BELIEFS OF ISLAM
- By Fazeela Hanif
INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM
Islam is an Arabic word which means Submission (accepting Allahs commands) and Obedience (obeying Allahs commands). Submission and Obedience to Allah brings peace to the human soul. This is why Islam also means peace.
Islam is a way of peace and harmony. Looking around, we can see that everything is obeying the laws of nature, which are the Laws of Allah. We find no disarrangement or turmoil in the ways that nature works. Everything is in order and in complete control. The reason being that they are made to worship Allah. Therefore, they cant disobey Him.
Human beings on the other hand, have the free will to choose between right and wrong. This is because Allah wants to test us to see whether we obey or disobey Him. Those who pass the test will be rewarded in Paradise and those who fail will be punished in Hell. The only way we can work our way towards Paradise is if we worship and obey Allah, the Almighty. So if we follow the guidance of the prophets and the Quran, we are sure to gain success. Islam is called the Religion of Nature (Dinul Fitrah).
SEVEN BASIC BELIEFS
There are seven basic beliefs in Islam. They are:
2. Angels of Allah (Malaikah)
3. Books of Allah (Kutubullah)
4. Messengers of Allah (Rusulullah)
5. The Day of Judgement (Yawmuddin)
6. Pre-destination or Supremacy of Divine Will (Al-Qadr)
7. Life after death (Akhirah)
have been declared in Al-Imanul Mufassal (the statement of faith), which is
"Amantu Billahi, wa Malaikatihi, wa Kutubihi, wa Rusulihi, wal Yawmil Akhiri, wal Qadri Khairihi wa Sharrihi Minal Lahi Taala, wal Bathi Badal Mawt."
Meaning: "I believe in Allah, in His angels, in His books, in His messengers, in the Last Day (Day of Judgement) and in the fact that everything good or bad is decided by Allah, the Almighty, and in the Life after Death."
beliefs can be parted into three groups:
(i) Tawhid - Oneness of Allah (Allah and Pre-destination)
(ii) Risalah - Prophethood (Angels, messengers and books of Allah)
(iii) Akhirah - Life after Death (Day of Judgement and Life after Death)
Tawhid means oneness of Allah. This is the most important belief in Islam. This belief has been stated clearly in Surah Al-Ikhlas, in the Quran:
"Say, He is Allah, the One. Allah is Eternal and Absolute. None is born of Him, nor is He born. And there is none like Him."
By reading the Surah, I can see that the Quranic verse is off good quality. The meaning is much more than the quantity. The Surah reveals that Allah is the One and only God. He wasnt born of anyone, therefore He has no mother and no father. Allah doesnt give birth to anyone, therefore He has no son and no daughter. The Surah also asserts that Allah has no equal. Therefore, He has neither a partner, a brother nor a sister.
The verse also expresses the eternity of Allah. He was, is and will always be.
If a person doesnt believe in Tawhid, he/she can not be named a Muslim. The reason being that Islam is based on the belief of Tawhid. Associating partners with Allah is a huge sin. To become a Muslim, a person must declare Shahadah, which is as follows:
"I bare witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."
We have evidence of Tawhid, as research of scientists around the world have shown us. The sun, moon, galaxy and the workings of the human body are all in the control of one God. We know this fact because they all follow laws (laws of nature) which can only be made by one Creator. There is complete co-operation and harmony in the system. If there were two gods, then there would be conflict and there wouldnt be any laws of nature. Just as there can only be one driver of a car or one Head of government.
Al-Qadr is the process of mans decision making known to Allah beforehand. Allah knows the past, present and the future of every creature. He also knows the destiny of every creature. This doesnt mean that we have no free will. Because in fact we do. We have the freedom to choose between right and wrong. So we can either choose to obey Allah and receive reward in paradise or we can choose to obey Satan and receive punishment in hell.
Al Qadr means that Allah has the knowledge of what weve done, what were doing and what well do. To make more sense, you could say He is like a fortune teller. Except He has the knowledge of the future, whilst a fortune teller can only predict the future.
Allah makes incidents occur, but He doesnt force us into doing anything on purpose. That is why we are responsible for our intentions. An example, a man is crossing the road and is suddenly hit by a car. This is what Allah intended. The driver of the car will be judged on his intention, to see if he crashed into the victim intentionally or by accidental. This means that Allah will judge us by our intentions.
Although Allah doesnt force us into doing anything, He has told us that we must follow Islam if we want to succeed in this life and the Hereafter. In order to become good people, we must form a united effort in trying to obey Allah. This unity is called Jihad, which means "to try ones utmost best/ striving" to see truth prevail and falsehood vanish. The aim of Jihad is to please Allah.
At first, a Muslim must learn to control his/her own bad desires and intentions. This is called Jihad within ourselves, which is the basis of implementing right (Maruf) and removing evil (Munkar) from society. In order to achieve Jihad within ourselves, we must perform basic Islamic duties.
After Jihad within ourselves, we may have to give up our lives for Islam. A person who dies in a war for Islam is called a Shahid which means martyr.
This is the way of communication between Allah and mankind.
The word angel means messenger. Angels are a special creation of Allah. They are made of divine light (nur) to carry out specific jobs. Although angels have been given important qualities and powers, they do not have the freedom of choice as man does. They are the innocent servants of Allah, who always obey His commands, because they dont have the power to disobey Him. Unlike mankind, they wont be judged on the Day of Judgement.
Angels dont need sleep and they dont require the things a human being would need. Angels never get tired, therefore they are always at work. Their duty is to praise Allah and help mankind in carrying out the decisions they make throughout their lives. We can not see the angels, unless they take a human form. Angels can take any form, which is suitable for their job.
When ever a person prays to Allah, thinks or talks about Allah, the angels gather round and join in. Their presence helps to build up an atmosphere of worship.
important angels of all are:
Jibrail (Gabriel) - Who revealed Allahs message unto the Prophets.
Mikail (Michael) - Who protects the faithful and guards places of worship.
Izrail (Azrail) - Who is responsible for ending our lives. Also known as the Angel of Death (Malakul Mawt).
Israfil (Israfil) - Who will blow the trumpet at the time at the end of the world and on the Day of Judgement.
The angels who record everything good and bad that we do are called the respected recorders (Kiramin Katibin). Munkar and Nadir are the angels who will question our souls after death.
The Prophets were people who were given the message of Allah, directly from the Angel Jibrail. According to a saying of Muhammad (pbuh) there are one hundred and twenty four thousand (124000) Prophets who have ever been sent down to earth. Only the main ones have been mentioned in the Quran. They are written in the following:
1. Adam (Adam)
2. Idris (Enoch)
3. Nuh (Noah)
5. Salih (Salih)
6. Ibrahim (Abraham)
7. Ismail (Ishmael)
8. Ishaq (Isaac)
9. Lut (Lot)
10. Yaqub (Jacob)
11. Yusuf (Joseph)
13. Ayyub (Job)
14. Musa (Moses)
15. Harun (Aaron)
16. Dhul-Kifl (Ezekiel)
17. Dawud (David)
18. Sulaiman (Solomon)
19. Ilias (Elias)
20. Al-Yasa (Elias)
21. Yunus (Jonah)
22. Zakariyya (Zechariah)
23. Yahya (John)
24. Isa (Jesus)
OF THE PROPHETS
Muhammad (pbuh) was the seal of the prophets. Muslims believe that although his soul was the first to have been created by Allah, he was the last of all the prophets to be sent down to earth. If a person doesnt believe in him as the last prophet, then he/she is not a Muslim.
In order to become a Muslim, a person has to believe in Shahadah, which is: "I bare witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger." This means that a person has to believe in the oneness of Allah and Muhammad (pbuh) as Allahs last messenger, if he/she wants to be a Muslim.
Not only did Allah send us Prophets to show us the right path to follow in life, but He also revealed books of guidance for us, to the Prophets. Tawrat (Torah) was sent to Prophet Musa (Moses). The Zabur (Psalms) was revealed to Dawud (David). Injil (Gospel) was sent to Isa (Jesus) and the Quran was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh). The Quran also mentions Suhuf-i-Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham).
Muslims believe that the Tawrat, Zabur and Injil have all been altered. Therefore, they do not exist in their original language and form. This is because thousands of years after the death of the Prophets to whom they were revealed to, the original texts were compiled by their followers. They changed the stories and mixed the words of God, creating books consisting of their own laws as well as a few of Gods. The only book that exists in its original form is the Holy Quran.
THE HOLY QURAN
The Quran is the sacred book of the Muslims. It was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) through the angel Jibrail. The Quran is written in the Arabic language. It was revealed at intervals and completed over a period of twenty three years.
Allah says in the Quran that He will protect His final word, the Quran, until the Day of Judgement:
"Surely, We have revealed this reminder (Dhikr) and Lo, We verily are its Guardian." (15:9)
The Quran is a living miracle, because it has survived for over fourteen hundred years and it is still written in its original language and form.
The Quran is the main source of Law in Islam. The subject of the Quran is man and his ultimate goal in life. It covers all aspects of life and life after death. Topics in the Quran consist of the three fundamental beliefs: Tawhid, Risalah and Akhirah. The Quran gives a detailed description of Paradise and a vivid description of Hell.
The Quran is divided into thirty parts (Ajza), 114 chapters (Surahs) and 6236 verses (Ayahs). The chapters which were revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) whilst he was at Makkah are known as Makki (Makkan). The chapters which were revealed to him during the time he was in Madinah are known as Madani (Madinan).
If a Muslim follows the teachings of the Quran, then he/she will lead to success in life on this earth and in the life after death.
TEST OF LIFE
To prepare for the life after death, we must know what it is that we will be accounted for. We are being tested in every aspect of life. We will be examined on:
1. Our characters - to see whether we are greedy, selfish, lacking in sympathy, mean, cruel or cowardly.
2. Our reaction to misfortune - to find whether we are frightened, full of complaint, a burden to others or depressed.
3. Our reaction to good fortune - to see whether we are selfish, arrogant, proud or stingy.
4. Our way of life - to find whether we are dishonest, disrespectful, hurtful and unforgiving.
The Quran says:
"Everyone shall have to die." (3:185)
As we all know, life on earth is only temporary. The reason being that it is only a test to see whether we obey Allahs commands or not. After the test, we will be judged, as were done in any other test that we do in life. We will be accounted for our every action on the Day of Judgement (Yawmul Akhir or Yawmuddin) in the Court of Justice of Almighty Allah. The end result will depend on our ways of spending our lives on earth.
On the Day of Judgement, every man, woman, boy and girl will be for him/herself, standing in front of God. Nobodys love and commitments, in the earthly life, will save another person by giving away their good deeds. Nobody, on that day will remember their once beloved family, friends and relatives, during their earthly lives. The only person every individual will be thinking of during the Day of Judgement is him/herself.
Allah has revealed this message in the Holy Quran:
"One burdened soul shall not bear the burden of another. And even if the heavy-laden (soul) should cry out for its burden (to be carried) not one bit of it shall be carried, not even by the next of kin." (Surah 35:18)
"It is the Day when one soul shall be powerless to plead for another." (Surah 82:19)
"To God belongs the mystery of the Heavens and the Earth. The Decision of the Hour (of Judgement) (will be swift as) the twinkling of an eye, or even quicker: for God has the power over all things." (Surah 16:77)
LIFE AFTER DEATH
As we already know, there is life after death. After each and every person is judged, he/she will either be rewarded or be punished, as done after any other test in life. Except in this case, the reward or the punishment will be eternal, since life after death is forever. This obviously means that the test that Allah is giving us, is very important. The importance cant even be explained in words.
After the Judgement, those who have been true believers, during their lives on earth, will go to Paradise, where they will find everlasting peace and happiness. Those who have gone astray during their lives on earth will be punished severely in Hell, permanently.
Some people dont believe that Allah can raise men and women after their deaths. But it is possible for Allah to do just that, because He was the One who created Adam out of clay and Prophet Isa without a father. The Quran says:
"Does man think that we shall not assemble his bones? Yes, surely, yes, we are able to restore the very shape of his fingers." (75:3,4)
If everyone in this world were to believe that there is no life after death, then there would be no restriction and control over what anyone is doing. Belief in Akhirah has an enormous affect on people. Muslims are always trying their best to control their bad behaviour and their bad habits, because they know that Almighty Allah is always watching over them.