Significance of the name “Islam” for God's universal religion
The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about Islam is what the word "Islam" itself means. The religion of Islam is not named after a person as in the case of Christianity which was named after Jesus 'the Christ', Buddhism after Gotama Buddha, Confucianism after Confucius, or Marxism after Karl Marx.
Nor was it named after a tribe like Judaism after the tribe of Judah and Hinduism after the people living near the Indus River. Islam is the true religion of Allah (God) and as such, its name represents the central principle of universal truth; the total submission to the will of Allah (God).
The Arabic word "Islam" means the submission or surrender of one's will to the only true God worthy of worship "Allah" and anyone who does so is termed a "Muslim".
The word also implies "peace" which is the natural consequence of total submission to the will of God. Hence, it was not a new religion brought by Prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the seventh century, but only the true religion of Allah re-expressed in its final form.
Islam is the religion which was given to Adam, the first man and the first Prophet of God, and it was the religion of all the Prophets sent by Allah to mankind. The name of God's religion, lslam, was not decided upon by later generations of man. It was chosen by Allah Himself and clearly mentioned in His final revelation to man. In the final book of divine revelation, the Qur'an, Allah states the following:
"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam (submission to God) as your religion." – Qur’an English Translation [5:3]
"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah (God)) never will it be accepted of Him" – Qur’an English Translation [3:85]
"Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but an upright Muslim." – Qur’an English Translation [3:67]
Nowhere in the Bible will you find Allah saying to Prophet Moses' people or their descendants that their religion is Judaism, nor to the followers of Christ that their religion is Christianity. In fact, Christ was not even his name, nor was it Jesus! The name "Christ" comes from the Greek word "Christos."
That is, "Christos" is the Greek translation of "Mashiach", which is Hebrew for Messiah or 'anointed=chosen one', the Arabic rendering is "Al-Masih." The name "Jesus" on the other hand, is a Latinized version of the Hebrew name Esau or Issa. For simplicity's sake, I will however continue to refer to Prophet Issa as Jesus. As for his religion, it was what he called his followers to. Like the Prophets before him, he called the people to surrender their will to the will of God; (which is Islam).
"Nor did the People of the Book make schisms, until after there came to them Clear Evidence. And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight." – Qur’an English Translation [98:4-5]
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