Muslim vs. Islam

Difference Between Muslim and Islam

Islam in religious context means ‘total surrendered to God’. Muslim is a person who is the follower of Islam. Thus Islam is a religion while a Muslim is the follower of Islam. Sometimes the terms like ‘Islamic countries’ are used which are quite confusing. The term ‘Muslim country’ is also used.

One should aware of the two terms. Such terms sometime are not good to use for a country. There is a slight difference between the two terms. As far as language is concerned, both the terms are different. The word ‘Islam’ is comes from the Arabic root ‘s-l-m’ which means ‘to accept’ or ‘to submit’. Thus ‘Islam’ means ‘total surrender to God or Allah’.

On the other hand ‘Muslim’ means ‘a person who has surrendered himself in the service or Allah or God.’ It has another meaning too.  A Muslim means ‘a follower of Allah or God.’

It has become clear now that ‘Muslim’ refers to a person while ‘Islam’ refers to a religion. In linguistics terms ‘Muslim’ is the subject while ‘Islam’ is an object. One is the follower while another is the followed. The relation between the two is that of a follower and the followed. Islam is a noun. The adjective derived from it is ‘Islamic’. See the example,’ An Islamic country.’ A Muslim refers to a person who believes in Islam.

The word Muslim denotes a person who is the follower of Islam. The word Muslim can be used as an adjective. For example, ‘Muslim population’ is appropriate. But we cannot say, ‘Muslim religion’. Thus it is clear that ‘Muslim’ is used as an adjective only for a person or group of persons. On the other hand ‘Islamic’ is generally used to refer to a country or a point of view.

Muslim refers to a follower of Allah or God. Islam is the act of following Allah or God. Islam is thought while Muslim is a person.


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  • Russell Millad

    Thank You
    That short discourse was very helpfull.
    I enjoy discourse with all religions.
    I have trouble rationising the current violence of “Moslems” with the Koran.
    As with the Catholics, I suppose, it just utilisation for a personal agenda.
    But what a horrendous cost that “personal agenda” has wrought.
    Christian or Islamic the basic precept is of co-operation and peace.

  • anon

    Thanks very much. Good work.

  • Jane

    The difference between Islam and Muslim are a bit confusing. Carson (do not know how to spell it) is a Muslim and says he is in line with the constitution. How? It was based on Christian principles.