Islam is a religion which is followed by Muslims. People who practice Christianity are called Christians just like people who practice Islam are called Muslims. Muslims are monotheistic and worship one God who in Arabic is known as ALLAH. Islam is an Arabic word which means “submission, surrender or peace”. The Arabic root letters of Islam and salam (s-l-m) are the same which means peace. Islam itself does not mean peace but it can be defined as a path to attain peace through submission to the will of Almighty God.
Origin of Islam:
Islam began in the 7th century. The prophet Hazrat Muhammad PBUH introduced Islam in 610 A.D. Muhammad PBUH dictated the Quran which is the holy book of Islam. Quran testifies itself that it was given to Prophet Muhammad PBUH by ALLAH through the angel Gabriel.
“This is certainly a revelation from the Lord of all worlds. Which the trustworthy spirit Gabriel brought down into your heart O Prophet, so that you may be one of the warners, in a clear Arabic tongue.” ( Surah Ash-Shu’araa 192-195 )
“Say, Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel it is [none but] he who has brought the Qur’an down upon your heart, [O Muhammad], by permission of ALLAH, confirming that which was before it and as guidance and good tidings for the believers.” ( Surah Al-Baqrah: 97 )
Muhammad PBUH was chosen as the last prophet whereas there were many prophets before Muhammad like Abraham, Noah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Jesus, and many more who were sent by ALLAH to spread His message.
Quran accepts all previous scriptures Hebrew Torah, the Psalms of David, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ though these are not present in their original form now.
Beliefs in Islam:
There are six major beliefs in Islam that are commonly held by Muslims, as laid out in the Quran and Hadith;
1. Belief in the Oneness of God:
Oneness of God is the belief in the existence of one God. Muslims believe that ALLAH is the sole divine deity. Who does not share his divinity with other partners? Muslims believe that ALLAH is the only one who created all things that exist. ALLAH doesn’t need any help or assistance over His creation. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. “Ask them: ‘Who provides you with sustenance out of the heavens and earth? Who holds mastery over your hearing and sight? Who brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living? Who governs all affairs of the universe?’ They will surely say: ‘ALLAH.’ Tell them: ‘Will you, then, not shun (going against reality)?” ( Surah Yunus: 31 )
2. Belief in the Angels of God:
Angels were created before human beings from light. They are unseen beings who worship ALLAH and carry out ALLAH’s orders throughout the universe. Angels do not eat, drink or sleep. They don’t get tired of worshipping ALLAH. The angel Gabriel is the greatest of angels and he brought the divine revelations to the prophets. All Muslims believe in the existence of angels. ALLAH says in Qur’an: “O believers! Have faith in ALLAH, His Messenger, the Book He has revealed to His Messenger, and the scriptures He revealed before. Indeed whoever denies ALLAH, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last day has certainly gone far astray.” (Surah An-Nisa: 136)
ALLAH created angels to worship Him. Only ALLAH knows about their numbers. Some of the important angels among them and their duties are:
- Gabriel who is charged with delivering divine revelations to the prophets and messengers of ALLAH.
- Mikaa’eel who is charged with the delivering of the rain and sustenance wherever ALLAH wishes.
- Israafeel who is charged with blowing the trumpet on the Day of Judgement.
- Azrael the angel of death, who is charged with extracting human souls with the orders of ALLAH.
- Hamalat Al-Arsh who are bearers of the Throne of ALLAH.
- Kiram Al-Katibin are the angels who are recording the deeds.
- The guards of Paradise and Hell.
Besides these, there are angels who guard humans and protect them, and many others who are charged with various other duties and tasks.
3. Belief in the Books of God:
Muslims believe that ALLAH revealed holy books or scriptures to a number of His messengers to convey them to mankind. These include :
- The Qur’an was given to Muhammad PBUH, the last prophet of ALLAH.
- The Torah was given to Moses.
- The Gospel was given to Jesus.
- The Psalms were given to David.
- The book of Abraham
Muslims believe that these earlier scriptures in their original form were divinely revealed, but that only the Quran remains as it was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Believing in all of these books is a mandatory part of the Islamic creed. ALLAH says in Qur’an: “And with these [Prophets], He sent down His book as the decisive truth so that it my settle these differences between people” (Surah Baqrah: 213)
4. Belief in the Prophets or Messengers of God:
The Prophets or Messengers were individuals who received revelation from ALLAH and conveyed it to the people to guide them to the path of salvation. They were merely human beings. It is forbidden for a Muslim to worship them, seeking ALLAH’s forgiveness through them or from them, and, making supplications to them. All Prophets and Messengers taught that all such acts are polytheistic, and whoever engages in them is outside the fold of Islam. A Muslim must believe in all Prophets and Messengers sent by ALLAH. Twenty-five of these prophets is mentioned by name in Qur’an, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, and Jesus. All Prophets from Adam to Muhammad PBUH called people to the same truth. ALLAH says in Qur’an: “Never did We send any Messenger before you to whom We did not reveal: There is no God but Me, so serve Me alone.” (Surah Al-Anbiya: 25)
Muslims believe that Muhammad PBUH is the last in the line of prophets, sent for all humankind with the message of Islam. ALLAH says in Qur’an that no prophet or messenger will come after him. This means the divine law that was revealed and embodied in the teachings of Prophet Muhammad PBUH is for all humanity until the Day of Judgement.
5. Belief in the Day of Judgement:
Muslims believe that they have free will to make their choices and they will be judged by ALLAH for their actions on the Day of Judgement. Those who followed ALLAH’s guidance will be rewarded with paradise; those who rejected ALLAH’s guidance will be punished with hell. When ALLAH’s purpose for the universe has been fulfilled, the world will be destroyed. When the world ends, Israafeel will sound the trumpet and there will be a resurrection. All dead bodies will be raised and will gather on the plain of Arafat for the final judgment. They will also be given their own “book of deeds”. Nothing will be hidden on that day. ALLAH says in Qur’an: “Then he whose scales weigh heavier shall have a blissful life; but he whose scales weigh lighter, his shall be the deep pit for a dwelling.” (Surah Al-Qaria: 6-9)
Those who are handed their deeds in their right hand will go to Heaven and those who are handed them in their left hand will go to Hell.
6. Belief in the Divine Decree:
The belief that ALLAH knows everything and that He knew everything about His creation even before He brought them into existence. Muslims believe that everything, good or bad, takes place by the will of ALLAH. Nothing happens without His will, and not even the like of a weight of an atom in the heavens or the earth escapes His knowledge. ALLAH has commanded us to do certain acts and forbids us to do certain others, giving us free will to do whatever we want. ALLAH says in Qur’an: “He is ALLAH, other than Whom there is no god, the Knower of the invisible and the visible.” (Surah Al-Hashr: 22)
Belief in the divine decree is one of the pillars of faith. When the Prophet PBUH was once asked about faith, he said, “It is to believe in ALLAH, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last day of judgment and to believe in the divine decree, the good and the bad of it.” (Sahih Muslim: 8)