"Islām" is an Arabic word which means peaceful, willing ubmission - submission to the code of conduct ordained by God. So Islam is a religion, but it is also a complete way of life based upon a voluntary relationship between an individual and his Creator. It is the way of life ordained by God which was aught by each of His prophets and messengers. What distinguishes Islam from other religions is that it refuses to accept any form of creation whatsoever as a deity worthy of worship. Instead, it emphasizes the exclusive worship of the one God who created the entire universe and to whom all creation will eventually return.
Monotheism is the foundation of Islam and its most important concept which cannot be compromised in any way. Not only is God acknowledged as the sole creator and sustainer of everything in existence, but Islam declares that He is the only true deity and He alone is worthy to be worshipped. Further, it recognizes that the attributes of God are nothing like those of His creation and cannot be compared to it; He is absolute, perfect and unique.
Question 1: What is Islam?
Muslim is someone who practices Islam; that is, who willingly submits to the revealed directives of God. Everything in the universe is inherently submissive to God, functioning according to the natural laws created by Him. Human beings are physically "muslim" in that their bodies function according to the genetic program set by God for the period of time He has decreed. A "Muslim" in the religious sense, however, is someone who consciously commits himself to the worship of God alone, not according to his own inclinations or those of other men but according to the method conveyed by God through His appointed prophets. The Qur'an gives many examples of people who lived before Muhammad and believed in and obeyed the prophet that God had sent them. They entered Paradise because of their obedience to God, and that is the meaning of "Islam." All the prophets of God, from Adam to Muhammad, and those who believed and followed each of them during the period of his prophethood 'were called "Muslims." But since Prophet Muhammad was the last of God's messengers to mankind, a "Muslim" can now only be defined as one who accepts and complies with the final, completed message conveyed by God through him. For rationally, the most recently revised legislation always supersedes and invalidates whatever came before it.
Question 2: What is a Muslim?
Question 3: Isn´t it true that Islam is an Arab religion?
This mistaken assumption is possibly based on the fact that Prophet Muhammad was an Arab, that most of the first generation of Muslims were Arabs, and that the Qur'an is in the Arabic language.
But in actual fact, only about 18 percent of Muslims in the world today are Arabs. The largest Muslim populations are found in Indonesia, the Indian sub-continent and other parts of Asia. Islam is also widespread in many parts of Africa, and there are substantial minorities in Europe, North and South America, and Oceania. Islam is the fastest growing major religion in the world, and its adherents on all continents include both Arabs and non-Arabs. Further, not all Arabs are Muslims, for there are significant communities of Christian Arabs as well as a number who belong to other religions or profess atheism. While "Arab" is a geographic and cultural term, "Muslim" refers to an adherent to the religion of Islam.
While the revelation was still in its early stages, the Qur'an disclosed that Islam is indeed a global religion. Allah addressed His Prophet therein, saying:
"And We have not sent you but as a mercy to [all] the worlds. "(21:107)
"And We have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind, as a bringer of good tidings and a warner, but most of the people do not know."(34:28)
Islam is meant for all people regardless of race, nationality, cultural or religious background. From the commencement of his mission, the Prophet's companions came from a wide range of lands and races. Among them was an African, a Byzantine, a Persian and a Jewish scholar. All were united in the brotherhood of faith.
There are many references in the Qur'an to the universal nature of Islam. It frequently addresses humanity, saying, "O mankind" or "O people." The Prophet, his companions and their followers made every effort to spread the message of truth to all nations and peoples. He naturally began the propagation of God's message among his own people, the Arabs, but that does not mean it was restricted to them - rather, only that initially conveying it to those nearest him was the logical first step toward the realization of a long-term goal. Later in his mission when conditions became more favorable, he sent letters of invitation to Islam to the rulers of the Byzantine and Persian Empires, Abyssinia, Egypt, Damascus, Bahrain, Yamamah, Oman and others who represented the influential world figures of the day. Whatever their response to it, the Prophet's message was fully acknowledged by the major powers of his time.