WHAT’S ISLAM? Who is ALLAH? What is Quran?
That’s a question many people are asking today, Islam is the topic of many discussions, yet, very often people don’t have the essence of the meaning, even Muslims themselves are not sure how to translate it.
The word ISLAM is the only word not translated from the Qur’an when they bring it to the English language, and there’s a reason for that, when we go into Arabic dictionary we find that it takes a series of words to represent the concept of what “ASLAMA” means
Aslama: verb for the noun: Islam, it caries the meaning of:
We understand about: Surrender, to give in, Submit, that’s to go along with something. To Obey the commandments and then to be Sincere, and we can stop right there for a moment and think about it, if it requires Sincerity then there’s no possible way that you’ll be forced anyway, because if anyone is forced to do anything then, there will be NO longer to be sincerity, thus we realize that the concept of Islam being spread by the sward or any type of force is IMPOSSIBLE because Islam requires Sincerity.
Finally, the word Peace, this is the peace that a person has in his heart, after they have done the other four, meaning that they have to surrendered, submitted in obedience and sincerity, and now they are going to be in peace with whatever transpires or comes out of it.
There’s an other word related to it, MUSLIM: مسلم, for you and I, we may not think the word Muslim will be read Islam, but that’s because in Arabic we use the prefix Mu before a verb to denote the one who is performing the action, whereas in English we use the “ER” letters as a suffix at the end of a word to represent the one who does the action, like:
- walk walk-er
- Call call-er
- Talk Talk-er
- Think Think-er
and then, in Arabic you put “Mu” ahead of it
- Mu-safir = Traveler
- Mu-athen = Call-er (the one who calls to prayer)
- Mu-salli = Worshiper (the one who prays)
This helps us to understand the word Islam, but what does Islam imply? we talked about the terminology of the word but has it to do with ALLAH? Is Allah God? Is there a purpose behind all of this? who is this God? who is the Ilah? and in fact, In Islam, the most important subject is ALLAH.
Allah does not exactly translate into the word God! and that’s because the word God, in English, only has one form : God, whereas in Arabic Allah comes from: elah
- god = Elah : اله – Singular
- gods = Aleha: الهة – Plural
and Elah is anything that can be worshiped, it can be a rock, a stick, a stone, a bone, things made with the hand, things that you can put on a shelf or carry along with you and worship, could be the stars, the moon, the universe, whatever a person worships, that’s their Elah, even their position in life, who they are, their degrees, their job, their position as a human being, all of these things are Aleha (plural for Elah: god)
But in English you don’t have a proper noun for the One and Only God, so what they do is, take the word god and make a big “G” out of it and say this is the proper noun, whereas in Arabic you can’t take Elah and then you have Allah! and it doesn’t just mean The God, cause that would be “Al Elah” but Allah is the actual name of the One and Only God, you don’t have to worry about capital letters in Arabic, because there aren’t any! you can hear it Clearly: ALLAH, the One and Only God to be worshiped.
Now, is this the God of the Arabs? as Muslims, yes, what about Arab Christians? did you know there’s Arab Christians, Arab Jews? They use the exact same word. In fact, in the Arabic Bible, which by the way, much older than the English Bible, you find the word Allah on page one on Genesis, seventeen times! that’s right! and in the new testament, you’ll find it very easily in almost any hotel or motel you go to it, because, when you pull over the little drawer by the bed, you’ll notice there’s a book in there, a Bible, you turn few pages, you see examples of the translations of the Bible into different languages, and the second language is Arabic, and the phrase is taken from John 3:16: “For God so loved the world..” and the word there for God, is used, is “ALLAH”
Now what about the belief in Muhammad? is that something that is similar to Christianity or Judaism? Well, for Christians who believe in Abraham as Jews believe in Abraham, as being the First or the pregenerator of this monotheistic belief,the belief in One God, then the answer would be Yes , because this is what Muhammad taught (Peace be upon him) He is a direct descendant from Abraham, Yes! by the way of his son Ismail (Ishmael) so, Ismail is well known to be a father of many Arabs today, and it’s from him, through Abraham, Ismail, that we find others all the way down to the prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
What about the other prophets, that came by way of Isaac, from the other branch of Abraham? Well, we know Moses, don’t we?, David, Solomon and of course Jesus, and we say: Peace be upon them all, (this is very important for Muslims to always say that; Peace be upon them)
What was it that Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus had in common with Muhammad (peace be upon them)? Do you know what it was? it was the message that they brought to their people.
- Abraham taught people to worship God directly and not be involved in false worship or pagan worship.
- Moses, peace be upon him, My Gosh!that’s very clear, isn’t it?! when we look to the ten commandments we find immediately the very first commandment is that you shall not have any other worship except for the One God; ” Thou shall Not Have Any Other Gods Beside Me” that’s the way God ordered Moses to write it down isn’t it!
- And David, with his Psalms, and Solomon, of course, they were in the exact same thinking, their beliefs were not just similar, they were Identical.
- And then, Jesus ( peace be upon him), many people would tell you that Jesus said this or he said that, but when we look to the Bible, you know what we find? we find that it wasn’t Jesus who had these different opinions and ideas, it was actually PAUL! The quotes from Jesus in the Gospel are so identical to prophets before, you can’t help but notice it!
For instance in Mathew 5:17 where Jesus says:
“Think not that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I came not to destroy but to FULFIL.”Mathew 5:16
” And not all things are accomplished, shall a single dot, or jot, or iota or little being in any wise lessened“.
So, we see right away that he was saying: I’m holding up the Torah, the law from before. Then when we look further into the book of Mark, we see what is the greatest of all commandments, that’s in 12:29 in the book of Mark, and look what it says, when somebody is asking him, what’s the greatest commandment?According to English translation I have it says that Jesus responded: It is to know: O, Israel, the Lord, your God is ONE Lord, and you have to love Him with All your heart and your mind and your strength”.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord, our God is One Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.”Mark 12:29
So, obviously, we know now that this message was very important; worshiping God Alone without partners. And that is Exactly what Muhammad (peace be upon him) was trying to do with his people, at his time in Mekka, because they had strayed far away from their great ancestor Abraham ( peace be upon him), they still perform some of the rituals but without the proper belief, they still made circumambulation around the same place that Abraham had built a long with his son Ismail or Ishmael in English. And do you know, and this is an amazing thing, when you think about it, these people were thinking they were doing exactly the same as their ancestors, but their ancestors, has strayed so far away that all they had, was the physical presentation without any other proper beliefs, not in their worship, and certainly not in the way they treated each other, these people had become alcoholics, they have become womanizers, they had become very bad, we will just leave it at that.. because we want to come to something next about our subject, what is Islam?
What about this book called Qur’an? what is that all about? in the very beginning of the Qur’an itself, it demands the believers who believe in the Qur’an , MUST also believe in the previous revelations. To believe to what is said to Muhammad, (peace be upon him), in what was sent before, and the Qur’an go on to tell us about the Torah: the Law or the old testament, The Zaboor; this is the Psalms, and the Injeel: Gospel ( New testament). So whoever would not believe that God was the originator of these, that God was One who sent those down, if they wouldn’t believe that, the, their belief in the Qur’an by itself is not enough, because the Qur’an says that! ( to believe in what was sent before).
And what does Qur’an exactly mean?in simple English, well, it doesn’t mean “Book”, the word “Bible” literally means “Book”, Biblios from Greek, but the word Qur’an is Arabic, it means “Recitation” , that is which is being recited, and that’s how the Qur’an comes to us today. Because, did you know that the Prophet Muhammad, he used to recite it just as he “heard” it from the Angel “Gabriel (Jibreel) the way that it was recited
I will stop right there, and will be back to you again in the 2nd part of this “Written” video of Yusuf ESTES : What is ISLAM