has several different meaning. In the
traditional sense, as used by Muslims, it connotes the one true divine religion, taught to
mankind by a series of prophets, each of whom brought a revealed book. such were the Torah, the Psalms &
the Gospel, brought by the prophets
Moses, David & Jesus. Muhammad was the last and Greatest of the prophets; and the book he brought, the
Quran Completes and
supersedes all previous revelations.
In this sense Jewish prophets and Heroes before Christ, and the Christians before Muhammad, were all Muslims
- apart from thees who had corrupted the revelation vouchsafed to Islam is restricted to the final phase of the Sequence of
revelations - that of Muhammad and the Quran. Here again there is a
range of meanings,which should be, but are not always, distinguished. In the first instance Islam means the
religion taught by Muhammad himself, through
the Quran and through his own precept and practice. By extension, it is used of the whole complex system of
dogma, law and custom , which was
elaborated, on the basis of his teachings and of others ascribed to him, During the centuries after his death.
In still eider sense the word islam is often used by historians,and especially non-Muslim historians, as the
equivalent not of Christianity but of Christendom,
and denotes the whole rich civilization which grew up under the aegis of the Muslim empires.
The basic religious precepts of the Quran are already contained in the early chapters, those revealed Mecca
before the migration of the prophet and his
followers to Medina. They teach that there is one God, omnipotent and omniscient, creator of all that exists;
that is the duty of men to submit
themselves completely to the will of God; that those who rebel against the prophets sent by God to guide them
and who persist in their
unbelief are punished both in this world and the next; that after death there is heaven and a hell where the
good are rewarded and the wicked chastised; that
at the end of time and the end of the world, there will be a resurrection of bodies and a universal Judgment.
the Quran may be supplemented as a source of guidance by ('Sayings'), the technical name for reports concerning the actions and utterances
Prophet who is believed by Muslims to have been divinely inspired in all that he did and said.
these were therefore handed down by oral
tradition and later committed to writing in collection which have an authority among Muslims
second only to that of the Quran itself. Already in medieval
times, Muslim scholarship Questioned the authenticity of many of these tradition. western scholarship
has done so in a much more radical form without,
however, seriously shaking the authority which the traditions still hold among Muslims.