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What do you know about Islam?

In the name of Allah the most gracious the most merciful. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved and trustworthy Prophet, his household, companions and upon those who followed their path till the day of Judgment.  After that;

What do you know about Islam? I mean - what do you really know about Islam? Not what you’ve heard about Islam; Not what you’ve seen as actions of some Muslims, but - what do you know about Islam?

The word ‘Islam’ means to surrender, complete submission, and total obedience. Surrender, submission, and obedience to the laws of the Almighty God(Allah in Arabic). You can say ‘Allah.’ You can say ‘The Creator.’ You can say ‘The Supreme God,’ ‘The Supreme Force,’ ‘The All-Wise,’ , ‘The Most Merciful,’ all of these are His names and attributes. Allah said in the Qur’an with regards to this:

{قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَٰنَ ۖ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا}.

{Say, "Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call - to Him belong the best names." And do not recite [too] loudly in your prayer or [too] quietly but seek between that an [intermediate] way} (Qur’an 17:110).

{قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ}.

{Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One} (Qur’an 112:1).

Muslims use the Arabic word for God, Allah, because in Arabic there is no other expression better that this. The word Allah cannot be applied to any created thing. Other words that people use for the Almighty are also applied to created things. For example, “the almighty dollar.” “Oh I love my wife, she is tops!” Or, “He’s the greatest.” No, no, no, no… But the word ‘Allah’ can only be applied to the One who has created all of this that we have previously described. So from this point, I’m going to use the word ‘Allah,’ and you know whom I’m speaking about.

The word ‘Islam’ is derived from the root ‘Salama’ - it means to be at peace. Therefore, a Muslim is a person who surrenders, submits, and obeys the law of Allah the Almighty.

{بَلَىٰ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَلَهُ أَجْرُهُ عِندَ رَبِّهِ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ}.

{Yes [on the contrary], whoever submits his face in Islam to Allah while being a doer of good will have his reward with his Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve} (Qur’an 2:112).

{إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ أَسْلِمْ ۖ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ}.

{When his Lord said to him, "Submit", he said "I have submitted [in Islam] to the Lord of the worlds} (Qur’an 2:131).

{فَإِنْ حَاجُّوكَ فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّهِ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ ۗ وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْأُمِّيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ ۚ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ}

{So if they argue with you, say, "I have submitted myself to Allah [in Islam], and [so have] those who follow me." And say to those who were given the Scripture and [to] the unlearned, "Have you submitted yourselves?" And if they submit [in Islam], they are rightly guided; but if they turn away - then upon you is only the [duty of] notification. And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants} (Qur’an 3:20).

{أَفَغَيْرَ دِينِ اللَّهِ يَبْغُونَ وَلَهُ أَسْلَمَ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَإِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ}.

{So is it other than the religion of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they will be returned?} (Qur’an 3:83).

{وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ دِينًا مِّمَّنْ أَسْلَمَ وَجْهَهُ لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ وَاتَّبَعَ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۗ وَاتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ خَلِيلًا}.

{And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend} (Qur’an 4:125).

Through this submission Muslims obtain peace and serenity for themselves. We can immediately see, that by such a definition, the Arabic word ‘Islam’ describes the same manner and behavior of all the well-known and respected prophets and messengers of Allah. All of them including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, John the Baptist, Jesus the son of Mary, and Muhammad (May Allah’s peace be upon them all.) All of these men, these prophets and messengers, came from the same Almighty God, with the same message, with the same chain of transmission, and they said one thing - obey God! Worship Almighty God and fulfill the purpose of life and do good actions, and you will be rewarded with another life. That’s all they said! Don’t make it more than that! That’s all they said, regardless of what language and what time,  or whom they were sent to - that’s all they said. Allah said in the Qur’an with regards to this:

{وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ}.

{And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, "There is no deity except Me, so worship Me} (Qur’an 21:25).

If you read the scriptures carefully, without your own interpretation or somebody else’s addition or fabrication - you will find out that this was the simple message of all those prophets who confirmed one another. None of those prophets ever said, “I am God - worship me.” You will not find such statement in any of the holy books that you have - not the Bible, not the Torah, not the New Testament, not the Psalms of David - you will not find it in any book. You will not find it in the speech of any prophet. So where did this come from? That’s something that you’ll have to investigate.

We can easily see that by such a definition, the Arabic word describes what all the prophets did. They all came and submitted themselves to Allah; Surrendered themselves to Allah; Called the people to Allah; And asked the people and insisted upon the people to do deeds of righteousness.

Abu Hurairah narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

[أَنَا أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ، وَالأَنْبِيَاءُ إِخْوَةٌ لِعَلاَّتٍ، أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ شَتَّى، وَدِينُهُمْ وَاحِدٌ].

[I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus the son of Mary, both in this world and in the Hereafter. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one] (Sahih al-Bukhari 3443).

For instance, the Ten Commandments of Moses - what was that? The speech of Abraham - what was that? The Psalms of David - what was that? The Proverbs of Solomon - what did he say? The Gospel of Jesus Christ - what did he say? What did John the Baptist say? What did Isaac and Ishmael say? What did Muhammad say? Nothing more than to worship Allah alone!

Allah said In the Qur’an:

{اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ}.

{They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him} (Qur’an 9:31).

{وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ}.

{And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah(compulsory charity). And that is the correct religion} (Qur’an 98:5).

This is what Allah said. And they were ordered nothing except to worship Allah, being sincere toward Him. And this was the straightway, this was the original message.

By the same token, it would also be appropriate here to consider both prophets and messengers as Muslims, because a ‘Muslim’ is what? Don’t think about the Arabic terminology, don’t think about how we address them— don’t think about Mecca, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt. No! Think about what the word ‘Muslim’ means. ‘He who surrenders himself to Almighty God, and obeys the laws of the Almighty God,’ in that case whether naturally or in a dialectical manner - everyone that surrenders to the laws of the Almighty God is a Muslim!.

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