What is Islam and who are the Muslims?

 

ore than a billion people from all races, nationalities, and cultures across the globe call themselves ‘Muslim’- from the snowy landscapes of Russia to the deserts in the heart of Africa, from the skyscrapers of Los Angeles to the tribal huts of Indonesia. It’s a little known fact that only 18% of Muslims are Arabs. While the world’s largest Muslim community – 200 million- is found in Indonesia (southeast orient). Pakistan and Bangladesh also have large Muslim populations, while significant Muslim minorities can be found in Africa and the central Asia. In the last century, immigration as well as mass local conversions has caused North and South America as well as Eastern and Western Europe to become a new home for the world’s fastest growing religion.
Explaining Islam and Muslims
So what is Islam? And more importantly, who are the Muslims? Based on its linguistic origins, the Arabic word ‘Islam’ comes from the root “s-l-m” which, when translated into English, means to achieve peace. The meaning of Islam in general is the submission to the Will of God, through the teachings of Prophets whom He sent throughout the ages with His message. Naturally, the one who does this attains peace.
The meaning of the word ‘Muslim’ is one who submits to the will of God. All of the Prophets, in the Holy Quran, refer to themselves as ‘Muslims’. Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (pbut) all called themselves Muslims. Muslims believe that Islam is a universal religion intended for all of mankind. It is not rational to think that God created many different religions that often conflict with each other and cause social conflict. Quite the contrary, God clearly states in the Holy Quran that He has been enjoining Islam upon mankind since Adam and Eve. It is the arrogance and enmity amongst mankind and their deviation from true Islam which causes these problems. True Muslims are those who worship God alone while living a pious life of strong morality with love, compassion and mercy for mankind.
Universal Message
Evidence of the universality of Islam being the religion intended for all of mankind can be found in the name itself. Let’s look at the word ‘Christianity’, for example, which represents those who follow Jesus Christ (pbuh). What about all the people who lived and died before Christ?  The name is not suitable for everyone. How about the name ‘Judaism’ which represents those who follow the tribe of Judah? If we look at this faith we see that, because of its name, people other than those whose roots are traced to this tribe are excluded, thus they are mislabeled ‘gentiles’. The exact same dilemma exists amongst all of the World religions with the exception of Islam, which means “Submission to God”. Now this name is suitable for all people and at all times.
The Whole World is Muslim!
Every human being, animal, stick or stone is a Muslim as it is existing in submission to the laws of physics which God created. Yet only man carries the extra burden of personal responsibility for his actions and will be called to account on a Day of Judgment, which will be purely just (since God gave us free will and sent us guidance). At the time of the Creation, God offered all of His creations the responsibility of accountability for their decisions. Man was the only one who accepted the challenge. In His all-encompassing love and mercy, God has made it easy for us to earn His pleasure and the ultimate goal of Heaven in His presence. He has shown us the right way and even shown us the wrong way so that we may avoid it. All we have to do is open our eyes to ‘see’ God all around us through His beautiful and perfectly designed Creation!
Every atom in this universe submits to a system of law governed by its Creator. The Sun and Moon, for example, follow an intricate system as they orbit through the universe. They follow the command of God explicitly. If they didn’t our Earth might crash into the Moon or drift so far away from the Sun that our planet would freeze into an uninhabitable wasteland before we could even shiver. It is in the best interest for the planets to follow the course God has laid out for them just as it is in the best interest of humans to follow the course God has laid out for us, which is Islam.
Introduction
More than a billion people from all races, nationalities, and cultures across the globe call themselves ‘Muslim’- from the snowy landscapes of Russia to the deserts in the heart of Africa, from the skyscrapers of Los Angeles to the tribal huts of Indonesia. It’s a little known fact that only 18% of Muslims are Arabs. While the world’s largest Muslim community – 200 million- is found in Indonesia (southeast orient). Pakistan and Bangladesh also have large Muslim populations, while significant Muslim minorities can be found in Africa and the central Asia. In the last century, immigration as well as mass local conversions has caused North and South America as well as Eastern and Western Europe to become a new home for the world’s fastest growing religion.
Explaining Islam and Muslims
So what is Islam? And more importantly, who are the Muslims? Based on its linguistic origins, the Arabic word ‘Islam’ comes from the root “s-l-m” which, when translated into English, means to achieve peace. The meaning of Islam in general is the submission to the Will of God, through the teachings of Prophets whom He sent throughout the ages with His message. Naturally, the one who does this attains peace.
The meaning of the word ‘Muslim’ is one who submits to the will of God. All of the Prophets, in the Holy Quran, refer to themselves as ‘Muslims’. Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (pbut) all called themselves Muslims. Muslims believe that Islam is a universal religion intended for all of mankind. It is not rational to think that God created many different religions that often conflict with each other and cause social conflict. Quite the contrary, God clearly states in the Holy Quran that He has been enjoining Islam upon mankind since Adam and Eve. It is the arrogance and enmity amongst mankind and their deviation from true Islam which causes these problems. True Muslims are those who worship God alone while living a pious life of strong morality with love, compassion and mercy for mankind.
Universal Message
Evidence of the universality of Islam being the religion intended for all of mankind can be found in the name itself. Let’s look at the word ‘Christianity’, for example, which represents those who follow Jesus Christ (pbuh). What about all the people who lived and died before Christ?  The name is not suitable for everyone. How about the name ‘Judaism’ which represents those who follow the tribe of Judah? If we look at this faith we see that, because of its name, people other than those whose roots are traced to this tribe are excluded, thus they are mislabeled ‘gentiles’. The exact same dilemma exists amongst all of the World religions with the exception of Islam, which means “Submission to God”. Now this name is suitable for all people and at all times.
The Whole World is Muslim!
Every human being, animal, stick or stone is a Muslim as it is existing in submission to the laws of physics which God created. Yet only man carries the extra burden of personal responsibility for his actions and will be called to account on a Day of Judgment, which will be purely just (since God gave us free will and sent us guidance). At the time of the Creation, God offered all of His creations the responsibility of accountability for their decisions. Man was the only one who accepted the challenge. In His all-encompassing love and mercy, God has made it easy for us to earn His pleasure and the ultimate goal of Heaven in His presence. He has shown us the right way and even shown us the wrong way so that we may avoid it. All we have to do is open our eyes to ‘see’ God all around us through His beautiful and perfectly designed Creation!
Every atom in this universe submits to a system of law governed by its Creator. The Sun and Moon, for example, follow an intricate system as they orbit through the universe. They follow the command of God explicitly. If they didn’t our Earth might crash into the Moon or drift so far away from the Sun that our planet would freeze into an uninhabitable wasteland before we could even shiver. It is in the best interest for the planets to follow the course God has laid out for them just as it is in the best interest of humans to follow the course God has laid out for us, which is Islam.


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