Islam, a name given by Allah to this religion (Quran 5:4), is an Arabic word which literally means obedience and peace. ISLAM is derived from the Arabic root “SALEMA”: peace, purity, submission and obedience. So ‘Islam’ would mean the path of those who are obedient to Allah and who establish peace with Him and His creatures. Its follower are called Muslims.
Islam is not a new religion. It is, in essence, the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all prophets before Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Allah says in the Qur'an:
“Say, `We believe in ALLAH and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus and other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and to HIM we submit.” (Qur'an 3-85)
In order to enter into the fold of Islam i.e. to be Muslim, one has to know, believe, accept totally and sincerely apply the five basic principles (Pillars) on which Islam is based: Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah – Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said: Islam is based on the following five pillars (principles).