The Meaning of the Religion’s Name: ‘Islam’

4 Apr

Whom Should We Worship?
Authorship: Majed S. Al-Rassi
Short Link:

Further evidence that Islam is the true religion comes from the meaning of the word ‘Islam’ itself. Basically, the word ‘Islam’ is an Arabic word that denotes submission and obedience. As a religion, Islam has two meanings: general and specific. Islam, in general, refers to the religion which God revealed to all the prophets: the worship of God alone
(monotheism) and the avoidance of paganism. This explains
why, in the Qur’an, all prophets have called themselves Muslims. According to the Qur’an, all the prophets were Muslims; what they taught was nothing but earlier versions of
Islam. Their sincere followers were Muslims as well.15
Consequently, one should not regard Islam as an innovation that
was brought by Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be
upon him). Instead, it should be regarded as the original
message of Allah (in its fundamentals) to all the prophets
throughout history. Specifically, the word ‘Islam’ also refers to the religion that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (blessings
and peace be upon him). None of the previous religions were
specifically given this name by Allah, except for this last
religion – Islam.

Islam was neither named after a person or a group of people, nor was it decided upon by later generations of humans.
Indeed, the name ‘Islam’ was given by Allah Himself as is
clearly mentioned in the Qur’an in many verses, for example:
{Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam…} (Qur’an
3: 19)

On the other hand, Christianity was named (by its followers) after Jesus Christ, and Judaism after the tribe of Judah. However, it is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible that
the religion of the followers of Prophets Isaac and Moses (peace
be upon them) and their descendants is called Judaism, or that
the religion of the followers of Christ16 is called Christianity. In other words, the names ‘Judaism’ and ‘Christianity’ had no divine origin or approval. It was not until long after Jesus’ ascension17 that the name Christianity’ was given to the religion of those claiming to be his followers. The same applies to Buddhism, which was named after Gautama Buddha, Confucianism after Confucius, and Hinduism after the Persian word for India, ‘Hind’, and so on.

Another reason for calling Christians, Buddhists and others
as such is because their followers worship them (in the case of
Christ and Buddha). However, Muslims are not called
‘Muhammadans’ because Muslims do not worship Muhammad
(blessings and peace be upon him) ; they worship ‘Allah’ and
submit to Him alone. In fact, this phenomenon of naming an
ideology after a person has become so common that many
mistakenly label Islam as ‘Mohammedanism’, although
Muslims have never used, nor do they accept, such a label.

15 Jesus was reported to have said in the Bible:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the
prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For
verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or
one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be
fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18)

16 Both the names ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’ are derived from Hebrew
words, through Greek and Latin. Jesus is the English equivalent and Latin form of the Greek ‘Iesous’, which in Hebrew is ‘Yeshua’. ‘Christos’ is a Greek translation of the Hebrew ‘messiah’, and the Arabic masaha which means to rub, to massage, to anoint.

17 The Qur’an has mentioned that Jesus was neither killed nor
crucified on a cross; rather, Allah raised him to the heavens. Jesus will come into this world again before it ends. This has been discussed in detail, later in this book.

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