Islamic concepts

Islām إسلام — letting go, yielding, submitting (to the will of Allāh)

ALA-LC islām
IPA ˈʔɪslææm

Islām is the practice of yielding, letting go (of the ego), submitting (to the will of Allah), self-surrender, self-taming, the serenity to accept the Divine.

  • O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely… (Qurʾān 2:208)
  • come to terms, fold, let go,

submission; humbly letting go of desire, the serenity to accept the Divine

  • yielding to Allāh
  • humbly letting go of desire (in favour of obeying Allāh’s will)
  • accepting your fate
  • To acknowledge higher power, what’s beyond your control, and make peace with it
  • Taming your ego,
  • Serenity to accept your limitations, your place below the Divine
  • “engaged surrender, consciously surrendering one’s will (in action and thought) to the will of Allāh” (Amina Wadud)
"surrender" (Islamic Beliefs and Practices), "submission to the will of God" (Zakir Naik), "submitting one’s will to Allah (swt)" (Zakir Naik)
peaceful submission or surrender (to the will of Allāh); acceptance to do what Allāh wants, to serve the interests of Allāh

What is Islām?

Islām is the direct relationship between a Muslim and the Divine (swt). Literally, it means submission, i.e. to obey Allāh (swt), the Master and Provider.

While the English word ‘submisssion’ may imply being passive or weak, the Arabic root S-L-M also covers the concepts of peace, safety, humbleness and wholeness. A good example is the Muslim greeting of peace al-salāmu ʿalaykum.

Basically, to do Islām is:

Dhikr = to remember higher purpose to let go = to stop trying to control something

No matter how intelligent we become and think we rule the world, we always discover that life is something greater and more complicated. Making Islām is make peace with that.

This is reminiscent of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Muḥammad ﷺ lived in 7th century Arabia during a time of tribal warfare. In his role as a traditional prophet, he communicated this divine message of universal self-surrender, inviting different groups and races to serve under one undivided God.

Unlike in some religions, in Islām there is no middleman between you and Allāh. Your religion is your own business, and only Allāh can judge you.

The 5 pillars of Islām

Arkān al-Islām أركان الإسلام — Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars are the core rules that all Muslims follow. They are the fundamental actions that define a practicing Muslim.

  1. Declare your belief
  2. Pray 5 times a day
  3. Fast during Ramadan?
  4. Give to the needy
  5. Visit Makkah

They are summarized in the famous Ḥadīth of Gabriel.

Islām as religious practice

, Īmān and Iḥsān

When the terms Islām and Īmān are used contrastingly, Islām focuses on religious practice and Īmān

Related concepts

  • Riḑwān God's openness, acceptance of human being