Islam, a name given by Allah to this religion (Quran 5:4), is an Arabic word which literally means 'submission to God'. So, 'Islam' would mean the path of those who are obedient to Allah (God). The word Muslim means 'one who submits to God'.
According to Islamic belief, Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all prophets before Muhammad. Allah says in the Qur’an:
"Say, We believe in Allah (God) 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’an 3:85)
Islam (Arabic: الإسلام; al-'islām) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion. It is the second-largest religion in the world today, with an estimated 1.8 billion adherents, and as well as the fastest growing religion in the world. Linguistically, Islam means "submission to God", 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 while he existed, 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, Abraham, Jesus and other prophets whose messages had become corrupted over time (or according to some authorities only misinterpreted).
Islam is not only a faith, but also a way of life. 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! 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 Muhammad is his messenger". Whoever believes in this statement and declares it openly is a Muslim. Islam, with its literal meaning of submission to God, is the message Muslims believe God has given to mankind from the first day of creation. Allah, the Creator, has sent prophets in all ages starting from Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus until Muhammad. Muslims believe that all prophets carry the same message of the oneness of God. Abraham, Moses, Jesus are prophets of Allah the Almighty who carried the message from God to mankind. As Muhammad 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.
Contemporary Muslim Cultures edit
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Feel free to add learning resources to this list:
- Academic resources
- Patheos Library – Islam
- University of Southern California Compendium of Muslim Texts
- Divisions in Islam
- Online resources