Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God has revealed to all His prophets throughout history. Islam is the religion which was given to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, (peace be upon them all) Therefore, Islam is not a new religion but the continuation and culmination of preceding monotheistic religion- For this reason, the Prophet Muhammad was not the founder of a new religion, as many people mistakenly think, rather he is the Final Prophet of Islam. The Arabic word "Islam" means "submission" and derives from a word meaning "peace". The Quran proclaims in verse 3:19 "The only religion approved by GOD is Submission." (Islam) - In a religious context it means complete submission to the will of GOD and anyone who does so is called a "Muslim", "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to GOD) it will never be accepted of Him" (Quran 3:85)
Jesus told his followers just like the prophets that had come before him that they should surrender their will to the will of GOD; (which is Islam) and GOD warned them to stay away from the false Gods of human imagination. "Jesus replied, ". . . The first of all the commandments is; Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord. You shall love the Lord with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." Mark 12:30
(The "religion" or DEEN of the entire Universe is Islam i.e. submission to the Divine Laws)
The entire Universe is operating according to the physical laws designed and implemented by GOD. When we discover some of these laws, we call them Science. Yet, all the creation that exists cannot defy these laws of nature. We can invent a compass but we cannot invent the law for the magnetic needle to point North. And so, the water will flow down-stream, the apple will fall to the ground, a stone will sink, a boat will float, the day and night will follow each other, the seasons will take their turns, fire will be hot, ice will be cold, the living beings will grow, reproduce and die. Similarly God's Laws in Nature make no distinction between Jews or Gentiles, Hindus or Christians, Muslims or non-Muslims. But, those who submit their free will to His Guidance and try to establish peace, become harmonious with the Divine Plan. He calls those people Muslims. "Islam" embraces both meanings, Submission and Peace.
(Now the Law has been revealed to Prophet Muhammad.) Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who is a non-Israelite, and who was unlettered before the Revelation (29:48). They find him well described* in the Torah and the Gospel with them. He enjoins upon them the Right, and forbids them the Wrong. He declares Lawful all good things, and declares Unlawful only the unclean things. He relieves people from the burdens they carried. He breaks the shackles that they used to wear, of mental and physical slavery, and brings them from darkness to Light (5:15-16, 65:11, 76:4). Those who believe in him, honor him, support him, and follow the Light that came with him, are the eternally successful. *(Deuteronomy 18:15-18. Gospel of John 14:16, 15:26, 16:7 PARACLETOS = COMFORTER, from original Greek PERICLYTOS = THE PRAISED ONE. In Aramaic, MAWHAMANA = THE PRAISED ONE)
3:70 O People of the Book! Why do you deny the truth of God's Messages to which you yourselves bear witness? (Wasn't the Scripture revealed to you? And it foretells the advent of this Prophet).
[All this, the advent of Prophet Muhammad from the Ishmaelite descendants of Abraham has been foretold in the Bible. Genesis 21:13-18. Gospel of John 14:16, 15:26, 16:7. Historically, the Gospel of Saint Barnabas, which was accepted and widely read in the churches, had 'Muhammad' in the exact Arabic form. But Pope Gelasius banned that Gospel in 496 C.E., probably because of finding the Arabic term distasteful. It was only in the 16th century C.E. when the Italian translation of Barnabas was discovered in Vienna, Austria. Obviously translations can never be as reliable as the original text.]
The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no other than a Messenger, like other Messengers before him who passed on. And his mother was a woman of truth. Both of them were human beings who had to eat food (like all other mortals). See how clearly We explain Our verses for them and note how they keep wandering in thought! (Quran 5:75)
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was an upright man who had surrendered to GOD. He never ascribed divinity to anyone beside the One True God. (Quran 3:67)
Do you claim that Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Tribal Israelite Prophets were 'Jews' or 'Christians'? Say, "Do you know better, or does GOD?" And who could be more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from GOD? But GOD is not unaware of what you do. ( Quran 2:140)
[Amazingly, the Quran is alluding to a historical fact that was unanimously accepted from research done centuries later! Scholars of the Bible know that the concept of 'Jewry' came into being long after the Patriarchs and after Moses. Likewise, the concept of 'Christianity' was unknown during the life of Jesus.]
3:71 O People of the Book! Why do you cloak the Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth that you are so well aware of?
3:98 Say, "O People of the Book! Why do you deny GOD's Messages when GOD Himself is Witness to all that you do (including this denial of yours)?"
5:77 Say, "O People of the Book! Do not overstep the bounds of Truth in your religious beliefs. And do not follow the errant views of people who have gone astray long before, and led a great many others astray, and those who are still straying from the Even Way."
Will they not rather turn to GOD and seek His forgiveness? For GOD is Forgiving, Merciful. (Quran 5:74)
The religion of Submission, whose religious laws are detailed in the Quran, dictates upon each human to worship GOD alone (51:56). This basic law is also known as the first commandment or the greatest commandment in the Old and New Testament. The word Submission is not the name of a religion, but rather it is a description. Submission is the total submission and devotion to GOD ALONE. Thus anyone who can bring himself or herself to believe in GOD within the confines of the first commandment is a submitter (In Arabic: Muslim). The word also implies "peace" which is the natural consequence of total submission to the will of GOD. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.
Islam is a realistic religion. The word "Islam" means submission. This indicates that the first condition of being a Muslim is to submit to the realities and truths. Islam rejects every kind of obduracy, stubbornness, prejudice, blind imitation, bias and selfishness, and regards all of them as contrary to realism and realistic approach to truth. From the point of view of Islam a man who seeks truth, but fails in his efforts may be excused, but the acceptance of truth by virtue of imitation or heredity by a man who is otherwise stubborn and arrogant has no value. A true Muslim, whether a male or a female, eagerly accepts truth wherever he or she may find it. As far as the acquisition of knowledge is concerned, a Muslim shows no bias. He may go even to the farthest corner of the world for acquiring knowledge. His efforts to gain knowledge and to find truth are not confined to any particular period of his life nor to any territorial region. Nor does he insist to acquire knowledge from any particular person. The Holy Prophet has said that to seek knowledge is the duty of every Muslim, whether a man or a woman. He has also asked the Muslims to receive it even from an idolater.
What do Muslims believe?
Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God; in the Angels created by Him; in the prophets 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 reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through Gabriel.
What are the Five Pillars of Islam?
They are the framework of the Muslim life: faith, prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification, and the pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.
Do Islam and Christianity have different origins?
No. Together with Judaism, they go back to the prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three prophets are directly descended from his sons, Muhammad from the elder son Ishmael, and Moses and Jesus from the younger son Isaac. Abraham established the settlement which today is the city of Makkah, and built the Ka'ba towards which all Muslims turn when they pray.