Islam Explained

Islamic teachings in the light of Quran and Hadith

Core Beliefs in Islam

The core beliefs of Islam are commonly referred to as the articles of faith. These beliefs are derived from the Qur’an, and have also been elaborated upon by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. They are based on various aspects of what is commonly described as the Unseen – all that is beyond human sensory power and thus hidden from human eye. These beliefs are as follows.

Belief in Allah

There is only one God, referred to as Allah in Arabic. He is the only Deity worthy of worship and unconditional obedience. Allah is the creator of the universe, and has complete authority over all that exists. While Allah has given humanity the choice whether to obey Him or not in this life, other creations and objects such as the animals, plants, mountains, oceans, and planets, are all in submission to the will of Allah.

He is thus the sole master of the heavens and the earth, and He alone sustains all His creation. Allah has no associate – no parents or children or predecessors or successors. His attributes are perfect, and He is free of animal needs; He sustains all, and needs none to support Him. He is the Supreme Being, accountable to none. He has always been, and always will be.

Belief in Angels

The angels are a creation of Allah hidden from human perception. They were created from light, long before the creation of humanity. The angels are obedient to Allah, and carry out His commands – they do not act independently of Him. One of the angels, Jibril (Gabriel), was responsible for bringing Allah’s revelations to His prophets, while other angels have other tasks to perform in His kingdom.

The angels have also appeared in human form in the past at Allah’s command to communicate with His chosen servants. For example, the Qur’an states that Jibril (Gabriel) appeared in human guise to give the tiding of a son to Maryam (Mary), as a special honour from Allah.

Belief in Prophets

A prophet is a person chosen by Allah to receive His words of guidance and then to communicate these words to his people. The prophets were sometimes granted miracles as proof of their being divinely inspired. They all prescribed a strict code of monotheism -urging people to serve the only God, and associate none with Him.

All prophets were sincere to their people, always spoke truthfully, lived with humility, led others by example, and often sought to establish or maintain a system of justice and peace. Muhammad ﷺ was the last prophet appointed by Allah – described in the Qur’an as the “seal of the prophets”. Hence, there shall be no prophet after him. Although some prophets were favoured by Allah above others, Muslims are required to respect them all and not to discriminate between any of them:

“Say: We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Ibrahim [Abraham] and Ismail [Ishmael] and Ishaq [Isaac] and Yaqub [Jacob] and the tribes, and that which was vouchsafed to Musa [Moses] and Isa [Jesus] and the [other] prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have surrendered.” (Qur’an 3:84)

Belief in Revealed Books

The elaborate guidelines granted by Allah to prophets were written down and recorded in the form of “Books” or “Scriptures”. The divine Books catered to the specific needs of their respective peoples, and thus differed in content and style. However, they all conveyed the same basic message of monotheism, and emphasized being obedient to Allah and doing good to others.

The Qur’an confirms the divine origin of the Torah, Gospel, and Psalms. It also makes mention of the Scripture granted to Ibrahim (Abraham), and declares the Qur’an to be the concluding word of God, with its message being universal. While the previously revealed Books were tampered with or not timely recorded, thus lacking in authenticity, the Qur’an contains the exclusive word of God, without any additions to, or deletions from, its original content, over the passage of time.

Belief in the Hereafter

This world shall come to an end – just as it was created by Allah in the first place. All life on earth shall cease to exist and all its landmarks will be flattened by the calamities of the Last Day. Then Allah shall resurrect all those who ever lived, and people will be called to give an account of all their deeds in this life.

Read about the primary acts of worship in Islam

The judgement shall then be pronounced, and people will be rewarded or punished according to their actions: those who associated none with Allah and lived righteously shall be in the gardens of Paradise, while those who did otherwise will be punished by Him in the fire of Hell. This afterlife will be eternal, and people shall be dealt with in perfect justice, taking into account their specific circumstances in this life.

Belief in Predestination

This is the belief that whatever occurs is by the decree of Allah and in accordance with His will. Allah is aware of all that takes place in the universe, and nothing escapes His all-encompassing knowledge. Thus, all happenings and incidents in the life of a person are already known to Allah and comply with His will.

For this reason, one should not bemoan, or excessively grieve over, the tragedies that occur in life, because Allah had predetermined that such should occur. One should, therefore, accept the tragedies and setbacks in life that one encounters, even if they seem to have been avoidable, because they were actually predestined by Allah and were always meant to be.

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