Islam 101 (Intro)
What’s all the fuss about?
Etymologically, the word “Islam” is from the Arabic root “s-l-m”, which means in religious context “voluntary submission to God” (read Allah in Arabic, without gender).
In a broader sense, with basis from the Quran (3:84), “Say: We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to God do we bow our will (in Islam)”, Islam is the religion of all the prophets & messengers of the revealed monotheistic religions from Adam (Adama in Arabic) to Muhammad, peace and blessings upon them all.
About the religion itself as an “Ideology” organised by God, The Most Merciful, and revealed to Muhammad (the last prophet & messenger) through Gabriel (Jibrîl in arabic) and compiled into a book called the Quran (The recitation/criterion) and through inspiration into hadiths (reports of speeches/deeds of the prophet), it can be resumed by one very sound hadith narrated on the authority of Umar (may God be pleased with him), who said :
While we were one day sitting with the messenger of God (peace be upon him), there appeared before us a man dressed in extremely white clothes and with very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him, and none of us knew him. He sat down close by the prophet, rested his knee against his thighs, and said – “O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam.”
– The messenger of God said, “Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity except God and that Muhammad is His messenger, that you should perform Salah (5 daily prayers), pay the Zakah (religious obligation or tax), fast during Ramadan (9th month in the Islamic Calendar), and perform Hajj (Pilgrimage) to the House (Mecca), if you are able to do so.”
– The man said, “You have spoken truly.” We were astonished at his questioning him (the messenger) and telling him that he was right, but he went on to say, “Inform me about Iman (Faith).”
– He (the messenger) answered, “It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in fate (Qadar), both in its good and in its evil aspects.” He said, “You have spoken truly."
– Then he (the man) said, “Inform me about Ihsan (Perfection).” He (the messenger) answered, “It is that you should serve God as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet (know that) He sees you.”
– He said, “Inform me about the Hour.” He (the messenger) said, “About that, the one questioned knows no more than the questioner.” So he said, “Well, inform me about the signs thereof.” He said, “They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep (competing with each other) in raising lofty buildings.” Thereupon the man went of. I waited a while, and then he (the messenger) said, “O Umar, do you know who that questioner was?” I replied, “God and His messenger know better.” He said, “That was Gabriel; he came to teach you your religion.”
What struck in this conversation is that the major “issues”, widespread in the media, and related to Muslims rather than Islam itself are not mentioned whatsoever, i.e. the veil, Sharia (Islamic Law) or Jihad (To strive for).
Now make sure to stay tune for the next articles of this series, to go deeper in this “so called” religion.
After making the basics clear, i.e. in the series, I will publish articles from my humble Muslim perpective, Godwill (Insha Allah).