- the religious faith of Muslims, based on the words and religious system founded by the prophet Muhammad and taught by the Koran, the basic principle of which is absolute submission to a unique and personal god, Allah.
- the whole body of Muslim believers, their civilization, and the countries in which theirs is the dominant religion.
- the religion of Muslims, having the Koran as its sacred scripture and teaching that there is only one God and that Mohammed is his prophet; Mohammedanism
- Muslims collectively and their civilization
- the countries where the Muslim religion is predominant
“religious system revealed by Muhammad,” 1818, from Arabic islam, literally “submission” (to the will of God), from root of aslama “he resigned, he surrendered, he submitted,” causative conjunction of salima “he was safe,” and related to salam “peace.”
… Islam is the only major religion, along with Buddhism (if we consider the name of the religion to come from Budd, the Divine Intellect, and not the Buddha), whose name is not related to a person or ethnic group, but to the central idea of the religion. [“The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity,” Seyyed Hossein Nasr, 2002]
Earlier English names for the faith include Mahometry (late 15c.), Muhammadism (1610s), Islamism (1747), and Ismaelism (c.1600), which in part is from Ishmaelite, a name formerly given (especially by Jews) to Arabs, as descendants of Ishmael (q.v.), and in part from Arabic Ismailiy, name of the Shiite sect that after 765 C.E. followed the Imamship through descendants of Ismail (Arabic for Ishmael), eldest son of Jafar, the sixth Imam. The Ismailians were not numerous, but among them were the powerful Fatimid dynasty in Egypt and the Assassins, both of whom loomed large in European imagination.
A religion, founded by Muhammad, whose members worship the one God of Jews (see also Jews) and Christians (see also Christian)(God is called Allah in Arabic) and follow the teachings of the Koran. Islam means “submission to the will of God”; adherents of Islam are called Muslims. The fundamental belief of Islam is “There is only one God, and Muhammad is his prophet.”
Muslims are obliged to pray five times a day, to fast in the daytime during the holy month of Ramadan, to abstain from pork and alcohol, and to make gifts to the poor. All of them are expected to make a pilgrimage to Mecca (see also Mecca), Muhammad’s birthplace, at least once in their lives.