The Fundamental Beliefs

The Fundamental Beliefs #

Islam comes with sets of beliefs that shape its view of this life. In this chapter, I will explain that beliefs and how is it reflected in our daily life.

Here is the list of beliefs:

  1. Allah
  2. Belief in prophets and books
  3. Angels
  4. This Life and the Hereafter
  5. Predestination
  6. Your life span and Wealth can’t be changed
  7. Walāyah and Barā’ah

So, let go through them

Allah #

If I told you that the Apple iPhone was designed and made by coincident, you would probably react in three ways:

  1. You won’t believe it.
  2. You believe it.
  3. Or you ignore the question and enjoy using it.

Most people will not believe that the Apple iPhone was created coincidentally. Even, they will think I’m a crazy to think in such a way. Yet, if we ask the same question about who created this universe, most people will choose answer number 3! Even some of them will think the humankind developed by coincident. If you be honest with yourself, you know that there is a creator who created this world.

As a Muslim, you need to believe that there is a creator who made you. A creator who brought this world into being after nonexistence. The creator is referred to as Allah. As the creator of this universe, he transcends both time and space. Allah is the only one who has control over this world. Whenever he wants something, it will be created immediately. No one can do anything without his permission.

All beings require Him (Glorified and Exalted be He), even though He is free from the need of them. As such, he is perfect and different from all other things in terms of entity, attributes, and actions.

Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) cannot be attributed with ignorance, disability, blindness, deafness, or indwelling in locations or occurring in time. Furthermore, it is impossible for things to exist within him, as well as for him to exist within things. Allah cannot be perceived through our eyes, heart, or any other sense. All these attributions indicate imperfection towards Allah.

Every attribute of perfection should be attributed to Allah, Exalted be He. The Exalted is eternal, always living, knows everything, can do anything, sees everything, hears everything, and stays forever. It is impossible for Him to have an end. He (Highly praised be He) is all-knowing, all-powerful, and always-living on his own. He doesn’t need help from anyone.

Furthermore, he doesn’t require any extra attributes to bring creatures into existence, comprehend things, see things that must be seen, and hear what must be heard. So, he doesn’t need anything else because he is self-sufficient and perfect as he is.

As the creator, Allah at his wish can (i.e., it is not must for him) send messengers, send down scriptures. He can make things die or make them live. He can raise things up after death, call creatures to account, and reward and punish them for their actions. Almighty Allah has granted us favor, sending messengers and books, and burdening us with his obligations after establishing proofs of his existence. As his creatures, we are not entitled to ask why he did so. Allah says in Surat Al-Anbiya:

He cannot be questioned for what He does, but they will be questioned.[21]

Note, Islam rejects all forms of polytheism. Allah is one and only one. Allah says in Surat Al-Ikhlas:

Say: “He is Allah, the One[1] Allah, the Eternal Refuge [2] He neither begets nor is He begotten, and there is none comparable to Him.[3]

And the reason for this rejection is simple. Allah told us in Surat Al-Anbiyā:

If there had been gods besides Allah in the heavens and earth, both realms would have fallen in disorder. Glory be to Allah – Lord of the Throne – far above what they ascribe [to Him].

Why do we need to worship Allah? #

Well, the answer is because Allah commands us to do so. In verse 21 of Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah (Highly praised be He) says:

O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous [21]

and also says in verse 56 of Surat Adh-Dhariyat:

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [56]

Our objectives in this life are not to get more money, more children, or more cars. The only objective is to worship Allah. Allah created us, and he knows what is the best for us. If you don’t worship Allah, you’re missing out on many things.

The Significance of Having Faith in Allah. #

Allah, as our creator, promised us many things if we worship him. He says in Surat Al-Mu’minun:

Whoever does righteous deeds, male or female, while being a believer, We will surely grant him a good life[61], and We will surely reward them according to the best of their deeds[62].

And in Surat Al-A’raf:

If only the people of the towns had believed and feared Allah, We would have certainly opened for them blessings from the heaven and earth. But they disbelieved, so We seized them for what they earned.[96]

And in Surat Al-Ra’d:

Those who believe and whose hearts find tranquility in the remembrance of Allah, for indeed in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquility.[28] Those who believe and do righteous deeds, for them there will be bliss and a good return.[29]

And in Surat An-Noor:

Allah has promised those among you who believe and do righteous deeds that He will make them successors in the land, as He made those who came before them, and He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and He will surely change their state of fear into security; that they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that, it is they who are the rebellious.[55]

On another side is that if you believe in a perfect God standing with you, you will be able to handle any challenges life throws at you with confidence and courage. You know there is always a refuge for you. A mercy god who will not let you down.

Believing in Allah is a key stone in Islam.

Belief in Prophets and Books #

In Islam, we believe in prophets, messengers, and their books. The messenger is sent to a people who don’t believe in Allah. The Prophet is sent to a people who already have the divine law of a messenger, to teach them and judge between them.

Allah says in Surat An-Nisa:

We have sent revelation to you [O Prophet] just as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. We also sent revelation to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and his descendants, and to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and We gave David the Psalms.[163] There are messengers whose stories We have already mentioned to you, and messengers We have not mentioned to you. And Allah spoke to Moses directly. [164] These messengers were sent as bearers of glad tidings and as warners, so that the people may have no excuse before Allah after [the coming of] the messengers. For Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. [165]

From this ayah, we know for sure that Allah sent numerous numbers of messengers. Their duty is to tell people to worship Allah alone. Then to teach them how to worship Allah correctly. They bring glad tidings to believers and warnings to non-believers.

The prophets and messengers of Allah are truthful, trustworthy, and convey to mankind everything they were ordered to deliver from Allah. They are precise and intelligent. They cannot lie, betray, ignore the orders of their Lord the Almighty, be inarticulate, or be weak-minded. Prophets and messengers can eat, drink, get married, have children legally, meet people, go to the market, have friends, fathers, and children. They are humans chosen by Allah to convey his message.

Adam (peace be upon him) was the first messenger. The last messenger is Muhammad (peace be upon him), who is a messenger to all people, Arabs and non-Arabs.

We believe that Allah sent down many books with his messengers. We believe that the Torah is a book of Moses, the Gospel is a book of Jesus, and Psalms is a book of David. The final book sent down to mankind is the Quran. Allah revealed the Quran to our messenger, Muhammed (peace be upon him).

As a Muslim, you should have a firm belief that Allah sent Muhammed (peace be upon him) as his messenger to mankind and that the Quran is his book from Allah.

Angels #

Almighty Allah has created angels. They are celestial creatures made of light. Angels born to do good and capable of taking on any shape. They do not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate. They are neither male nor female.

Angels do what they are commanded to do, and they do not disobey Allah. They are created to worship Allah and manage his commands. Allah does not need them, but they need Allah. Allah says in Surat Al-Anbiyā’:

To Him belongs all those who are in the heavens and earth. Those [angels] who are with Him are not too proud to worship Him, nor do they ever grow weary.[19]  They glorify Him day and night tirelessly.[20]

And says in Ayah 26 in same Surat Al-Anbiyā’:

They say, “The Most Compassionate has begotten offspring!”(The pagans claimed that angels are the daughters of Allah.) Glory be to Him! In fact, those [angels] are His honored slaves. [26] They do not speak before He speaks, and they only do as He commands. [27] He knows what is ahead of them and what is behind them. They cannot intercede except for whom He pleases, and they are fearful in awe of Him. [28] If anyone of them were to say, “I am god besides Him,” We would punish him with Hell. This is how We punish the wrongdoers. [29]

We need to love all angels because they are Allah’s honored slaves. Allah says in Surat Al-Baqarah:

Say [O Prophet], “Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – it is he who brings down this [Qur’an] to your heart by Allah’s permission, confirming what came before it, and a guidance and glad tidings for the believers.” [97]  Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and messengers, and to Gabriel and Michael – then Allah is indeed an enemy to the disbelievers.[98]

Sometime, Allah commands his angles to support the believers in hardship. Allah says in Surat Āl-‘Imrān:

[Remember] when you said to the believers, “Will it not suffice you that your Lord will help you by sending down three thousand angels?”[124] Yes, if you stay patient and fear Allah, and the enemy should launch a surprise attack on you, your Lord will help you with five thousand marked angels.[125]

Moreover, each person has two angles writing his words and movement. One on the right recording the good deeds, while the other on the left, recording evil deeds.  Allah says in Surat Qāf:

We have created man and know what his soul whispers within him, for We are closer to him than his jugular vein[16] When the two angel scribes, constantly accompanying him, one on the right, and the other on the left [17] Not a single word he utters but there is with him a vigilant watcher, ready [to record it]. [18]

Note, angels should not be mixed with Jinn. Allah creates Jinn from fire. They are invisible. They are accountable for their deeds, same as humans. Therefore, some of them are believers and some are unbelievers in Allah. The bad jinn called devils.

They live in a parallel universe. In some cases, there is an interaction between humans and Jinn. The witchcraft (use of jinn to cause harm and misfortune to others) is forbidden.

This Life and the Hereafter #

If you think about this life, you will realize it is short and has a lot of befalls. You, as a human, may have 45 to 60 years to live after adulthood. You’ll need to get up early and work for eight hours daily to get your food and a place to stay during that brief time. It is also full of injustice, unfairness, diseases, wars, and natural catastrophic events.

On the other hand, Allah told us that this life (Adunya in Arabic) is a temporary life for testing our beliefs. There is a permanent life called the hereafter (Akhira in Arabic). We need to work hard in this life to secure the hereafter.

The almighty Allah says in Surat Ghāfir:

O my people, the life of this world is only a brief enjoyment, whereas the Hereafter is the permanent abode. [39]

and in Surat Al-Hadīd:

Know that the life of this world is no more than play, amusement, adornment, boasting among yourselves, and a competition in wealth and children. It is like plants that flourish after rain, pleasing the sowers, then they wither and you see them turning yellow, then they crumble. And in the Hereafter there will be severe punishment, or forgiveness from Allah and His pleasure. For the life of this world is no more than a fleeting enjoyment.[20] Race one another towards forgiveness from your Lord and Paradise the width of which is like the width of the heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, for Allah is the Lord of great bounty. [21]

All the injustice and unfairness you see in the life, is a stage to test the people. Are they going to believe in Allah? If they are wealthy, what will they do with the money? What will they do if they don’t have enough money? If they have the power, will they oppress the people, or will they seek justice?

At some point, all people will die. The angle of death will come and take the human soul. We don’t know exactly what the soul is. All we know is that Allah gives it to us as fetuses and takes it back when we die.

When will the hereafter begin? We don’t know. But we know what will happen because Allah told us in the Quran in many surats. For example, in Surat At-Takwīr:

When the sun is wrapped up in darkness, [1] and when the stars fall down, [2] and when the mountains are set in motion,[3] and when pregnant camels are left unattended,[4] and when wild beasts are gathered, [5] and when the seas are set on fire, [6] and when the souls are sorted [7] and when the baby girl buried alive is asked, [8] for what crime she was killed, [9] and when records of deeds are spread open, [10] and when the sky is stripped away,[11] and when the Blazing Fire is flared up, [12] and when Paradise is brought near – [13] then every soul will know what it has brought about. [14]

After the system of this life demolished, the resurrection will start. All people, both good and bad, will be resurrected. Allah says in Surat Yā-Sī:

They say, “When will this promise come to pass, if you are truthful?” [48] They are not awaiting but a single Blast that will seize them while they are still disputing [49] Then they will not be able to make a will, nor will they be able to return to their households.[50] The Trumpet will be blown [again], and at once they will rush from their graves to their Lord. [51] They will say, “Woe to us! Who has resurrected us from our resting place?” [They will be told,] “This is what the Most Compassionate promised, and the messengers told the truth.” [52] It will only be a single Blast, and at once they will all be brought before Us. [53] On that Day no soul will be wronged in the least, nor will you be recompensed except for what you used to do.

Subsequently, people will be judged based on their deeds. Whoever followed Allah’s instructions will be judged quickly. But the disbeliever will thoroughly and lengthily. Allah told us what will happen exactly as we can see it now in Surat Al-Hāqqah. First, all people will be in the same place:

On that day, you will be brought forth [before Allah], and none of your secrets will remain hidden. [18]

Then, all people will get a record of their deeds. The person who gets it with their right hand (because they believed in Allah and followed his instructions) will be happy.

As for the one who is given his Record in his right hand, he will say, “Here is my Record, read it! [19] I was sure that I would meet my reckoning.” [20]

Allah will forgive his bad deeds and mercy him. The Paradise will his reward and whoever enters it will never leave it, or die, or hear any vain talk, or become sick, or suffer any harm.

So he will be in a pleasant life, [21]  in a lofty garden, [22]  with clustered fruit within his reach. [23]  [They will be told,] “Eat and drink joyfully for what you did in the days gone by.”  [24]

Likewise, the person who gets it with their left hand (disbeliever in Allah and who not obey his instructions) will be in a miserable condition.

As for the one who is given his Record in his left hand, he will say, “Would that I had not been given my Record, [25] nor had I known anything of my reckoning! [26]  Would that it [death] had been the end of me! [27] My wealth has been of no avail to me.[28]  My authority has vanished.”

Then he will get his punishment. The name of the punishment is Hell-Fire. It is unmatched by any other punishment, and whoever enters it will never be able to escape it.

[It will be said,] “Seize him and shackle him, [30]  then make him burn in the Blazing Fire,[31]  then tie him up with a chain of seventy cubits long. [32] For he did not believe in Allah, the Most Great, [33]  nor did he encourage feeding the needy. [34] So Today he will have no close friend here, [35]  nor any food except the discharge of wounds, [36] none will eat it except the sinners.”[37]

The idea that everyone will be judged is scary. Hence, Allah has repeatedly mentioned it throughout the Quran. For example, Allah says in Surat Az-Zalzalah:

On that Day all people will come forward in separate groups to be shown their deeds [6] So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, [7] and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.[8]

Therefore, the Muslim should fear the Allah’s punishment and hope for his mercy. Allah says in Surat Az-Zumar:

[Is he better] or the one who constantly worships during the night, prostrating and standing, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord? Say, “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” It is only the people of understanding who will take heed. [9]

and says in Surat Fātir:

Those who recite the Book of Allah, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, secretly and openly, hoping for a deal that will suffer no loss,[29] so that He will reward them in full and give them more out of His bounty. He is All-Forgiving, Most Appreciative.[30]

and in Surat Az-Zumar:

Say [Allah says], “O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves, do not despair of Allah’s mercy, for indeed Allah forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.[53] Turn to your Lord [in repentance] and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you, for then you will not be helped.[54]

Predestination #

Muslims should believe that nothing moves or rests except with Allah’s permission. All the good things which we are created by Allah. All the bad things we face are created by Allah. Allah says in Surat Al-Hadīd:

No calamity befalls the earth or yourselves but it is already written in a Record before We bring it into existence. That is indeed easy for Allah [22] so that you may not grieve over what you have missed, nor exult over what He has given you, for Allah does not love anyone who is conceited and boastful [23]

and in Surat At-Taghābun:

No calamity befalls except with Allah’s permission. Whoever believes in Allah, He will guide his heart. And Allah is All-Knowing of everything.

and in Surah Al-Baqarah:

We will surely test you with something of fear and famine, and loss of property, lives and fruits. But give glad tidings to those who are patient.[155] Those when afflicted with a disaster, they say, “We belong to Allah, and to Him we will return.” [156] They are those upon whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and it is they who are guided.[157]

and in Surat Muhammad:

We will certainly test you so as to reveal those of you who struggle [in Allah’s way] and remain patient, and We will test the sincerity of your assertions. [31]

All we are facing and what we will face are predetermined. Now we need to accept that fact and act accordingly. Not only that, but we should be content with it as well. Allah says in Surat Al-Ahzāb:

It is not for a believing man or woman – when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter – to have any other choice in their matter[29]. Whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has clearly gone astray.[36]

And in Surat An-Noor:

As for the believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger so that he may judge between them, they say, “We listen and obey.” It is they who are the successful. [51] Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, and fears Allah and is conscious of Him – it is they who are the triumphant. [52]

Your life span and Wealth can’t be changed #

This is a continuation of previous belief (i.e., Predestination). Because it has a significant impact on human behavior, I want to describe it as a separate belief. Two of the biggest sources of anxiety in our life are: How long I will live and How much money I will gain.

You may believe that your life span depends on your life quality or how many enemies you have. Or if I get that vaccine, I will live longer! No, your life span is predestined! Nobody can change that. If all people and all creatures got together to increase your life by one second, they wouldn’t. Allah says in Surat Fātir:

It is Allah Who created you from dust, then from a drop of semen, then He made you into pairs. No female conceives nor gives birth without His knowledge. None is given long life or cut short of his life except that it is in a Record. That is surely easy for Allah. [11]

and in Surat An-Nahl:

If Allah were to take people to task for their wrongdoing, He would not leave a single living being on earth, but He gives them respite for an appointed time. When their time comes, they cannot delay it for a moment nor can they bring it forward. [61]

The second source of anxiety is your sustenance (i.e., livelihood). It is predestined as well. Allah says in Surat Az-Zukhruf:

Is it they who distribute the mercy of your Lord? It is We Who have distributed their livelihood among them in the life of this world, and have raised some of them above others in ranks, so that they may serve one another. But the mercy of your Lord is better than what they accumulate.[32]

and in Surat Adh-Dhāriyāt:

And in the heaven is your provision and all that you are promised.[22]

Rest assured, you will receive every breath and every penny that is written for you. You think, you will not need to work, then. No, we are talking about your final life span and your final amount of wealth. You need to ask Allah for the help and blessing, then you need to follow the causes. But you have to believe that, not the causes that will make you rich or healthy. You can work 12 hours a day, but you will get nothing compared to a person who doesn’t work whatsoever.

Walāyah and Barā’ah #

Muslim should ally and love all who obey Allah, among the former and later generations, until the Day of Judgment. This called Walayah. It is an Arabic word that means friendship and assistance. Allah says in Surat At-Tawbah:

The believers, both men and women, are allies of one another; they enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, they establish prayer, give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. It is they who will receive Allah’s mercy, for Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. [71]

On the other hand, Muslims should disavow all the enemies of Allah among the former and later generations until the Day of Judgment. This called Bara’ah. It is an Arabic word that means disassociation. Allah says in Surat Al-Mujādalah:

You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day taking as allies those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their parents, their children, their brothers, or their kindred. It is they in whose hearts Allah has instilled faith and strengthened them with a spirit from Him. He will admit them to gardens under which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Allah. They are the party of Allah. Indeed, it is the party of Allah that will be the successful.[22]

This also, is applicable among Muslims as well. One who follows what Allah commands in his daily life should be loved and supported by you. However, we should not help anyone breaks Islams rules and becomes hostile to Muslims.

Final thoughts #

When you think about how Islam sees life, you’ll realize that it’s realistic and solves all the problems in life. It is not rosy or idealistic, but it treats the issue as a doctor would treat his patients. It identifies the root cause of the issue and then administers a remedy. The remedy is not always what you like. However, if you stick to it, you will be cured.

You can close your eyes, plug your ears and follow what you like. I feel sorry for you. I want to offer the help, but you refuse it. Furthermore, I can’t force you to believe anything. However, you need to take the full responsibly for your decision.

Allah says in Surat Tā-ha:

But whoever turns away from My Reminder will have a miserable life, and on the Day of Resurrection We will raise him blind.” [124]  He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind, when I was able to see before?” [125] Allah will say, “Similarly Our verses came to you, but you ignored them, so you will be ignored Today.” [126] This is how We recompense those who transgress the limits and do not believe in the verses of his Lord; and the punishment of the Hereafter is more severe and more lasting. [127]

Sources of this chapter #

1- Instructing children in what is required of human, Noor Al-Deen Abdullah Al-Salimi, translated by Al Ifta Office, 2014.

In the next chapter, we will discuss how to embrace Islam.