8. What is the meaning of the word Islam?

Islâm is derived from the Arabic root ‘Salam’, meaning peace, purity, submission, and obedience. In the religious sense, Islâm means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. Islâm is the belief of Muslims. Muhammed is the Prophet of Islâm. A study of Islâm should include: the Qur’an, the revelation given to Muhammed by the Angel Gabriel; the Sunnah and Hadith, the collection of the sayings and actions of Muhammed; and the Seerah, the biography of Muhammed.

Islâm claims to be the only divinely revealed religion from Allâh, the One and Only True God of all mankind. It is no less than Allâh Who says that it is the Right Religion but most people do not know it (Qur’an 12:40 and 30:30). Islâm as the right religion, enjoins nothing but righteousness. Likewise, it prohibits wrong and evil deeds. It claims that most people do not know the virtuous Islâmic teachings. To guide all mankind with the right religion and complete way of life, Allâh the Creator and Sustainer has commanded Muslims to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. Muslims often refer to Islâm as ‘The Right Path’. Muslims sincerely believe that the teachings of Islâm will guide them to ‘The Right Path’.

In Surah 10 ayah 94 its states that if a person reading the Qur’an ‘were in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading ‘The Book’ before thee. The truth has in no wise come to thee from thy Lord so be in nowise of those in doubt.’ It is commonly understood that ‘The Book’ or ‘The Scriptures’ referred to here are none other than the Torah, Zabur and Injil, being the Holy Books of God given to the Hebrews (Torah), and King David (Zabur or Psalms), and the disciples of Jesus Christ (Injil or Gospels) prior to the time of the Prophet of Islâm.

Christians believe that Jesus Christ did not come to point us to ‘The Right Path’ like Muhammed. Jesus claimed to be ‘The Right Path’. Christ is the incarnation of God in human form and the earthly revelation of the fullness of God. In John 14 verse 6 Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one can come to the Father except through me.’ Jesus is the Way to God. The Holy Spirit is the advocate of all who trust in Jesus Christ on the day of Judgement. It is important to have a relationship with your Advocate. (See question 20 – ‘Who will be the Judge on the Judgment Day?’).

The concept of submission and obedience to God is deeply rooted in Christian teaching. In fact the Apostle James said in James 4 verse 7 ‘Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ It is apparent from this verse that power over ‘Satan’ or ‘Iblis’ comes from first submitting to God’s power at work in our lives and obeying His commandments. In Genesis 22 verse 18 God commended his servant Abraham with these words: ‘And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed – all because you have obeyed me.’ In Jeremiah 11 verse 4 God spoke and said, ‘If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.’ Zechariah 6 verse 15 promises the people of God; ‘People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.’

In the Zabur (Psalms), we are promised the protection of God, His angels and His Armies if we are humble obedient servants. Psalm 118 verses 6-9 state: ‘The Lord is for me, I will not fear what man can do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me. Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me! It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in Man, it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. In Psalm 97 verse 10 we read: ‘Hate evil, you who love the Lord, who preserves the souls of the godly ones, He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.’