Towards Understanding Islam

Sayyid Mawdudi

THE MEANING OF ISLAM

Every religion of the world has been named either after its founder or after the community ornation in which it was born. For instance, Christianity takes its name from its prophet JesusChrist; Buddhism from its founder, Gautama Buddha; Zoroastrianism from its founderZoroaster-, and Judaism, the religion of the Jews, from the name of the tribe Judah (of thecountry of Judea) where it originated. The same is true of all other religions except Islam, whichenjoys the unique distinction of having no such association with any particular person or peopleor country. Nor is it the product of any human mind. It is a universal religion and itsobjective is to create and cultivate in man the quality and attitude of Islam.Islam, in fact, is an attributive title. Anyone who possesses this attribute, whatever race,community, country or group he belongs to, is a Muslim. According to the Qur’an (the HolyBook of the Muslims), among every people and in all ages there have been good and righteouspeople who possessed this attributeand all of them were and are Muslims.IslamWhat Does it Mean?Islam is an Arabic word and connotes submission, surrender and obedience. As a religion,Islam stands for complete submission and obedience to Allah.1Everyone can see that we live in an orderly universe, where everything is assigned a place in agrand scheme. The moon, the stars and all the heavenly bodies are knit together in amagnificent system. They follow unalterable laws and make not even the slightest deviation fromtheir ordained courses. Similarly, everything in the world, from the minute whirling electron tothe mighty nebulae, invariably follows its own laws. Matter, energy and lifeall obey their lawsand grow and change and live and die in accordance with those laws. Even in the human worldthe laws of nature are paramount. Man’s birth, growth and life are all regulated by a set ofbiological laws. He derives sustenance from nature in accordance with an unalterable law. Allthe organs of his body, from the smallest tissues to the heart and the brain, are governedby the laws prescribed for them. In short, ours is a law-governed universe and everything in it isfollowing the course that has been ordained for it.

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