What Do Muslims Believe In?
Every Muslim must know, understand and believe in six pillars of Faith:
1. Belief in Allah: To believe in His oneness, His uniqueness, His power, His might, His knowledge, His Mercy, His Blessings and His Divine Care. His names and attributes teach us more about Him and His work is seen in His creation and everything we reach with our senses.
2. Belief in His Angels: Islam teaches that Angels were created from pure light unlike other creatures that were created from clay, water or fire… They are pure and sinless and do different things God Almighty commands them to do. They are totally obedient to Him and never displease Him. Some of their functions for instance are to carry the souls of humans to their bodies in the wombs of their mothers before their birth and also to take out their souls out of their bodies at the time of death. They guard people and bring blessings and peace to the places they attend. They witness humans’ actions and they intervene in their lives when they are commanded by God to do so. They also communicate with God’s Prophets and Messengers and bring good news and support to humans. Some of the angels who are known to humans are Archangel Gabriel (Jibra’il) – Archangel Michael (Mika’il) – Angel Israfil – Angel ‘Izra’il…etc.,
3. Belief in His Books: Torah (Tawrat) – Gospel (Injil) – Psalms (Zabur) – Qur’an – Scrolls of Abraham (Suhuf)…etc., These books came from the same source with the same message that stresses the importance of worshipping God and be good to one another in order for one to succeed in this life. They instruct us humans on how to live and govern our daily life by setting basic principles and values that are fundamental in relationships and one’s character and actions. Moreover, according to Muslims, God’s words should never contradict each other and if there are any inconsistencies or things that go against human nature then it must have come from human interpretation or manipulation rather than to be ascribed to God Himself.
4. Belief in His Messengers: A Messenger is a prophet who has been entrusted by God with a message to deliver to his people. All the messengers of God (Peace be upon them) brought a set of teachings and instructions to their people. For instance Prophet Noah (Nuh) called his people for many years to worship God alone and not to attribute to him partners and also warned them from the divine punishment by flood. Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) carried the same message and also took his followers to the Promised Land where they could worship God freely and so did Prophet Moses (Musa) who had also to free his people from slavery and subjugation of Pharaoh. Prophet Jesus (‘Isa) delivered the Good News (Injil) and performed divine miracles to bring people together and put an end to injustice and discrimination towards the outcast. Prophet Muhammad restored the religion and faith of his forefathers Abraham and Ishmael and removed idol worship as Abraham did before him. He united people based on faith and humanity and denounced favouritism based on colour, race and tribal affiliation. He called to mercy, peace and justice and to love the poor, the orphan and the destitute. He put an end to infanticide, crime, prejudice and abuse of the poor and the weak. He freed the slave and honoured the parents and the teachers. He considered goodness to one’s spouse, children and neighbours as being the principal sign of having the best character and faith. He described a good Muslim as “the one who avoids harming others with his/her hand and his/her tongue” and he described a true believer as “the one whose neighbour is safe from his/her harm.”
5. Belief in life after death: To understand this we must understand the reality of this life we live and in which relation it has with the Hereafter. In Islam, life is a long journey with God that starts at the spiritual level before the physical one and comes to consciousness of this world in a temporary phase that ends with death but then continues on to the eternal existence either in Paradise (Heaven) or in Hell. Life in this world is only a temporary phase during which people sow seeds of good works while reaping enough to live with dignity. The eternal life is far better and more desirable, since it is the place of rewards and great harvests. Life in this world is a gift and a blessing from God, but it is also a trust and a test for people, who, as God’s vicegerents on Earth, are responsible for establishing justice amongst themselves and towards all of His creation. Basically, we are spiritual beings going through a human experience and then we move to an eternal life in a different reality.
6. Belief in Fate/Destiny whether good or bad: Some of the most asked questions in religion deal with this issue of fate or destiny and what is freewill versus divine will and how does God know things before they happen and if that is the case why doesn’t He prevent evil things from happening? Islam considers belief in destiny whether good or bad as a fundamental pillar because it deals with the relationship we have with Our Creator. He has given us things to do and responsibilities to fulfil but he has also enabled us with different tools including our mental capacity, our natural instinct and ability to reason and judge. He showed us the path to follow and the important choices to make when it comes to what is right and what is wrong according to His teachings. However, there are things that we cannot prevent from happening or change such as the major natural disasters, our places of birth and death, our colours, looks, and parents…etc., Muslims believe that God has pre-knowledge because he is not limited by time and space and he does not undergo the time changes like we do here on earth. His reality is beyond our minds to grasp and humans cannot contain His knowledge with their limitations in the dimensions they live in. Therefore, the fact that God knows things before they happen does not mean that He has to intervene in every human act. Also, the limitations on our freewill do not mean we cannot seek solutions to develop our lives especially with the significant advance in science and human genius. Today, humans are able to cure diseases which were considered incurable in the past and are also able to forecast things before they happen like the weather and the products we make…etc., Our free will is related to things we can do and control whereas the Divine will is for things beyond our control. We are rewarded or blamed for things we are able to do but never for things over which we have no power. Whatever we do falls under His Will of which He has full knowledge including the good and bad choices we make. A Muslim believes in this pillar as part of his/her submission to the Will of God. So whatever happens to him/her must have a good outcome even if it looks bad. God has His infinite wisdom and if a good thing happens then the believer thanks Him for it and if a bad thing happens then the believer acts patiently expecting the rewards for his/her perseverance and the outcome is always good as Prophet Muhammad said,
“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.”(Muslim)
So the sick needs to seek cure by his/her freewill and free choice, the helpless seeks help by his/her freewill, people need to work to make a living by their freewill and all of that is all part of God’s Will.
In a nutshell, to believe in destiny whether good or bad is to submit one’s will to the will of God and do whatever is within the possibilities that are available to us by the Will, the leave and power of God.