Difference between Muslims and Islam

Who are Muslims?

Muslims are people who follow Islam as their primary and only religion. The word ‘Muslim’ means, submitting your will to the Creator of the heavens and earth. To put this in perspective, Jesus Christ (Prophet Isa (as)) and Noah (Prophet Nuh (as)) were Muslims because they submitted their will to God Almighty, peace be upon them. Thus, all the prophets since Adam and Eve, were also Muslims.

Similarly, every child that is born in this universe, is also born a Muslim, submitting his or her will to the Lord of heavens and earth. At later stages of life, the child is converted to whatever belief system his or her parents have. This is the reason when anyone accepts Islam, we don’t say he or she converted to Islam, rather we say he or she reverted to Islam, because they have embraced their innate human faith, their birth right.

So, aren’t Muslims Arabs?

No. If we look back into the history, we can see that our Creator sent prophets to specific tribes and nations. However, when Prophet Muhammad (saw) peace and blessings be upon him, was sent in this world, our Creator said that he was sent as a mercy to ALL mankind not just the Arabs, peace be upon him. In the Holy Quran, it says that God Almighty chose the religion of Islam for ALL of humanity. He didn’t say He chose Islam for Arabs or a specific group of people. Long answer short, no. Islam does not discriminate between Arab or non-Arab, black or white, male or female, young or old, wealthy or poor and so on. Not all Muslims are Arabs and not all Arabs are Muslims.

What is Islam?

People say Islam is just another religion. No, it’s not true. Islam is not just another religion. As a matter of fact, Islam is the only religion in the world that brings religion and science together, Islam is the only religion that has directives for all aspects of human life, a complete system.

Today’s false belief is that science and religion are two separate entities. Religion, and specifically Islam, is the foundation of every human because he or she is born by the will of the Creator. If this is not true then you should be able to choose a place, time and family of your birth, but you cannot, can you? Everything else is built on top of this foundation including science, logic, common sense, human nature, etc. Islam is a complete way of life, which is more than just a religion. It is more than just worshiping and supplicating to the Lord of heavens and earth.

Doesn’t Islam advocate violence, and killing everyone who doesn’t believe in Allah?

If this was the case, then when the Islamic caliphate was established for so many centuries before the Ottoman empire, there would be no non-believers or Christians or Jews on this earth. Islam teaches tolerance, love and peace. Islam in simple words mean ‘enjoin good and forbid evil’. There are numerous stories of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), peace and blessings be upon him, and companions of the Prophet, peace be upon them all, where they have shown the best of characters including love, peace and tolerance towards each other and towards the non-believers.

All wars that have taken place during the Islamic era was in self-defense or fighting oppression. Islam forbids attacking people with no reason. Even at the time of war, it was forbidden to harm children, women, elderly, trees and plants, places of worship including church and synagogue, animals and so forth. Please let me know if there’s even a single army today that follows such principles at the time of war?

Many prisoners captured during war reverted to Islam not because of torture, force and blackmail rather because of the best treatment, character and respect by the prison guards and supervisors. It’s difficult to believe this, that’s why you should study the lives of prisoners at the time of Islamic caliphate.

Coming back to what Islam is, Islam is a complete way of life. Just like a user manual provided with a new car to make sure the user treats the car properly, our Creator gave us a user manual, the holy Quran, to make sure that we treat our body, mind and soul properly. Additionally, Prophet Muhammad (saw), peace and blessings be upon him, was a practical example of the Quran because he showed us how to implement each verse of the Quran in our daily lives.

Islam guides a human in every single aspect of life including marriage and relationships, daily tasks like using the toilet, eating food, dressing, showering, business and career, education, finances, and much more.

Isn’t Islam overwhelming because of so many rules and regulations?

As a matter of fact, not at all. If you consider your daily life, you are unconsciously following tonnes of rules and regulations such as stopping at traffic lights when they turn red, stand in a queue when go to the bank, say thank you and welcome when you get served at a store or restaurant, drive in the correct lane and so on.

If you were free and could do anything you wanted, then you would live your life very differently. Islam tells you what is good and bad for you just like the traffic lights. You know that if you run the red light there is a good chance of someone hitting your car and harming you and the passengers. Similarly, Islam tells you things which will harm a human body, a human mind and a human soul.

If you don’t like people telling you what to do in your life then why do you take the medicines when doctor tells you to? Why do you stop your car when traffic police asks you to? Why do you eat healthy foods when a dietitian or fitness coach advises you to? I think you understand the point I am trying to make here.

So, no, Islam is not overwhelming at all. As a matter of fact, it is human nature to take directions and follow them to better their lives and better the lives of others.

Concluding Remarks

I would like to say that Muslims are people and people are not perfect and there are always black sheep in every community. Whereas Islam is a way of life which has been preserved over 1400 years with utmost care and scholars dedicating their entire lives to it. It is foolish of people to judge Islam by Muslims. An analogy of this matter is that if a driver was driving a Mercedes and he runs into a wall, would you blame the driver or the Mercedes? I think you are intelligent enough to answer that.


Notes:
*AS after the prophets’ name stands for ‘alayhi as-salam’ which means peace be upon him.
*SAW after Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) name stands for ‘ṣalla llahu alayhi wasallam’ which means peace and blessings be upon him. It is mandatory upon a Muslim to say this every time the name of Muhammad (saw) is mentioned.
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