What is Islam?
What is Islam?
The word “Islam” comes from the root form of the word meaning peace and submission. Islam means the voluntary surrender to the commands of God. One who voluntarily submits his or her will to the commands of God is a Muslim.

The Quran says what means: {[…] this day I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your way of life […]} (Quran 5:3)

Islam is not a new religion. It is the same truth that God revealed to all His prophets throughout history. Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy and forgiveness that should not be associated with acts of violence against the innocent.

Islam is a total way of life. It covers everything from sleeping to waking, lying down to sitting and standing, as well as eating and drinking and sex. Every action performed by a Muslim, one who follows Islam, should be an act of worship of God.

In Islam we call God “Allah”. The act of worship should follow the practice of the last Prophet of Allah, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Allah says in the Quran what means: {As for those who strive hard in Our [cause], We will surely guide them to Our paths; for certainly Allah is with those who do right.} (Quran 29:69)

The Quran is the record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad. It was memorized by Muhammad and then dictated to his companions. The text of the Quran was cross-checked during the life of the Prophet. The 114 chapters of the Quran have remained unchanged through the centuries.

The Quran’s Core Message;

In essence, the message of the Quran is to bring to our attention that we were not created in vain, and that we will be held responsible for our conduct on this earth. In the Quran, God indicates that He created the human to be His trustee on earth. This is actually an honor given by God to the human being, dignity to be the trustee of God even though He doesn’t need our worship and our obedience. It is for our own benefit.

The message of the Quran is to say or believe that guidance that is coming from the Creator of the universe is the ultimate guidance, for God has the ultimate wisdom, power, and knowledge. And God alone is the ultimate authority and should be obeyed without qualification, obedience that is based not just on fear or reward but on the love of God.

It indicates again that one should look forward, like you mentioned for example in terms of daily life, one should look after the Quran for guidance. The Quran generally gives broader guidance in most aspects within concepts, and there are some details there, but normally to the broader guidance so as to conduct our lives according to the will of God. And the Quran finally indicates that since a human being is a free agent, he or she can choose to obey God or disobey, to believe or reject faith.

Then that kind of privilege has a responsibility that goes with it because ultimately we have a responsibility to return back to God. There will be resurrection. There will be life after death in which people would be rewarded, or otherwise, according to their conduct.

So that in a way can be put as a capsule or a capsulized nature or summary on the Quran, because it is in my humble belief as a Muslim that all prophets of God have taught this exact same core message as the Quran taught.

Islam is to testify or witness that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger: “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasulu Allah.” This is the basic article of faith. When one says it and means it, one becomes a Muslim.

One is making a declaration that one intends to voluntarily submit one’s life to the commands of Allah following the example, or practice, of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

It requires firm belief in the heart and this firm belief is then confirmed by the tongue in speech. One’s actions show how firmly this belief is rooted in the heart. This testimony frees the hearts and souls from being enslaved to creation and from following other than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who are not guided by God.

There are five basic fundamentals or pillars of Islam:

a) The testimony (declaration) of faith (This consists of the two sentence declaration described above.)

b) Prayer five times daily (Prayer – Muslims perform five obligatory prayers each day. Islamic prayers are a direct link between the worshiper and God. Islam has no hierarchical authority or priesthood. A learned Muslim chosen by each congregation leads the prayers.)

c) Fasting the month of Ramadan (Fasting – Every year in the Islamic lunar month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from first light until sunset. The fast is another method of self-purification.)

d) Obligatory purification of wealth (almsgiving) (Zakat – One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God and that wealth is held in trust by human beings. Zakat, or charitable giving, “purifies” wealth by setting aside a portion for those in need. This payment is usually two and a half percent of one’s capital.)

e) Pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime if one is able (Pilgrimage – A pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, is an obligation for those who are physically or financially able.)

Allah says what means: {Righteousness is not that you turn your faces to the East and West [in prayer] but righteousness is [the quality] of the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Books and the Prophets.} (Quran 2:177)

There are also six articles of faith:

1. Belief in Allah
2. Belief in His angels
3. Belief in His prophets
4. Belief in His revealed Books
5. Belief in the divine decree
6. Belief in the Day of Judgment

All acts of the religion depend on how well we maintain these pillars of Islam. Muslims believe in the Day of Judgment as a Day of Accounting, when all our deeds or actions are accountable to Allah.

It is not our deeds that will take us to Paradise, but the mercy of Allah. Nevertheless, we should strive to do our best in this world. Allah promises that if a Muslim keeps his/her covenant with Him, the Muslim will enter Paradise according of the mercy of Allah.

Allah has ninety-nine names or attributes, some of which are:

He is the Most Merciful
He is the Most Powerful
He is the Master of the Day of Judgment
He is the Sustainer
He is the Creator
He is the Provider
He is the Nourisher
He is the Nurturer
He is the Architect
He is the Planner
He is the Oft-Returning

There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide. No more than 20 percent of Muslims live in the Arabic-speaking world. The country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia. Muslims believe in One, Unique, and Incomparable God. They believe in the Day of Judgement and individual accountability for actions. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets beginning with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus. God’s eternal message was reaffirmed and finalized by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on them all). One becomes a Muslim by saying, “There is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” By this declaration, the person announces faith in all of God’s messengers.