What Is Islam?

 By: EDC Staff

What Is Islam?

The word Islam means “to submit” or “to obey,” derived from a word for peace. So, it means ‘submission to the will of God’.[1]  Muslims believe that they are to conform their lives in accordance with a divinely revealed path of submission to God. Islam teaches that God (Allah) is merciful and compassionate. He promises the faithful peace and equality, and entrance to eternal Paradise. Once we humble ourselves, rid ourselves of our egoism and submit totally to Allah, and to Him exclusively, in faith and in action, we will surely feel peace in our hearts. Establishing peace in our hearts will bring about peace in our external conduct as well. Islam is careful to remind us that it is not a religion to be paid mere lip service; rather it is an all-encompassing way of life that must be practicsed continuously for it to be Islam.[2]

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Facts about Islam

  • Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1 billion followers. The 2001 census recorded 1,591,000 Muslims in the UK, around 2.7% of the population.[3]
  • Islam is the fastest growing religion in the World. Right now there are about 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. By 2025, Islam is expected to grow by 50%.[4]
  • The five countries with the largest Muslim populations are Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Turkey.[5]

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Growth of Islam and World Religions

Who are Muslims?

Muslims are those who follow Islam. The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of God. All the Prophets (peace be upon them) preceding the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are considered Muslims as they submitted themselves to the will of God. Muslims have to follow the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Yet, there are Muslims who are not fully submitting to the will of God and there are Muslims who are doing their best to live an Islamic life. So, the extent of being a Muslim is judged according to the degree to which one is submitting to the will of God, in his beliefs and actions.

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How Becoming a Muslim Is an Ongoing Process

Without Islam My Life Would Have Been a Lie

Teamwork in Islam: Living in a Muslim Team

Muslims on the Day of `Eid Al-Fitr

Man-God Relationship

Who is Allah?

Allah is the proper name for Almighty God, and is often translated merely as “God.” The most fundamental belief that a Muslim has is that “There is only One God,” the Creator, the Sustainer, known in the Arabic language and by Muslims as Allah. Muslims believe that since Allah alone is the Creator, it is He alone that deserves our devout love and worship. Islam holds to a strict monotheism. Any worship and prayers directed at saints, Prophets, other human beings or nature is considered forbidden idolatry. In the Qur’an, we read that Allah is Compassionate and Merciful. He is Kind, Loving, and Wise. He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Healer. He is the One who Guides, the One who Protects and the One who Forgives.[6]

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Who is Allah?

Allah Is Known Through Reasons

God: the Beneficent, the Merciful

The One & Only God – Allah

God is Ar-Raqib: The Ever-Watchful

Who is the Prophet Muhammad?

Muhammad is the Prophet of Islam. He was born in Mecca in Saudi Arabia in 570. He was a deeply spiritual man, and often spent time in meditation on Mount Hira’.[7] Muhammad’s ancestry goes back to Prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him), son of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). His father died before his birth and his mother died when he was six. At age 40, he was given the prophethood when the angel Jibril (Gabriel) appeared in the cave. Subsequently, the revelations came over 23 years. The most remarkable thing in Muhammad is his gentle and exalted manners with all people; his friends and his enemies. This is witnessed by all the just men. In addition to that, modesty and flexibility were of his great qualities away from complexity and arrogance. He loved right and justice and ruled according to this. He did not flatter any one for his rank, money or his pedigree, in the contrary, he supported the weak and stand against the strong in giving them their rights back.[8]

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Prophet Muhammad with Non-Muslims

Prophet Muhammad’s Call to Muslims to Serve People

Who Was Muhammad?

Muhammad: The Prophet of Mercy

Prophet Muhammad’s Marriage to `A’ishah

What Is Prayer?

Prayer is the practice of formal worship in Islam. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Prayer consists of the repetition of prescribed actions and words. The number of obligatory units (rak`ahs) varies from two to four according to the time of day or other circumstances. Prayer is obligatory for all Muslims except those who are retarded, prepubescent, very sick, lactating, pregnant, menstruating, frail and elderly or travelling on a long journey.[9] There are five obligatory prayers,  including Fajr (Dawn), Zhuhr (Noon), `Asr (Afternoon), Maghrib (Sunset) and `Isha’ (Night).

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The Beauty of My Prayer

Power of Prayer

Mosque in Islam: An Integrated Role

About Prayer: The Second Pillar of Islam

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What Is Fasting?

Fasting is another unique moral and spiritual characteristic of Islam. Literally defined, fasting means to abstain “completely” from foods, drinks and intimate intercourse, before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan. Fasting Ramadan is obligatory on every responsible and fit Muslim. It teaches man the virtue of effective devotion, honest dedication and closeness to God; because when he fasts he does so for God and for His sake alone. It cultivates in man a vigilant and sound conscience; because the fasting person keeps his fast in secret as well as in public.[10]

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A Brief Guide to Ramadan and Fasting

All About Ramadan

Objectives of Fasting

Fasting From One’s Desires

Fasting and Overall Health

Your First Ramadan: Get It Right

What Is Zakah?

Zakah is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a duty performed on a regular basis. Zakah is not an option but it is a compulsory act for all Muslims. It is a contribution paid once a year on excess savings. This giving is to “cleanse” your money and possessions from excessive desire for them or greed. It is expected from every Muslim individual. Zakah provides us with the opportunity of sharing our excess wealth with those less fortunate than ourselves. In fact, we and our wealth belong to Allah. He is the Real Owner and we are merely the trustees of His Wealth. We do our duty as trustees if we pay Zakah as an obligatory part of worship.[11]

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Zakah and Social Justice

Q & A on Zakah

Zakah in Islam: Concepts and Rules

Zakah: On What & How Much?

Zakah & Sadaqah: What Is the Difference?

What is Hajj?

The word Hajj, linguistically, means heading to a place for the sake of visiting. In Islamic terminology, it implies heading to Makkah to observe the rituals of pilgrimage, such as Tawaf and standing at `Arafat mount. Hajj is rightly said to be the perfection of faith, since it combines in itself all the distinctive qualities of other obligatory acts of prayer, patience, privation of amenities of life, devotion, Zakah, slaughtering the sacrifice and supplication. In fact, the physical pilgrimage is a prelude to the spiritual pilgrimage to Allah when man would bid goodbye to everything of the world and present himself before Him.[12]

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What Is Hajj?

The Ka`bah: History and Significance

All About Hajj

Hajj: A Universal Message of Unity

Prophet Muhammad’s Farewell Pilgrimage and Sermon

Muslims & Jews & Christians!

The Qur’an calls the Jews and Christians “People of the Book”, i.e., those who received Divine scriptures before Muhammad (peace be upon him). Muslims are told to treat them with respect and justice. It is sad that many Christians do not know that Jesus (peace be upon him) holds a very high position within Islam. Unlike Orthodox Judaism, Islam considers Jesus to be the promised Messiah, a word from God, born of the Virgin Mary to bring a new covenant to the people of Israel.

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Muslims in Church

Comparison of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity

Jewish-Muslim Relations: The Qur’anic View (1/5)

Jewish-Muslim Relations: The Qur’anic View (2/5)

Jewish-Muslim Relations: The Qur’anic View (3/5)

Jewish-Muslim Relations: The Qur’anic View (4/5)

Jewish-Muslim Relations: The Qur’anic View (5/5)


Women in Islam

With regard to the rights of man and woman, Islam has a special philosophy of its own. It believes that both man and woman have equal rights and obligations. In certain cases, their rights and obligations are different, but still they are fairly equal. According to the Qur’an, men and women have the same spirit, there is no superiority in the spiritual sense between men and women. The Qur’an makes it clear to remove any notion of superiority. In terms of moral, spiritual duties, acts of worship, the requirements of men and women are the same, except in some cases when women have certain concessions because of their feminine nature, or their health or the health of their babies. The Qur’an explicitly, in more than one verse, specified that whoever does good deeds, and is a believer, whether male or female, God will give them an abundant reward.[13]

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Islam in Women not Women in Islam

Muslim Women Hijab: Cover or Modesty?

Equalities of Men and Women in Islam: Is There Anything Better?

Women and Inheritance

The Age of `A’ishah

Hijab for Women: Why?

What is the Hereafter?

According to Islam, the present world is not an eternal abode. The Qur’an tells us that man is placed here only temporarily to be tested in terms of his obedience to God’s orders. He must always remember that there will be the life, the hereafter. There is a time limit to mortal existence. Death marks the end of the testing period for all human beings. But death only means a change of abode, for the soul never dies. Man returns to the realm whence he came, so that he waits for the Day of Judgment. That realm is the eternal world.  God created human beings and made them responsible for their actions by granting them freedom. If there were no Afterlife in which the good were rewarded and the bad punished, there would be no justice; in which case, it would appear meaningless to create people with a conscience and a sense of responsibility. But God is Just and always acts justly. Hence it is the absolute demand of justice that there should be a Day of Judgment on which everyone is brought to book. When the time comes for the Last Reckoning, God will destroy this world and replace it with a permanent, everlasting world. All human beings will then be resurrected and brought before the Almighty to be judged. On that day, everyone will stand alone before God. Those who have done good deeds in the world they have left behind will be rewarded. Their reward will be paradise, a state of joy, happiness and peace.[14]

Read more…

The Hereafter: A Logical or a Blind Belief?
What is Jihad?

The word “Jihad” means struggle, or to be specific, striving in the cause of God. Any struggle done in day-to-day life to please God can be considered Jihad. One of the highest levels of Jihad is to stand up to a tyrant and speak a word of truth. Control of the self from wrong doings is also a great Jihad. One of the forms of Jihad is to take up arms in defense of a Muslim country when attacked. This kind of Jihad has to be declared by the religious leadership or by a Muslim head of state who is following the Qur’an and Sunnah.[15]

Concept of Jihad in Islam

Terrorism & Jihad
What is the Qur’an?

Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the very word of God, the Almighty: a complete record of the exact words revealed by God through the Angel Jibril (Gabriel) to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Qur’an was memorized by Prophet Muhammad and his followers, dictated to his companions, and written down by scribes, who cross-checked it during the Prophet’s lifetime. Not one word of its 114 surahs (chapters) has been changed over the centuries. The Qur’an is in every detail the same unique and miraculous text that was revealed to Muhammad over fourteen centuries ago. The Qur’an is the principle source of every Muslim’s faith and practice. It deals with all subjects that concern us as human beings, including wisdom, doctrine, worship and law; but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures. At the same time, the Qur’an provides guidelines for a just society, proper human conduct and equitable economic principles.[16]

Read more…

The Divine Qur’an

Why Was the Qur’an Revealed in Arabic?

The Qur’an: A Speech or Literature?

Sciences of the Qur’an: Causes of Revelation

Do You Really Love the Qur’an?

What is the Sunnah?

The word Sunnah has three separate meanings that are often mixed up by Muslims when the term arises in discussions. The first sense of Sunnah is in the context of identifying textual sources, as the Qur’an is contrasted with the Sunnah, meaning the Hadith. A second sense of Sunnah is the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him), embodied in the things he said, did, and in his noble states of heart; together with the things he approved of in others, and the things that he intended to do but did not get the chance. A third sense of Sunnah is in the context of Shari`ah rulings, in which Sunnah  means “a recommended deed”, meaning something that one deserves a reward for doing but is not punished for not doing.[17]

Read more…

The Definition of Sunnah

Status of the Sunnah in Islam

The Muslims between Hadith & Sunnah

Following in The Footsteps of Muhammad

What Is Shari`ah?

The Shari`ah is the framework of ultimate reality and the ethical guidance that Muslim scholars have derived from the direct Revelation of Allah to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Shari`ah is the centerpiece and backbone of the religion of Islam. Islamic law prescribes Muslim behavior in every aspect of life. The Shari`ah contains categories and subjects of Islamic law called the branches of Fiqh (Jurisprudence). They include Islamic worship, family relations, inheritance, commerce, property law, civil law, criminal law, administration, taxation, constitution, international relations, war and ethics, and other categories.[18]

How to Become a Muslim

Conversion to Islam must be based on complete satisfaction and contentment. If you take the decision to embrace Islam, be sure that you will never regret this decision. Becoming a Muslim is a simple and easy process that requires no pre-requisites. One may convert alone in privacy, or he/she may do so in the presence of others. All one needs to do is pronounce the “Shahadah“, the testimony of faith, without further delay. The “Shahadah” is to say “La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah” (I testify that there is no true god but Allah, and that Muhammad is a Messenger of Allah.) When someone pronounces this testimony with conviction, then he/she has become a Muslim. Upon entering the fold of Islam purely for the Pleasure of Allah, all of one’s previous sins are forgiven, and one starts a new life of piety and righteousness. We welcome you to Islam, congratulate you for your decision, and will try to help you in any way we can.

This video shows you to practically convert to Islam.

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[1] Islam at a glance

[2] introductiontoislam

[3] Islam at a glance

[4]  National Council of Churches

[5] Islam Some Basic Facts

[6] http://www.islam.about.com, with modifications.


[8] http://rasoulallah.net/index.php/en/home

[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salah#cite_note-1

[10] http://www.eden.rutgers.edu/~muslims/fasting.htm

[11] http://www.uwt.org/site/article.asp?id=172



[14] http://www.cpsglobal.org/content/concept-hereafter-islam

[15] http://www.introductiontoislam.org/jihad.shtml



[18] http://www.islamproject.org/education/D01_IslamicLaw.htm

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