What is Islam and who are Muslims?
Islam (Islaam) is a religion (faith) that is based upon the surrender to God, who is One. The very name of the religion, AL ISLAM is an Arabic word that means submission, which means submission to God's will and commandments. Islam therefore considers itself not to be an innovation but a reassertion of the one universal truth of all the previous revelations since God has done the same through the ages. By sending Messengers with commandments and expected the people to "submit" to His commandments.
Muslims (Moslems) is an Arabic word that means "Those who are in submission". Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets: through whom His revelations were brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for actions; in God's complete authority over human destiny and in life after death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus (peace be upon them).
Just like every religion, where they have those who hold wrong beliefs, those whom we call extremists, Islam does too.
ALLAH (Allaah or Alah): Just like in any other language there is a different word for "God", for example in the French language it is Dieu, in Spanish it is Dios, also in the Arabic language it is ALLAH -Ilah or Elah depending on the accent and the grammar. Allah is the equivalent to the word Elohim in Hebrew; it is also the equivalent to Eloi, or Eli in Aramaic, the language spoken during the time of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). As the French would use the word Dieu, and the Spanish the word Dios in their own language to refer to God, all Arabic speaking Christians and Jews use the same word "Allah" to refer to God.
Muslims usually prefer the word "Allah" because the word "Allah" is the proper "Name" of God in Arabic. It is a unique term that has no plural form, like (gods), and it is the noun that God chose to use in all of His scriptures.
· In many palaces in the Quran, God refers to Himself as "We", this is not to indicate any form of plurality. The word "We" in the English dictionary, as well as many other languages, could be used for "I" when the speaker is a king, an emperor or a president. Also, an author who is speaking of his publication can use the word "we".
Muhammad (Mohammed) (peace be upon him) was the last of this long line of messengers, and Islam (Accepting God and His commandments in submission) is the final expression of the Abrahamic faith and teachings. Islam shares with the other religions their original ethical teachings such as living in peace, helping the elders, loving the neighbor, doing right and forbidding evil, sharing with the poor, other basic laws as well and above all, the belief in the One God.
Muhammad (pbuh) is not considered to be divine, but a human being, chosen by Allah to reveal His Word. Muslims don't pray to Muhammad or through him. Rather, they pray directly to Allah.
Muhammad (pbuh) was born in 570 A.D. in one of the most powerful tribes in the Arabia at that time, for it had guardianship over the Ka'bah in Makkah (or Mecca). As an orphan, he was brought up by his grandfather and then later by his uncle. The young Muhammad displayed exceptional virtue as a trustworthy individual whom members of his as well as those of neighboring tribes would invite to act as an arbitrator in their disputes
Arabs present only about 18 % of the world Muslim population, the rest (about 82%) are all colors and races. By calling and visiting your local Islamic Center, you should be able to see Muslims and new converts to Islam from all walks of life, race and color, many of them were originally born and raised under other religions.
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