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Islam - an introduction
Suhel Farooq Khan

The Arabic word Islam comes from the words Silm and Salam, which mean Peace.

Islam means submission or obedience to God.
In literal sense, it means complete surrender to the will of God.
In simple terms, Islam means to be obedient and faithful to the commands of God.

The religion of Islam calls for leading life in a manner that was told by Muhammad S, the last Rasul (Messenger) of God.

In the Arabic language, God is called Allah. The Arabic speaking Christians also use the word Allah for God. Allah (God) is the Sole Creator and Sustainer of everything that exists.

Islam is the oldest religion on earth. Allah (God) first sent Islam to this world through Adam A (Adam).

dam A (Adam), the first man created by Allah (God), was the first Nabi (Messenger) on this earth, and Muhammad S was His last Rasul (Messenger).

Islam is the same religion that Allah (God) had sent repeatedly through all of His Rusul (Messengers). Some of those Rusul (Messengers) were Nuh A (Noah), Ibrahim A (Abraham), Dawud A (David), Ismail A (Ishmael), Ishaq A (Isaac), Musa A (Moses), Isa A (Jesus) and Muhammad S.

Through Muhammad S, Islam was reintroduced to mankind for the last time in the first half of the 7th century A.D.

Islam is a complete way of living. Unlike other religions, Islam is not a religion consisting of a few rituals, which are to be practiced occasionally. Islam covers every aspect of life.

Islam does not require any intermediaries for offering prayers to Allah (God). Islam is the only religion where one can seek pleasure of Allah (God) while leading a normal life. In Islam, every normal act of life becomes an ’Ibadah (Acts of Worship), if one follows simple Islamic laws. There is always an Islamic way of doing things that covers each and every aspect of life from eating and sleeping to working and playing.

More than 1,400 years ago, Islam had set up simple to follow guidelines, that maintains the individuality of its followers as well as sets up beautiful codes of social behavior.

In order to accept Islam as a way of life, one has to firmly believe in its fundamental principles. Contrary to the popular myth that Islam was spread by sword, Islam cannot be forced upon anyone. Forcing anyone into Islam is forbidden.Non-Muslims have to be convinced of the truth of Islam before accepting it.

There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.
Surah (Chapter) al-Baqarah (The Cow) Qur-an 2:256

Contrary to the common belief in the west, Islam is not an eastern religion. It is a universal religion, and its Rasul (Messenger), Muhammad S was sent as a mercy for the entire mankind.

Say (O Muhammad S) "O mankind Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah-to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. La ilaha ill Huwa (non has the right to be worshipped but He). It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad S) the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad S), who believes in Allah and His Words [(this Qur-an), the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and also Allah's Word: "Be!"- and he was, i.e. 'Isa (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary)], and follow him so that you may be guided.
Surah (Chapter) al-A’raf (The Heights) Qur-an 7: 158

And We have sent you (O Muhammad S) not, but as a mercy for the 'Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).
Surah (Chapter) al-Anbiyah (The Messengers) Qur-an 21:107

Islam does not teach violence and considers it as one of the worst crime. But Islam being the first religion to recognize human rights and gender equality cannot afford to be a silent spectator of violence against humanity or oppression. Islam also allows self-defense. Fighting for self-defense and fight against oppression and violence is a recognized right in any civilized society.

Islam is an egalitarian religion. It is free from caste and class system. Islam treats all its followers the same. Arab Muslims are not superior to non-Arab Muslims; White Muslims are not any better than non-white Muslims. Allah (God) respects the righteous Muslims the most.

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and
a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqun (the pious. See V.2:2)]. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.
Surah (Chapter) al-Hujurat (The Dwellings) Qur-an 49:13

Islam is the first religion, which recognized, defined, practiced and preached human rights fourteen hundred years ago. In Islam, all human beings are equal irrespective of the color of their skins, their place of birth or their social status.
A glimpse of this social equality can be witnessed at the time of prayers, five times a day in mosques allover the world, where Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder to offer prayers irrespective of their social status.

Many developed nations have yet to achieve the true social equality that Islam had achieved almost fifteen hundred years ago. Islam is a religion of peace.

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