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You Are Here: Knowledge Base Aqeedah (Pillars of Faith)

The meaning of the word 'Islam'

Q: Please, illustrate to me the meaning of Islam.

A: Islam means total submission to Allah (Exalted be He) through belief in His Oneness, and showing subservient and servile obedience to Him. This is the meaning of Islam.

The Arabic root word 'Aslama' means to show submission and surrender to someone and obey his commands.

Accordingly, Islam means surrender and submission to Allah's Will by means of believing in His Oneness, being devoted to Him, obeying His commandments and abandoning what He has prohibited.

Such is Islam, about which Allah (Exalted be He) says: (Truly, the religion with Allāh is Islām.)

Besides, a Muslims are thus called as they show complete submission to Allah and obey Him, abiding by His Commandments and refraining from what He has prohibited. Islam is also a name for all the Commandments of Allah (Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him), including Salah (Prayer), Sawm (fast), Zakah (obligatory charity), Hajj (pilgrimage), faith and so on. Such categories fall under Islam.

In this regard, Allah (Exalted be He) says: (This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islām as your religion.)

He (Glorified be He) also
says: (And whoever seeks a religion other than Islām, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.)

Therefore, a Muslim is a person who submits himself to Allah (Exalted be He) as far as words, practical behavior and belief are concerned. In other words, Islam stands for total submission to and abidance by His Commandments in all aspects of life.

Fatwas of Nur `Ala Al-Darb>Volume 1>Chapter on `Aqidah>Chapter on Tawhid-related topics>Definition of Islam

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Q 2: What is the meaning of the word "Islam", and why isn't this religion named after it Prophet?

A: Islam is submission to Allah through Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah/ monotheism), resignation to Him through obedience, and disavowal of Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and its people.

No religion is known to be named after its prophet with the exception of the religion of the Christians, It was named after Christ, the son of Maryam (Mary), peace be upon them, after the religion had been distorted. This name is totally wrong. But every religion can be attributed to its prophet; we can say: "The religion of Musa (Moses, peace be upon him), the religion of `Eisa (Jesus, peace be upon him) and the religion of Muhammad (peace be upon him)," in the same way we can say: "Islam is the religion of such and such a person" and so on.

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.


Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta'

Member     Member     Deputy Chairman     Chairman
Bakr Abu Zayd     Salih Al-Fawzan     `Abdul-`Aziz Al Al-Shaykh     `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz

 Permanent Committee Fatwas, Volume 1: (`Aqidah) > Tawhid-ul-Uluhiyyah > The meaning of the word "Islam"


Reference: qsep.com