What is Islam?
Islam is an Arabic word from the root word meaning peace as well as submission. It is understood to mean finding absolute inner peace by fully submitting to the Creator (vs. the creation). It is commonly understood to be an Abrahamic religion practiced by a billion people. It’s beliefs are firmly established in monotheism (belief in one God) and traces it’s roots to Abrahamic monotheism of not only believing in but also only worshiping One God.
The central most concept of Islam is Tawheed or the innate oneness/unity of God in all aspects of one’s belief. �� Allah (Arabic for God) is popularly known to mean “the only diety/god that is worthy of anyone’s worship or absolute obedience”. Allah is unique in his existence and is unlike any of the creation. Thus Muslims not only directly call and ask Allah for all their needs without any intercessors but also believe Allah cannot be like any human or created being or any human or created being could be like Allah in anyway.
The second most important concept in Islam is Prophethood.���� There were 124,000 prophets and messengers that been sent by Allah throughout our History and the Quran mentions 25 of them as examples of their life and their message. Among the Prophets mentioned are Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Muslims also believe in Jesus and love him as a part of their faith, but they do not consider him to be divine but rather one of the most closest and powerful prophets that Allah sent to guide mankind. This goes back to the belief of Tawheed. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad was the last and final Prophet sent to mankind.
The first two concepts are given such primacy that they encompass the Islamic profession of faith “There is no god that exists nor worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. Muslims place reverence on Muhammad (peace be with him) for his pious life and his guidance to humanity. He is the “Prophet of mercy” and in following him Muslims are instructed to be ever humble and compassionate.
Muslims believe in the Quran, which they consider to be direct revelation from Allah, and that other prophets came with similar books, elements of which are contained within the Bible and Torah. This was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him) over twenty three years in small portions. The Quran as read and recited reflects eternal, a connection to the creator that is in speech incomparable with any document or book. It is the primary source of guidance for Muslims along with the way/life of the Prophet Muhammad.
Muslims believe in many angels. Unlike humanity, who serve a diverse gradient of motives, ethics and sincerity, angels exist solely to follow their respective commands from Allah. There are angels who record deeds, and angels who question the departed.
Muslims believe in a final day of retribution. The Islamic eschatology involves a variety of signs culminating in a day longer than any other, a day of redress where all deeds are accounted.
“Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it!
And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it.” (99:7-8)
Muslims also believe in preordainment. That, while people do certainly have free will and influence in their lives and in the world around them there is an overarching fate and a way to the world around us. The Muslim does not despair or avoid a place within fate or allow the understanding of fate to color predilection but rather embraces fate with an understanding that faith, sincerity and good deeds will bring success in this world and the next.