The Meaning Of Islam

The word Islam means submission to Allah, the Almighty, the Creator and Lord of all creation, with the entire soul and body, by obedience to what He commanded and prohibited in His Revealed Law. It requires compliance and willful yielding of one’s will to His Will and Judgments, and by acceptance of all that Allah has decreed for man on earth. Allah is the Most Beneficent and Merciful who knows all man’s needs, who enjoins all that is good and warns against all that is evil. Thus, His revealed Law is perfectly suited to the universal needs, rights and responsibilities of man.

The Almighty states in the Qur’an, in relation to the Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham): “Behold! His Lord said to him, ‘Submit.’ He said, ‘I have submitted [in Islam] to the Lord of the worlds.’” (2:131)

The word “Salam” means “Peace” and is derived from the same Arabic three-letter root (SLM) as the word Islam. “Salam” is also one of the Attributes of Allah, blessed be His Names and Attributes and Exalted His Majesty, as the Qur’an states: “He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.” (59:23)

“Salam” is also one of the names of Jannah (Paradise). The Almighty states in the Qur’an: “For them will be a Home of Peace with their Lord. He will be their protecting Friend, because they practiced righteousness.” (6:127)

The inhabitants of Paradise will greet each other with “Salam” when they meet their Lord, Allah, as he mentioned: “Their salutation on the Day they meet Him will be ‘Peace’ and He has prepared for them a generous Reward.” (33:44)

Muslims exchange the purified and noble greetings “As-Salamu Alaikum” (Peace be upon you) when they meet, when they pass by one another, and when they call one another. Even when a Muslim enters his own home and finds no one there, he says as-Salamu Alaikum since he offers this greeting upon the angels who are present in that place and upon himself. This form of greeting helps to relieve the hearts from all forms of enmity, grudges and rancor that people may keep within them, replacing it with good will, mutual respect, tranquility, security and happiness. Often Muslims greet one another by saying the fuller version, which has been taught by the Prophet of Allah, “As-Salamu alaikum wa rahmatul'laah”, which means, “may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you, and His Mercy”.

In the Prophetic traditions (hadith), we find the words of the Messenger of Allah ( s) describing how the spreading of this greeting is from among the traits of the perfection of faith: “You will not enter Paradise until you acquire full faith, and you will not acquire full faith until you love one another. Should not I guide you to an action which if you establish it among one another, you would love one another? Spread the greeting of ‘Salaam’ (Peace) as much as you can amongst yourselves (in the community).” (Muslim)

And the Messenger of Allah ( s) said: “Offer food generously to others, initiate the greeting of ‘peace’ amongst yourselves to those whom you know and those whom you do not know.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

The purpose of Islam is to continually seek to please Allah, the Creator and Lord of the Universe, by universal good and righteous deeds. Allah says in his Glorious Book, the Qur’an: “O People of the Book! There has come to you Our Messenger revealing to you much that you used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary). There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book by which Allah guides all who seek His pleasure to the ways of ‘salam’ (peace and safety), and leads them out of darkness, by His Will, to the light, and guides them to a Path that is Straight.” (5:15-16)

Islam comprises the complete comprehensive meaning of peace that includes the inner personal and spiritual peace, as well as outer social peace. As the Messenger of Allah ( s) said: “A true Muslim is the person from whom other Muslims feel secure from his verbal or physical abuse and attacks, and a true immigrant is a person who forsakes what Allah the Almighty has declared unlawful.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

Moreover, it includes the global vision of general universal peace for all humanity, since its basic principles include mutual respect and non-aggression to those who abide peacefully to just terms, especially those who have the basic understanding of a revealed religion from Allah as the basis of their civilization like the Christians and Jews.

“O you who believe! Enter into ‘as-Silm’ (the peace of Islam by submission to Allah) completely and whole-heartedly, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan, for he is indeed an avowed enemy to you.” (2:208)

The invitation of Islam, Allah’s universal religion, is extended to all. Allah Most Exalted said in His Majestic Book: “Say, [O Muhammad], 'O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death.' So believe in Allah and His Messenger....” (7:158)

And He said: “Truly the religion before Allah is Islam.” (3:19)

And He said: “And Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” (3:85)