What is Islam
The Islamic creed did not begin with the prophet hood of Muhammad saww 1, nor was it invented by him. It is essentially the same message contained in previous divine scriptures and taught by all prophets of Allah. Islamic beliefs are eternal truths that neither change nor develop; they provide truths about Allah and His relationship with the visible and invisible aspects of the universe, about the reality of this life, man’s role therein and what will become of him afterwards. The requirements, or “pillars”, of the Islamic faith are: belief in Allah, in the angels created by Him, in His scriptures, in the prophets through whom His revelation was conveyed to humanity, in the eternal life after death and in Allah’s perfect judgment and complete authority over human destiny.
Belief in Allah
Monotheism is the essence of Islam, and it emphasizes the Oneness of Allah. Muslims believe in One eternal and unique God. He is the Creator of all that exists, yet He cannot be compared to anything of His creation. Muslims acknowledge that Allah alone is divine, that He alone is the Creator and Sustainer of creation. He is all-knowing and all-powerful, completely just and merciful.
Allah is not part of His creation, nor is any of it a part of Him. The significance of exclusive divinity is that no one and nothing in existence is worthy to be worshiped except Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. In Islam, everything is built upon the Oneness of Allah. No act of worship has any meaning if the concept of monotheism is in any way compromised.
The proper name of God is “Allah”. He is the same God known to Christians, Jews and to people of other monotheistic faiths. Allah sent a series of messages to mankind through appointed prophets and messengers. Quite a few of them are familiar to people of Judeo-Christian background, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and many others ()2.
Belief in the Angels
Muslims believe that Angels exist. No one knows their exact number except Him. They obey Him, fulfill His commands, and guard over the universe and the creatures that dwell within it. They carry out the orders of Allah, from administration, observation, guarding and protecting the universe as well as its creatures, all according to Allah’s Will and Order. Allah has revealed to us the names of some of the angels; for example, Gabriel, who was given the task of revelation, Michael, who has been assigned the task of directing rain and vegetation. There is also the Angel of Death, who has been given the task of collecting the souls at their appointed times.
Belief in the Scriptures
Muslims also believe in the original scriptures revealed by Allah, such as the Scriptures of Abraham and Moses, the Torah, the Psalms of David and the Gospel of Jesus. The final revelation to humanity is the Qur’an, which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad saww. The Qur’an remains preserved and unchanged since the time of revelation in its original Arabic text. There is only one version of the Qur’an. It is recited and memorized by Muslims throughout the world. It contains the final message to humanity and legislation which both encompasses all spheres of human life and is also suited to all peoples and all times. Moreover, it contains numerous verses that speak of the universe, its components and phenomena – the earth, sun, moon, stars, mountains, wind, rivers and seas, plants, animals, as well as the successive stages of human embryonic development. One of the miracles of the Qur’an, and evidence of its divine origins, is that nothing within it contradicts any established scientific fact.
Belief in the Messengers
A Muslim is required to believe that Allah chose the finest amongst humanity to be Messengers whom He sent to His creation with specific legislation’s: to worship and obey Him and to establish His religion and His Oneness. Allah, the Almighty, says:
And We did not send any Messenger before you [O Muhammad saww] but We inspired him [saying]: none has the right to be worshiped but I (Allah), so worship Me (Alone and none else). [21:25]
The last of the divinely appointed messengers was Prophet Muhammad saww. To him was conveyed the final and complete revelation from Allah. All the prophets preached the same basic message: the worship of Allah alone. In essence, they all preached Islam, which means willing, peaceful submission to Allah, the one true God; Creator of the universe. The final prophet was sent by the Creator as a human model to be followed and obeyed. Prophet Muhammad saww exemplified the principles laid down in the Qur’an, and true Muslims strive to follow his noble example. His biography has been recorded in minute detail and is easily accessible for study. There is a complete, authentically narrated documentation of his sayings and practices which is the second source of Islamic legislation. It is complementary to the Qur’an and supplements it with additional details and clarification of meanings. This record contains the prophetic traditions referred to as the Sunnah. Scholars have carefully and painstakingly scrutinized the reliability of the transmitters of these traditions, and only those whose narrators are found to be completely reliable and sound are accepted.
Belief in the Last Day
Muslims believe that the life of this world will come to an end. Allah says:
Whatsoever is on it (i.e. the earth) will perish. [55:26]
The Day of Resurrection is the day when each individual will stand before Allah and be questioned about their deeds. The compensation for evil in the Hereafter is exact justice, while the compensation for good is much greater – comprehensive, multiple rewards and complete satisfaction and happiness.