A Novel Understanding of the term ‘Islam’
October 27, 2015 Leave a comment
by Derrick Strangeways
As a researcher and student, I personally believe Islam is translatable as “enyieldment” which indicates the willingness to “yield” and “render” that which belongs to God and to return back to our Creator with an aptitude that is fitting and appropriate through the way of faith, as a believer.
However, the word “enyieldment” is not currently contained in any dictionaries, but is a term, taking the word “yield” and applying the “en-” prefix (“in”) and the suffix “-ment” denoting an action or resulting state
I think this is an acceptable way of translating the concept of the term into English without it just being another misused label, without sending negative connotations or using previous words as associated with other groups and sects. To emphasise the connotation with “peace” perhaps it can be called “placid enyieldment” [where placid is derived from Latin “placere” meaning “to please” and has come to mean peaceful and tranquil in modern standard English].
As the name/label of a modern and historic world religion, “Islam” still identifies the well-known outward form of religion and religious approach (also, “Islamic” which is an anglification of the Arabic word). And there are also the terms “Islamism” and “Islamist” that we also now have to deal with… either way when these words are used, people seem no closer to understanding the concept as originally conveyed.
I also feel that the words of Jesus in the gospel saying “Render unto God that which belongs to God” is another indication of the concept of “giving (up)” to the Creator that which has been created, and corresponds to the same concept.
Yield was chosen rather than submit because “submit” as with “surrender” carry negative connotations and “sub” means “under, below” whereas the word Islam does not convey this. Yield actually implies “giving, rendering” even if due to pressure or conquest/defeat but it is also a token of peace and making amends through an offering or reparations. For this reason, for me at least, “yield” is by far the closest in similarity to the original term, but yield is insufficient in the modern usage so building it up with the addition of the suitable prefix and suffix seems appropriate and as it has been defined in Islamic scripture and literature it does not need any more defining, from an Arabic perspective, but certainly from an English perspective I think this term might help in galvanising a different approach.