While people may be aware of Islam, they have many misconceptions about it. Islam may be the second-largest religion in the world, but it is also the youngest. Muslims may have a better idea about Islam and its message to humanity, but some miss out on the basics, preventing them from seeing how much it offers. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look at Islam, what the term means, and more.
Understanding the Meaning of Islam
First and foremost, it is crucial to understand what the word Islam means. Islam translates to submission to God. Any individual who submits their will to God is a Muslim. However, there are a few strings attached to being called a Muslim.
Since Islam is monotheistic, Muslims must worship one God, Allah. Allah is the one true God worthy of worship and is the same God that created Adam and Eve, created the angels, sent Prophets, and made everything in this universe and beyond.
With Islam meaning submission to God, Muslims must believe in God’s authority and power over everything. Fortunately, Islam has simplified following the religion chosen for humanity by God by following the five pillars of Islam.
What are the Five Pillars of Islam?
A Muslim must practice the five pillars of Islam to submit to God. The five pillars of Islam are as follows:
Sahada is the belief that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) is the last Messenger of God. This pillar of Islam is an integral part of the faith, but that does not mean Muslims do not believe in the prophets that came before. Muslims must believe in God and all his messengers, without which one cannot be recognized as a Muslim.
Salat is an act of prayer and must be carried out five times a day without fail. Muslims must pray to God while facing the Kaaba and are encouraged to do so in mosques. A mosque is a place of worship for Muslims, and it also act as a community center for the Muslim community to bond together and aid each other in their time of need.
According to Islamic law, Muslims must donate a specific portion of their wealth to aid the poor, referred to as Zakat. Of course, this does not apply to those Muslims that are not eligible, and it only applies to savings. Zakat does not apply to one’s earnings, and the donations from one’s savings can be used to educate the poor, feed the poor, build mosques, and so on.
Sawm also called fasting, requires Muslims to fast from dawn to dusk during Ramadan. Of course, only healthy Muslims must fast during this time, where they must abstain from food and drink. Additionally, fasting Muslims must stay away from sexual relations with their spouse. Fasting in Ramadan reminds Muslims to think of the needy and always be grateful to God, no matter the circumstances.
Hajj or pilgrimage is only mandatory for Muslims that can afford it. If one’s finances and healthy permit it, one should go on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. There, they must visit the house of God, the Kaaba, and find their connection to the most gracious and most merciful, Allah.
Islam translates to submission to God, which includes practicing the five pillars of Islam, believing in all the Messengers and their books, and striving to be the best human being possible by following the guidance provided by God in the Holy Quran and through the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings via the Hadith.