, it teaches us how to worship Allah, eat our food, sleep, use the toilet, marry, train our children, relate with people, bury the dead, etc. Our beloved prophet was reported to have said that whatever a Muslim does seeking the pleasure of Allah and begins it with Bismillah and ends it with Alihamdulillah will be considered as an act of Ibadah and there will be reward for it. The Prophet told his companions that they will be rewarded for having sexual intercourse with their wives. The companions were astonished and asked, How are we going to be rewarded for doing what we enjoy very much?" The prophet asked them: Suppose you satisfy your desires illegally, don't you think that you will be punished for that?" They replied, "Yes". He said: "by satisfying it legally with your wives you are rewarded for it.


First Pillar: FAITH (IMAN)

This is the bedrock of Islam: faith in oneness of Allah and that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the messenger of Allah. Every other good deeds depends on this and without it, other pillars are useless and will have no reward. According to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), faith is the truth about Allah that is established in the heart and all other deeds conform with it. This pillar should be well understood; the reader is referred to "The Fundamentals of TAWHEED (Islamic Monotheism)" by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips. It is important to mention that the greatest sin in Islam is Shirk-associating partners with Allah, this should be avoided in all its ramifications. Allah says:

Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgives anything else to whom He pleases; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed".Q4:48.

Say O you (Muslims): "We believe in Allah and the revelation given to us and to Abraham, Isma`il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes and that given to Moses and Jesus and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord we make no difference between one and another of them and we bow to Allah (in Islam)

There are six articles of faith:

1. Believe in oneness of Allah, the Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and Provider.
2. Believe in all messengers of Allah without any discrimination among them starting with Adam and ending with Muhammad (PBUT). That all of them preached oneness of Allah.
3. Believe in the revealed books of Allah. Taurat to Moses, Injeel to Jesus, Zaboor to David and the Qur'an to Muhammad (PBUT) to mention but a few. Of all these books, only the Qur'an is in its original form others have been tampered with.
4. Believe in angels of Allah. That they are spiritual and splendid beings whose nature requires no food, drink or sleep.  And most importantly, each person has two angels watching him. " Behold two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings) learn (and note them) one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him ready (to note it)". Q50:17-18.
5. Believe in the Day of Judgment, the day of reward and punishment. Allah will judge everyone by his/her deeds in this world and will reward him/her with Paradise or punish him/her with Hell. And that this world and all that are in it will come to an end.
6. Believe in pre-destination whether good or bad. That one should take whatever happens to him/her after he/she has tried his/her best because man proposes and Allah disposes.



The doctrine of original sin and that Jesus (PUBH) died for the sin of the world is totally rejected by Islam. This is against the principle of justice. What about the prophets and people before Jesus (PBUH)? The Bible itself testify that holy men of God lived before Jesus (PBUH), Abraham (PBUH) is one of them. Can God take someone with original sin as His friend? In Islam, every child is born sinless and the child is considered sinless till the time he/she is matured. Before maturity, religious acts are not obligatory on children but one is expected to train them religiously so that it will be easy for them to practice when they become matured. Jesus (PBUH) himself said that children should be allowed to come close to him because the kingdom of God is for them. Can the kingdom of God be for people with inherited sin? Even man-made laws recognize minors and cannot convince a person for the crime he/she is innocent. Allah, the Exalted, says:

Nay is he not acquainted with what is in the books of Moses. And of Abraham who fulfilled his engagements? Namely that no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another; That man can have nothing but what he strives for, That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight; Then will he be rewarded with a reward complete. Q53:36-41

Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil it is against his own soul: nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His servants. Q41:46

Therefore, in Islam, sin and righteousness are not transferable. Every person will be rewarded for his/her righteous deeds or be punished for his/her sins. Then on that Day (Day of Judgment) not a soul will be wronged in the least and you shall but be repaid the meeds of your past deeds (Q36:54). However, any person who does righteous deeds and encourages others to do it will have additional reward for his/her efforts in encouraging others to do good deeds. Likewise, any person that does evil and encourages others to do evil will get additional sin for his/her bad example of spreading evil. Whoever recommends and helps a good cause will have the reward thereof, and whoever recommends and helps an evil cause shares in its burden: and Allah has power over all things. Q4:85

To be continued..