What is Islam ?
Islam should show man the way to God; make clear to him the meaning of creation and how he fulfils his tasks. There are two conditions:
For one thing, I have to believe that there is a God! I must believe that God has no partner in His sovereignty and nothing that would have the same nature as God or share in His sovereignty and glory. This is the first part of the confession of faith: There is no god but Allah! Second, I must believe that Allah has sent down prophets to show the way and set a living example. The last of the prophets, the seal of the prophets, is Muhammad (on whom peace be)! This is the second part of the Creed: And Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
Meaning of "Islam"
A Muslim is therefore one who tries to give himself to Allah, to submit to His will and thus to find (inner) peace (especially in the hereafter, since this world is always a place of conflict, both interpersonal and inner).
A Muslim is one who believes and confesses that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
Allah is beyond all our ideas and must not be associated with anything. Every man-made image of God and also the idea of the Trinity are strictly rejected. However, God has attributes which He himself calls in the Koran, such as the Beneficent, the one who loves, the All-embracing, the Forgiving, the Good, the Just... 99 Names of Allah that reflect his attributes are mentioned in the Qur'an.
From the first belief there are others
Islam stands on five pillars
Islam differs substantially from, for example, today's Christianity in that it knows more laws and regulations. These often conflict with the normal European "liberal" ideals. To understand the meaning of these regulations correctly, one must understand the position of man within creation.
The Creation has a reason!
Man and the Djinn ( beings who evade our senses because they have no physical body) were created for nothing but worshiping and serving God, according to the Koran. Therefore, the compulsory prayer is the very first duty of a Muslim according to the confession of faith, without which he does not fulfil the meaning of his creation at all!
But worship is not only prayer. Every action in daily life should be a worship service, even such as going to the toilet, doing one's job, going shopping or sleeping with one's wife! This is one of the reasons why there are certain prayers and rules for almost every action that make these activities into a worship. These regulations are generally based on the model of the Prophet Muhammad (on whom peace be).
The ideal of the Muslim is therefore to take the life of the Prophet s.a.w. as a guideline for one's own, as far as this is possible in this age and under the given circumstances. If one does not know the respective Sunnah (example, way, manner, regulation or statement of the Prophet s.a.w.), one should at least pronounce "Bismillah" before an activity: In the name of Allah!
Man was distinguished before all other creatures of Allah. It differs from the angels and the djins in that it has not only a body, but also a physical one. He differs from the angels and animals in that he has free will and can consciously choose good or evil. Therefore, if man follows the commandments of Allah and avoids the forbidden, he is better than the angels, who are only occupied with the praise of God and never commit sin, because man does it of his own free will, while the angels can do nothing bad at all. But, if he does not obey the commandments of God, he is worse than an animal that even follows his desires, but is not punished for it, because it cannot act otherwise!
Man was appointed by God as a representative on earth. However, this does not mean that he may deal with the earth as he wants, but he must be aware of his high responsibility towards himself, his fellow human beings and the whole nature, because he will later be held responsible for everything entrusted to him. As we see, few people and Muslims are aware of this great task! The Qur'an describes this in the following verse:
And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth." They said: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, - while we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You." He (Allâh) said: "I know that which you do not know." (30) [The noble Qur'an 2:30]
Characteristic of a Muslim
An essential characteristic of a Muslim should be to entrust himself to Allah, to give his best, and to leave everything else to Allah; to endure tests patiently and not to rebel against his fate, which does not mean that he should not learn lessons from failures. It is the duty of a Muslim to acquire knowledge in order to become an increasingly better servant of Allah, which is his true purpose, and to know and avoid the forbidden. When man fulfils the task assigned to him, he experiences inner peace and happiness in the service of Allah!