Islam: A Quick Introduction
Greetings! May God Almighty shower upon you and your family his choicest blessings and fondest favors!
Did you ever ask yourself why everyone is talking so much about Islam and Muslims these days? Do you know what Islam is and who the Muslims are? Let us find out!
Islam means believing certain things. Let us call them Islamic Beliefs. And then Islam also means practicing certain things. Let us call them Islamic Practices. Together, these beliefs and practices make up what is called Islam.
What is most important is for us to understand that the beliefs and the practices that Islam teaches are all given to us directly by God. They are not things that people made up on their own.
(A) Islam Means Peace
Islam is an Arabic word that means peace. That word is given by God to human beings as a gift. Islam stands for peace inside you as well as peace outside and around you. It means making peace with God and making peace with God’s world and creation everywhere.
The path to that state of perfect peace is provided by God as submitting and surrendering yourself to God Almighty. You do that by believing God is one and Muhammad, peace be upon him, is his messenger.
After that, you commit yourself to observe certain practices that teach you how to live a most wonderful life in this world and also reap rich and lasting rewards in the next world.
(B) Basic Islamic Beliefs
(a) God Is One. Most important of all, Islam is about believing in God. But how do you do that? How do you believe in God? What kind of God do you believe in? Here is how.
Islam says God is one. There are not two, or three or a whole group of gods, but only one God – who is the maker and master of this world and of all other worlds that may exist anywhere in any form at any time.
And God is unlike anything or anyone. He has no partners or associates. Nor does he have parents or children, or wife or relatives.
It is God who made you and made the world in which you live. He made this world and everything in it for you. He gave you everything you have. And he can take away anything he wants from whoever he wants, whenever and however he wants.
He wants you to thank him for what he has given you and use it all in the best and most responsible manner to worship him and to serve his creation in this world in all forms.
According to Islam, God is most beautiful, most perfect, most powerful, most caring and most loving. God is ready to help you when you need his help and when you turn to him and ask him for help.
Here is how you express this belief in God in Arabic – in the original words that God himself provided in the Qur’an: Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allah! Four words. They mean: There is no God but God.
The word Allah in Arabic means God.
(b) Muhammad Is the Messenger of God. The second most important thing in Islam is to believe that Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the messenger of God. God sent him to show humanity how to find God and how to live a good life in this world.
God sent messengers to all people in all parts of the world. Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the last and final messenger that God sent in the world. He is the last link in a long chain of messengers. In English it is common to refer to him as Prophet Muhammad. In Arabic the words are: Rasoolullah. Meaning: God’s messenger.
It is also common practice to bless him every time we mention his name. Such as by saying, for example, “God Bless Him!” Or “Peace Be Upon Him!” In Arabic language, those words are: Sallallaahu Alaihi wa Sallam. These words are taught to us by Prophet Muhammad himself – 1400 years ago.
What is most amazing about Islam is that everything we have today that we call Islam is taught to us by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. There is nothing here that people made up. This fact is among the greatest miracles of Islam – the fact that all the teachings of Islam go back directly to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
God raised Muhammad, peace be upon him, in Arabia 1400 years ago. But God sent him not only to the people of Arabia but to all humanity in the whole world. And God gave him a book to help humanity find its way to God and to live a good life in this world. That book is called the Qur’an.
Thus, belief in Muhammad as the last and final messenger of God is the second most important requirement of Islam.
In the original Arabic words that God gave to Muhammad, peace be upon him, that belief is expressed in the following way: Muhammad Rasool Allah! Three words. Meaning: Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Thus, these two fundamental Islamic beliefs – belief in God and belief in the Prophet – are expressed in the divine language of the Qur’an as: Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allah, Muhammad Rasool Allah! These words mean: There is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Once you believe in these two fundamental truths – that God is one and Muhammad, peace be upon him, is God’s messenger and prophet – you automatically become a Muslim. Now, in the book of God you are written down as a believer and as a Muslim.
It is as simple as that.
It is because how simple and easy it is to become a Muslim that more and more people are turning to Islam these days – in Asia, Africa, Europe, America and everywhere else.