There are many things that are the same yet different. Fruits for example. All fruits are from nature and are characterized to be fruits. Yet at the same time an apple can’t be the same thing as a banana. Nor can a pineapple be associated with a grape.
When we look at the girl with a hijab, or that teenage boy with a beard we commonly associate them as muslims. All muslims follow Islam so they must basically be the same, right? WRONG.
Both words are interrelated, but are not necessarily synonyms of each other. I’ll explain further:
Islam comes from the arabic root word “salema” which means peace, purity, submission, and obedience. Spiritually, it means submission to the will of Allah (God) and listening to his commands which he has set for all of humanity. To me, Islam is a lifestyle. Islam is perfection.
Muslim is the name for a follower of Islam. It is defined as one who literally submits to Allah. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, black, white, Indian, Arab, if you submit to Allah you are a muslim.
As quoted by one of my most favorite speakers Yusuf Estes,
“Both “Muslim” and “Islam” come from the same root: “S”, “L”, “M” (silm) meaning; “to submit in peace”; “surrender in obedience”; and this immediately implies a relationship between two entities, one being superior to the other or in charge of matters.”
As you can see, both words are related with a relationship between them, but they’re not the same. Islam clearly is higher than muslim. And that leads into my main point of discussion in this post:
The common perceptions of muslims in the United States today.
Many of us are aware of the so-called “muslim” terrorist groups around the world and especially the middle east. Many of us are also aware of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers in New York. What we fail to be aware of is that a handful of muslims, do not define the whole religion.
As clearly stated before, muslims and Islam are not the same thing, so then why do we associate one group of extremists with the whole religion? A religion who’s name literally means peace and not destruction and terror. We don’t associate one radical extremist terrorizing christian with every single follower of Christianity and even Christianity as a whole? If anything radical terrorizing Christians don’t even appear in the news. Same applies with every religion in this world. No one jew or hindu or buddhist can define every single follower. No one person can define an entire world.
You can’t judge an ocean by just one drop of water.
As a young muslim teenager living in America I’ve seen tons of prejudice and stereotypes against myself and others in the community. I’ve had people give my mother who wears a head scarf the finger and shout curse words and things like, “go back to your country” while passing us on the highway. I’ve been through airport security with extra “random checks” and many more questions than others do in line. Why? Because I’m muslim. And because of that i’m automatically assumed to be a terrorist. I’ve seen people give hate for a woman who wore an american flag hijab on July 4th, but its okay for American girls for wear it on their butts in forms of booty shorts, right? (This will be addressed in another post)
What people fail to understand is that muslims are flawed.
Humans in general are flawed. Islam is not.
Islam is perfect. Muslims are not.
With that being said, how can we call all muslims terrorists for the few who are? Those so-called muslims who hurt innocent people and oppress others are not following the true path of Islam yet we label all muslims the same. We live in a world where we’re well aware of everyone being different, yet its okay for all muslims to be labeled terrorists. Injustice, right?
The Point Is:
Muslims are followers of Islam, but Islam is not defined by a muslim. Islam was created by Allah. Islam is perfect. Muslims are followers of Islam but as humans we are no where near perfection. All muslims around the world can not be labeled the same. The mistakes of some do not define the whole. Every person in this world is different. Not everyone can be associated the same.