What is Islam?

Islam means submission to Allaah and obedience of His orders, worshipping Him alone sincerely and abiding by His Laws as much as you can and leaving evil and wrong doing definitively..

Allaah sent Mohammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, with the religion of Islam. His Message was the last of all messages, and was intended for all mankind every where and during all times. Allaah took it upon Himself to preserve and protect this Message from all distortion, change or deformation. The foundation of this last Message is the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam. Allaah says (what means):

{It is He who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth. That He makes it prevail over all religion}

[Quran 61:09].


Allaah also says (what means):

{We have not sent you but as a (Messenger) to all mankind, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men know not}[Quran 34:28].

Islam comprises everything beneficial to human life; it guarantees us a life of love, peace, compassion, mercy, justice, co-operation and mutual support. Achieving such a life is one of the great aims of Islam. This is implied in the Prophet’s saying, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam: ”I have been sent to perfect the good manners”.

Why do we need Islam?

When the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, appeared, the world was in a dire need of Islam. It was divided between two main superpowers, the Persians and the Byzantines, who used to fight each other causing a lot of suffering to their people, let alone their tyrannical and repressive regimes.

At the same time, false beliefs and creeds prevailed; people were wandering away from the Heavenly revelations which were mixed up with superstition and falsehood. Social conditions had also deteriorated; despotism, tyranny, bloodshed were dominant, and human dignity had been lost and morals were perverted.

Amidst this dark time, the Message of Islam arrived to steer mankind back to unblemished morality and right practices, and to anchor people to the infallible Revelation. Islam’s Message arrived to provide guidance, to draw mankind to the light of Allaah and to lead people to bliss and happiness.

Islam is the religion of freedom:

The first thing that Islam did was to free people from the slavery of worshipping other deities and to relieve them from the shackles of tyranny.


Islam declares that all people are one nation born from one father and mother; there is, therefore, no difference between Arabs and non-Arabs, white and black, except in terms of piety and how good they are in abiding by Allaah’s laws.

That is why the weak, the poor and the slaves rushed to Islam, where they found salvation. Islam raised them up to be on equal footing with the rich and the powerful. It opened the gates of creativity and excellence for everyone to prosper according to his/her capabilities. Take for example, Bilaal the Ethiopian, the Mu’athin (prayer caller) of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, Salmaan, the Persian and Suhayb, the Byzantine.

Islam is the religion of justice:

Islam spreads justice among people. In Islam, we are all akin to the teeth of a single comb; and none of us is granted any privilege over others. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, imposed identical rules on everybody regardless of their status. Thus, when a woman from the tribe of Makhzoom of the Quraysh – a very powerful tribe – was caught stealing, the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, applied the same punishment to her as to everyone else, and became angry with those who tried to intercede on her behalf. It was then that the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, gave his famous speech in which he declared “had even Faatimah – his own daughter – stolen, I would have amputated her hand”.

Islam is the religion of mercy

Islam spreads mercy among people. Allaah describes Himself as the All-Merciful and the Ever-Merciful and made these two attributes always conjoined. Thus, whenever a Muslim initiates his prayer or anything else, he should say: In the name of Allaah the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful.” Likewise, Allaah praises Mohammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, by saying (what means):

{It is part of the mercy of Allaah that you do deal gently with them. Were you severe or harsh hearted, they would have broken away from about you} [Quran 3:159].

Allaah also compliments Muslims for having the same attributes. Allaah says (what means):

{Mohammad is the Messenger of Allaah; and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers, but compassionate amongst each other. You will see them bow and prostrate themselves, seeking Grace from Allaah and (His) Good Pleasure} [Quran 48:29].

The mercy of Islam is not limited to human beings, but extends to animals as it is forbidden to mastreat or deprive any creature of food. One narration of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, stated that a woman entered the Hell-fire because she locked a cat in a house without feeding her or letting her go out in search for food. In contrast, a man entered Paradise because of his kindness to a thirsty dog. The man filled his shoes with water for the dog, because the water was far deep in a well out of the reach of the dog.

Islam is the religion of mutual support:

Islam calls all Muslims to support one another. Islam also strives for a strong and united community which is free of envy and grudge. Therefore, alms giving (Zakaat) is enjoined upon the rich and upon those who can afford it so that it will be given to the poor in order to be able to meet their needs.

The merits of Islam:

When Islam came, it made a change in the world towards good andrighteousness, creating a state of justice, a rich civilisation and an upright society. Thanks to the characteristics of Islam the betterment of the confused world was possible and Islam itself became durable, having an upper hand over other religions.

Islam was revealed from Allaah to His Prophet Mohammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam. It was not made up by a human or any other creature. The sole source of Islam is Allaah Who guaranteed its preservation.

Allaah says (what means):

{We have without doubt, sent down the Message; and we shall assuredly Guard it (from corruption)} [Quran 15:09].


Islam is the religion of Allaah:

All the Islamic beliefs, acts of worship, etiquettes, morals, laws and systems come from Allaah. Muslims worship none other than Allaah, and do not perform worship except in ways ordained by Allaah, whether such acts of worship are prayer, fasting, alms giving or pilgrimage. (Hajj)

Islam is the religion to all mankind:

Islam is a comprehensive and universal religion. Therefore, it is not limited to nationality, race, time or place, and it applies anytime and anywhere. The sign manifesting its comprehensiveness is that it came with clear beliefs based upon the Oneness of Allaah, acts of worship that link all human beings with their Creator, morals that strengthen the ties between all humanity, and laws that organise society and bind it with justice and virtue.

Islam is the religion of moderation:

Islam is the most moderate of all religions. It brings about for all mankind the good of this world and happiness in the Hereafter. Islam considers everyone’s spirit as well as body, and cares for the individual as well as community. It makes lawful everything that is useful and beneficial and bans everything that is harmful.

Islam is a clear religion:

Islam is characterised by its clearly defined foundations and sources of belief, rituals, ethics and etiquettes. The Quran is easy to study and understand, it eases the Muslim’s soul, and to which he can resort any time for guidance and reformation. The Prophet’s Sunnah explains the Quran, gives details about its laws and injunctions and is the practical aspect of Islam. The aims of Islam are clear in building up an upright individual, family and nation. It spreads the value and principle of truth among people.

Islam honours women:

Islam honours the woman after all the tyranny and suppression she experienced. Both Eastern and Western societies used to look down at her, denying her human rights. Then Islam came to raise her status, protecting her dignity and rights through imposing a set of laws. It put her on equal footing with man in terms of duties and obligations –in prayers, zakaat, pilgrimage and all other acts of worship. It made her financially independent and let her keep her name so that she remains belonging to her own family rather than acquiring a new name when she marries. It also gave her the responsibility of looking after her husband and children.

Jibreel (Gabriel) teaches us our religion:

Islam is based upon five pillars:

1) The Two Testimonies of Faith (AshShahaadatayn)

In the first testimony, a Muslim says: “None is worthy of worship but Allaah.” In the second testimony, which follows directly, the Muslim continues: “And Mohammad is His Messenger”.


2) Prayers (Salaat)

3) Alms-giving (Zakaat )

4) Fasting during the month of Ramadhaan (Sawm)

5) Pilgrimmage (Hajj)

The Islamic Faith is based upon six pillars (known as “The Pillars of Faith”):

1) Belief in Allaah

2) Belief in the Angels who are created by Allaah from light; they have no gender and they do not eat or drink, and have no earthly needs

3) Belief in the Revealed Books, such as the Torah, and the Injeel

4) Belief in the Messengers and Prophets of Allaah

5) Belief in the Last Day, the Resurrection and the Judgement

6) Belief in Divine Preordainment, the well-planned system established by Allaah for this universe.

‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, there appeared before us a man whose clothes were brilliant white and whose hair was deep black; he had no signs of travel on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down in front of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam. Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his own thighs, he addressed him: ‘O Mohammad, tell me about Islam’.

The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: ‘Islam is to testify that none is worthy of worship but Allaah and that Mohammad is His Messenger, to perform the prayers, to give zakaat , to fast during the month of Ramadhaan, and to perform pilgrimage if you are able to do so’.

He said: ‘You have answered rightly,’ and we were amazed at him asking this and saying that he (the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) had spoken rightly.

The man continued: ‘Tell me about Faith’.

He (the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: It is to believe in Allaah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in Divine Destiny, good or bad.’

(Again) he said: ‘You have answered rightly.’

He said: ‘Tell me about Ihsaan (the perfection of faith).

He (the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘It is to worship Allaah, as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly, He sees you completely’.

He said: ‘Then tell me when is Hour’.

He (the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: The one who is asked the question knows no better than the questioner.’

He said: ‘Then, tell me about its Signs’.

He (the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: The slave girl will give birth to her master and you will see the barefoot, naked, destitute shepherds competing to build great buildings.’ Then he took off, and I waited for a while, then the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: ‘O ‘Umar, do you know who the questioner was?’

I said: ‘Allaah and His Messenger know best’.

He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: ‘It was Jibreel, who came to you to teach you your religion’.”

Jibreel (Gabriel) teaches us our religion:

Since its beginning, the Islamic Call was taken to be universal. Muslims endeavoured to spread their religion everywhere with wisdom and good counsel. Within half a century, the Islamic state was fully established and, after finding mercy, justice, brotherhood and equality therein, people willingly rushed to Islam. They realised that their good and happiness reside there in Islam which can organise their life. Islam spread east and west, up to the borders of China in the East, the Atlantic Ocean in the West, the southern parts of Europe and to the Middle of Africa. Muslims now are everywhere in the world. Islam remains the fastest religion in the world, and despite the fierce and aggressive war against Islam, the number of people who embrace Islam is rising daily.

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