Islam is one of the major world religions. Since its start on the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century A.D, it has been propagated all across the world. Currently Muslims make up the second largest religious community in the world, the largest being Christians. Most Muslims reside in Asia and North Africa; however, their presence has also been established in America and Europe through migration and conversion in the 20th century. There is a broad span of beliefs and practices among Muslims today, but all consider Muhammad their prophet. In pre-Islamic Arabia, tribes worshipped their own tutelary deities. Mohammad voiced his belief in one God. For this, he faced anger, suspicion, and violence.
Studying all the religions and their rules, I have realized that the Eastern religions concepts of “oneness” (Hinduism) and “Enlightenment” (Buddhism) differ from the Islam’s concept of “Submission”. In Islam, peace is based on submission and surrender to God, where in Buddhism, we see Buddha providing a method of liberation from suffering, a way to meditation and self-enlightenment. In Confucianism, “humanity” is the central concept- interaction with fellow human beings and the religions of Japan and China are responsible for the perpetuated appreciation of ancestoral and familial ties, traditions and state institutions. Hinduism acts as a collective term to refer to the adherents of various religious rituals and beliefs who are without a common god, founder, church, or scriptures. Christianity’s focus is based upon the belief of salvation made possible through the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. Judaism strongly believes in the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments. Christianity’s beliefs are closely linked Judaism. And Judaism also shares many characteristics with and Islam. Yet again, Islam believes in “submission”, Judaism and Christianity believe in “honoring” (the father and the mother).
The Arabic term “Islam” is translated in English as “Submission” and it derives from the term “Aslama” which means “to surrender, reassign oneself”. In Islam, the primary duty of each Muslim is to submit to Allah (Arabic name for “The God”) and whatever Allah asked of them. The religious duties of Muslims, referred to as the five pillars of Islam, have been adopted from the Qur’an. These are mandatory for every practicing adult Muslim. A person called a Muslim is also called “one who surrenders to God”. Qur’an describes the Prophet as the perfect model for humanity. Mohammad is described as “a human being just like you”, but with a strong love for God, immense compassion for animals, children, women, widows, and orphans. Mohammad is also “a Warner” and his presence, his kindness and his humility convinced Muslims to consider him the greatest teacher. His preaching, the Qur’an, is translated as “reading” or “reciting” and it contains the revelations that he had. Submitting to The Five Pillars (the Conversion, Prayers, Duty of Charity, Fasting, and The Hajj) makes a Muslim a true believer. There are more other rules that Muslims have be obey. The European Muslim men and women pray separately in the mosque and women are not allowed to show skin or have a promiscuous behavior. Also, single Muslim women cannot be around one or more married Muslim man.
The Islamic Sharia, or law, refers to the totality of the commandments and prohibitions contained within the Qur’an and the Sunna. The sources, however, have been detailed in only a few places so that they can actually be applied as the word of law. In the early stages of Islam, legal scholars sought to “find laws”. This resulted in the founding of four highly differentiated Sunni Islam law schools that exist to date. The sharia does not actually exist as a universal set of laws, but is rather dependent upon interpretation. This explains why, for example, family law that is based on the sharia varies so greatly between the various Muslim countries. Islamic criminal law may astound those unfamiliar with it due to its often unequal treatment of the sexes and harsh punishments for certain crimes, such as stoning to death of married men and women who commit adultery. However, these laws are variably enforced in only a few Muslim countries, and normally only in dictatorships. The prenuptial agreement is though an integral part of the Islamic marriage ceremony in all the Muslim countries.
Some Muslims “submit” to Allah for the fear of the consequences, and some others for the fact that they are trying to be a good Muslim and follower, looking forward to a great Heaven. The most important value of this religion is to submit to Allah. Usually this principle is only made explicit by conservative and fundamentalist believers, but the Western, (more liberal and freely moderate) beliefs may underestimate the importance of this principle.
Being submissive specifically to the will, desires and commands of Allah will bring Muslims peace. Peace could be the definition of Heaven or something that exists as a consequence of a great “submission” or “surrender”.