From Quranic teachings
Al-Islam by TANVEER HUSSAIN
In the Name of Allah, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem
Every society or state has some rules or laws to which it calls for submission
or conformity for the safety, security and preservation of its individual
members as well as the society or the state as a whole. When the rules and
laws are those or based upon those given by Allah, then the submission or
conformity to these laws and rules is called Al-Islam, and the safety, security
and preservation that results thereby, is called As-Salaam.
Since the laws and rules given by the All-Wise and the All-Knowing Allah are
free from any subjectivity, bias or limitations of time and space, the
submission or conformity to only these can guarantee a perpetual safety,
security, preservation and well-being of all human beings living in a society
and the world at large. On the other hand, since the laws made by human
beings suffer from the eternal drawbacks of subjectivity or bias and temporal
or spatial limitations of individual knowledge and wisdom, they can never
guarantee an incessant or everlasting safety, security, preservation or wellbeing
The word ‘Islam’ and its meanings
The root of the word Islam is s-l-m (seen-laam-meem), which leads to the
following meanings (depending upon the context):
1. to be in sound condition, well, without a blemish; to be safe and sound,
unharmed, unimpaired, intact, safe, secure, in peace; to be unobjectionable,
blameless, faultless, certain, established, clearly proven (fact); to be free
(from defects, fault, imperfection, blemish or vice); to escape (from a danger).
[particularly, with the preposition 'min']
The word has a much wider meaning than mere peace or safety and also
involves prosperity, good health, wholeness and completeness in every way.
2. to submit or resign (oneself) to [e.g. in 2:112, 4:128, 2:131, 2:133, 2:136,
3:20, 3:83, 3:84, 4:125, 6:71, 22:34, 29:46, 31:22, 39:54, 40:66]; to yield to the
opinion, judgement, command or control (of someone); to surrender or give
(oneself) up. [particularly with the prepositions 'la/li' or 'ila']
3. to greet someone by wishing him (and assuring him from oneself) peace,
safety, security, wholeness, soundness and well-being [particularly, with the
preposition ‘ala’, e.g. as in salamun alaikum]
As-Salaam (i.e. Safety, security, immunity, wholeness, soundness, well-being
and freedom from imperfections, defects or faults) is the result of Al-Islam. As
given in the Quran, As-Salaam is for those who follow Al-Huda [20:47].
20:47 So go you both to him and say, "We are two Messengers of your Lord. Let the
Children of Israel go with us, and do not persecute them. Indeed we have come to you
with a Message from your Lord. And As-Salaam be upon him who follows Al-Huda (the
As can be seen from 20:47 given above, As-Salaam or Safety, security,
immunity, wholeness, soundness, well-being and freedom from imperfections,
defects or faults results from following Allah’s Guidance i.e. Submission to His
Al-Muslimeen vs. Al-Mujrimeen
In 68:35 the word Al-Muslimeen has been used in contrast to Al-Mujrimeen.
68:35 Shall We, then, treat Al-Muslimeen like Al-Mujrimeen?
A Mujrim, according to dictionary, is the one who commits an act of
disobedience or violates the Law or wrongfully exploits a situation or steals
the fruit of others' labour. The Qur’an defines Al-Mujrimeen in the following
7:40 Those who deny or delude Our Messages, and scorn them (or turn away from
them haughtily), the gates of Heaven will not be opened for them. And they will not
enter the Garden until the camel goes through the eye of a needle. This is how We
10:13 We annihilated many nations before you for their Zulm (wrongdoings). Their
Messengers had come to them with clear evidence of the Truth, but they refused to
believe them. Thus do We reward Al-Mujrimeen
10:17 Who does a greater wrong than the one who himself forges a lie, then ascribes it
to Allah, or falsifies His Revelations, or denies them? Al-Mujrimoon certainly do not
32:22 And who does a greater wrong than he who is reminded of his Lord’s Messages,
then turns away from them? Verily, We shall requite all those who are Al-Mujrimeen
So according to 7:40, 10:13, 10:17 and 32:22 given above, Al-Mujrimeen are
those who deny or delude or falsify Allah's Revelations, refuse to believe in
them or turn away from them, and do not act according to Allah's Revelations.
Al-Muslimeen are those who are quite the opposite of Al-Mujrimeen.
Al-Muslimoon vs. Al-Qasi toon
In 72:14, the word Al-Muslimoon has been used in contrast to Al-Qasitoon.
72:13-16 “And as soon as we heard Al-Huda (i.e. the Guidance), we believed in it. And
whoever chooses to be graced with belief in his Lord, need not fear a diminished
return, nor unfairness.” “And some of us are Al-Muslimoon and some of us are AlQasitoon.
And whoever submits – such are they who have resolved to get
enlightened.” “And those who are Al-Qasitoon– they are but fire-wood for the Hell."
Now, if they take an unwavering stand on At-Tareeqa, We will shower them with
As can be seen from the above given verses 70:13-16, Al-Qasitoon are those
who deviate or decline from the right course (At-Tareeqah); who act unjustly,
injuriously, wrongfully or tyrannically. But Al-Muslimoon are those who take an
unwavering stand on At-Tareeqah.
In 27:31, the word Muslimeen has been used in contrast to those who exalt or
magnify themselves and behave proudly, insolently or exorbitantly. In other
words, Islam or submission is opposite to exaltation. See 27:31 as follows:
27:31 ‘Exalt not yourselves against me, but come to me as those who surrender or
In 22:34, Submission (aslamoo) has been explained as a credential of Al-
Mukhbiteen i.e. those who are humble, submissive and obedient to Allah
[11:23, 22:54]. See the verse 22:34 given as follows:
22:34 And to every community We have ordained rites that they might extol the Name
of Allah over the sustenance He gave them from the livestock. But your God is the One
and Only God. Therefore, submit to Him alone (22:67). And give glad news to all those
who are humble.
In the light of 6:14, Al-Islam is the absence of Shirk (i.e. taking partners of
Allah) also. Note the use of the word ‘Islam’ in contrast to ‘Shirk’ in the
following verse (6:14):
6:14 Say, “Shall I take for my master other than Allah Who is the Initiator of the
heavens and the earth? And He provides all without return. Feeds but is not fed.” Say,
“ I have been commanded to be the foremost among those who submit to Him and not
be of those who are Mushrikeen (who ascribe partners to Him).”
In the light of 3:19, 3:80, 9:74 and 15:2, Al-Islam is the absence Kufr (i.e.
rejecting commands of Allah or falling short in abiding by them) also. Note the
use of the word ‘Islam’ in contrast to ‘Kufr’, in the following verses:
3:19 Indeed Ad-Deen (i.e the Way or System of Life) approved by Allah is Al-Islam
(Submission to His Laws and Commands). The people of the Scripture differed for
nothing but selfish envy among themselves, after the Knowledge has come to them.
One who rejects Allah's Revelations will find that His Law of Requital is swift in
3:80 Nor would he instruct you to take the angels and the Prophets for lords and
patrons. Would he command you to disbelieve after you have submitted to Allah?
9:74 (The hypocrites) swear by Allah that they have said nothing wrong. Yet they most
certainly have uttered a word of disbelief. And have denied the Truth after professing
their surrender to Allah. They were aiming at something beyond their reach (attaining
inner peace without sincerity to the Divine Guidance). And they could find no fault in
the Divine System except that Allah has enriched them and caused His Messenger to
enrich them out of His Bounty. Hence, it will be good for them if they repent and
correct themselves. But if they still turn away, Allah will cause them to suffer grievous
retribution in this world and in the life to come. And they will have no protector or
helper in the earth.
15:2 The time is coming when the rejecters of the Truth will ardently wish that they
The word ‘Islam’ in the Qur’an
The word 'Islam' appears in the Quran at 8 places.
Word form 'Al- Islam'
3:19 Indeed Ad-Deen (i.e the System of Life) approved by Allah is Al-Islam (Submission
to His Laws and Commands). The people of the Scripture differed for nothing but
selfish envy among themselves, after the Knowledge has come to them. One who
rejects Allah's Revelations will find that His Law of Requital is swift in reckoning.
3:85 Whoever seeks as Deen (i.e. a System of Life) (anything) other than Al-Islam, it
will not be taken from him with approbation, and he will be a loser (in the long run in
this world as well as) in the Hereafter.
5:3 Forbidden for you (for dietary consumption) are: Any Animal that dies of itself;
Blood; The flesh of swine; And anything (not just meat) that has been dedicated to any
other than Allah (such as an idol, grave or saint); Any Animal that has been strangled
to death, Beaten to death, Dies by falling from height, Gored to death by horns;
Animal eaten by a wild animal unless you are able to slaughter it while it is still alive;
That which is sacrificed on altars (devotional stones or blocks in shrines considered
sacred). Also forbidden is dividing the meat through raffling and games of chance.
This Day, the rejecting opponents have given up the hope of eradicating your DEEN,
System of Life. Clear distinction in matters of the Lawful and the Unlawful draws a
tangible line between their ways and your way. Fear them not but fear Me. This Day, I
have perfected your Law /DEEN for you, completed My favor upon you, and chosen for
you Al-Islam as the System of Life.
In the above verse (5:3), after giving some rules and laws about dietary
consumption, Allah says that He has perfected the Islamic Law [the word
Deen seems here to have been used to mean Law, as it has been used to
mean law in 12:6, since it comes after mentioning some laws about dietary
consumption. The second occurrence of the word Deen in 5:3 seems to have
been used to mean 'the System of Life', as the context shows.
61:6 And who does greater wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah when he is
invited to Al-Islam? But Allah does not guide the people who are Zalimeen (, who do
not put things in their right perspective).
Word form ' li l- Islam'
6:125 Therefore (for) whomsoever Allah intends that He would guide him aright
[according to His Laws such as given in 2:2, 3:101, 7:52, 13:27, 27:2, 27:77, 31:3, 41:44]
He expands his breast for Al-Islam, and (for) whomsoever He intends that He should
cause him to err [according to His Laws such as given in 2:26, 9:115, 14:27, 40:34,
40:69-74, 45:23], He makes his breast strait and narrow as though he were ascending
upwards; thus does Allah lay malediction/uncleanness on those who do not believe.
39:22 If Allah renders one’s breast open to Al-Islam he will be following a Light from
his Sustainer. Hence, those whose hearts are hardened against Allah’s Reminder only
harm themselves. They are most obviously lost in error.
Word form ' Islamakum'
49:17 Some people act as if they are doing you a favor by embracing Islam (or
submission to Allah's Commands). Say, “Deem not that your Islam (or your
submission to Allah's Commands) is a favor upon me. Nay, it is Allah Who bestows a
favor upon you as He has led you to the Faith, if you be true and sincere.”
Word form ' Islamihim'
9:74 (The hypocrites) swear by Allah that they have said nothing wrong. Yet they most
certainly have uttered a word of disbelief (9:61-62). And have denied the Truth after
their Islam (or professing their surrender to Allah). They were aiming at something
beyond their reach (attaining inner peace without sincerity to the Divine Guidance).
And they could find no fault in the Divine System except that Allah has enriched them
and caused His Messenger to enrich them out of His Bounty. Hence, it will be good for
them if they repent and correct themselves. But if they still turn away, Allah will cause
them to suffer grievous retribution in this world and in the life to come. And they will
have no protector or helper in the earth.
‘Islam’ or ‘submission’ as explained in the Qur’an
Allah has Himself explained ‘Islam’ or ‘Submission’ in the Qur’an, which can
be learned through Tasreef. Tasreef is the Qur'anic process where words and
verses in one part of the Qur’an explain or provide deeper understanding of
the words and verses in other parts of the Book. Please see the following
3:83 Do they seek other than the DEEN of Allah, when all things in the heavens and the
earth, willingly and unwillingly submit (aslama) to Him, and to Him they will be
According to the above verse (3:83), everything in the heavens and the earth
submit to Allah (aslama). In other words, everything is Muslim. Note the word
‘aslama’ and ‘Deen’.
13:15 And all things in the heavens and the earth, willingly and unwillingly bow to Him
(in obedience) (yasjudu) ……
In 13:15, the word ‘yasjudu’ has been used instead of ‘aslama’. Islam means
submission. Sajda means bowing or prostrating in submissiveness or
submission or obedience. Obviously, everything in the heavens and the earth
do not prostrate as humans do physically by putting their foreheads on the
ground but this means the submissiveness and obedience of these things to
Allah’s Amr or Command or Law. It is a fact that every object and every
phenomenon in the universe is governed by certain laws. It may be the case
that science has not so far discovered all the laws that govern everything but
there is nothing that does not follow a law. What they call ‘natural laws’, Allah
clarifies to them that these are His Laws.
Allah has further explained in the Quran the nature of Islam or submission of
everything to Allah. Please see the following verses:
22:18 Don't you see that all things and beings in the heavens and in the earth, the sun
and the moon, and the stars and the mountains, and the trees, and the animals, and a
great many human beings bow themselves to Allah (in submissiveness and obedience)
16:49-50 And, before Allah, bows in submission (yasjudu) all that is in the heavens and
all that is in the earth, whether living beings or the angels, and none are arrogant. They
all fear their Lord, High above them, and they do all that they are commanded.
From the above, it can be seen that the submission or bowing or prostrating of
all things to Allah in submissiveness means that ‘they do what Allah
commands them’. This is what the Islam is, i.e. doing what Allah commands.
Allah created everything and then gave it guidance of the way that it should
20:50 He said, "Our Lord is He who creates and shapes everything, grants it its
constitution and guides it aright."
For example, Allah sent wahi or command to Heavens to assign them their
41:12 So He ordained that they become seven Heavens in two stages and assigned to
each heaven its function….
Similarly, wahi and command to the Earth:
99:5 For your Lord would send His Command to her (the earth)
Everything in the heaven and the earth is striving to carry out the tasks
assigned by Allah. Everything knows its SALAT and TASBEEH.
24:41 Do you not realize that Allah, It is He Whose assigned tasks all beings in the
heavens and the earth carry out, and the birds, with their wings outspread, as they fly
in columns. All of them know their SALAT and TASBEEH (mission and strife). Allah is
Aware of what they do.
According to 24:41, everything is doing TASBEEH. The verse 24:41 ends with
the words, ‘Allah is aware of what they do’, clarifying that TASBEEH is not
something to be said or recited but something to be done.
2:116 ….. Nay, unto Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Everything is
wholeheartedly subservient/obedient to Him.
As can be seen from the above given verses, Allah created everything and
gave it guidance to the way it should follow. Everything knows its SALAAT
and TASBEEH, its function and role. Everything is obedient/subservient to
Allah and does exactly what Allah commanded to them.
The difference between their submission and man’s submission is that these
things are bound to follow Allah’s laws [3:83, 13:15]. They do not have any
choice. The Sun does not have any choice to change its course. The stars do
not have any choice to move to any position other that the ordained, and so
on. All are whole-heartedly obedient to Allah’s commands [2:116]. But man
has been commanded to be so by choice. Whoever among them submits his
whole self entirely to Allah, will have his reward with his Lord [2:112].
2:112 ...whoever submits his whole self entirely to Allah (i.e. Whoever is Muslim) and is
a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; there shall neither come any fear
upon them from without nor shall any grief touch them from within.