The Arabic word Islam literally means “surrender” or “submission.” Islam, as a faith, means total and sincere surrender to God so that one can live in peace and tranquility. Peace (Salam in Arabic, Shalom in Hebrew) is achieved through active obedience to the revealed commandments of God, for God is The Just, The Peace. (The italicized words throughout the text indicate either a verse from the Qur’an or one of the names and attributes of God.)
The name Islam is universal in meaning. Islam is not named after a tribe of people or an individual, as Judaism is named after the tribe of Judah, Christianity after Christ, and Buddhism after Buddha. Islam is not a name chosen by human beings; it was divinely communicated from God. Islam is a global faith, not of the East or the West. Islam is a complete way of life, implying a total submission to God. One who surrenders his or her will to God, voluntarily, is called a Muslim. It was not Muhammadp but Adamp who first brought Islam to humanity. Then, each Prophet and Messengerp came to exhort the people to a clear understanding of God’s commandments. They offered teachings relevant to that time, until God chose the final Prophet, Muhammadp, to come with the Last Testament referred to as the Qur’an.
Allah is an Arabic word, meaning “The One and Only True God,” the proper name of The One who created the heavens and the earth. Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians also call God by the name Allah. For a Muslim, Allah is the greatest and most inclusive of names for God, denoting The One who is adored in worship, The One who created all that exists.