What does Islam mean ?
1- Islamic belief
Islam is an Arabic word, it means that you totally surrender to God, and worship Him only.
Here also I must explain what does worship means? It doesn't mean that you only pray, its meaning is much much wider, to worship God is that you look at Him as your ONLY master, no other master controlling you, so He is the ONLY one you are loyal to , He is the ONLY One you rely on, He is the ONLY one you fear, He is the ONLY one who judges you and puts rules for you, He is the axis your life rotates on, why? because He is our Creator, He is the Creator of the Universe and Creator of everything, He is the One who manages the Universe, He is the strong, the compassionate the merciful, He knows everything, He can do everything. He is the One who controls the Universe.
How did we know that? God sent prophets to us to teach us this and to tell us the laws He gave for us to go along our life, we will be accounted on this in the Hereafter.
Don't think that the beginning of Islam was only since Muhammad (Peace be upon him), no that's wrong, Islam began from the beginning of creation, God created Adam (Peace be upon him) and Adam was a Muslim, because he really worshipped God only, and began to have a family, all the family were Muslims,and the life went on, then people began to deviate from this meaning and forgot God, began to worship idols, God sent the prophets: Noah, Hud, Saleh, Abraham,Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus,Muhammad and many other prophets (Peace be upon them all), the mission of all these prophets was to restore people back to the right way of God, and to remind them of their reality.
But at the end all these prophets are not gods, they don't have any divine nature,because Allah is the ONLY God,so when Jews put very wrong concepts of God that made Him like a child they are deviating from concept of worshipping God, because they are insulting Him, and when Christians say that Jesus is God or God's son, or that God is one in Trinity, they are really deviating from the concept , and when they make their priests invent rules for them with no evidence from what God said or what His prophets said, they also are deviating from the concept of worshipping God.
We in Islam refuse all these forms, if someone said that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is our God, he is a disbeliever, God is the ONLY God, If an Immam said a Fatwa, he must give his evidence on this Fatwa, he is not obeyed blindly, our standard is what Allah and His prophet told us (because the Prophet is the one whom God sent not because he has a divine nature because he hasn't).
This is generally the Islamic belief.
2- Islamic morals
God ordered us to be merciful, treat people well, help people, He recommended us to treat our parents well, and to keep always on helping them.
23. Thy Lord has commanded that ye worship none but HIM, and that ye show kindness to parents. If one or both of them attain old age with thee, never say to them as much as ugh nor reproach them, but always address them with kindly speech.
24. And lower them the wing of humility out of tenderness. And say, `My Lord, have mercy on them even as they nourished me when I was a little child.' (Holy Quran 17:23-24)
even if they were not Muslims we must treat them well but we don't obey them if they ordered us to disobey God.
15. And if they contend with thee to make thee set up equals with ME concerning which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not, but be a kind companion to them in worldly affairs, (Holy Quran 31:15)
God ordered us to keep always in contact with our relatives God said: 36. And worship ALLAH and associate naught with HIM, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred (Holy Quran 4:36)
Also the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “ He/She who believes in Allah , the Almighty and Day of Judgment , must communicate , be good, courteous and kind to his kith and kin or relatives.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
Also we are also recommended to treat the neighbors well, even if they were not Muslims and even if they treated us badly as God said:
and to the neighbour who is a kinsman and the neighbour who is a stranger (Holy Quran 4:36)
Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “(Arch Angel) Gbriel , PBUH, pressed on reminding me with the right of the neighbor until I thought he is going to consider him an heir ( of mine) .” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
He also says: “ The best of neighbor s in the sight of Allah, the Almighty, is the one who is best to his neighbor”.(Narrated by Tirmithee)
God also told us to take care of orphans as in the same verse and orphans
There was a very severe punishment to those who take money of orphans as God said:
10. Surely they who devour the property of the orphans unjustly, only swallow fire into their bellies, and they shall burn in a blazing fire. (Quran 4:10)
God ordered us to be completely fair with people even if I saw two people having a problem, one of them is Muslim, the other is non Muslim, and I found the right with the non-Muslim, I must judge for the non-Muslim.
135. O ye who believe ! be strict in observing justice and be witnesses for ALLAH, even though it be against yourselves or against your parents or kindred. Whether he, against whom witness is borne, be rich or poor, ALLAH is more regardful of them both than you are. Therefore follow not your low desires that you may be able to act equitably. And if you hide the truth or evade it, then know that ALLAH is Well-Aware of what you do. (Quran 4:135)
God ordered us also not to do adultery except with our wives, because it is not a mess, and because it destroys the society and makes people deviate and spoil, that's why God, ordered us to take all the reasons to prevent this to happen, so He ordered women to wear Hijab which covers their body and heads so as not arise sexual desire in men, and it is also a protection for the woman from being raped or being annoyed by bad men. It makes women appear in a respectful way, their body is not something public seen by all people, it is only for the one she accepted as her husband. He ordered them when talking with men, not to talk in a way that arises their sexual desire but to talk in a serious way.
31. And say to the believing women that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts, and that they display not their beauty or their embellishment except that which is apparent thereof, and that they draw their head-coverings over their bosoms (Quran 24:31)
So be not soft in speech, lest he, in whose heart is a disease, should feel tempted; and speak decent words. (Quran 33:32)
As God ordered women to cover their body, he ordered men not to look at women, because this arises their sexual desire, and may lead them to adultery, or at least may lead them go astray from their duties in this life.
30. Say to the believing men that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely, ALLAH is Well-Aware of what they do. (Holy Quran 24:30)
This is really one of the major problems the societies in the West face.
God ordered us not to lie or to promise with something and don't do, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that these are the properties of hypocrites.
119. O ye who believe ! fear ALLAH and be with the truthful.(Quran 9:119)
and fulfill the covenant; for the covenant shall be questioned about.
35. And give full measure when you measure and weigh with a right balance; that is best and most commendable in the end.(Quran 17:34-35)
70. O ye who believe ! Fear ALLAH and say the straightforward word.
71. HE will set right you actions for you and forgive you your sins. And whoso obeys ALLAH and HIS Messenger shall, surely, attain a supreme triumph.( Quran 33:70-71)
God ordered us to say good words and avoid bad words and emphasized much on this because the slip of the tongue may cause many problems.
24. Dost thou not see how ALLAH sets forth a parable of a good word ? It is like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches reach into heaven ?
25. It brings forth its fruit at all times by the command of its Lord. And ALLAH sets forth parables for men that they may be reminded.
26. And the case of an evil word, is like that of an evil tree, which is uprooted from above the earth and has no stability. (Quran 14:24-26)
God ordered us not to be arrogant but to be modest.
37. And walk not in the earth haughtily, for thou canst not thus rend the earth, nor canst thou reach the mountains in height. (Quran 17:37)
63. And the true servants of the Gracious God are those who walk on the earth humbly and when the ignorant address them, they avoid them gracefully by saying, `Peace !' (Quran 25:63)
Finally God orders us to do everything good and avoid everything bad.
90. Verily, ALLAH enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency and manifest evil and transgression. HE admonishes you that you may take heed. (Quran 16:90)
3- Islamic pillars
They are five:
1. Witnessing that Allah is the only God and that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His messenger: as I explained in the beginning.
2. Praying: We pray to God five times a day in the mosques, from the benefits of praying:
a. Having communication with God who created us
b. Meeting with Muslims periodically every day, connecting with each other, which strengthens the Islamic society.
3. Zakat: Every mature able Muslim pays 2.5% of his income to help in building Islamic society, this is the minimum, God promised us with high rewards for paying more and more.
276. ALLAH will blot out interest and will cause charity to increase. And ALLAH loves not anyone who is a confirmed disbeliever and an arch-sinner. (Quran 2:276)
4. Fasting: Every healthy mature able Muslim must fast Ramadan (one of the Islamic months), all Muslims fast together in this month by stop eating and drinking along the day, they begin fasting at the dawn, they have breakfast at the Sunset. This really builds the Muslim character, trains him to control his desire and his passion, besides when all Muslims fast together, this gives a beautiful picture of the Muslims being uniform, it also makes the rich feel the hunger and thrusts of poor and motivates them to help the poor.
5. Finally, the pilgrimage: Every healthy able Muslim must do it once in his life. It is the annual Muslim conference where about 2 million Muslims meet in Mecca leaving their countries being at rest their answering God's call, wearing simple clothes, declaring their total obedience to God.
The rites of the Hajj include circling the Kaaba seven times and going seven times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa, as Hagar did during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together in Arafat and ask God for what they wish and for His forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Day of Judgment.
The end of the Hajj is marked by a festival, Eid Al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers. This, and Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are
the two annual festivals of the Muslim calendar