What is Islam and who are Muslims? Islam means to achieve peace – with God, within oneself and peace with the creations of God – through willingly submission to God and accepting His guidance. One who follows this is a Muslim.
Islam is not a new faith, but a continuation of the truth God revealed through all His prophets to people. For nearly 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world, Islam is not only a religion, but a way of life. Muslims come from all races, nationalities and cultures across the globe. They have varied languages, food, dress and customs; even the way they practice Islam may differ. Yet they all consider themselves to be Muslims.
Islam is a qualitative term – the quality of accepting God’s supreme authority over one’s own. As such being a Muslim does not mean giving up one’s culture or traditions; rather it means adopting the simple and logical principles of Islam to better one’s life and attain peace. Less than 15% of Muslims are from the Arab world; 20% are from sub-Saharan Africa and 30% are from the Indian subcontinent. Substantial parts of Central Asia and the Far East are Muslim and significant minorities are found in Europe, North and South America, Russia and China. Who is Allah? Allah is the proper Arabic name for God, Muslims believe in and worship the same One God that Jews and Christians worship, Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And do not debate with the People of the Book, unless in the best of manner, but not with those who are unjust, and say: ‘We believe in the Revelation that’s has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is One; and to Him we wholly submit.’” (Holy Qur'an 29:46)
Allah is a unique term with no plural and no gender. Various forms of the term were used by God’s messengers. “He is God, the One that there is no deity but He; the Knower of the unseen and the apparent; He is the Source of All Mercy, the Merciful. He is God, the One that there is no deity but He; the King, the Holy, the Source of All Peace, the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver, the Mighty, the Compeller, the Majestic; Glory to God, beyond their association (of partners with Him)! He is God; the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. To Him belong the most beautiful names.
All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (Holy Qur’an 59:22-24) What do Muslims believe? Muslims believe in the One, Unique, Incomparable, Merciful God – the Sole Creator, Sustainer and Cherisher of the Universe; in the Angels He created; in the prophets through whom His revelations were brought down to humankind; in the Day of Judgement; in life after death and in God’s complete authority over destiny. Muslims believe that God sent His messengers and prophets to all people. Biblical prophets named in the Qur’an include: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus; peace be upon them all. God’s final message to humanity was revealed to the last prophet, Muhammad, through the Archangel Gabriel. It confirmed and finalised all previous revelations that were sent to humankind through God’s messengers.
One becomes a Muslim by believing and proclaiming that “There is no deity except God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God.” By this declaration the believer announces his/her faith in all of God’s messengers, and in the scriptures revealed to them. What are the 5 pillars of Islam? The five pillars of Islam are the basis of Muslim life. The Prophet Muhammad said: “Islam is founded on five pillars: to testify there is no deity except God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God; to establish the ritual prayers(five times a day); to give charity to the needy; to perform the pilgrimage to the House of worship in Mecca; And to fast during the month of Ramadan.”