Islam means, peace, through submission to the one and only God.
Literally, “Salam“, which is how Muslims greet each other, means Peace.
Islam, a variant of the same root letters “seen”, “laam, “meem” means submission. But words in the Arabic language from the same root letters have overlapping meaning. Hence, the best way to simply translate Islam would be attaining peace, through submission to God.
God, the One and Only Divine Being, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. The creator of the entire Universe; that which we know, and that which we do not know. Who Created the Word for a reason.
In other words, this world is not just a coincidence. It was created so we could strive to Know God and rise from out lowly selves to good, pure human beings.
The name of the one and only God is Allah.
In the Holy Qu’ran, Allah Says:
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; (1) Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; (2) He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; (3) And there is none like unto Him. (4) (Holy Quran: 112:1-4)
There can be many different beings or things that have been called “god” through out history. The name ALLAH is unique. Nothing else has been called Allah. And no other being can be confused with the concept of One God in Islam.
There is no gender of God because it is He Himself who is the Creator of gender. Although, in Arabic, “He” is used for God but it does not mean that God is masculine. He says clearly in the Quran, that He is not like anyone or anything else. Whatever comes into our mind when we think about God, He is not like that. In Arabic it is what we would say, He is “waraa ul waraa, thumma waraa ul waraa“, He is beyond any thought any conception; beyond anything we know or can imagine in this world.
How can we know Allah?
Now the first thing people would say is, how do we know God exists?
There are different means of attaining knowledge of what exists.
1) The Five Senses:
We all know that sometimes, what our eyes can see is different than what really is. So we may be standing far from a mountain or a tall building. And the apparent height would be just a few inches. Now using our mind, our intellect, we can tell that actually, that mountain or that building is quite huge but only appears to be small because it is so far way.
Similarly, we cannot see radio-waves or microwaves. But through the help of intellect and experimentation using our five senses, we know they exist.
2) The Intellect:
The intellect, or our mind, or brain is an amazing capability that humans have to make sense of everything around us. However, even the intellect can be misleading. Just like the five senses, alone, are incomplete in guiding us to truth, the intellect, alone can lead us to faulty conclusions. An example of this would be the ‘rational’ acceptance of same sex marriages by many in the West. Or of the rational explanation of humans evolving from apes.
There is a third source of knowledge. And that is Revelation. This third category is also known as prophecy, for it has always been men, known as prophets in different nations and different times who brought news from the Unseen. And the called towards Truth, towards righteousness and towards all forms of good.
“The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will): Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account.” (ِHoly Quran- 3:19)
In essence, belief is both rational as well as a light in the heart. Revelation Guides both the intellect and the heart and calls towards assent of our inner selves, of our souls, by purifying it from base desires and blameworthy traits.