Islam, a name given by Allah to this religion (Quran 5:4), is an Arabic word which literally means obedience and peace. ISLAM is derived from the Arabic root "SALEMA": peace, purity, submission and obedience. So 'Islam' would mean the path of those who are obedient to Allah and who establish peace with Him and His creatures. Its follower are called Muslims.
Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all prophets before Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Allah says in the Qur’ân:
"Say, `We believe in ALLAH and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus and other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and to HIM we submit." (Qur’ân 3-85)
Islam (Arabic: الإسلام; al-'islām ) is a monotheistic religion originating with the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. It is the second-largest religion in the world today, with an estimated 1.4 billion adherents, spread across the globe, known as Muslims. Linguistically, Islam means "submission", referring to the total surrender of one's self to God (Arabic: الله, Allāh), and a Muslim is "one who submits [to God]".
Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and that Muhammad is God's final prophet. The Qur'an and the traditions of Muhammad in the Sunnah are regarded as the fundamental sources of Islam. Muslims do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Adam, Ibrahim and other prophets whose messages had become corrupted over time (or according to some authorities only misinterpreted). Like Judaism, Christianity, and the Bahá'í Faith, Islam is an Abrahamic religion.
Islam is not only a faith, but also a culture. Being the faith of a quarter of humanity, one can find a diversity of cultures, peoples who adhere to Islam, and the areas they inhabit, all of which make Islam a global culture. Today, Muslims may be found throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East and North, West and East Africa. Some of the most populous majority-Muslim countries are in South and Southeast Asia. Other concentrations are found in Central Asia. Only about 20 percent of Muslims originate from Arab countries. Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity in many European countries, such as France, which has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, and the United Kingdom. "There is no God But Allah and Muhmammed(PBUH) is his messenger". Whoever believes in this statement and declares it openly is a Muslim. Islam, with its literal meaning of submission to Allah, is the message Muslim's believe God has given to mankind from the first day of creation. Allah, the lord, the creator, has sent prophets in all ages starting from Adam until Muhammad(PBUH). Muslims believe that all prophets carry the same message of oneness of God. Abraham, Moses, Jesus.....(Peace be upon all) are prophets of Allah the Almighty who carried the message from God to mankind. As Muhammad(PBUH) is the last prophet, Allah sent Qur'an down to him, and its teachings constitute the true ruling of Allah for mankind until the end of the world.
- Introduction to Muslim Cultures
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