The Essentials Of Islamic Belief
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
Praise be to God the Creator of the world, the One Who exists without beginning, without end, without location, without a "how" and Who does not depend on time. Nothing resembles Him in anyway and He hears and sees everything without organs. Whatever you imagine, God is different from that. May the elevation in degree and preservation of his community of what he fears for it, be granted to our master Muḥammad Al-'Amin, the Honest One, who called for following Islam, the religion of truth, the religion of all the Prophets: of the first, Adam, to the last Muḥammad.
Islam is the Religion of all the Prophets of Allâh starting with Adam and ending with Muḥammad. In Arabic Islam means submission. To believe in the heart and declare with the tongue: « No one is God except Allâh and Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allâh » is how one becomes Muslim. Utterance with the Two Professions (Ash-Shahadatan) is required of the person who is not already a Muslim. A Muslim is a believer and a follower of Islam.
The First Profession (Ash-Shahadah), i.e., « No one is God except Allâh » means nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allâh. "Allâh" is the name of the Creator in Arabic which means "The One Who has the Godhood which is the power to create the entities."
The second Profession, i.e., « Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allâh » includes believing Muḥammad was the last of the prophets, he was truthful in all he told about and conveyed from Allâh (as were all the prophets before him), and the Creator gave us prophets and messengers (A 'prophet' is a man who receives the Revelation from Allâh and conveys it to the people. A 'messenger' is a prophet who comes with some new laws. The prophet who is not a messenger follows the laws of the messenger who came before him. Every messenger is a prophet, but not every prophet is a messenger.) to guide us to worship Him correctly. A Muslim must believe in all the prophets and messengers.
The Two Professions are the essentials of belief in Islam; they are the foundation of the faith. The analogy of constructing a building is useful in explaining the importance of this basic belief. There will be no building without a concrete foundation. Likewise, there will be no benefit and fruitful results in the Hereafter without having the correct belief first.
This analogy illustrates the need to start from the beginning and build upward; before one can remain steadfast in the Religion one must have the proper belief. Muslims firmly believe only one Creator exists, His name is Allâh, and Muḥammad is His Prophet and Messenger. Knowledge and belief in this are the foundation of the faith, and all Muslims are united by this basic belief. The Muslim uses the mind as a guide because the mind and faith go hand-in-hand. Knowledge is essential since learning gives one strength and purpose.
The sound intellect and the explicit statements revealed to Prophet Muḥammad affirm the belief in God, His existence, and His attributes. One must understand that Allâh is not His attributes nor is He other than them. For example: One can say: "Allâh has the attribute of power" but one cannot say: "Allâh is power." God has no faults or weaknesses. He, the Exalted, is flawless. His attributes are without flaw and are unchanging. God does not resemble any of His (Note: The word 'He' or 'His' when used in reference to Allâh must not be understood to represent gender. Allāh created male and female, and He does not resemble any of His creation.) creation. Intellectively, if Allâh resembled any of His creation, He would be susceptible to the same things the creation are susceptible. If He were susceptible, as the creations are, He would be weak and created - as they are - and this is impossible. Allâh is without shape, without form, and without limitations. He does not resemble anything man sees in the universe or anything he can imagine - since imagination is part of the creation.
Allâh exists. Without comparing Allâh to the creation one can use mental evidences to prove the existence of the Creator. When one sees a building, one knows there is a builder; when one sees a painting, one knows there is a painter; when one sees the creation, one knows there is a Creator. Allâh is the Creator. Allâh exists without a place because He always existed and He created all the places. Allâh existed eternally and place did not, and Allâh exists now as He has been, i.e., without residing in a place, whether this place is skies, Earth, Paradise, Hell, or any other place in the six directions. Allâh does not change. Change is a sign of need and need is non-befitting to attribute to God. Allâh is perfect. If something changes for the bad, it is no longer perfect, and if it changes for the good, it was not perfect to begin with. Therefore, Allâh does not change. He is not in Heaven. He is not in everyone. He is not everywhere. He does not occupy a space now, He never did, and He never will. Allâh exists without a place.
Allâh is one; He is indivisible, i.e., He is not a body. Allâh has no partner, no counterpart, no wife, no son. Intellectively, this is understood because if there were two partners and one partner willed for one thing to be and the other partner willed the opposite thing - we know opposites do not happen simultaneously - so the one who willed what did not occur is weak. Weakness is non-befitting to attribute to God; therefore, there is only one God. For the same reason, the Devil does not have control over God and evil occurs because Allâh willed it. There is a wisdom behind everything - even if we do not know the wisdom - Allâh knows.
Allâh has no beginning to His existence. Anything that has a beginning is creation. Allâh created every creation, every movement, every rest, every thought, every intention. To have a beginning is a sign of need, and Allâh is not in need. Allâh has no end to His existence. To have an end is weakness; the Creator is not weak.
Allâh does not need any of His creation. To need something means to be unable to perform without it, and this is weakness. The Creator is not weak - it is impossible to be among His attributes. Allâh has the attribute of power by which He affects the creation. He makes them exist and He annihilates them.
Allâh has the attribute of Will. Whatever Allâh willed to be shall be and whatever Allâh did not will to be shall not be. Both good and evil happen according to God's will.
Allâh has the attribute of knowledge. Allâh knows everything: what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen.
Allâh hears all things and Allâh sees all things without organs and without limitations. Man needs ears and air to transfer sound in order to hear and light in order to see. Allâh does not need any of the creation. Allâh, with His eternal kalam, orders the obligations, forbids the prohibitions, promises the reward of Paradise, and threatens the punishment of Hellfire without instruments, letters, languages, or sounds.
Allâh has the attribute of life because he who is dead cannot be attributed with knowledge, will, power, and consequently, cannot create. Allâh's life is not like ours. We need flesh, bones, blood, and spirit. Allâh created all these; His life is not in need of any of them.
Allâh created all the creation, and this includes the Religion of Islam - which is the only valid and true Religion. Islam began among humans with the first man, Adam, who was the first prophet and messenger, and Islam continued through many prophets, some of which were also messengers. All the prophets and messengers taught "No one is God except Allâh" and to believe in and follow the prophet and messenger of their time. All the Prophets taught there is only one God, the aforementioned attributes of Allâh, and the attributes of the prophets. They called the people to Islam, taught them how to worship Allâh properly, and conveyed what Allâh ordered and what Allāh forbid. The prophets had miracles to support their claim of Prophethood and to prove to the people what they were teaching was the truth. Some of the rules changed from one messenger to another but the belief remained the same. The messengers came with new laws. For example: at the time of Adam, Muslims used to pray once per day. They were ordered to pray twice per day at the time of Prophet `Isa. Now, according to the rules of the last Messenger - Prophet Muḥammad - Muslims pray five times per day. In previous laws of the messengers, Muslims were ordered to pray in specific places. Now, in the rules revealed to Prophet Muḥammad, Muslims are not required to pray in specific places.
Allâh blessed the people with the prophets and messengers to guide them to obedience and warn them from disobedience. Muslims must believe in all the prophets and messengers because Allâh blessed them all with Revelation and they conveyed this to their people, but now Muslims must follow the rules of the last Prophet and Messenger, Prophet Muḥammad.
Allâh ordered the Messengers to convey the laws, and they did. They taught by words and example. The prophets were attributed with truthfulness, trustworthiness, and intelligence. Consequently, lying, dishonesty, vileness, stupidity, and dullness were impossible to be among their attributes. They were also attributed with impeccability of blasphemy (Blasphemy includes any belief, action, or saying which belittles Allâh, His Books, His Messengers, His Angels, His Rites, the Ma`alim of His Religion, His Rules, His Promise, or His Threat.), the great sins (such as drinking alcohol and unjustful killing), and abject small sins (such as stealing one grape).
Prophet Muḥammad taught his Companions and those Companions taught their followers and so on until the knowledge of Islam reached the Muslims of the present day. The beliefs and teachings were passed from trustworthy Muslim ('Trustworthy' as defined by Islam means the Muslim who does not commit great sins, small sins in a way that they will be more than this good deeds, and does not behave in violation of the behavior of those who have his status.) to trustworthy Muslim with a chain of reliable relators back to the Prophet. In Islam it is a great sin to judge without knowledge. If a Muslim does not know an answer to an Islamic inquiry he must not give his opinion or what he thinks the answer might be. Instead, he seeks the answer from someone more knowledgeable in the Religion who attained the knowledge in the aforementioned manner.
Since Allâh created Adam, the first man, from soil of different colors and different textures, and all people are the descendants of Adam, this accounts for the various races and temperaments of people. Muslim men and women around the world of all ages, races, colors, nationalities, social backgrounds, economic status', languages, and political affiliations are united by their belief that there is only one God, His name is Allâh, and Muḥammad is His last Prophet and Messenger and by practicing the same rules of the Religion.
Islam is a belief system as well as a way of life. Only the Creator knows the limits, the weakness, and the vulnerability of all His creation, and He has provided rules for them that are fair and just. Allâh knows what is good for His creation as well as what is harmful; He knows what is beneficial and what is detrimental.
The foundation of Islam is based upon five matters
Professing and believing no one is God except Allâh and Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allāh;
The belief in the truth of Islam is the same despite the color of the skin, whether one is a man or a woman, how much wealth one might or might not have accumulated, where one lives, and who one's family and/or friends are.
Prayer, five times each day, is required by all Muslim mukallaf (Mukallaf in this context means sane and pubescent.).
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is an obligation on all Muslims who have reached puberty and who are physically able to fast. This helps the Muslim to feel what the poor feel, and in this way one remembers to care for those less fortunate than oneself. Fasting also disciplines the Muslim and brings Muslims together--uniting them by a common, shared experience.
The Hajj, pilgrimage as defined by Islam, is the journey to the Ka^bah to perform, at a specific period of the year, certain actions in Makkah and its vicinity. It is required at least once during the lifetime of each Muslim mukallaf if he is able. During Hajj, all Muslims leave their worldly possessions and perform the same religious obligations in the same way as those Muslims with them and those Muslims who performed Hajj before them.
Zakah is paying a certain portion of one's money (Money in this context includes property, possessions, and wealth.) to specific types of people with certain conditions. This provides for the poor Muslims and those whose needs are not being met within the Muslim community.
Islam also requires a Muslim to be humble and to care about and to respect one's brother and sister Muslim. It is not acceptable Islamic behavior to talk about other Muslims or to cause problems amongt them.
Learning the Obligatory Knowledge of the Religion puts the Muslim on the road for excellence and self-betterment. With knowledge, the Muslim differentiates between what is lawful and what is not, and what is an acceptable, valid worship and what is not. What differentiates one Muslim from another is the amount of Islamic knowledge one attains and applies within one's own life. "The Essentials of Belief" is an insight into the Religion of Islam. Believing and uttering 'No one is God except Allâh and Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allâh' is the most important thing any person can do and it is a condition for the acceptance of the good deeds. The one who becomes Muslim and stays Muslim will have the enjoyment of Paradise without end in the Hereafter and the one who rejects Islam will suffer the torture of Hellfire without end in the Hereafter. It is certain that death will come to all of us. The one who is prepared for the Day of Judgment is the one who knows, accepts, and applies the essentials of belief, and implements the teachings of Prophet Muḥammad, Salla lLâhu `alayhi wa sallam, in all sincerity to Allâh, the Exalted.
The truth of Islam must be accepted and the Obligatory Knowledge of Islam must be acquired and taken if it is from reliable, trustworthy, Islamic sources - regardless of whether the teacher is young or old, male or female, rich or poor, black or white, Arab or American or African or Indian or Chinese or Spanish or of any other origin.
Allâh knows best.
الحمد لله رب العالمين