What is Islam_ (1)

This article aims to display the basic beliefs of Islam. Islam is the voluntary ‘submission’ or ‘surrender’ to the Will of God, in exchange for the acquisition of peace and contentment in this life and the hereafter. The Religion of Islam teaches and encourages one to submit to the will of God, in exchange to gain peace & contentment. The word Islam is the synonym of the noun ‘aslama’ which means ‘resigned or submitted.’ In the context of religion, it means, ‘to submit one’s will, to the will of God.’ The Religion of Islam encourages one to submit to the will of God, in exchange to acquire peace and contentment in this life and the hereafter. Only when one submits to God, by believing in Him and obeying His commandments, does one achieve an innate and lasting sense of security, true peace of mind, and surety of heart.

The word ‘Islam’ is derived from an Arabic root word which means peace, purity, safety, salutation, submission, acceptance, surrender, and obedience. With the act of submission, one would attain peace within themselves, and in accordance with their Creator and their fellow beings. The religion of Islam demonstrates that only through the doing of good and the seeking of God’s pleasure can one find true happiness, peace, and contentment in life.

Man cannot live peacefully or successfully without religion, and this religion cannot be man-made. Religion has to be utterly Divine, with no human alteration. The only Revelation in the world today that still rings good and true is the final Book, the last and final Testament of God, The Holy Quran. All other traditional Revelations were lost in the annals of time or underwent endless human-made modifications that rendered them impractical for humanity.

Islam is a monotheistic religion; a faith in which followers admit and recognize the existence of one Supreme God and Being who is Almighty, All-Powerful, All-Knowledgeable, All-Loving. Islam stresses only One God. The same God of Prophet Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, and Prophet Muhammad peace be upon them all. Islam demonstrates the fact that, through the centuries, God has continued to bless humanity with holy Prophets who come bearing the same general message.

The message is simple: one should worship God Alone with no partners, love Him with all his or her heart, and follow His Commandments. God is an entity worthy of worship, veneration, adoration, and reverence since He is the creator of everything. No other being is worthy of worship. This has always been God’s Message to mankind, as conveyed through the words of Prophets and Messengers.

Prophet Moses peace be upon him declared to the people of Israel: ‘Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord’ (Deuteronomy 6:4). A full 1500 years later, Prophet Jesus peace be upon him repeated the same Message to the people of Israel: ‘The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord’ (Mark 12:29). Finally, 600 years later, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him called out across the hills of Mecca:

“And your God is one God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Beneficent, the Especially Merciful” (Quran 2:163)

Throughout history, anyone who practiced monotheism by submitting to the will of God and following his prophet was considered a Muslim. Human beings have been practicing Islam since the creation of Prophet Adam. Throughout the ages, God sent Prophets and Messengers to guide and teach their nations. All Prophets preached the same general Message to their nations. Muslim believe the Prophets preached that submitting to God would bring one peace and contentment to one’s heart in this world; and would award on the attainment of God’s kingdom and grace in the next world. No other is worthy of worship; not the Sun, the Moon, nor an idol.

Contrary to popular belief, Islam is not a new religion that came into existence 1400 years ago, back in the 7th century. Islam has existed since the first moment that man set foot on the earth.

“Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam (submission to Him)” (Quran 3:19)

Islam is the only religion that God ever commanded humankind to follow. Islam, therefore, is the only religion that has ever been acceptable to and ordained by God. Allah states in the Quran:

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter, he will be one of the losers” (Quran 3:85)

The final Prophet of mankind, Prophet Muhammad, was not the founder of Islam, as many people mistakenly think. Instead, he was sent as the last and final Prophet; one delivered from the hand of Almighty God to convey His message to our nation, the final nation.

Islam is not a religion solely based on creeds, customs, and rituals; rather, Islam is a complete way of life that guides man in every field and aspect of this sometimes-perilous existence. Islam teaches the art of living; how one should steer and navigate his or her life. Islam instructs us about the things in this life beneficial to us, and that which is ultimately destructive and should be avoided.

Islam guides followers in every aspect of their lives. Islam emphasizes how the belief in God empowers one to become more righteous, obedient, moral, and ethical overall; rejecting all forms of evil. Islam changes a person’s thoughts, actions, and life perspective; helping them to see this world as it is, and to prepare for the afterlife.

Muslims believe Islam neither neglects the needs, wants, hopes, and aspirations of this worldly life; nor does it abandon the preparation needed to ready oneself for the hereafter where man shall live eternally. Islam takes the middle path. It is better for one to ponder deeply about his or her future, and to live a good life in anticipation of his/her future eternal life. Each person is expected to devote some time to his present life to ponder what will occur in the life to come.

Islam is a religion based on faith, love, compassion, peace, mercy, goodwill, and ethical treatment to all of God’s creations including humankind, animals, and plants. Islam is a religion based on self-righteousness, in which Muslims strive to perform good deeds toward the attainment of their salvation, and the goal of entering Heaven with God’s Mercy in the afterlife.

A person that submits his or her will to Almighty God and follows His commandments is called a Muslim. A Muslim is one who does not follow his desires, lusts, and impulses. A Muslim is one that does right, stands for good, and loves God with all his or her heart. The act of knowing and loving God is the only thing that can bring about true contentment in the soul. If one does not have a relationship with his Creator, his soul will always seek something to fill the emptiness in his or her heart. All the wealth and material goods of this world could never be able to fill the emptiness and gap of a vacant soul. Happiness is not derived from the gathering of possessions. Real wealth is obtained only from the richness and contentment of the heart and soul. And the only true poverty is the poverty of the spirit and heart.

Islam answers the fundamental questions that malign the conscience of every human being. Why was I created? What am I doing here? What is the purpose of my existence? Islam delivers a meaningful purpose to one’s life in this world, and the guidance needed to fulfill one’s life purpose.

Other religions do not answer the big questions of life, such as ‘Who made us?’ ‘Why are we here?’ and ‘Where are we headed?’ Man cannot live peacefully in this world without knowing who he is, who has created him, where he is headed, what his role is, and how to fulfill that role to the best of his or her ability. The need to answer these questions has been implanted in man’s inner nature by the Almighty. However, the human intellect alone cannot answer these questions unaided. Muslims believe Man needs Divine guidance to discover these all-important spiritual answers. The answers lie in Islam.

Islam teaches people that they were created to worship God and that the basis of all true worship is God-consciousness; a concept that includes the fear of God, the love of God, His recognition, piety, and loyalty. Since Islam encompasses all aspects of life and ethics, God-consciousness is encouraged in the execution of all human affairs.

Islamic worship is not limited to religious rituals such as praying and fasting. Instead, Islam clarifies that everyday human acts such as eating, drinking, greeting others, sitting, learning, dressing, sleeping, giving charity, are all acts of worship if done for God alone and in accordance with His Divine Laws and guidelines. The teachings of the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhamad peace be upon him can supply both ethereal mercy and a healing for the human soul. They provide the ultimate guidance for leading a productive, successful life. Islam demonstrates the best way of living a life.

God created man to be a follower and a worshipper. If he is not devoted to God, he will devote himself to others; whether they are false gods, saints, idols, philosophers, etc., following them by thoughts and actions that would lead him astray. In Islam, Muslims do not worship the creations of God, such as the sun, the moon, or an idol; instead, they worship the Creator Himself. Islam recognizes that God has created humans with an innate eagerness and ability to seek God, to acknowledge and understand the existence of their Creator.

The highest and most significant thinkers of the past never would deny the various signs that point to the existence of their Creator. However, what led many people of the past astray is the lack of knowing God properly and the fact they did not have access to a true and preserved Revelation originating from God. Aimed at the ones that deny God’s existence, God poses an argument in the Quran stating:

“Or were they created by nothing, or were they the creators [of themselves]?” “Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather, they are not certain” (Quran 52:35-36)

The aim of these verses is for mankind to reflect and ponder on the fact they could not have come into existence from nothing, nor could they have created themselves. In another Verse, God states the skies and the Earth are fashioned perfectly, hence showing proof they were originated from the act of a Creator.

“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason” (Quran 2:164)

The miracles of nature, the Earth, the Universe are enough evidence to show mankind that there is ‘something bigger than us.’ Humanity does not need God to show them anything more for them to believe; the world is already enough of a miracle.

“It is He who sends down rain from the sky; from it is drink and from it is foliage in which you pasture [animals]. He causes to grow for you the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. In that is a sign for a people who give thought. And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. In that are signs for a people who reason. And [He has subjected] whatever He multiplied for you on the earth of varying colors. Indeed, in that is a sign for a people who remember. And it is He who subjected the sea for you to eat from it tender meat and to extract from it ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships plowing through it, and [He subjected it] that you may seek of His bounty; and perhaps you will be grateful. And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided, And landmarks. And by the stars they are [also] guided. Then is He who creates like one who does not create? So, will you not be reminded?” (Quran16:10-17)

Surely these words will answer the questions and address the doubts of people who ponder, people who think, people who reflect.

The Religion of Islam states that God forces no one to submit to His Will. He has laid out a clear path for human beings while making it known that humans must choose from two routes: The straight path that leads to Heaven, or the erroneous way which leads to hell. Human beings are free to make their own choices. Islam forces no one to submit. A human who worships God, pledging their devotion to Him and obeying His commands, has grasped the firm handhold and eternal bond that will never break. Whoever denies God’s existence or worships anyone other than Allah, stands to face eternal punishment in the hereafter.

Life is a test of one’s faith. God the Almighty, out of his abundant Love and Mercy for humanity, has not left us in pure darkness; leaving us alone and unenlightened to discover the right path through the frailties of guesswork or trial and error.

God gifted mankind with an intellect and a logical mind that can reason, ponder, and reflect. God bestowed upon humanity the gift of Divine Guidance, that outlines the Criterion for ultimate truth and knowledge.

One is expected to use his or her intellect and reason to contemplate and recognize God’s signs, to build a relationship with Him, and to follow His guidance. These signs serve to speak loudly, without the need of talking to God directly, which would then not require any effort or reflection by the human.

“Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do” (Quran 16:97)

The disbelievers, the rejecters of the truth, the deniers of God, will live a narrow, depressed life in this world and abide in hellfire forever in the hereafter.

“And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind” (Quran 20:124)

The goal of Islam is for the one to become a faithful servant of God. Judgment Day is a blink away. You live, and you die, and then you will inevitably be resurrected to face your Lord, who will judge you based on the way you lived your life.

“…Indeed, we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him, we will return” (Quran 2:156)

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