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There are many misunderstandings about religion in general, their

beliefs and practices, but especially with regard to "islam". The first
key thing to appreciate is the word "islam" and what it represents.
It is an Arabic word and it existed before The Quran was written
and was used to describe an attribute, an action, a state of being:
self-surrender or to make peace. It comes from the verb "aslama"
meaning 'to give over'. A "muslim" is simply one who is in "islam"
(i.e. one who surrenders or makes peace).

It should be noted that this word had no religious connotation and

was not a title of something, even though it has come to be used
as a title these days. According to The Quran itself, everything in
the universe, willingly or unwillingly has ultimately surrendered to
God, thus the basic concept of islam is as old as the universe itself:

Do they seek other than the system of God, when all things in the
heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly have surrendered
/ given over to Him, and to Him they will be returned. [Quran,

This is an important point to reflect upon, because many people

do not realise that "islam" first and foremost is a state of being, not
a title of a religion. For example, there is a difference between
saying "the pillow is soft" and "the pillow is Soft". The latter could
mean anything, due to the capitalised "S" in "Soft", and we would
have to find out what "Soft" refers to before we understood the
statement, whereas the word "soft" is self-explanatory, it is
describing an attribute the pillow has.

Similarly, there is a difference between saying "the person is in

islam" and "the person is in Islam".

The latter refers to the title of a group, whilst the former

describes an attribute the person has. This attribute is present in
everything around us, in the very fabric of the universe itself... it
may even be present within you.
Now that we understand islam as an attribute, it becomes clear
that an attribute is not exclusive to any group. For example, no
product has the monopoly on being soft, many items can be soft.

This is where the system described in The Quran differs

significantly from religions. Many people do not realise that it is an
inclusive system which promotes beliefs and actions that are not
exclusive to any group, and repeatedly points this out. It is simply
a continuation and completion of the same message that has been
given since the dawn of mankind.

Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the
Nazarenes*, and the Sabians, whoever believes in God and the Last
day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord,
and there is no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve. [Quran, 2:62]

*commonly translated as "Christians" but more likely refers to the followers of Jesus of
Nazareth, hence Nazarenes.

Say: "We believe in God and what has been revealed to us, and
what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob
and the tribes, and what was given to Moses and Jesus
and to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make any
distinction between any of them, and to Him do we
submit. [Quran, 3:84]

The core theme throughout The Quran is monotheism: belief in

the oneness and uniqueness of God, the source from which all of
creation originates and the source we will all return to. This
concept is closely related to a recognition of unity and oneness
amongst all things with regard to purpose and direction, and
when we become in harmony with our true state of being, like
how every component in the universe serves the whole, i.e. God,
we can be said to be in the state of islam: we self-surrender or
make peace.

The system in The Quran promotes unity, and a system of

governance that is just and beneficial for all of society, even if one
is of no particular faith. It details an environment that allows
humans to live and grow to their full potential. Shortly after The
Quran came into existence, it is well documented that the Arabs
excelled in all areas of science for example and spread their
knowledge and governance to many countries, producing the
most advanced and productive societies of the time, e.g. Cordoba
of Al-Andalus.

So, how can we acheive this?

The Quran contains the same truth that was revealed in previous
scriptures (e.g. the same message that was given to Abraham,
Moses, Jesus and others) and considers itself as the final divine
revelation to mankind. It urges people of other monotheistic
faiths to return to their original teachings, and discard all the
additions added by man-made laws, tradition, culture, various
sects and scholars etc. Its objective and its method of explanation
is that of educating the minds and changing human attitude
towards life. Its aim is to strip away the inessentials, reveal our
true form and bring about a revolution inside the man himself,
for after all, the external material civilization is the expression of
the internal spiritual condition of man himself. Interestingly, it
refers to itself many times as a reminder, implying it is teaching
us universal truths already present within us and around us.

We will show them Our signs in the horizons, and within

themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the truth.
Is it not enough that your Lord is witness over all things? [Quran,

Quite simply, it is a book all about us, discussing: our creation,

purpose, history, spirituality, psyche, life's big questions, justice,
governance etc. It is a guide on how to realise our potential,
individually and collectively, if one chooses to seek this path. It
should be read like any other book: do not read to contradict and
refute, nor to believe and take it for granted but simply to weigh
and consider.

We have sent down to you a book in which is your

remembrance/mentioning. Will you not, then, use
reason? [Quran, 21:10]

Thus, unlike religions which commonly have an exclusive nature

or promote beliefs without the use of reason, The Quran
repeatedly emphasises unity and promotes the use of our hearts
as well as our minds. If you have read the many misconceptions
about islam discussed on this site, then you will know there is a
big difference between what you think islam is or what you think
The Quran says and what islam actually is and what The Quran
actually says.