The whole notion of 'religion' as understood by Muslims is not restricted to rituals and religious observances, but it is an all encompassing concept which includes social, economic and political aspects: thus it is a way of life. There is no differentiation between secular and religious life. Secular life is governed by the tenets of Islam, hence Muslims prefer to refer to Islam as Deen, which means Way of life, rather than 'millat' which means religion.  

Islam is not 'Mohammadenism' nor are Muslims 'Mohammadens' There are four essential reasons for this:

a)     There is no basis for these words in the Qur'an.

b)     Islam is the Arabic word used in the Quran for the 'way of life of those who submit to God. (Muslim in Arabic)

c)     The use of 'Mohammadenism' gives the impression that Islam was founded by Muhammad. This is a mistaken belief as Muhammad was commanded to say: "... I bring nothing new; I bring the same message as previous messengers." (Quran 46.9).

d)     The use of 'Mohammadenism' nullifies the universality of Islam.

Islam has two meanings: Salam means 'peace' and it also means 'submission to the will of God'. 'Islam' means therefore, to achieve inner peace and peace with the community at large through submission to the will of God and through obedience to His commands. Thus Islam is an attributive title which does not pertain to a particular person, place or locality, but which nevertheless carries meaning. Every single being is 'Muslim', in the sense of being in a state of submission to the will of God. However, the 'Muslim' is one who is willingly submissive to the will of God. A Muslim is one who believes in God and in all the messengers of God and bases his life on the revelations given to his prophets.

'Are those who have believed that there were prophets before the Prophet Muhammad, 'Muslim' in the general sense'?

It is clear from the Qur'an that all the prophets were Muslim (Submitters to God) therefore in following Islam, Muslims are not following a new religion: All the prophets taught Islam. The Prophet Muhammad's mission was simply to culminate the teachings and perfect them through God's guidance.

Being a Submitter (Muslim) by accepting the teachings of the Quran , alone would be following the footsteps of all the messengers of God '. including Abraham, Moses Jesus and of course Muhammad.

This belief provides, therefore, a good foundation from which to demolish the barriers of fanaticism, prejudice, stereotyping and other mistaken presentations of the Islamic faith.