By Dr. Imad Benjelloun

Islam means submission to God, out of faith, with knowledge and with love. God is the one and only creator and lord of the universe, your best helper, your supporter, the sustainer, and the source of all that is best for your life in this world and the next.

Islam is God’s last and final revelation with clear and comprehensive guidelines for you to (1) happily enjoy a life of meaning and purpose; (2) successfully overcome life’s challenges; and (3) be well prepared to die and meet your lord in the most perfect state of righteousness.

Islam gives your life meaning and purpose. The true meaning of life is that you are created to be tested if you will be best in deed. (A) This test, if passed, will result in your achievement of the primary purpose of life, which is to earn your lord’s satisfaction and contemplate His countenance in the highest level of paradise in the next life, the permanent one. That is the definition of true success that extends beyond this worldly life to your next life, and forever.

Islam means, practically, to live your life primarily guided by (1) God’s final Word, called the Holy Quran, which has never been altered in any way for the past 14 centuries, and guided by (2) God’s final messenger, Prophet Muhammad, to whom the Holy Quran was revealed.

Islam provides you with clear answers to the central questions of your life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Why am I in this life? What is life? Why is life full of trials and tribulations? What is the meaning and purpose of my life? What is death? What is after death? What is success? What am I expected to do to achieve such success?

Islam is not a brand new religion but an update (in the 7th century) by God’s final messenger, Prophet Muhammad, of the very same religions brought by all previous messengers, the greatest of whom are Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, God bless and grant them peace. It is the last and final update to revive, renew, complete, and continue God’s previous messages which all shared the same #1 core message that there is no deity worthy of being worshipped except God, the one and only creator of the universe.

Islam is your lifetime journey to your Lord and Maker; a journey that is built on (1) declaring that there is no deity worthy of being worshipped except God and that Muhammad is His messenger; (2) praying 5 times day; (3) paying alms-dues; (4) fasting from dawn to dusk every day of the month of Ramadan; and (5) making the pilgrimage to Mecca once in a life time if one is able physically and financially.

Islam highly values life, all life, especially that of human beings. According to Islam, murdering a single person is equivalent to murdering all of humanity!

Islam does not condone racism, intolerance, extremism, violence, or terrorism. Terrorist groups and states do not represent Islam.

Islam promotes peace and justice, dignity and respect, and mutual understanding and cooperation among all people regardless of their color, gender, race, status, and nationality.

Islam supports the truths held by the authors of the United States’ Declaration of Independence to be “self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator ‎with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit ‎of Happiness.”

In brief, Islam is your creator’s final completed way to successfully live your life and be well prepared to return to your creator in the next life.