A Muslim is someone who follows Islam.
To formally become a Muslim, a person recites the shahaadah (testimonial of faith) which in English means: “I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship but God and Muhammad is God’s messenger.”
This testimonial unites Muslims around a common ideal: to relate all aspects of their lives to the Creator (thus making their whole existence a form of worship) and to do so according to the teachings of God’s Prophet, Muhammad.
For at the heart of what moves, inspires and guides them all in the journey of life is the simple yet infinitely profound experience that is Islam.
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with God is the most God-conscious of you.(Qur’an “The Dwellings” 49:13)
It is not surprising thus that only with Islam has imperfect humanity ever approached the perfect beauty of universal brotherhood, free of the bigotry of color and parentage:
“It [Islam] possesses a magnificent tradition of inter-racial understanding and cooperation…No other society has such a record of success uniting in an equality of status, of opportunity, and of endeavours so many and so various races of mankind.”1–Sir Hamilton Gibb (Foremost Western Historian of Islam, Oxford/Harvard Universities)
Today you will find Muslims over vast expanses of the globe, of countless ethnicities and very different cultures who nonetheless share a common perspective on life, the universe and worship. They are a grand family because Muslims unify their myriad thoughts, feelings, toils, beliefs, devotions and aspirations all into God. For Islam is the unification of all these key components of humanity’s individual and collective consciousness into the transcending unity of God.
It is humanity’s best hope for union.
“…If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have brought their hearts together; but God brought them together. Indeed, He is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Qur’an “The Bounties” 8:63)
- Gibb, Hamilton A.R..Whither Islam, London, 1932, p. 379
- Toynbee, Arnold J., Civilization on Trial, New York, 1948, p.205