There's no description about Heaven other than being ' everything a a person desires '.
And one Hadith said ' Its like nothing an eye ever seen , Nothing like an ear ever heard , And nothing a mind could ever imagine .'
Not quite accurate
"The description of Paradise, which the righteous have been promised, is [that] beneath it rivers flow. Its fruit is lasting, and its shade." (Quran 13:36)
"Allah will say, "This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness." For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment." (Quran 5:119)
"Those will have gardens of perpetual residence; beneath them rivers will flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of fine silk and brocade, reclining therein on adorned couches. Excellent is the reward, and good is the resting place." (Quran 18:31)
"Indeed, Allah will admit those who have believed and done righteous deeds to gardens beneath which rivers flow" (Quran 47:12)
"But those who believe and do righteous deeds - We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide forever" (Quran 4:57)
Formless can probably speak in more detail regarding Muhammad's letters to the various local tribal rulers, demanding their submission to Islam, but the Caliphate was never very centralized, even by the standards of the time. The Umayyads and Abbassids nominally ruled over absolutely massive territories, presumably larger and more powerful than Rome at its height, but they never made any serious progress anywhere (period) until the Turks began converting. Seljuk invaded Anatolia, which led to the Crusades, and the Ghazvanids invaded India.
Yup, it was pretty loosely defined and highly decentralized.
There were probably a few major laws:
1. The Muslims had to pay Zakat (2.5% of their wealth yearly) and had to serve in the military.
2. The non-Muslims had to pay Jizya - a loosely defined tax depending on the current Caliphate
3. The nation was a theocracy. Leaders and military generals were expected to lead prayers. Non-Muslims could not serve in the military.
4. Non-Muslims had military and legal protection. This made Jizya tax a pretty good deal for that time. They didn't even have to fight.
5. Exiting Islam is punishable by death. This seems harsh by today's standards, but considering the benefits Muslims had during this time, it made sense.
The Rashidun Caliphate asserted little control otherwise, aside from military and distributing Zakat wealth. The early Caliphs (Abu Bakr and Umar) took the bare minimum salary, enough to eat and get two sets of clothing per year. Later Caliphs became increasingly corrupt and every transition from one Caliphate into another (Rashidun to Umayyad to Abassid) resulted from revolutions.
The region was tribal and very decentralized. If the Caliph can command a tribal leader to exert military control over a region, that region was "within your borders".
The word 'Islam:' So I looked up the definition of the word 'Islam,' and it means to submit or surrender, taken in the context of giving oneself to God wholly.
I was wondering how the term became popularized for the religion. Typically many religious titles have a specific reference to its foundation: Christianity for Jesus Christ, Buddhism for the teachings of Buddha, etc. Islam seems to be an outlier in the sense that the title came from a more generic meaning.
Islam is centralized around Allah, and not around Muhammad. It's not the teachings of Muhammad - Prophet Muhammad was a channel through which Allah's word went through. The Prophet Muhammad is more like the highest religious authority. Higher status than any Pope, but not absolute like Jesus.
It's a lifestyle that is all encompassing; there is no concept of secularism.
Prophets and Saints: Islam says that Muhammad was the last of God's prophets sent to Earth. I can't remember where, but it's been said that Muslims have a concept of saints, or holy men and women, after the Prophet's lifetime.
Which brings me ask, if the above is true, is there a distinction between Prophets and other holy figures inspired by God?
Two terms, "Rasul" (Messenger) and "Nabi" (Prophet). Another term for Prophet Muhammad is Rasulullah (Messenger of Allah).
A Rasul is given a message, and told to give the message. Examples are Muhammad, Moses, David, Jesus, Abraham. They're given divine responsibility to spread this message.
A Nabi is someone who is given divine revelation, but they don't have to spread it to people. It's rather vague on who is a Nabi. Anyone can claim to be one, but there's no proof after Prophet Muhammad.
There are also the martyrs, the ones who die in jihad and are given some of the highest status. They seem to share a bit in common with Christian saints, but aren't individually recognized and there are probably millions of them.