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What is Islam?

ABOUT THE WORDS "ISLAM" AND "MUSLIM"
The name of this religion is Islam, the root of which is S-L-M, which
means peace. The word "Salam," derived from the same root, may also
mean greeting one another with peace.

One of the beautiful names of God is that He is Peace. But Islam means
more than that: it means submission to the One God, and it means
living in peace with the Creator -- peace within one's self, peace
with other people, and peace with the environment.

Thus, Islam is a total system of living. A Muslim is supposed to live
in peace and harmony with all these segments. It follows that a Muslim
is any person, anywhere in the world, whose obedience, allegiance, and
loyalty are to God, the Lord of the Universe.

IS "MUSLIM" THE SAME AS ARAB?
The followers of Islam are called Muslims. Muslims are not to be
confused with Arabs.

Muslims may be Arabs, Turks, Persians, Indians, Pakistanis,
Malaysians, Indonesians, Europeans, Africans, Americans, Chinese, or
other nationalities.

An Arab could be a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew or an atheist. Any
person who adopts the Arabic language is called an Arab.

The language of the Qur'an (the Holy Book of Islam) is Arabic. Muslims
all over the world try to learn or improve their Arabic, so that they
may be able to read the Qur'an and understand its meaning. They pray
in the language of the Qur'an, Arabic. Islamic supplications to God
could be (and are) delivered in any language.

There are one billion Muslims in the world; there are about 200
million Arabs. Among those two hundred million Arabs, approximately
ten percent are not Muslims. Thus Arab Muslims constitute only about
twenty percent of the Muslim population of the world.
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[align=left]ALLAH THE ONE AND THE ONLY GOD[/align]

"Allah" was the Arabic word for God long before the birth of Muhammad,
peace be upon him.

Muslims believe that Allah is the name of the One and Only God. He is
the Creator of all human beings. He is the God for the Christians, the
Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the atheists, and all
others. Muslims worship God, whose name is Allah. They put their trust
in Him and they seek His help and His guidance.

MUHAMMAD
Muhammad was chosen by God to deliver His Message of Peace, namely
Islam. He was born in 570 C.E. (Common Era) in Makkah, Arabia. He was
entrusted with the Message of Islam when he was at the age of forty
years. The revelation that he received is called the Qur'an, while the
message is called Islam.

Muhammad is the very last Prophet of God to mankind. He is the final
Messenger of God. His message was and is still to the Christians, the
Jews and the rest of mankind. He was sent to those religious people to
inform them about the true mission of Jesus, Moses, Jacob, Isaac, and
Abraham.

Muhammad is considered to be the summation and the culmination of all
the prophets and messengers that came before him. He purified the
previous messages from adulteration and completed the Message of God
for all humanity. He was entrusted with the power of explaining,
interpreting and living the teaching of the Qur'an.

ISLAM AND NON-MUSLIMS
Muslims are required to respect all those who are faithful and God
conscious people, namely those who received messages. Christians and
Jews are called People of the Book. Muslims are asked to call upon the
People of the Book for common terms, namely, to worship One God, and
to work together for the solutions of the many problems in the
society.

Christians and Jews lived peacefully with Muslims throughout centuries
in the Middle East and other Asian and African countries. The second
Caliph, Umar, chose not to pray in the church in Jerusalem, so as not
to give later Muslims an excuse to take it over. Christians entrusted
the Muslims, and as such the key of the Church in Jerusalem is still
in the hands of the Muslims.

When Jews fled from Spain during the Inquisition, they were welcomed
by the Muslims. They settled in the heart of the Islamic Caliphate.
They enjoyed positions of power and authority. Throughout the Muslim
world, churches, synagogues and missionary schools were built within
the Muslim neighborhoods. These places were protected by Muslims
during bad times and good, and have continued to receive this
protection during the contemporary crises in the Middle East

For more information about Islam
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