The Meaning of the Word “Islam”
January 15, 2010 1 Comment
Islam is a word misunderstood by many non-muslims as well as some muslims. I would like to share with you the true meaning of this word and what it actually means. The word “Islam” is the verbal noun of the verb “aslama”. This verb is defined as, “He resigned or submitted himself.” When used with respect to Allah (God), it means, “He became submissive to God.” If you refer to Arabic language dictionaries you will find out that the meaning of the word Islam is:
Submission, humbling oneself, and obeying commands and heeding prohibitions without objection, sincerely worshipping Allah alone, believing what He tells us and having faith in Him. Literally, Islam denotes self-surrender or to give oneself up to Allah (God) and accept His Lordship in the fullest sense of the term. The religion sent down by Allah (God) and brought into the world by His Apostles has been called Islam for the simple reason that, in it, the bondsman yields completely to the power and control of the Lord and makes the rendering of whole-hearted obedience to Him the cardinal principle of his life. This is the sum and substance of the Islamic creed. Perhaps it should be noted that the word “Islam” does not mean “peace.” It is true that the Arabic word for “peace” (salaam) comes from the same root as the word Islam. It is also very true that true peace—both internal and external—can only be the result of performing correct practices of Islam. At the same time, it should be very clear in the minds of every Muslim that Islam represents his commitment and devotion to worshipping and submitting to Allah (God) alone. This should become the essence of what the individual Muslim is all about. It is important to recognize a more specific usage for the word “Islam” as a religion.
Islam, as stated above, implies the complete submission to the one and only true God (Allah). Thus, anyone who is truly submitting himself to Allah (God)—according to what has been revealed from Allah (God) and not simply according to his own whims or imagination and considers Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) as the final prophet, who completed not only the religion Islam but Prophet hood—is a Muslim.
In this sense, the religion of all of the prophets of Allah (God) was Islam and all Prophets told their followers about the coming of a final Prophet in their teachings hence they were all Muslims. Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (and many more), for example, were all Muslims and their religion was Islam, the true and sincere submission to God.
Thus, Allah says in the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):
“The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah – that which We have sent by inspiration to you (Muhammad) – and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.” (Qur’an 42:13)
Why is this religion called Islam? For all the religions on earth are called by various names, either the name of a specific man or a specific nation. So Christianity takes its name from Christ; Buddhism takes its name from its founder, the Buddha; the Zoroastrians became well known by this name because their founder and standard-bearer was Zoroaster.
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