What is Islam?
Islam is a complete way os life. It is followed by about 6 Billion people around the world.
'Islam' is an Arabic word which means both peace and submission. The full meaning is that when you submit your will to Allah, you will find peace in yourself. So, a Muslim, is a person who has (submitted and) entered into peace.
Islam guides us to how we should live a life of peace and tranquility. It is the guidance given by Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala), the Creator and Master of the Universe for all mankind. It covers all the things people do in their lifetime, and our place in the universe.
If we look around, we see that everything - for example, the Sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, trees and oceans, the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky are all obeying a Law - the Law of Allah.
It is following the natural Laws and trends that are given to them - in accordance with the Will of Allah.
The things in nature always follow the Law of Allah that is given to them. The Sun always rises from the East and Sets in the West, the moon and stars shine at night, fishes always live in the sea, birds sing in their trees.
No bird, tree, fish, frog or Lion has ever functioned in a way other than its natural pattern. Nature doesnt disobey the Laws of Allah.
Why is this so? This is because they are created and made with no choice and no other understanding and intelligence, but just the natural way and aql (intellect) given to them by Allah.
This is why nature is always in harmony.
But humans were created different from animals by Allah. Allah has given us aql - intelligence, understanding and free will - the knowledge to choose between right and wrong.
We are not forced to obey Allah. We can choose whether to follow the natural laws of Allah, which will give us peace and harmony in ourselves and with everything surrounding us, or disobey the Laws and follow our own desires and animal instincts, not listening to Allah.
Our Life in the world
The life that Allah wants us to follow is one where we use our aql - intellect to decide to follow Him. Why is this so? Well, it is because Allah wants to test us. This life is a test. After this test, there will be a day of reward and a day of punishment. This will be the day of Judgement.
If we have passed the test, we will have peace and happiness in Jannah (Paradise) for ever and ever. We will be able to have ANYTHING that we want, and more. Can you imagine that?
But if we fail the test, we will suffer a terrible punishment in hellfire.
Prophets and Messengers
Allah also sent Prophets and Messengers and books for our guidance in this world. The Prophets and Messengers would call people to worship Allah Alone, be good people, to stop doing bad deeds, and surrender to the universal way.
We already know that there is peace and harmony in things in nature, because those things never disobey Allah. So, if we follow the guidance given to us through Prophets and Messengers, we are sure to have peace in the world that we live in.
Islam is the code of living taught by the prophets from Prophet Adam (alayhis salam) down to Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), and also by wise people like Khidr throughout history.
Even though they didnt go by the name Islam, they were all teaching the same thing that Allah labelled Islam in the Qur'an.
In order to have peace in soceity, Islam urges and asks Muslims to work together towards what is right (Ma'ruf) and away from what is wrong ot evil (Munkar).
In Islam, there is Islam - the five main Pillars or practises, Iman - the main beliefs, and Ihsan - goodness, sincerity and righteousness.
We will look at these three things later on insha'Allah - so look out!