Frequently Asked Questions about Islam
What is Islam?
Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His
prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world's population, Islam is both a
religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy,
and forgiveness, and the vast majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave
events which have come to be associated with their faith.
Who Are The Muslims?
Over 1.5 billion people from a vast range of races, nationalities and cultures
across the globe -- from the southern Philippines to Nigeria -- are united by
their common Islamic faith. About 18% live in the Arab world; the world's largest
Muslim community is in Indonesia; substantial parts of Asia and most of Africa are
Muslim, while significant minorities are to be found in the Soviet Union, China,
North and South America, and Europe.
What Do Muslims Believe?
Muslims believe in One Unique God, incomparable to any of His creations; in the
Angels created by Him; in the messengers through whom His revelations were
brought to mankind; in the Day of Judgment and individual accountability for
actions; in God's complete authority over human destiny and in life after
death. Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including
Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David,
Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them. But
God's final message to man, a re-confirmation of the eternal message and a
summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad
through the Angel Gabriel.
How Does Someone Become A Muslim?
Simply by saying and believing in the statement: 'there is no god apart from Allah,
and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.' By this declaration the believer announces
his or her faith in all God's messengers, and the scriptures they brought.
What Does 'Islam' Mean?
The Arabic word 'Islam' simply means 'submission', and derives from a word meaning
'peace'. In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of God.
Mohammedanism' is thus a misnomer because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad
rather than God. 'Allah' is the Arabic word for God, which is used by Arab Muslims
and Christians alike to refer to God.
Why Does Islam Often Seem Strange?
Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps this is because
religion does not dominate everyday life in the West today, whereas Muslims have
religion always uppermost in their minds, and make no division between secular and
sacred. They believe that the Divine Law, the Shari'a, should be taken very seriously,
which is why issues related to religion are still so important.