Christians Common Questions About Islam

1- What is the meaning of Islam?

In Arabic, when a warrior lays down his arms and surrenders because he knows he is defeated, we use the verb "aslama", which means "he submits." The word "Islam" comes from this verb and means "submission.".
So, in the widest sense, Islam means the religion of submission to God. A Muslim catechism says, "Islam is submission to God with all our being, with all our senses, with all our organs: the hands, the feet, the ears, the tongue, the stomach and the sexual organs. It is the submission of the inner life of each of us". (Cf. Qur'an: 2 Baqara 106/112).
But in particular, we use the word Islam to indicate all the belief and practices of the religion, of which Muhammad is the Prophet and the Qur'an the sacred scripture.*

2- What is the meaning of Muslim?

The word Muslim is derived from the same verb "aslama", and means "one who practices Islam". As we have seen above, this can be interpreted in two ways. Firstly, anyone who submits himself to God might be called a Muslim. Thus, for example, the Qur'an refers to Noah, Lot and the disciples of Jesus as "Muslims", in the sense that they submitted themselves to God.
But secondly, in everyday speech we give the name "Muslim" to one who follows the religion proclaimed by Muhammad.