What is islam?

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Islam (الإسْلامُ) is an Arabic word. Its literal meaning is to obey, surrender and tread the path of peace, etc. In usual practise it means obedience to the commands of Allah and His Rasul (Sm.).

In the terminology of the Islamic Shariat, Islam means sincere belief in Allah the Most High, complete surrender to Him, spontaneous allegiance to His commands and prohibitions and lead one's life according to His commandments as a practised and demonstrated by Hazrat Muhammad (Sm.).

The holy Prophet (Sm.) beautifully depicts Islam in this tradition: He says-

الْإِسْلَامُ أَنْ تَشْهَدَ أَنْ لَّا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ وَتُقِيمَ الصَّلُوْةَ وَتُؤْتِي الزَّكُوةَ وَتَصُومَ رَمَضَانَ وَتَحُجَّ الْبَيْتَ إِنْ اسْتَطَعْتَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا

Meaning: "Islam is you will testify that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah and Muhammad (Sm.) is Allah's Messenger. Then you will perform prayers, offer alms, fast during Ramadan and perform Hajj at the House of Allah if your means support." (Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah, the Most High has sent many commands positive and negative, numerous rules and regulations in all ages. These were provided as code of con- duct (Shariat). The final and perfect shape of Shariat is Islam. It is the final and best prescription for mankind. Allah, the Most High says-

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللهِ الْإِسْلَامُ .

Meaning: "Surely, to Allah the only code of life for mankind is Islam." (Sura Al-i-Imran, Verse 19)

So, Islam is the religion acceptable to Allah the Most High and one who leads his life according to Islam is called a Muslim or Musalman.

The Role of Islam

Islam is the revealed religion or life commanded by Allah the Most High. It is a special bounty of Allah the Most High for mankind. It is a complete code of life. The perfect solutions of all matters and problems pertaining to man's life on earth have been provided in it. Allah the Most High says:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَاتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

Meaning: "Today have we perfected for you your religion and completed our bounty upon you and have chosen for you Islam as a code of conduct." (Sura Al-Maida, Verse: 3)

The full guidance on all matters from man from his birth to death is present in Islam. All the personal, family, social, cultural, economic, political and international issues have been accurately described in Islam. Even the description of the life after death or Hereafter is provided in Islam. So, for a disciplined and graceful life there is no alternative to Islam.

The word 'Islam' is derived from the verb root 'Silmun () which means peace. Islam leads man to the road to peace. Man may enjoy a perfect and peaceful life both here and the hereafter by following the laws and regulations of Islam. So, Islam is called the 'Religion of Peace."

Islam is a universal religion. It is not confined to any particular age, region or place. Most other religions have been named after their founder or preacher or follower or nation. But being a universal religion Islam has not been so named. Rather it has been named Islam so that mankind may peacefully lead their lives with allegiance to Allah and His Messenger (Sm.).

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