According to rahyafte (the missionaries and converts website) Islam in the general sense means submission to God and in its specific meaning is the last heavenly religion. Islam is introduced in the Quran as the last monotheistic religion and the emergence of Islam is predicted as the most complete and moral religion in other heavenly religions.
The word Islam has different meanings derived from the root “slm” meaning peace and reconciliation. This word is used in the present tense and has the following meanings:
1. Entering into peace and reconciliation.
2. Converting the religion of Islam and becoming a Muslim.
3. Surrendering , accepting and submitting.
Historically, Islam in its main sources, which are the Quran and Sunnah, has been considered as the last monotheistic religion and the third Abrahamic religion, which was introduced to mankind in 609 AD by the last messenger of God, Muhammad ibn Abdullah (PBUH) in Saudi Arabia. The anniversary of the rise of Islam is called “Mab’ath (Resurrection Day)” by Muslims, which took place in the Hara Cave in the mountains adjacent to Mecca. On this day, the angel of revelation, who is called angel Jibril (known as Gabriel in English), in the beliefs of Jews, Christians and Muslims, revealed Islam to Muhammad (PBUH) and made him the leader of the Muslims of the world.
The first verses of the Quran, as revealed word and message of God to humanity, are the first verse of Surah Al-Alaq to the third or fifth:
“Read (Proclaim!) In the Name of your Lord Who created. Created man, out of a clot (of congealed blood). Read (Proclaim), and your Lord is the Most Generous. Who taught by the Pen. Taught man that which he knew not. “
Accordingly, a person who accepts the religion of Muhammad (PBUH) is called a Muslim, and a person who converts to this religion from another religion is called “Muslim convert”. Therefore, Islam has two general and specific meanings: In the general sense, Islam means submission to God and obedience to him. In this case, obeying God before the advent of Islam will make him a Muslim, as it is stated in verse 131 of Surah Al-Baqarah in relation to Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH):
“Such was Abraham that when his Lord said to him: “Submit,” he said: “I have submitted to the Lord of the Universe.”
So, according to God, anyone who believes in His religion during the rule of that religion and submits to God is in fact a Muslim.
But Islam in its specific sense is the last heavenly religion, and since other religions must also submit to this new religion, it has been known as “Islam” to send a message to others that anyone of any religion should convert and submit to the new religion which is the most perfect and moral religion.
In verse 85 of Surah Al-Imran, it is stated that:
“And whoever seeks a way other than this way a submission (Islam), will find that it will not be accepted from him and in the Life to come he will be among the losers.”
According to this verse, all human beings must obey God’s command and accept the religion that God has sent to them.
The fundamental question here is how to choose between the obligation to other religions that arises from the imposition of society or the family and the obligation that directly arises from God’s command, because other religions also claim to be heavenly and the best religion.
In answer to this question, the following points can be mentioned:
1. The basis in religion is that it is elective, because if religion is imposed on man and a person is forced to follow it, the value of voluntarily accepting religion and moving in the divine path, which is the path of worldly and otherworldly happiness, will be lost. That is why the obligation in religion is forbidden in the Islam’s view and people are free to choose their religion.
In this regard, verse 29 of Surah Al-Kahf says:
“And say, (O Prophet), (This is) the truth from your Lord. Whoever wills let them believe, and whoever wills let them disbelieve.”
2. Acceptance of any thought and theory requires research. Acceptance of religion also requires a thorough and comprehensive study, and its tool is human intellect, which has been created in the same way for all human beings. Therefore, even if society and the family obligue them, with the power of thought and reason, human beings can research themselves and choose what is worthy of acceptance. In this regard, verses 17 and 18 of Surah Az-Zumar can be noted that say:
“(On the other hand), good tidings await those who eschew serving false gods and penitently return to Allah (SWT). (O Prophet), give good tidings to My servants, to those who pay heed to what is said and follow the best of it. They are the ones whom Allah (SWT) has guided to the Right Way; they are the ones endowed with understanding.”
3. The human intellect dictates that if it has the right to choose, it should choose the best option, which is the most comprehensive, safest and most beautiful of them. Islam, which is introduced as the last word of God to human beings, should naturally be the most complete of them so that human beings are encouraged to choose it from other religions. With an honest, unbiased and complete study of religions, it is unlikely that anyone would want a religion other than Islam, because Islam is a universal, complete and beautiful religion. Obviously, in the absence of these characteristics in Islam, calling for a new religion would be futile. In the first verse of Surah Al-Furqan, God introduces Islam as the universal religion:
“Blessed is the One Who sent down the Standard to God’s servant, so that he may be a warner to the whole world.”
Also, in verse 107 of Surah Al-Anbiya, God says to the Prophet (PBUH):
“We have sent you forth as nothing but mercy to people of the whole world.”
In a Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH), Islam is introduced as a religion that complements the virtues and beauties of morality. Therefore, it is natural for every human being who seeks the truth should choose Islam as his religion so that he may receive divine mercy.
4. In other heavenly religions, the emergence of a new religion and the sending of a prophet to humans is predicted. Although this part of the other heavenly books has been omitted for various purposes, but in the Holy Quran, in verse 6 of Surah Saf, it is narrated that Jesus Christ (PBUH) has referred to this:
“And (remember) when Jesus, son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel! I am truly Allah’s (SWT) messenger to you, confirming the Torah which came before me, and giving good news of a messenger after me whose name will be Ahmad.”
Thus, Christianity, which itself was revealed to put an end to the perversions of Judaism, promised the rise of Islam, and for Christians this reason is enough to convert to the new religion promised by their prophet. Therefore, Islam, as the last religion of monotheistic and Abrahamic religions, has introduced itself as the most complete of them and, of course, complementing the previous religions. After a thorough understanding of Islam, which is based on honest and thorough study, it is easy to see that Islam is a heavenly religion and its teachings are more prominent, accurate and comprehensive than the teachings of other religions.
In order to prove its legitimacy, the Holy Quran calls for a challenge and says in verse 23 of Surah al-Baqarah:
“And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Surah like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (If there are any) besides Allah (SWT), if your (doubts) are true.”
Therefore, it is easy to discover the truth of Islam in this way, because a falsifiable and non-heavenly religion can be easily changed and evolved and proposed similar to its laws, but there is no record in history since the creation of Islam that anyone can question Islam or give a strong scientific and doctrinal reason against it. In addition, verse 9 of Surah Al-Hijr emphasizes that God Himself is the sender of the religion of Islam and will protect it from perversion:
“Indeed it is We Who have revealed it and it is indeed We Who are its guardians.”
Therefore, submission to the religion that God has given to human beings, is a natural and completely logical thing for those who believe in the existence of God and know that God speaks to human beings through one of God’s chosen people and through whom God introduces Divine Religion so that by reforming the religion and completing it, it will guarantee their worldly and otherworldly happiness. And this means “Islam”.
*The series of articles “Shia answers” has been prepared and compiled by the Shafaqna International News Agency in order to provide short and simple answers to common questions about Islam and Shiism in different parts of the world. Answering these questions are done in collaboration with researchers and Islamic centers and based on online and library resources.