"Islam" means "peace through the submission to God".
"Muslim" means "anyone or anything that submits itself to the will of God".
There are five pillars of practice in Islam. These practices must be undertaken with the best of effort in order to be considered a true Muslim:
"Allah" is an Arabic word that means "God". Muslims also believe that "Allah" is the personal name of God.
The word "jihad" does not mean "holy war". Instead, it means the inner struggle that one endures in trying to submit their will to the will of God. Some Muslims may say they are going for "jihad" when fighting in a war to defend themselves or their fellow Muslims, but they only say this because they are conceding that it will be a tremendous struggle. But there are many other forms of jihad which are more relevant to the everyday life of a Muslim such as the struggles against laziness, arrogance, stinginess, or the struggle against a tyrant ruler or against the temptation of Satan, or against one's own ego, etc.
Women are not oppressed in Islam. Any Muslim man that oppresses a woman is not following Islam. Among the many teachings of Prophet Muhammad that protected the rights and dignity of women is his saying, "...the best among you are those who treat their wives well." (Tirmidhi)
Islam grants women numerous rights in the home and in society. Among them are the right to earn money, to financial support, to an education, to an inheritance, to being treated kindly, to vote, to a dowry, to keep their maiden name, to worship in a mosque, etc., etc.
In the five daily prayers, Muslims face the Kaaba in Mecca, Arabia. It is a cube-shaped stone structure that was originally built by Prophet Adam and later rebuilt by Prophet Abraham. Muslims believe that the Kaaba was the first house of worship on Earth dedicated to the worship of one god. Muslims do not worship the Kaaba. It serves as a central focal point for Muslims around the world, unifying them in worship and symbolizing their common belief, spiritual focus and direction. Interestingly, the inside of the Kaaba is empty.
"The Quran, the last revealed word of God, is the primary source of every Muslim's faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects which concern human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, transactions, law, etc., but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures.At the same time, it provides guidelines and detailed teachings for a just society, proper human conduct, and an equitable economic system.
Note that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad in Arabic only. So, any Quranic translation, either in English or any other language, is neither a Quran, nor a version of the Quran, but rather it is only a translation of the meaning of the Quran. The Quran exists only in the Arabic in which it was revealed.".
Muhammad(pbuh) was born in Makkah in the year 570. Since his
father died before his birth and his mother died shortly thereafter,
he was raised by his uncle who was from the respected tribe of
Quraysh. He was raised illiterate, unable to read or write, and
remained so till his death. His people, before his mission as a
prophet, were ignorant of science and most of them were illiterate.
As he grew up, he became known to be truthful, honest, trustworthy,
generous, and sincere. He was so trustworthy that they called
him the Trustworthy. Muhammad (pbuh) was very religious, and he
had long detested the decadence and idolatry of his society.
At the age of forty, Muhammad (pbuh) received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. The revelations continued for twenty-three years, and they are collectively known as the Quran.
As soon as he began to recite the Quran and to preach the truth Which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers Suffered persecution from unbelievers. The persecution grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate. This emigration from Makkah to the city of Madinah, some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After several years, Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies. Before Muhammad (pbuh) died, at the age of sixty-three, the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula had become Muslim, and within a century of his death, Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China. Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the truth and clarity of its doctrine. Islam calls for faith in only one God, Who is the only one worthy of worship. The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful, and brave human being. Though he was a man, he was far removed from all evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of God and His reward in the Hereafter. Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of God.
Islam provides many human rights for the individual. The following are some of these human rights that Islam protects.
The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred, whether a person is Muslim or not. Islam also protects honor. So, in Islam, insulting others or making fun of them is not allowed. Racism is not allowed in Islam, Islam rejects certain individuals or nations being favored because of their wealth, power, or race. God created human beings as equals who are to be distinguished from each other only on the basis of their faith and piety.
One of the major problems facing mankind today is racism. The developed world can send a man to the moon but cannot stop man from hating and fighting his fellow man. Ever since the days of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Islam has provided a vivid example of how racism can be ended. The annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah shows the real Islamic brotherhood of all races and nations, when about two million Muslims from all over the world come to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage. Islam is a religion of justice.
In Islam, the Arabic word sunnah has come to denote the way Prophet Muhammad (saw), the Messenger of Allah, lived his life. The Sunnah is the second source of Islamic jurisprudence, the first being the Qur'an. Both sources are indispensable; one cannot practice Islam without consulting both of them.