What is Muslim?

From: Sufism A Bridge Between Religions By Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha

People have ideas in their mind, generated from various environmental interactions, about what “Muslim” means. Being a Muslim is not determined by where one is born, nor by where one lives. One is not a Muslim simply because one is born into what societies call a Muslim country or family, any more than one is a Christian because of being born in a Christian country or family.

Neither does following the rituals make one a true Muslim. For example, people may consider themselves Muslims because they repeat a set of formalized movements and recitations of prayer five times a day. But motions and words are not sufficient to make one a Muslim. As Molana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha states of the prayers:

“Each of the actions and requirements of prayer, in addition to their outward form, have an inner and spiritual reality which comprises the ascent of the individual to the highest state of existence, reaching the Empyrean of the Almighty God, and closeness to the Exalted Lord. …True prayer means witnessing the glorious light of God and truthful devotion in the exalted God in the mirror of the pure, attentive, and illumined heart; the enlightened mind; and the pure and assured self. So that the words and the body shall be guided without hindrance; and the soul may journey in the eternal realm of clarity and reach the reality of the meaning of servitude in devotion to the Divinity of the Exalted Lord.”2

Is this a state reached by most of those who call themselves Muslim?

A true Muslim is the one who is totally submitted to God. So then, can we compare types of Muslims? Do differences in rituals or beliefs determine one’s devotion to and unity with the Divine?

The true Muslims are the Prophets. The Muslim is the one who has reached the ultimate goal of cognition. The only one who is able to say that you or I are Muslim, I think, has to be God! To be a true Muslim is an honor. To become a Muslim and attain this honor, it is necessary to pass through various stages of cognition.



  1. Nader ANGHA, Hazrat Salaheddin Ali, Sufism, A Bridge Between Religions, M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi Publication®, Riverside, CA, USA, 2002, pp. 47-50.
  2. Sadegh ANGHA, Hazrat Shah Maghsoud, Al-Rasa’el, University Press of America, Lanham, 1986, pp. 17 & 62.