What is Islam and is it just for Muslims?
The word ‘Islam’ comes from the Arabic word ‘Aslama’, which means ‘Surrender’, or ‘Submission’ to the will of One God, Allah (SWT). The word ‘Islam’ also derives from the Arabic word ‘Salam’, which means ‘Peace’.
The purpose of our creation and Islam
Allah has told us, through the Holy Quran that the purpose of our creation (mankind), and the ‘Jin’ (another creation of allah – SWT) is to worship Him and Him Alone! He also told us that he gave us free choice in whether to obey or disobey Him (Allah).
He gave us this free choice while reminding us that, one day, we will be held accountable for everything we do, whether good or bad, on the day of Judgement (Youm Al-Qiyamah). The choice we make today will either lead us to Jahanem (Hellfire), or Jannah (Paradise) by his Mercy!
Islam and Worshiping Allah only, all day long
Allah (SWT) Says:
- ‘And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.’ [21:25}
Looking at the above verse, you might deduce that Allah (SWT) created us for the sole purpose of worshiping Him Alone, and this will be true but the word ‘Worship’ does not literally mean that we should prostrate to Him all day only in the form of prayers!
In Islam, worshiping Allah (SWT) alone can be achieved in performing various deeds and below are just examples of worshiping Allah (SWT). Note that the below acts are not to be performed towards just the Muslim, but towards all, no matter what their religion is, color of their skin, ethnic background, or gender!
- Feeding the hungry
- Give charity to the poor
- Help the needy
- Providing for your family – Your wife and children
- Helping your wife with her everyday chores (Look at The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) dealing with his wives and children)
- Caring for the elderly and disabled
- Plowing snow for your neighbor (again, no matter what his/her religion is)
- Removing obstacles from your neighbor’s path
- and the list goes on
All of the above are ways of worshiping Allah (SWT)! If you only pray your 5 daily obligatory prayers and the Sunnah prayers while performing the above, you are worshiping Allah (SWT) throughout the day!
Islam and all the Previous Prophets
Allah (SWT) tells us, through the Holy Quran, that he has sent many Prophets to teach mankind (and the Jins) how to worship Him and Him Alone starting with his first Prophet, Adam (PBUH) including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (Peace Be Upon Them All) and his last Messenger and Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS).
Islam’s position with these Prophets (Peace Be Upon Them All) is that all of them came with one and the same message! And this message is that ‘La Illaha Ila-Lah’, which means ‘There is no god but Allah’. The meaning of ‘There is no god but Allah’ means that there is No Deity, or No Other God worthy of our worship except the True One God, Allah!
Please note that this message is not intended to just humankind but also to other creation of Allah (SWT) called ‘Jin’!
Islam means ‘A better way of life’
Islam teaches us that through doing good to others (without regard to race, color, gender or religion), and to other creation of Allah (SWT) such as Animals, Trees, Earth and Environment, we will gain the pleasure of Allah (SWT), and with his Mercy, we will enter Jannah (Paradise).
Islam means ‘Peace’
You often hear that Islam means ‘Peace’ but even though the Arabic word ‘Islam’ does not mean ‘Peace’ but ‘Surrendering’ or ‘Submitting’ to the will of One God, Allah (SWT) and only when you do that willingly, you attain Peace. In this context, the word Islam can derive from the root word ‘Salam’, or Peace!
Teaching of Islam