Name of The Religion, It’s Followers and The Worshiping Place
At the beginning of this chapter, we will discuss about the Name of Our Religion. Some people may say, “It is not an important factor that what name we use to identify a Religion”. But, they can’t understand that, a name bares the identity that expresses our belief and activity just in a single word to others who doesn’t know. A significant name is, then, surely important for a Religion. So, let us first know what Religion is actually. If we look in the Oxford English Dictionary for the meaning of ‘Religion’, we will find that: Religion: (1) Belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship. (2) Expression of this in worship. (3) Particular system of faith and worship. Etc This means,
“Religion is ones holy activity and obedience of body and mind for the Almighty Creator”.
According to the teaching of Quran, the name of our Religion is ‘Islam’. By origin ‘Islam’ (الإسلام) is an Arabic word which means “Submission (to Allah)”. While a person submits his belief and acts to Allah, it is said that, his religion is “Submission to Allah”, therefore, ‘Islam’. This is our belief, and now we will see the proofs of this belief from the Holy Books. At first look at the Old Scriptures where it is written that:
“O Israîl; the Lord is our GOD, the Lord is one and alone. Love the Lord your GOD with your entire heart and with your entire soul and with your entire strength”
(Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
“Love your Lord your GOD with your entire heart and with your entire soul and with your entire mind”
(Bible, Matthew 22:37)
Here, the word ‘Love’ is not used in emotional sense, but in the sense of our actions from our respect and obedience to Allah. When we love someone so much, we try to make him/her happy giving him/her “Our Entire”. In the same way Allah is teaching us from the above verses that, we should submit “Our Entire” to Him; and this “Submission to Allah” is called ‘Islam’ which is taught in the Quran as our religion.
So, let us see, what Quran says about ‘Islam’:
“I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam (the Submission to Allah) as your religion”
(Quran, Al Ma’idah 5:3)
“Is he whose heart Allah has opened to Islam (the Submission to Allah), so that he is in light from his Lord?”
(Quran, Az Zumar 39:22)
“And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his heart to Islam (the Submission to Allah)”
(Quran, Al An’am 6:125)
“Who does more wrong than the one who invents a lie against Allah, while he is being invited to Islam (the Submission to Allah)?”
(Quran, As Saff 61:7)
”Truly, the religion with (acceptable by) Allah is Islam (Submission to Allah)”
(Quran, Al Imran 3:19)
In this way Allah teaches us through the Quran that, Islam is the name of our Religion which means:
“Submission (of our thought, feeling, willing and activities, therefore, Our Entire) to Allah”
Now we will discuss about the Name of the Followers of the Almighty Creator. As we are not Animal and we are called Human, similarly we should have a name which can identify what we are actually according to our beliefs and activities. Although a name can’t take us to heaven or hell, but a name can express to the disbelievers that what we are, and can help the believers to remember about what they should do. So, the Followers of Allah surely should have a name.
Quran teaches that, we are Muslim. By origin ‘Muslim’ (مسلم) is an Arabic word which means “One who Submits (his Entire to Allah)”. To get the Grace of Allah, while a person leaves all the evil desires from his mind & activities, and accepts the desires of Allah, it is said that, he is the “One who Submits (his Entire to Allah)”, therefore, ‘Muslim’. Let us have a look at the verses below:
“Our Lord! And make us Muslim (Submitter to Allah) …“
(Quran, Al Baqarah 2:128)
So, it is sure that, the name is Muslim that we should use, as the Follower and Submitter to Allah.
Some people use wrong names as their Religion which names are neither given by the Almighty Creator, nor by any Prophet, but made from their own thought. We will discuss about such few names. Let us have a look at a verse from the Old Scripture:
“The disciples (of Isa) were called Christians first at Antioch”
(Bible, Acts 11:26)
For this reason, since this time, all the followers of Isa began to identify them as ‘Christian’. But, is it right? Let us think some facts:
Firstly, from the above verse and also from the history we get that, Christian name was given by the Disbelievers, not by Isa or his disciples. There is no evidence in the Old Scriptures that, which religion Isa preached, the follower of that religion will be named as ‘Christian’ (Follower of Christ).
Secondly, the people who identifies them as ‘Christian’ (Follower of Christ) they can’t understand that, we are not only the follower of Isa, but also the follower of all the Prophets of Allah. Originally, we are the “Follower of Allah”, therefore, “Submitter to Allah”, therefore, ‘Muslim’.
Finally, we can say that, Christian can’t be the Name of the Followers of Allah. Just similarly to it, Muhammedan (Follower of Muhammad) can’t be the name of the Followers of Allah.
So, it is sure that, the true name is Muslim that Quran teaches to use as identification for the Followers of Allah.
Now we will discuss about the Name of the Worshipping Place.Although, the Almighty doesn’t live in man made buildings, but a Place is necessary for us so that we can worship Him together or personally in a peaceful and quiet place, where we will not get scope to think about any worldly affairs. This Worshipping Place, then, should have a perfect name. We will now learn it from the Holy Books.
People have given different names for their Worshipping Place. At first let us check such names:
The Conservative Jews usually use the terms ‘Synagogue’ (συναγωγή) and “Beyt Knesset” (תכנס בית) to identify their Worshipping Place; where the Greek word ‘Synagogue’ means ‘Assembly’ and the Hebrew word ”Beyt Knesset” means “House of Assembly”. In ancient era, different Pagan Groups also used the term ‘Synagogue’ to identify their Worshipping Place. And, there is no evidence in any Holy Book that, the name of our Worshipping Place will be ‘Synagogue’ or “Beyt Knesset”. So, for sure, neither ‘Synagogue’ nor “Beyt Knesset” is a good name to identify the Worshipping Place.
The Reform Jews use the word ‘Temple’ to identify their Worshipping Place. The word ‘Temple’ has come from the Latin root word ‘Templum’ which was used by the Roman Idol Worshippers to identify their Worshipping Place, where they used to do their ritual acts for their Gods’ & Goddesses’. So, Temple can never be a good name to identify the Worshipping Place.
The Christian believers call their Worshipping Place as ‘Church’. The English word ‘Church’ is from the Old English word ‘Cirice’, derived from West Germanic ‘Kirika’, which in turn comes from the Greek ‘Kuriake’, meaning “of the Lord”. ‘Kuriake’ in the sense of ‘Church’ is most likely a shortening of “Kuriake Oikia”, therefore “House of the Lord”. Here, firstly, there is no proof that, whether the term ‘Lord’ refers to God or not. And, secondly, there is evidence that, any Prophet taught to call the Worshipping Place as ‘Church’. So, we can’t say that, ‘Church’ is a good name.
We, the believers of Allah, use the term ‘Masjid’ (ﻣﺴﺠﺪ) to identify our Worshipping Place. ‘Masjid’ is an Arabic word which has come from Aramaic Language. The word “M-S-G-D” is attested in Aramaic as early as the 5th century BCE. The same word is later found in Nabataean (An Ancient Semitic People, Arabs of southern Jordan, Cannan and the northern part of Arabia, whose oasis settlements in the time of Josephus gave the name of Nabatene to the borderland between Syria and Arabia, from the Euphrates to the Red Sea) inscriptions with the meaning “Place of Worship”. And, finally, in Arabic the term Masjid means “Place (House) of Worship (Pray)”. Now, we will check the evidences of using the term ‘Masjid’ from the Holy Books:
“… for My house will be called a House of Pray for all nations.”
(Bible, Isaiah 56:7 & Mark 11:17)
“… Verily, the Masjid whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety is more worthy that you stand therein (to Pray) …”
(Quran, At Taubah 9:108)
In Quran, instead of ‘House’ & ‘Pray’ the terms ’Place’ & ‘Worship’ were used respectively to break the bound of limitation in meaning. The term ‘Masjid’ was never used by anyone to identify anything rather than the Worshipping Place of the Followers of Allah. So, finally we can say that, Masjid is a perfect name to use to identify our Worshipping Place.
So now what do you think:
- Is Islam a bad name to identify the Religion?
- Is Quran teaching to identify the followers of Almighty Creator in any wrong name?
- Is Quran teaching to use any Pagan Term to identify the place of Worship?
It is sure that the answer of this question is, NO.
Remember Some Facts
QURAN has come to teach you the best names that you can use to identify you, your religion,
and the places where you worship your Almighty Creator.
– By Preacher Abdullah N. A.