Kamala has a terrific and detailed post comparing the Islamic apologetic group Discover Islam’s statements about Islam (found on posters meant to proselytize non-Muslims) to what Muslims themselves say about the same topic in other contexts.
Every bit of it is well worth reading and keeping for future reference. Here is a small sampling:
The poster begins:
Islam simply means to achieve peace””peace with God, peace with oneself, and peace with the creations of God””through wholly giving oneself to God and accepting His guidance.
(For ease of identification, direct quotations from the Discover Islam posters will be shown in bold print.)
According to a large number of Muslim sources, Islam does not mean “to achieve peace.” Islam means “submission” or “surrender.” According to the Muslim Student Association at USC, this issue is first in a list of “Ten Misconceptions of Islam”:
Misconception 1: Islam is ‘the religion of peace’ because: the Arabic word Islam is derived from the Arabic word “Al-Sallam” which means peace.
The root word of Islam is “al-silm” which means “submission” or “surrender.” It is understood to mean “submission to Allah.” In spite of whatever noble intention has caused many a Muslim to claim that Islam is derived primarily from peace, this is not true… A secondary root of Islam may be “Al-Salaam” (peace), however the text of the Qur’an makes it clear that Allah has clearly intended the focus of this way of life to be submission to Him.
To drive home the point, consider three English translations of the Qur’an itself provided on the Web by the same USC Muslim Student Association. The authors of these translations, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Marmaduke Mohammad Pickthall, and M. H. Shakir, were all Muslims. At the USC site, it’s easy to search for all verses that contain the word “Islam.” As the search results show, sometimes the authors chose not to translate the word Islam to English, but often they did, translating the word not to “peace” but to “submission” or “surrender.” Sometimes “(to Allah)” is also appended. For example, in verse 3.85, Shakir writes, “And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.” In the same verse, Pickthall does not use the word Islam but instead writes “Surrender (to Allah).” Yusuf Ali writes “Islam (submission to Allah).” Other examples can be found in verses 43.69, 46.15, and 2.132.
So why is Discover Islam spreading what the MSA says is a “misconception” about Islam? Is there a split between the two groups? A schism? Odd, then, that there is no evidence of such a schism within the American Muslim community. Is there, then, something else going on here?