One day, when the companions were sitting with the Messenger of God, they were joined by someone they did not know – a man whose clothes were glowing white. He sat down facing the Prophet, knee to knee, and to everyone’s astonishment he placed the palms of his hands on Muhammad’s thighs and began to question him.
“O Muhammad, what is the Surrender?”
The Messenger answered, “The Surrender is to testify that there is no god but God, and Muhammad is His Messenger; to perform the five prayers; to bestow alms; to fast during Ramadan; and if one is able, to make the Pilgrimage to the Ka’bah.”
The man said, “You have spoken truly. Tell me, what is Faith?”
The Messenger answered, “To believe in God and His Angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Last Day, and to believe that nothing comes to be except by Him.”
“You have spoken truly,” the man said again. “Tell me, what leads to Perfection?”
The Messenger answered, “To worship God as if you could see Him, always remembering that even if you cannot see Him, He sees you.”
The man said, “You have spoken truly. Tell me of the Hour.”
Muhammad answered, “I know no better than you.” So the man said, “Then tell me of the Signs that the Hour is approaching.” He answered, “The slave-girl shall give birth to her mistress [which means that children will begin to disrespect their parents], and those who were once barefoot and needy shall build buildings ever higher and higher [which means that the life of the nomad, and everything this symbolizes, will be completely overrun by the sedentary life of the city, and all that this represents].”
The man then departed, and Muhammad said to his companions, “Do you know who this was?” When they could not answer, he said, “This was Gabriel. He came to teach you your religion.”
Islam is not about violence. But as happens to all religions, it tends to be stolen and its message thwarted by fools. Islam is the religion of harmony, a harmony that is brought about by Faith in God’s Oneness, Surrender to God’s Will, and Virtue through the constant remembrance of God.
Lots more stories about Islam, Judaism and Christianity in my book SYMBOLS, MEANING, AND THE SACRED QUEST: Spiritual Awakening in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Stories