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The seven fundamentals of Islam
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 30 - 05 - 2008

THE word “Islam” is an Arabic word, which means “submitting and surrendering one's will to Allah Almighty.” The word comes from the same root as the Arabic word “Salam,” which means peace. Unlike the names used for other religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, the name for the religion of Islam was revealed by Allah Almighty and carries a deep spiritual meaning--only by submitting one's will to Allah Almighty can one realize true peace both in this life and in the Hereafter.
Islam teaches that all religions originally had the same essential message, which was to submit wholeheartedly to the will of Allah Almighty and to worship Him, and Him alone. For this reason, Islam is not a new religion but is the same divinely revealed ultimate truth that Allah Almighty revealed to all prophets including Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa and Isa (peace be upon them).
The Arabic word “Muslim” literally means “someone who submits to the will of Allah Almighty.” The message of Islam is meant for the entire world and anyone who accepts this message becomes a Muslim.
Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion for the Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth, since in actuality over 80 per cent of the Muslims the world over are not Arabs. Even though, most Arabs are Muslims, there are Arabs who are Christians, Jews and atheists.
If one just takes a look at the various people who live in the Muslim World--from Nigeria to Bosnia and from Morocco to Indonesia--it is easy enough to see that Muslims come from different races, ethnic groups and nationalities.
From the very beginning, Islam had a universal message for all people. This can be seen in the fact that some of the early companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were not only Arabs but Persians, Africans and Byzantine Romans also. Being a Muslim entails complete acceptance and active obedience to the revealed will of Allah Almighty. A Muslim is a person who freely accepts to base his beliefs, values and faith on the will of Allah Almighty.
In the past, even though you do not see it as much today, the word “Mohammedans” was often used as a label for the Muslims. That label was a misnomer and the result of either willful distortion or sheer ignorance.
One of the reasons for the misconception was that the Europeans were taught for centuries that the Muslims worshipped Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the same way that the Christians worship Jesus (peace be upon him). This is absolutely not true since a Muslim is not permitted to worship anyone or anything besides Allah Almighty.
Very often one will hear the Arabic word “Allah” being used in regards to Islam. The word “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for Almighty God, and it is the same word used by Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews. If one were to pick up an Arabic translation of the Bible, one would see the word “Allah” being used where the word “God” is used in English. Actually, the Arabic word for Almighty God–Allah–is quite similar to the word for Allah Almighty in other Semitic languages for example, the Hebrew word for Allah Almighty is “Elah.”
For various reasons, some non-Muslims mistakenly believe that the Muslims worship a different God than the Jews and Christians. This is certainly not the case, since the pure monotheism of Islam calls all people to the worship of the God of Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, Isa and all of the other prophets. However, even though the Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same Allah--since there is only one Allah--their concepts concerning Him differ in some significant ways.
The last and final prophet that Allah sent to humanity was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He explained and interpreted the teachings of Islam and acted according to them. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the greatest of all prophets for many reasons, but mainly because the results of his mission have brought more people into the pure belief in one Allah than any other prophet. Even though other religious communities claimed to believe in one Allah, over time, they had corrupted their beliefs by taking their prophets and saints as intercessors with Allah Almighty. Some religions believe their prophets to be manifestations of Allah Almighty, “God Incarnate” or the “Son of God.”
All of these false ideas lead to the creature being worshipped instead of the Creator, which contributed to the idolatrous practice of believing that God Almighty can be approached through intermediaries.
In order to guard against these falsehoods, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) always emphasized that he was only a human being tasked with the preaching of Allah's message. He taught the Muslims to refer to him as “the Messenger of Allah and His Slave.” – The News
(To be continued) __

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