This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. The Qur’an, chapter 5, verse 3.
When Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) first received revelation from Allah (God) through the Angel Gabriel in about 570 CE, he became the final prophet; the culmination of a line stretching back to the first human being, Adam, which included Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus, to name just a few. Thus began the final revelation to humanity, ending almost 23 years later with the verse cited above.
Together with account of Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ sayings and actions (known as the Sunnah), they define Islam, the religion and complete way of life that God has decreed for humanity for the rest of time.
This revelation, the Qur’an, is in the tradition of earlier books revealed by God:
to Moses – the Torah
to David – the Psalms
to Jesus – the Gospel.
Whilst the original texts of earlier revelations have been lost, the Qur’an remains pristine; the Word of God, which He has promised to preserve unchanged until the end of time
It means submission to the Will of God. The root of the word also means peace. A person who follows Islam is known as a Muslim – one who submits.
There are five essential ‘pillars’ in Islam:
Shahadah: bearing witness that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is His messenger.
Salah: performing the compulsory prayers.
Zakah: paying a portion of wealth for the poor and needy.
Sawm: fasting in the month of Ramadan.
Hajj: undertaking the Pilgrimage to Makkah at the set time (if one has the means).
The first pillar is recognition that God alone is worthy of worship, that He is One, that He has no partner nor associate, that He was not born nor will He die, that Sovereignty belongs only to Him, and that the way to worship Him is by following the example of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. We begin to understand God – Whose proper name is Allah – through His names and attributes (PDF, opens in new window), such as The Merciful, The Kind, The Lord, The Sustainer.