The word Islam is derived from the Arabic root “SLM” which means, among other things, peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense the word Islam means submission to the Will of God and obedience to His law. The connection between the original and the religious meanings of the word is strong and obvious. Only through the submission to the WIll of God and by obdedience to His law can one achieve true peace and enjoy lasting purity.
Some outsiders call Islam “Mohammedanism” and address the believer of Islam as “Mohammedans”. Muslims both protest and reject the use of these words. If Islam is classified as Mohammedanism, it is implied that the religion takes after a mortal being, namely Muhammad PBUH, similar to perhaps Judaism, Hinduism, etc. Another misconception that may arise is that “Mohammedans, are worshippers of Muhammad as perhaps Christians are of Jesus. However muslims worship God alone. Muhammad PBUH was only a mortal being commissioned by God to teach the word of God and lead an exemplary life. He stands in history as the best model for a man of piety and perfection. He is a living proof of what man can be and of what he can accomplish.
Moreover Muslims do not believe that Muhammad PBUH founded Islam (in a sense of what its core values are), although it was restored by him in the last stage of the religious evolution. The original founder of Islam is no other than God himself, and the date of the founding of Islam goes back to the age of Adam. Islam has existed in one form or another all along form the beginning and will continue to exist till the end of time.
From the book “Islam in Focus” by Hammuhad Abdalati