What is Islam and who are the Muslims?
Islam means “The religion of persons who submit to Allah unconditionally”. The word Islam is derived from the root words for peace (silm), voluntary self-surrender (taslimiyah) to Allah and salvation (salamah). A Muslim is “One who fully embraces the way of life of Islam; surrendering unconditionally to Allah.
Also, using these three terms, one could state the following: “Islam is a way of voluntarily surrendering (taslimiyah) for the sake of peace (silm) on Earth and eternal salvation (salamah) in the Hereafter.”
Islam is, as these very terms imply, “peace”. A Muslim, on the other hand, is someone who lives in peace and promotes others to live in peace—a volunteer for peace, in short.
Islam is a way for those who submit themselves to truth and who do not subdue truth to their whims.
Islam is a generic term for all the values people have cherished since the beginning of mankind. The only true religion in the sight of Allah (3:19). And self-surrendering is what Allah wills as the religion for humans (5:3). Furthermore, Islam is the name of a perfect system that unifies morals, faith, worship and values in human life (2:208).
Islam promotes the notion of the Creator as the center of humans’ consciousness. Therefore, Islam confirms that the Creator granted reason, mind, will and conscience to human beings. Islam is the way of those who recognize man’s freewill to choose between good and evil.
Islam is not just a religion among other religions, but is a collection of those values, which were promoted as a way of life by all the prophets and messengers of Allah (22:78).
In its broadest meaning, Islam is the name of the system Allah rules the universe with (41:11). If “cosmos” not “chaos,” rules over universe, then it is an indication of a majestic balance and a system in this very universe. Speaking of “cosmos” and “system,” one cannot but mention “harmony.” Hence, harmony among all beings in the universe is their submission to Allah’s will (55:6).
A Muslim is one who willingly and conscientiously submits himself/herself to Allah for the sake of peace and harmony in both inner and outer worlds. A Muslim is one who believes in the Lord of the worlds and fulfills His orders without hesitation or questioning. Muslim is one who prefers “Allah’s will” to “my ego’s will.” Muslim is one who has found his true self. Muslim is anyone who willingly and unquestioningly surrenders to Allah’s will—the way of life Islam teaches. Allah says in the Qur’an that those who sincerely surrender themselves to Him and unconditionally fulfill His commands are Muslims (muslimeen) (22:78).
One’s surrendering to Allah’s will is not his/her grace toward Allah, but it is Allah’s grace that one attains faith in Him (49:17).