What is Islam?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other meanings, including people named 'Islam', see Islam (disambiguation).
Islam (Arabic: الإسلام al-’islām, pronounced [ʔislæːm] is a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the teachings of the Qur’an, a religious book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: الله, Allāh), and the Islamic prophet Muhammad's personally demonstrated examples (collected through narration of his companions in the volumes of Hadith) for implementing them.
The word Islam is a homograph, having multiple meanings, and a triliteral of the word salam, which directly translates as peace.
Other meanings include submission, or the total surrender of oneself to God (see Islam (term)). An adherent of Islam is a Muslim, meaning "one who submits (to God)". The word Muslim is the participle of the same verb of which Islām is the infinitive.
Muslims regard Islam as the completed and universal version of an original monotheistic faith revealed to peoples before, including to Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that previous messages have changed and the revelations were distorted.
Religious practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five duties that unite Muslims into a community. Islamic law (Arabic: شريعة Šarīʿah) touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, encompassing everything from dietary laws and banking to warfare and welfare.
The vast majority of Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni (roughly 85%) and Shi'a (roughly 15%). Islam is the predominant religion in much of Africa, the Middle East, as well as in major parts of Asia. Large communities are also found in China, Russia and the Balkans.
Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world. About 20% of Muslims live in Arab countries, 30% in the Indian Subcontinent, and 15.6% in Indonesia alone, the largest Muslim country in absolute numbers.
With 1.3 billion to 1.8 billion Muslims, Islam is the second-largest religion in the world and the fastest growing religion in the world.
Etymology and meaning
The word Islam is a verbal noun originating from the triliteral root s-l-m, and is derived from the Arabic verb Aslama, which means "to accept, surrender or submit." Thus, Islam means acceptance of and submission to God, and believers must demonstrate this by worshipping him, following his commands, and avoiding polytheism.
The word is given a number of meanings in the Qur'an. In some verses (ayat), the quality of Islam as an internal conviction is stressed: "Whomsoever God desires to guide, He expands his breast to Islam."
Other verses connect islām and dīn (usually translated as "religion"): "Today, I have perfected your religion (dīn) for you; I have completed My blessing upon you; I have approved Islam for your religion."
Still others describe Islam as an action of returning to God - more than just a verbal affirmation of faith. Another technical meaning in Islamic thought is as one part of a triad of islam, imān (faith), and ihsān (excellence); where it represents acts of worship (`ibādah) and Islamic law (sharia).