Islam is a monotheistic religion that prescribes the worship of one God known as Allah in Arabic. He is the creator of the universe and controls all that exists. The followers of Islam are called Muslims (Moslems). The Qur’an (Koran) is the religious scripture of Islam which was divinely inspired to Muhammad ﷺ in the early 7th century CE.
Although Islam formally originated in 610 CE, with the first revelation to Muhammad ﷺ, the Qur’an states that Islam is the same doctrine revealed by God to all nations through His divinely inspired messengers. The Qur’an frequently describes Islam as being the faith of Ibrahim (Abraham), with Adam, Musa (Moses), and Isa (Jesus) being among the most important messengers and leaders sent by God for the guidance of nations.
Literally, the word islam means “submission” – denoting submission to the will of God – while a muslim is the one who thus submits to the will of Allah. Although specific acts of worship are an integral part of Islam, it goes beyond just these, and prescribes for its followers a complete code of ethics. In fact, the Qur’an does not refer to Islam as a religion at all; it rather describes Islam as being a deen, implying a “way of life”.
Islam requires from its followers purity of both intent and action. It is as much about inner beliefs and convictions as it is about the outward demeanour and deeds. For example, there is much focus on remembering Allah through prayer and meditation; however, there is also great emphasis placed on speaking the truth and being honest at all times. In fact, helping one’s fellow beings, especially through charity, is one of the most significant themes in Islam.
Islam can best be described as a religion of moderation; it renounces extremism in all aspects of life, and advises people to follow the Qur’an and to implement the elaborate guidelines laid down by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as best as they can. Although the Qur’an frequently reminds its followers of the forthcoming accountability in the hereafter, and urges them to exhibit the best moral values, Islam is a religion easy to follow, and its teachings are logical and easy to comprehend. In the words of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ:
“Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.” (Reported in Bukhari)