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ISLAM and SALAM are linked

Reader comment on item: Arabist Snobs
in response to reader comment: The Ta Marbuta and Her Sisters

Submitted by Amin Riaz (United Kingdom), Nov 26, 2011 at 01:40

a. The idea that the term Islam is somehow the "incarnate" form for the Arabic "notion" of "peace" is laughable.......

Language is primarily what its people make it to be. Without a doubt the primary, literal & linguistic meaning of the word "Islam" is "Submission" - and that is what the word is supposed to convey as well.

Technically the Word Islam is nomenclature - referring to the religion. Submitting one's self to Allah.

So it is safe to safe that the word "Islam" does not mean peace either linguistically or technically.

But when Muslims do use the slogan "Islam=Peace" They are assigning new meaning to the word. Dr Pipes himself illustrates this:

"Dec. 9, 2006 update: Islam Means Peace is the title of a brand-new book by the Indian writer Javed Jamil and published by Mission Publications. It received a rapturous reception from the publication Milli Gazette."


Here the intention of the the person is not to con anyone into anything. His mission is seeming peaceful and liberal.


there is no "peaceful" implication whatsoever in the term "Islam" – what is implied, instead, is "surrender" or "resignation".

To deny that word "Islam" has absolutely nothing to do with peace is showing ignorance on many levels.

1. The word "Islam" is a derived noun from the root S L M - it is masdar (Verbal Noun) of baab ifaal (form IV). All derived nouns have a primary link with their base root. The logic of the connection might have been lost but the link is there.

To deny that would be either ignorance or willful denial. As this is basics and a cornerstone of Arabic Language and linguistics - semantics, etymology and etc. Arabic grammarians and religious scholars, scholars have written vastly the implication of meaning due to the root. This is clearly evident in Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh and Usul.

But the root also has many meanings unconnected to this core, such as salam (a variety of acacia) sullam (ladder), sulāmā (digital bone in the hand or foot), sulaymāni (mercury chloride), aslama (to betray) … and islām (submission).

Here Dr. Pipes muddies the water a little. He has mixed up a range of words - that have several different reasons to mean what the do mean. Some are more connected to the root than others.

Words often posses technical and linguisitic meanings:

Take the word Mouse - its basic meaning refers to the little animal but in computing - the word has different meaning. But the connecting logic was the shape. That is why they named the device mouse.

Often technical meaning become widely in use that - the word "Pregnant" its basic, linguistic meaning is to carry. But it is commonly means to be with a child.

The word sulama has assigned meaning "digital bone" but that does not mean it is completely unconnected to the root.

The word "sulaimani" is again an assigned meaning. This word originates from Suleiman. And Suleiman is Arabic version of Solomon. Originally the word is of Hebrew origin. It is completely unconnected to the root S L M - in the way I S L A M is not.

Words like aslama or islam - are another kettle of fish - these are direct derived nouns from the root. They fall into set patterns.

Oct. 19, 2005 update: CAIR's Ahmed Bedier speaking at the League of Women Voters of Manatee County's monthly Hot Topic luncheon yesterday said (according to Carl Mario Nudi of the Bradenton Herald in Florida) that Islam

comes from the root word of "As-Salamu," or "peace."

Assuming the newspaper account to be sound, then CAIR is guilty of one more inaccuracy.

The above quote (as mentioned above by Dr Pipes) is correct. The word Islam DOES come from the root of SALAM. That is different than saying "the word ISLAM=PEACE". What that quote says is: Islam comes from root word of As-Salamu. And that is correct.

The word ISLAM does come from root of SALAM. Any root based dictionary will verify this.


An Arabic word for "receipt" (a piece of paper showing you've paid for something) is "istilaam", another term with origins in the verbal root [s-l-m].

Again as I have shown words are assigned many meaning as the time progresses. Primary meaning of this word of the word is "to receive, get, obtain, take possession, acceptance" - it is derived noun of the verb form Iftial (VIII).

Although conjecture - not obvious but the logic does become apparent - from an Arabic root system perspective how Receipt and Peace are related.

2. Muslims have associated the word Islam and Peace - from pretty early on its hardly a modern Muslim invention. The linkage has demonstrable evidence throughout history.

3. Quran also uses the word SILM to refer to ISLAM (the religion) - the base variation of SALM. The meaning is Peace. Quran 2:208:6

Modern dictionaries will only show base meaning of S L M as safety related but again Quran uses the basic word SALM to mean Submission. 16:28:7

And Peace: 4:91:20


Quran is the major source of Classical and hence Modern Arabic. Arabic is primarily language of Arabic and Muslims.

The word Islam and Peace are linked. However marginally, there is undeniable link. It has history also.

If Arabs or Muslims wish to assign or emphasize the meaning of Peace - they have the right to do so. As it is generally only done to build bridges with the West - in a difficult period.


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