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CHAPTER ONE

 

THE MEANING OF ISLAM

 

Every religion of the world has been named either after the name of its founder or after the community and nation in which that religion took its birth. For instance, Christianity takes its appellation from the name of its prophet Jesus Christ: buddhism from its founder Gautama Buddha; Zoroastrianism from its founder Zoroaster; and Judaism, the religion of the Jews, from the name of the tribe Judah (of the country of Judea) wherein it took its birth. Similar is the case with other religions. But not so with Islam. This religion enjoys the unique distinction of having no such association with any particular person or people. The word ‘Islam’ does not convey any such relationship—for it does not belong to any particular person, people, or country. It is neither the product of any human mind nor is it confined to any particular community. It is a universal religion and its objective is to create and cultivate in man the quality and attitude of Islam.

‘Islam’, as a matter of fact, is an attributive title. Whosoever possesses this attribute, may he belong to any race, community, country, or clan, is a Muslim. According to the Qur’an (the Holy Book of the Muslims), among every people and in all ages there have been good and righteous people who possessed this attribute—and all of them were and are Muslims.

This automatically brings us to the question: What does Islam mean? And who is a Muslim? 

ISLAM—What does it mean?

‘Islam’ is an Arabic word and connotes submission, surrender, and obedience. As a religion, Islam stands for complete submission and obedience to Allah—and that is …………