Islaam is not Mohammedanism
Some outsiders call our religion “Mohammedanism” and address the believers in Islam as “Mohammedans “. the Muslims both reject and protest the use of these words. If our faith is classified as Mohammedanism and if we are called Mohemmadans, there will be seriously wrong implications. This misnomer implies that the religion takes its name after a mortal being, namely, Muhammad and that Islam is no more than another “ism” like Judasim, Hinduism, Marxism, etc.
Another wrong implication of this misnomer is that outsiders might think of the Muslims, whom they call Mohammedans, as worshipers of Muhammad or as believers in him in the same way as Christians, for example, believe in Jesus.
A further wrong implication is that the word Mohammedanism may mislead the outsider and make him think that the religion was founded by Muhammad and therefore takes its name after the founder. All these implications are seriously wrong or at best misleading. Islam is not just another “ism”. Nor do Muslims worship Muhammad or look upon him the same way as Christians, Jews, Hindus, Marxists, etc., look upon their respective leaders.
The Muslims worship Allah – Almighty God alone. Muhammad was only a mortal being commissioned by Allah – Almighty God to teach the word of Allah – Almighty God and lead an exemplary life. He stands in history as the best model for man in piety and perfection. He is a living proof of what man can be and of what he can accomplish in the realm of excellence and virtue.
Moreover, the Muslims do not believe that Islam was founded by Muhammad, although it was restored by him in the last stage of religious evolution. The original founder of Islam is no other than Allah – Almighty God Himself, and the date of the founding of Islam goes back to the age of Adam. Islam has existed in one form or another all along from the beginning and will continue to exist till the end of time.
The true name of the religion, then, is Islam and those who follow it are Muslims. Contrary to popular misconceptions, Islam or submission to the Will of Allah – Almighty God, together with obedience to His Law, does not mean in anyway loss of individual freedom or surrender to fatalism. Anyone who thinks or believes so has certainly failed to understand the true meaning of Islam and the concept of Allah – Almighty God in Islam.
The concept of Allah – Almighty God in Islam describes Him as the Most Merciful and Gracious, and the Most Loving and most concerned with the well-being of man, and as Full of Wisdom and care for His Creatures. His Will, accordingly, is a Will of Benevolence and Goodness, and whatever Law He prescribes must be in the best interest of mankind.
When the civilized people abide by the laws of their countries, they are considered sound citizens and honest members of their respective societies. No responsible person would say that such people lose their freedom by their obedience to the Law. No rational being would think or believe for a moment that such law-abiding people are fatalists and helpless.
Similarly, the person who submits to the Will of Allah – Almighty God, which is good Will, and obeys the law of Allah – Almighty God, which is the best Law, is a sound and honest person. He is gaining the protection of his own rights, showing genuine respect for the rights of others, and enjoying a high degree of responsible, creative freedom. Submission to the good Will of Allah – Almighty God, therefore, does not take away or curtail individual freedom.
On the contrary, it gives freedom of a high degree in abundant measures. It frees the mind from superstitions and fills it with the truth. It frees the soul from sin and wrong and quickens it with goodness and purity. It frees the self from vanity and greed, from envy and tension, from fear and insecurity. It frees man from subjugation to false deities and low desires and unfolds before him the beautiful horizons of goodness and excellence.