Articles of Islamic Faith
The Islamic creed did not begin with the prophet-hood of Muhammad, 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 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 articles of the Islamic faith are: belief in Allah, in the angles created by Him, in His scriptures, in the prophets through whom His revelations were 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 and 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 the 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.
Belief in the Angels
Muslims believe that Angels exist. No one knows their exact number except Allah. 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 such as Gabriel, who was given the task of revelation; and 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 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. 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, 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 among humanity to be Messengers whom He sent to His creation with specific legislation: to worship and obey Allah and to establish His religion and His oneness. Allah, the exalted, says:
“And We did not send any Messenger before you, oh Muhammad, but We inspired him saying: ‘none has the right to be worshiped but I, so worship Me.’” (21:25)
The last of the divinely appointed messengers was Prophet Muhammad. 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 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 saying 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 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.
People will be judged according to their degree of righteousness, and nothing else. Allah says:
“Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to their credit, and whoever brings an evil deed shall have only the recompense of the like thereof.” (6:160)
A person is rewarded for merely intending to do good, even if they do not follow up that intention with action. Prophet Muhammad mentioned that Allah said:
“Whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, Allah records it for them as one good deed. If one intends to do a good deed and does it, Allah records for them the like thereof time times, up to seven hundred times, to many times. If one intends to do an evil deed, but does not do it, Allah records it for them as one good deed. If one intends to do an evil deed and does it, Allah records it only as one evil deed.”
Belief in Predestination
Muslims believe in predestination, whether good or bad, which Allah has measured and ordained for all creatures according to His previous knowledge and as deemed suitable by His wisdom. Allah, the all-knowing, knows everything that happened in the past, everything that is happening now, and all that will happen in the future. Humankind has been given free will to choose from right and wrong and to decide how to manage the lives they have been given. In return for this freedom we will be rewarded for the good we choose and equally punished for the evil. Only Allah, glorious most high, knows the truth of all things and it is to His judgment that we will return.