Islam is essentially a religion of teachings and regulations said to have been given by Allah (the Arabic word meaning “the God”) through the Prophet Muhammad (also spelled Mohammed). People are expected to surrender to and live by these rules and teachings in order to accomplish Allah’s will. In fact, the Arabic word Islam is a form of the word peace “saalam” and in the form “islam,” means surrender or submission. So, when a person submits to Allah and joins Islam, he or she is referred to as a Muslim: a person surrendered to God’s will (also spelled Moslem).
As a teacher of world religion for more than two decades, I always remind my students that there is a distinction between Islam as a religion and social system and what people do with it. This partly explains why many Muslims are content to live alongside people of other religions while other Muslims prefer a more radical and sometime violent approach to non-Muslims. Much of what appears in the media focuses on the latter group. If you choose to make a comment to this post, keep in mind that MindCuisine requests that all comments be respectful and thought provoking. Michael Bogart
To learn more, check out this clip from the Understanding Islam video.