Islam is a religion base upon the surrender to God who is one. The very name of the religion, al-islam in Arabic, means at once submission and peace, for it is in submitting to God’s Will that human beings achieve peace in their lives in this world and in the hereafter. The message of Islam concerns God, who in Arabic is called Allah, and it addresses itself to humanity’s most deep nature. It concerns men and women as they were created by God–not as fallen beings. Islam for that reason considers itself to be not an innovation but a reassertion of the universal truth of all revelation which is God’s Oneness.
Moreover, beginning as the faith of a small community of believers in Arabia in the seventh century, Islam quickly becomes one of the main world religions. The core of this faith is the faith that Muhammad (c. 570-632), a respected businessman in Mecca, a commercial and religious center in western Arabia, received revelations from God that have been conserved in the Koran. The heart of this revealed message is the confirmation that “there is no god but Allah (The God), and Muhammad is the messenger of God. ” The term Islam comes from the Arabic word-root s-l-m, which has a common reference to peace and submission.
Particularly, Islam means submission to the will of God, and a Muslim is one who makes that submission. This submission or act of Islam means living a life of devotion and practice as defined in the Koran and participating in the life of the community of believers. The core of this Islamic life is typically said to be the Five Pillars of Islam: openly bearing witness to the basic affirmation of faith; saying prescribed prayers five times a day; fasting during the month of Ramadan; giving a tithe or alms for support of the poor; and making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once throughout the believer’s lifetime, if this is possible.
In addition, Muslims believe that Islam is the essential monotheistic faith proclaimed by prophets throughout history. The Koran is not seen as presenting a new revelation but rather as providing a complete, precise, and therefore final record of the message that had previously been given to Abraham, Jesus, and other earlier prophets. As the basis for a historical community and tradition of faith, nevertheless, Islam begins in Mecca with the life and work of Muhammad in the early seventh century.
Islam possesses a religious law called al-Shari’ah in Arabic which govern the life of Muslims and which Muslims regard as to be the incarnation of the Will of God. The Shari’ah is contained in principle in the Koran as elaborated and complemented by the Sunnah. On the basis of these principles the schools of law which are followed by all Muslims to this day were developed early in Islamic history. This Law, while being rooted in the sources of the Islamic revelation, is a living body of law which caters to the desires of Islamic society.
Islamic laws are fundamentally preventive and are not based on unkind punishment except as a last measure. The faith of the Muslim causes him to have respect for the rights of others and Islamic Law is such that it prevents misbehavior from taking place in most instances. That is why what people consider to be unforgiving punishments are so seldom in need of being applied. Furthermore, the spread of Islam was not restricted to its amazing early expansion outside of Arabia. During later centuries the Turks embraced Islam serenely as did a large number of the people of the Indian subcontinent and the Malay-speaking world.
In Africa as well, Islam has spread during the past two centuries even under the strong power of European colonial rulers. Nowadays Islam continues to grow not only in Africa but as well in Europe and America where Muslims now comprise a prominent minority. References: Exploring the Ancient world Cultures, Retrieved on November 29, 2006 at http://eawc. evansville. edu/ispage. htm Historiography of early Islam, Retrieved on November 29, 2006 at http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Historiography_of_early_Islam