‘Islam’ and ‘Muslim’ in Quran

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The word ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslim’ as generally understood have somewhat different connotation when used in Quran. People generally believe the word ‘Islam’, means a particular religion. Likewise those people who follow this religion of Islam are known as Muslims. However, when used in Quran, the Word ‘Islam’ means ‘Peace’. ‘Al-Islam’ is ‘the Peace’ which Allah asks the believers to obtain as per guidance given in Al-Quran. ‘Al-Islam’ when mentioned in Al-Quran is not a religion but a Judgment (Deen). The word for religion in Arabic is ‘Millat’. The word ‘Deen’ in Arabic means ‘Judgment’ as in (مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ).  ‘Deen’ of ‘Islam’ means, the judgment to choose the way leading to peace. Some important Arabic words and their meanings related to this topic are given below:

Islam :   Peace

Muslim: Submitter

Deen:  Judgment

The Arabic root word ( س ل م  ) conveys connotation of  safety/security/freedom/immunity, to escape, salutation/greeting/peace, deliver/acknowledge, pay in advance, submit, sincerity, humility, submission/conformance/obedience, resign/quit/relinquish, to be in sound condition, well without blemish, gentle/tender/soft/elegant. Solomon/Suleiman.

The Word Islam and Muslim both are from root word (س ل م ). ‘Islam’ is used in Quran  meaning  ‘Peace’. Word ‘Salam’ is used as Peace and as a Greeting. ‘Muslim’ in Quran conveys meanings of ‘Submitter’. When Quran mentions ‘Muslim’ it means, the one who submits to the Judgment and Will of Allah, other wise in language it just means ‘submitter’.

In this post we will review what Al-Quran says about Islam (peace) and Muslim (submitter):

10:25  وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَىٰ دَارِ السَّلَامِ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

And Allah invites towards the circle of the Peace. He  guides whom He pleases to a way that is straight..

5:16  يَهْدِي بِهِ اللَّهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَهُ سُبُلَ السَّلَامِ وَيُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

With it (Quran) Allah guides those who seek His good pleasure to ways of the Peace (and safety), and leads them out of darkness, by His will, into the light,- guides them to a path that is straight.

2:208  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ

O’ People who believe, Enter into Peace completely; and follow not the footsteps of Satan for he is an open enemy to you.

61:7  وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ الْكَذِبَ وَهُوَ يُدْعَىٰ إِلَى الْإِسْلَامِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

Who does greater wrong than one who invents falsehood against Allah, even as he is being invited to Al-Islam/the Peace? And Allah guides not those who do wrong.

This is a really thought provoking Ayat. Allah declares who can be a bigger oppressor than he, who is invited towards the Islam/Peace, but he rejects the Peace and prefers a way of violence and warfare as his judgment by inventing lies on Allah. Verily Allah does not guide these people who have love of violence in their hearts. See previous post of non-physical fighting (https://topicsfromquran.com/2018/06/30/non-physical-fighting-2/ ).

3:85  وَمَن يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَن يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ

If anyone desire a Deen/judgment other than Al-Islam/the Peace never will be accepted of him and in the hereafter he will be from those who are the losers.

In any situation that one encounters in life, he has to choose the option leading to Peace and security. Any judgment leading to violence, corruption and aggression i.e against peace, is not going to be accepted by Allah.

25:63  وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا

And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant ones address them, they say,”Salam/Peace!”;

28:55  وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لَا نَبْتَغِي الْجَاهِلِينَ

And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say. “To us our deeds, and to you yours; Salam/Peace be to you. we seek not the ignorant.”

6:54  وَإِذَا جَاءَكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ ۖ أَنَّهُ مَنْ عَمِلَ مِنكُمْ سُوءًا بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

When those come to you(The Messenger) who believe in Our Signs, Say. “Salam/Peace be on you. Your Lord has written mercy on His Nafs/self. Such that if any of you did evil in ignorance, and thereafter repented, and amend (his conduct), then verily, He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

15:45-46  إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ  ادْخُلُوهَا بِسَلَامٍ آمِنِينَ

The righteous (will be) amid gardens and fountains (Their greeting will be). “Enter ye here in peace and security.”

19:33  وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدتُّ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا

(Prophet Essa said) And the Salam/Peace is on me the day I was born , and the day when I die and the day when I shall be raised to life.

47:35  فَلَا تَهِنُوا وَتَدْعُوا إِلَى السَّلْمِ وَأَنتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ وَاللَّهُ مَعَكُمْ وَلَن يَتِرَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ

Be not disheartened (you believers), and invite towards Peace (ISLAM), you are of the higher rank and Allah is with you, and He will never put you in loss for your (good) deeds.

3:19  إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ ۗ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۗ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ

The Deen/judgment before Allah is Al-Islam (the Peace) nor did the Ahlal-Kitab/People of the Book differed except to wrong each other, after knowledge had come to them, And if any cover/rejects the Ayas/Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in taking account.

The people only differed in mutual enmity, after the Book has been given to them and they acquired knowledge of the Book. The intention for seeking knowledge from the Book should be to get guidance and correct one’s actions, and not to prove each other wrong in matters of knowledge.

Muslims in Quran:

The word ‘Muslim’ is also from the same root word ( س ل م ). It means ‘submitter’. All those who have been submitting to the Will of Allah and His Words, since day one on Earth, are Muslims/submitters to Allah.

2:103  إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ أَسْلِمْ ۖ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

When his Lord said to him (Ibraheem). “Submit” He said. “I submit to the Lord of the Worlds.”

3:67  مَا كَانَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ يَهُودِيًّا وَلَا نَصْرَانِيًّا وَلَٰكِن كَانَ حَنِيفًا مُّسْلِمًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

Abraham was not a Jew nor a Christian; but he was true in Faith  Muslim/submitter, and he was not one of the polytheists.

6:161-163  قُلْ إِنَّنِي هَدَانِي رَبِّي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ دِينًا قِيَمًا مِّلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۚ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ  قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ  لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ ۖ وَبِذَٰلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

Say : Surely my Lord has guided me to a Straight way a Judgment established. The Millat (Religion) of true Ibraheem (Abraham) and he was not from the polytheists/associators. Say : Surely my salat and my solitude and my life and my death are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. That there is no partner for him,  I am ordered with it and I am the first of Muslim/Submitter.

When the Prophet was guided to the straight path, the Judgment established of the religion of Ibraheem, he did not wait long to submit to this judgment.

39:11-12  قُلْ إِنِّي أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ اللَّهَ مُخْلِصًا لَّهُ الدِّينَ  وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

Say. “Verily, I am commanded to serve Allah with judgment exclusive/pure for Him”. “And I am commanded to be the first to submit to Allah”

Messenger and the his followers don’t take long to submit, when they get the Spirit of Allah’s Words, which comes after making their judgment pure for Allah.

10:90 وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آمَنتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

We took the Bani Israeel/Children of Israeel across the sea: Pharaoh and his group followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: “I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: and I am of those who are Muslims/Submitters.

When the Pharaoh said he wanted to be a Muslim/Submitter it was too late, i.e it was time to close his account after spending  all his life in opposition to Allah’s Will, and only submitting when he was certain of his doom.

10:72  فَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَمَا سَأَلْتُكُم مِّنْ أَجْرٍ ۖ إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَأُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

(Prophet Nooh said) “But if ye turn back. no reward have I asked of you. my reward is only due from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of Muslims/submitters.”

3:83  أَفَغَيْرَ دِينِ اللَّهِ يَبْغُونَ وَلَهُ أَسْلَمَ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَإِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ

Do they seek Deen/judgment other than of Allah’s. And whosoever is in the skies and earth have willingly or unwillingly submitted to Him and to Him shall they return.

2:132  وَوَصَّىٰ بِهَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بَنِيهِ وَيَعْقُوبُ يَا بَنِيَّ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَىٰ لَكُمُ الدِّينَ فَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; “Oh my sons! Allah has chosen the judgment for you; then die not except you are muslims/submitters (to his judgment).”

27:38  قَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِي بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَن يَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ

He (Solomon) said “Ye chiefs! which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me as muslims/in submission?”

22:78  وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ۚ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ

And you strive in Allah as the right of striving in Him. He has chosen you and He has made no difficulty over you in the Din/Judgment. The religion of your Father Ibraheem. And He has named you muslim/submitters from before and in this, so the messenger be a witness over you and you be a witness over mankind. Then establish Prayer and give zakah and hold fast with Allah.
He is your Protector (Maula) so He is the blessed Protector and the blessed Helper

3:84  قُلْ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

Say we believe in Allah and what is revealed on us and what was revealed on Ibraheem and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoob and tribes and what was given to Moosa, Essa and the prophets, is from their Lord. We do not make distinction between anyone from it and for Him we are muslims / submitters.

The statement of Muslims is that they don’t differentiate between any of the Messengers of God.

68:35-38  أَفَنَجْعَلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ كَالْمُجْرِمِينَ  مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ  أَمْ لَكُمْ كِتَابٌ فِيهِ تَدْرُسُونَ  إِنَّ لَكُمْ فِيهِ لَمَا تَخَيَّرُون

Would We make the Muslims/Submitters like the criminals? What is the matter with you? How do you judge? Or for you is a book through which you have taken lesson? In it (the other book), do you find anything you want?

Allah is asking will We make the muslims/submitters to the Will of Allah like criminals? Those who order people to do illegal acts and violence in the name of religion and become criminals certainly are not ordering with the Spirit of the Book of God.

28:53  وَإِذَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِهِ إِنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلِهِ مُسْلِمِينَ

And when it is recited to them, they say. “We believe therein, for it is the Truth from our Lord. indeed we have been Muslims/submitters to Allah’s Will from before this.

3:64  قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ

Say O people of the Book come to a kalima/word that is equal between us and you that we serve none except Allah, that we associate nothing with him and that we do not take from among ourselves Lords other than Allah. If then they turn back say you bear witness that we are muslims / submitters

The people of the Book are advised to come to one Kalima which is common among all sects. Please note there is only one Kalima which is common to all present sects of Muslims i.e The Quran. You cannot attain any sect if you follow this Kalima. It is by following books other than Quran, the people get their sectarian teachings. When you come to the common Kalima and leave the sectarian teachings behind, then you can hope to become Muslims/submitters to Allah. (Please see previous post on Ahlal-Kitab  https://topicsfromquran.com/2017/03/26/who-are-ahlal-kitab/ )

3:103  وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

And hold fast all together to the rope of Allah and do not be divided among yourselves, and remember the favor of Allah on you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love; you became brethren and you were on the brink of the pit of fire and He saved you from it. Likewise Allah make His Ayas/Signs clear to you that you may be guided.

By becoming Muslims/submitters to Alalh and leaving behind their sects and sectarian hatred, people become brothers and are saved from the brink of the pit of fire.

49:17  يَمُنُّونَ عَلَيْكَ أَنْ أَسْلَمُوا ۖ قُل لَّا تَمُنُّوا عَلَيَّ إِسْلَامَكُم ۖ بَلِ اللَّهُ يَمُنُّ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ هَدَاكُمْ لِلْإِيمَانِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

They take as a favor on you that they have submitted. Say do not take your Islam/Peace as a favor on me. But, Allah has put a favor on you that He has guided you to the belief, if you are truthful.

Nobody does any favor by their submission to the Allah’s system. It is Allah who has done a favor on those whom He has guided.

2:128  رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

Our Lord! Make both of us Muslims/submitters for You and from our off spring Muslims/submitters nation for You. And show both of us our places of solitude and turn to us surely, You are Most Oft Returning Most Merciful.

The supplication of Prophets Ibrahim and Ismaeel is to make them and their offsprings, muslims/submitters to Allah.

3:52  فَلَمَّا أَحَسَّ عِيسَىٰ مِنْهُمُ الْكُفْرَ قَالَ مَنْ أَنصَارِي إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ قَالَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ نَحْنُ أَنصَارُ اللَّهِ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَاشْهَدْ بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ

When Essa(Jesus) realized unbelief on their part he said “who will be my helpers to Allah”. Said the companions (disciples). “we are Allahs helpers. We believe In Allah, and you bear witness that we are Muslims(submitters)“.

Notes:

Interesting lectures by Brother Mohammad Shaikh on Islam and Muslims on below links:

https://www.iipccanada.com/2017/11/06/islam-to-attain-peace-2004/

https://www.iipccanada.com/category/english-video-lectures/know-yourself/

 

Lexical Meaning of the Arabic word Silm

 

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