Definition and meaning of Islam

Islam is a word with multiple connotations. It is derived from an Arabic stem that carries the meanings of peace and submission (to Allah the Exalted and Almighty). All Abrahamic religions were sent down to discipline mankind and prepare them spiritually, physically, and intellectually in the way that is best for the fulfilment of the mission they are created for.

Allah’s Messages are meant to build up the human being fit for establishing civilization and creating prosperity in the world. For this end, Allah commands us to do what is beneficial to us and forbids all that cause harm to us.

Abrahamic religions were sent down to liberate human minds and render them enlightened and mature through the divine light. Religion is not meant to be in contrast to reason and truth. Rather, it is meant to be in harmony with reason and help develop and illuminate it.

If the world’s nations look truly forward to achieving world peace, the only way left for them is to embrace the Message of Allah that is based on establishing peace between man and Allah, and man and man.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said in his teachings: “Allah shows Mercy to those who are merciful to others. Show mercy to those on earth and He up in heaven will show Mercy to you.”

[Reported by Abu-Dawud (4943) and At-Tirmidhi (1924) on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) and classified by At-Tirmidhi as Hasan Sahih. [1]

Moreover, the Glorious Qur’an describes our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saying: “We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.”

Qur’an [Surah Al Anbya’: 107]

Allah (Glory is to Him) says in the Glorious Qur’an: “Allah invites to the abode of peace…”

Qur’an [Surah Yunus: 25].

Islam establishes the greeting of peace for its adherents as an invocation of peace and mercy to be exchanged whenever they meet.

In fact, Islam was not revealed to abrogate the previous Messages of Allah, but rather to renew and perfect them. Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “My similitude in comparison with the other Prophets before me is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. The people go round about it and wonder at its beauty but say: “Would that this brick be put in its place!” So, I am the last (final) of the Prophets.”

[Reported by Al-Bukhari (3342) and Muslim 22-(2286) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him)].

Allah (Glory is to Him) says in the Glorious Qur’an: “Say: We believe in Allah and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Musa and Isa, and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit.” [Surat Al-Baqarah: 136].

In this regard, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said: “I have the best claim to ‘Isa, son of Mariam, among the whole of mankind in this worldly life and the next life. Prophets are brothers in faith, having different mothers. Their religion is one, but their mothers are different.”

[Reported by Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (Sahih Bukhari (3259) and Sahih Muslim 143-(2365))].

Thus, Jesus (peace be upon him) was not sent to abolish the Message of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) nor was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sent to strip Jesus of prophethood. Rather, each Prophet was sent to confirm the Message of his predecessor and pave the way for his successor. The Glorious Qur’an is the aggregate source that gathers the essence and wisdom of all the previous divine Messages. It calls for believing in all the Prophets; they have all been taught and sent by the One God: Allah, to Whom all Majesty belongs.

[1]A sahih (literally: sound or authentic) hadith is one which has a continuous chain comprised of transmitters of trustworthy memory and integrity from similar authorities, and which is found to be free from any irregularities (i.e. in the text) or defects (i.e. in the chain of transmitters).

A Hasan (literally: good) hadith is one that does not contain a disparaged transmitter in its chain, and which is reported through more than one route of narration, with a chain containing truthful and reliable transmitters, but who are a degree less in their preservation/memory of hadith in comparison to the reporters of sahih hadith.

Allah knows Best.