What Does It Mean to Be Muslim?
To be a Muslim means, first and foremost, to believe in Allah, who is "Rabb al-'alamin": creator and sustainer of all peoples and universes. The Qur'an, which to me is the primary source of normative Islam, tells me that Allah's creation is "for just ends" and not in "idle sport." Humanity, fashioned "in the best of moulds," has been created in order to serve Allah. According to Qur'anic teaching, service of Allah cannot be separated from service to humankind, or--in Islamic terms--believers in Allah must honor both "Haquq Allah" (rights of Allah) and "Haquq al-'ibad" (rights of creatures).
~ Riffat Hissan at Cross Currents (1990)