“Islam” means “surrender” or “submission”. “Salam” (which means “peace”) is the root word of “Islam”. In a religious context the word “Islam” means “the surrendering of one’s will (without compulsion) to the true will of God in an effort to achieve peace”.
Islam is not a new religion or cult. It is a universal way of life and civilization. Studies show that between 1.5 and 1.8 billion people in the world identify their religion as Islam. Along with Judaism and Christianity it traces its roots through Prophet Abraham and back to the first humans Adam and Eve.
There are five pillars of practice in Islam. These practices must be undertaken with the best of effort in order to be considered a true Muslim: A) Declaration of faith in One God and that Muhammad is a prophet of God. B) Formal prayer five times a day. C) Poor-due “tax” – 2.5% of one’s excess wealth given to the needy once a year. D) Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once, if physically and financially able. E) Fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan.
There are six articles of faith in Islam. These are the basic beliefs that one must have in order to be considered a true Muslim. They are belief in: A) the One God. B) all of the true prophets of God. C) the original scriptures revealed to Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad. D) the angels. E) the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter. F) destiny.
Islam is a complete way of life that governs all facets of life: moral, spiritual, physical, intellectual, social, economical, etc.
Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. To become Muslim, a person of any race or culture must say a simple statement, the shahadah, that bears witness to the belief in the One God and that Muhammad is a prophet of God.
The Islamic concept of God is that He is loving, merciful and compassionate. Islam also teaches that He is all-knowing and the perfect judge of affairs, and will punish (or forgive) accordingly. However, Allah once said to Muhammad, “My mercy prevails over my wrath”. So Islam teaches a balance between fear and hope, protecting one from both complacency and despair.