by sister Mary
A) What is Islam?
I love jolting an audience to attention so let’s start with what may be a shocking revelation for our very first class smile emoticon You may have often heard Muslims say “Islam is a religion of peace” and possibly been a little skeptical about it given the current political climate, but indeed the word “Islam” is derived from the verb “aslama” which means “to surrender, commit, submit” and originates from the Arabic word “salima” which corresponds to the meaning of peace. So essentially, Islam is adopting a way of life for attaining peace through surrender, submission and obedience to the will of God, the Creator of all that exists.
Islam teaches that in order to achieve true peace and success, one must submit to God and live according to His Divinely revealed Law as there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God. In a nutshell, the core of a Muslim’s belief is that:
- God is perfect and infallible. He created us and knows what is best for us and therefore, we should strive to live a life according to His guidance and laws.
- As much as we may be inclined to do as we please, life should not be led according to our whims, desires and man-made concepts because (unlike God) human beings are fallible and our knowledge is limited. Also, it is impossible to have one man-made code of conduct that is universally acceptable : One man’s meat is another’s poison. You say po-tay-toe, I say po-ta-to.
- A person who rejects submission to God and sees himself as “free” is in fact often enslaved to various things such as wealth, power & popularity whereas the one who submits himself to God is truly liberated because he lives a life of purpose and righteousness (by controlling his desires and avoiding sin to please God) and is not enslaved to people or worldly matters.
B) Who are Muslims?
A Muslim is one who submits to the will of God and lives in accordance with His guidance, regardless of their race, nationality or ethnic background. It is not uncommon for people to believe that Islam is just a religion for Arabs and Malays since they make up the majority of the Muslim population, but in reality it is a way of life that is colour-blind and nation-blind, and you will find Muslims (some born into Muslim families and some who have embraced it of their own accord) in every corner of the world - Chinese, American, Indian, African, Scandinavian, Korean, Japanese, European.... the list goes on, and I have been privileged to meet quite a few from these backgrounds.
In fact, large numbers of Americans have been choosing Islam as their way of life since 9/11 - not something you would expect, eh? In its report on this phenomenon, Fox News interviews a few converts to find out why. I’m attaching the link to the report below so you can satisfy your curiosity as well wink emoticon
Since Islam is submission to the will of God, the questions that would naturally follow are
- why do Muslims believe in God?
- who is God?
- how do Muslims know what the will of God is?
These and other topics will be covered in the coming lessons InshaAllah (God-willing). In our next lesson, we will explore the topic : WHY DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE IN GOD?
[NOTE : This basic introduction about Islam is specially written and compiled by sister Mary, Vice-President of MRM. InshaAllah, MRM will be sharing this article every Friday morning]
Resource: Facebook (Multiracial Reverted Muslims)
24 May 2016