Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم‎; /ˈmʊslɨm/ MOOS-lim or English pronunciation: /ˈmʌzlɨm/ MUZ-lim) or Moslem is an adherent of the religion of Islam. Literally, the word means "one who submits (to God)". Muslim is the participle of the same verb of which Islam is the infinitive. All Muslims observe Sunnah, but differences in the definition of what is and what is not Sunnah has led to the emergence of sectarian movements. The well-organised and cohesive community of Muslims who accept the Sunnah as defined within one of the traditional Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi or Hanbali madhabs are the classical Sunni Muslims.Other Muslims, for example the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, are also well known as being an organised and a disciplined community
Muslims believe that there is only one God, called Allah in Arabic. Muslims also believe that Islam existed long before Muhammad though it was not called Islam until the revelation of Surah al-Ma'ida. Muslims believe that this religion had evolved with time from the time of Adam until the time of Muhammad and was completed with the revelation of verse 3 of Surah al-Ma'ida:
This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.
The Qur'an describes many Biblical prophets and messengers as Muslim: Adam, Noah (Arabic: Nuh), Moses and Jesus and his apostles. The Qur'an states that these men were Muslims because they submitted to God, preached his message and upheld his values. Thus, in Surah 3:52 of the Qur'an, Jesus’ disciples tell Jesus, "We believe in God; and you be our witness that we submit and obey (wa-shahad be anna muslimūn)."
Muslims consider making ritual prayer five times a day a religious duty (fard) (see the section on Ismāˤīlīs below for exceptions); these five prayers are known as fajr, dhuhr, ˤasr, maghrib and ˤishā'. There is also a special Friday prayer called jumuˤah. Currently, the most up to date reports from an American think-tank and PBS have estimated 1.2 to 1.57 billion Muslims populate the world, or about 20% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion,[4] with 60% in Asia and 20% of Muslims living in the Middle East and North Africa


S-L-M#Islam "Piety, Faith"
Arabic muslimun is the stem IV participle of the triliteral S-L-M "to be whole, intact". A literal translation would be "one who wants or seeks wholeness", where "wholeness" translates islāmun. In a religious sense, Al-Islām translates to "faith, piety", and Muslim to "one who has (religious) faith or piety". According to the Quran, Abraham was ancestor of the Muslims by his covenant with God. Current use of "Muslim" is defined in the Amman Message.
The feminine form of muslimun is muslimatun (Arabic: مسلمة‎) and a female adherent is a Muslimah. Mu'min (Arabic: مؤمن‎) is an Arabic Islamic term frequently referenced in the Qur'an, meaning "believer", and denoting a person that has complete submission to the will of Allah

Other words for Muslim

The ordinary word in English is "Muslim", pronounced /ˈmʊslɪm/ or /ˈmʌzləm/. The word is pronounced [ˈmʊslɪm] in Arabic. It is sometimes transliterated "Moslem", an older, possibly Persian-based spelling. This can be felt to be an abuse of the word.“Submitter” is the English equivalent of the Arabic word “Muslim”.
Until at least the mid-1960s, many English-language writers used the term Mohammedans or Mahometans. Although such terms were not necessarily intended to be pejorative, Muslims argue that the terms are offensive because they allegedly imply that Muslims worship Muhammad rather than God.
Variant forms of this word are still used by many Indo-European and Turkic languages. These words are similar to the French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Bosnian, Persian, Kurdish, and Hindi words for "Muslim".
In spite of that, the Polish word for Muslim almost certainly does come directly from the Turkish. While it appears as if it came directly from the Arabic, in "Muzułmanin", the "ł" sound is close to either the English "w", or to the "l" in Allah, when pronounced by the Turkic peoples.


The majority of Muslims accept as a Muslim anyone who has publicly pronounced the Shahadah (declaration of faith) which states,
Ash-hadu an laa ilaha illa-lah
Wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah
"I bear witness there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness, Muhammad is His messenger".
The Amman Message more specifically declared that a Muslim is one who adheres to one of the eight schools of Islamic legal thought.
Currently, there are between one billion and two billion Muslims, making it the second largest religion in the world.

Muslim and mu'min

One of the verses in the Qur'an makes a distinction between a mu'min, a believer, and a Muslim:
The Arabs of the desert say, "We believe." (tu/minu) Say thou: Ye believe not; but rather say, "We profess Islam;" (aslamna) for the faith (al-imanu) hath not yet found its way into your hearts. But if ye obey [God] and His Apostle, he will not allow you to lose any of your actions: for [God] is Indulgent, Merciful ('The Koran 49:14, Rodwell).
According to the academician Carl Ernst, contemporary usage of the terms "Islam" and "Muslim" for the faith and its adherents is a modern innovation. As shown in the Quranic passage cited above, early Muslims distinguished between the Muslim, who has "submitted" and does the bare minimum required to be considered a part of the Muslim community, and the mu'min, the believer, who has given himself or herself to the faith heart and soul. Ernst writes:
"The Arabic term Islam itself was of relatively minor importance in classical theologies based on the Qur'an. If one looks at the works of theologians such as the famous al-Ghazali (d. 1111), the key term of religious identity is not Islam but iman (faith), and the one who possesses it is the mu'min (believer). Faith is one of the major topics of the Qur'an; it is mentioned hundreds of times in the sacred text. In comparison, Islam is a less common term of secondary importance; it only occurs eight times in the Qur'an. Since, however, the term Islam had a derivative meaning relating to the community of those who have submitted to God, it has taken on a new political significance, especially in recent history."
For another term in Islam for a non-Muslim who is a monotheist believer (usually applied historically in a pre-Islamic context), see hanif.


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