Introduction to Islam for Non-Muslims

Some 14 centuries ago flows of immigrants were detected moving from the land of Palestine heading Southeast to a city called Yathreb (Medina nowadays). They all had several things in common; they were all Jews, all religious and when asked why they’re leaving the moderate weather back home in Palestine (let alone the land of their prophets) and relocating in the middle of the hot and humid Arabian desert, they all had the same answer. Basically that the signs stated in their Book (Old Testament) about the last messenger are clearly showing in the universe, and that he’s supposed to migrate to Medina when his people fight him, so they want to be among the first believers.

Back then, no one knew about the race or lineage of this last messenger, but since Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all) were all descendants of Issac (peace be upon him), they all assumed that the last one would also be a descendant of Issac.

Several years later, inside a cave located at a mountain in Mecca, an illiterate man from a noble Arab tribe was receiving the first revelation, which started with the word “Read”. Interestingly, the world religion is either derived from the Latin word “Relegere”, which has as one of its meanings read or reread, or from “Relegare”, meaning tie back. That man’s name was Muhammed (peace be upon him) and his message came to restore all previous Divine messages. He asked his followers to believe in One God, in His angels, Books, messengers, Divine Decree and Resurrection Day. He told them that Divine Love is the main reason behind their existence. In his own words, he said “The only reason I have been sent is to perfect good manners” [Bukhari].

His message spread in the speed of light, among rich and poor, old and young, masters and servants. His people indeed fought him, and he indeed fled to Medina, where its people rushed to embrace the new religion. But what about Jews, who were originally there to be among the first believers? Except a few, they all denied him because he was an Arab and especially because he wasn’t a descendant of Issac. Interestingly, he was preaching that “There is no preference of an Arab over a non-Arab, or a non-Arab over an Arab, or a white person over a black one, or a black person over a white one except by piety. In fact, all people are from Adam and Adam is from sand” [Ahmad].

Today, his religion – “Islam” meaning peace and submission to the One God – is embraced by nearly a quarter of the world’s population, and it remains the fastest growing religion in the world. Yet, just like any other faith on earth, some fanatics take it to extremes by distorting its principles and making it look like a terror religion. However, any rational person can clearly tell that the actions of a few cannot sanely be generalized to the peaceful millions.