"Islam" means "surrender" or "submission". "Salam" (which means "peace") is the root word of "Islam". In a religious context the word "Islam" means "the surrendering of one's will (without compulsion) to the true will of God in an effort to achieve peace".
"Muslim" means "anyone or anything that surrenders itself to the true will of God". By this definition, everything in nature (trees, animals, planets, etc.) are "muslims" because they are in a state of surrender to God's will. In other words, they are fulfilling the purpose for which God created them.
Islam is not a new religion or cult. It is a universal way of life and civilization. Studies show that between 1.5 and 1.8 billion people in the world identify their religion as Islam. Along with Judaism and Christianity it traces its roots through Prophet Abraham and back to the first humans Adam and Eve.
There are five pillars of practice in Islam. These practices must be undertaken with the best of effort in order to be considered a true Muslim: A) Declaration of faith: A statement proclaiming the belief in One God and that Muhammad is a prophet of God. To become Muslim a person simply recites this statement publicly, and in Arabic. B) Formal prayer five times a day. C) Poor-due tax: 2.5% of one’s excess wealth given to the needy once a year. D) Fasting during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan. E) Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once, if physically and financially able.
There are six articles of faith in Islam. These are the basic beliefs that one must have in order to be considered a true Muslim. They are belief in: 1) the One God. 2) all of the true prophets of God. 3) the original scriptures revealed to Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad. 4) the angels. 5) the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter. 6) destiny.