This is a very old article. It has been imported from older blogging software, and the formatting, images, etc may have been lost. Some links may be broken. Some of the information may no longer be correct. Opinions expressed in this article may no longer be held.
What is the meaning of the word Islam?
Praise be to Allaah.
That is one translation, but like many non-English words, there is no real direct translation into English. As an example, the French word 'terroir' which pertains to the conditions in which grapes are grown.
“Islam” is one such word. It simultaneously refers to peace, surrender, happiness and obedience. It's the kind of peace that comes from surrender; the kind of surrender that comes from surrendering yourself to Allah; the kind of obedience required when “following your heart”. It means that, and probably more too.
Why is this religion called Islam? For all the religions on earth are called by various names, either the name of a specific man or a specific nation. So Christianity takes its name from Christ; Buddhism takes its name from its founder, the Buddha; the Zoroastrians became well known by this name because their founder and standard-bearer was Zoroaster. Similarly, Judaism took its name from a tribe known as Yehudah (Judah), so it became known as Judaism. And so on.
Hinduism is named after Mr Hind? Hinduism is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam, with about a billion followers. It is named after a river.
Taoism is named after Mr Tao? Chinese folk religions, including Taoism have roughly 400 million adherants worldwide. (OK, most of them are in China.) “Tao” translates roughly as “the way” or “the path”, but is another concept that is difficult to directly translate into English.
Sikhism is named after Mr Sikh? No, the work “Sikh” means “disciple” or “learner” in Sanskrit.
Judaism is a relatively minor religion compared with those. There are about 14 million Jews worldwide.
Zoroastrianism is named after its founder, yes, but it's a mere blip. Worldwide, there are two Scientologists for every one Zoroastrianist. And is Scientology named after Mr Scientol?
Using Wikipedia's list of the top ten organised world religions, let's look at the top 10 religions and see what they're named after.
- Christianity: a person
- Islam: a concept
- Hinduism: a particular river
- Buddhism: a person
- Confucianism: a person
- Sikhism: a concept
- Judaism: a tribe
- BahaÃÂÃÂ¡: a person
- Jainism: a concept (“the life of the saints”)
- Shinto: a concept (“the way of the gods”)
Of those, four are named after individual people (Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism and Bahai); and four are named after concepts (Islam, Sikhism, Jainism and Shinto).
(As Taoism, which is named after a concept, cannot really be described as an “organised religion”, it is absent from this list, but would otherwise slot into this list either directly above or directly below Confucianism. However, adding it to the list would knock Shinto off the bottom, so it wouldn't have any effect on the “what are they named after” tally.)
So overall, there doesn't seem to be a pattern in what type of thing religions are named after. The fact that Islam is named after a concept (peace and surrender) does not appear to be unusual. It seems most of the religions are named after something that they value strongly or aspire to be like. This certainly applies to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Jainism and Shinto; so Islam is not unusual in this respect.
You appear to be a bizarre spamming wacko, so probably won't return to this news group to read this reply; nonetheless I've enjoyed writing it.