The word "Islam" means surrendering oneself to Almighty God, submitting to His absolute will, obeying His commandments, revealing sincerity of the heart and remaining in peace with God’s creations. Islam literally means peace, which is attained by completely surrendering one’s will and pleasures of life to God. It is believed that the message of Islam was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad through angel Gabriel and preserved in the Quran. The Quran is the sacred book of Islam. It is believed to carry a Divine guarantee of protection from interpolation and it claims to have combined the best features of the earlier scriptures.
The followers of Islam are called as Islamers. They are also called as Muslims. Islamers stand by the code of life that God has revealed to them. Islam paves for the way of life that one has to adopt in order to attain success in this world and salvation in the world beyond. Islam provides a comprehensive ‘way of living’ that gives answers to all the problems faced by mankind.
The foundation of Islam is based upon six concepts of faith: Belief in Allah (God Almighty in his absolute and only 'one' form), Belief in Angels and Demons; Angels being God's special creation that obey His commands and Demons (another form of creation, known as Jinn in Islam) that ignores and disobeys God’s commands, Belief in the Books (Scriptures) of Allah to reform human civilization, Belief in the Prophets of Allah (messengers of God who establish God’s will on Earth), Belief in the Day of Judgement that is the end of the universe and the end of death, and finally Belief in the Divine Laws (Existence of Heaven and Hell, marking mankind’s final destiny, arising due to the outcome of good or bad judged by God).
There are five pillars that constitute Islamic faith. They are: To bear witness to the only God (Allah) and believing Prophet Muhammad to be Messenger of Allah (Shahadah), To observe Prayer five times daily (Salat), To indulge in alms giving (Zakat), To perform the Pilgrimage to the House of God (Hajj), and To observe fasting during Ramadhan (Saum). These are the five main duties that a Muslim needs to perform. It is also the duty of every Muslim, irrespective of age or gender, to read the Quran and understand it. It doesn’t end there and it is considered the duty of a Muslim to instruct and share with others the knowledge gained from reading the Holy Quran.
The answer to the question 'who is Allah?’'is quoted in the Holy Quran thus: "He is Allah the One and Only; Allah the Eternal Absolute; He begetteth not nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." Oxford Dictionary defines the word 'Allah' as, "the name of God among Muslims and among Arabs of all faiths".
Islam believes that each and every person is born pure and that God created mankind in His image. The main message of Islam is to worship God and treat all God’s creation with kindness and compassion. In Islam, virtue does not mean forsaking the bounties of nature that are lawful. But a person has to lead a healthy life with the qualities of compassion, chastity, honesty, mercy, courage, patience and politeness. In short, Islam has an ideal and complete code for the guidance of individuals and communities alike. It may appear rigid to the on-looker’s eye, but in fact it is certainly an adaptable way of life in spite of the changes in time, society and culture. Islam teaches that the path to spirituality is open to all. Any individual who seeks the nearness of Almighty can get it through sincere and earnest worship. This positive message for humanity fills the heart with hope and joy.
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