Islam is a complete way of life that guides us in every aspect of our lives. Islam provides us with detailed instructions on how to live our lives in a manner that is most pleasing to Allah. Indeed, it is essential to have a strong understanding of the basic teachings of Islam as a religion.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) very markedly laid out the fundamental principles of Islam. Islam is a religion that is simple to understand and has very clear-cut key concepts. Unlike other religions, the values of Islam remain uncorrupted and free of confusion and chaos. Allah explicitly vowed to preserve the final revelation (the Holy Quran), and Islam is a universally binding religion.
Allah says in Surah al-Hijr that He sent down the Quran and He will be its guardian.
The righteous scholars of Islam established the main teachings of our religion. Among these are the central principles of Islam and the fundamental teachings of the final Prophet (PBUH). Accordingly, this article strives to outline the primary tenets of Islam briefly.
Central Islam teachings: The articles of faith
In Islam, there are six articles of faith. Belief in these core principles is a must for any believer. One unquestionably cannot be negligent in affirming any of these articles, for they constitute a critical component of the religion. They are the basic beliefs of Islam.
Belief in the oneness of God
The foremost belief Islam particularly enjoins is to believe in the oneness of Allah. Allah requires a believer to affirm that He is the sole deity worthy of worship. Belief in one God surely entails complete submission to Allah and requires us to worship Him alone, without any partners.
One must have a firm belief in Allah’s unrivaled supremacy as the Omnipotent Creator of the universe. We must not ascribe any partners or children to Him, or worship anyone alongside or instead of Him. Indeed, associating partners with Allah (Shirk) is the gravest and only unpardonable sin in Islam. One who dies without repenting for the heinous sin of Shirk cannot hope to attain Allah’s forgiveness. This is amongst the most basic teachings of Islam.
Belief in the angels of God
The angels are from the unseen; Allah created them to obey His Commands and carry out His Orders. They unanimously submit to Allah, for they, unlike humans and jinns, do not possess free will. Angels carry out tasks assigned to them, and they’re around us performing their duties, though we don’t see them. There are even recording angels among them, who are always present beside us to record our deeds.
Belief in the Prophets of God
Muslims are altogether obliged to believe in all of Allah’s Prophets, without any discrimination or exclusion. Allah conveyed His Message to the various nations by sending Prophets with the truth. Without a doubt, all of God’s Prophets preached the same message of pure monotheism.
Allah says in Surah al-Anbiya that He sent down messengers. He told them to proclaim the message of Allah’s Oneness and to tell mankind to worship Him alone. This is one of the cornerstone teachings of Islam.
Every Prophet basically called on his people to worship and submit to Allah alone. We undeniably believe in every Prophet sent by Allah, starting with Adam (AS) and concluding with Muhammad (PBUH). Muhammad (PBUH) was the final Prophet (PBUH), and the only one to be sent for the whole of mankind.
Belief in the Divine books of God
It is compulsory to believe in all of Allah’s revealed scriptures. We believe that Allah sent some of His Prophets with revelation to guide their people. Islam teachings dictate Muslims believe in the four clearly-named holy books in Islam. They are the Tawrat, Zabur, Injil and Quran.
We believe in the divine origins of these four books, which conveyed Allah’s message to us. However, the Noble Quran is the only book to have remained unadulterated and free of alteration. Hence, the Quran is the only Holy scripture whose tenets mankind is supposed to adhere to. It is Allah’s final revelation, and all of humanity is obligated to follow it until the Last Day.
Belief in the Day of Judgment
Belief in the Last Day is an integral part of our faith. Allah, Who is the Owner of the Day of Resurrection only know the actual time of the Day of Judgment. On that day, the world will end along with its inhabitants’ lives. Allah will then resurrect everyone from their graves. He will judge each individual purely on the merit of his or her deeds. Allah will admit the righteous believers into the eternal Paradise. On the other hand, the disbelievers will face an eternal torment in Hell. No one will be wronged in the slightest because Allah’s Justice is Perfect.
Allah says in Surah az-Zalzalah that whoever does an atom’s weight of good, or evil, will see it.
Belief in Predestination (Qadar) and Divine Decree
Nothing happens without the will of Allah, the Omnipotent. Allah has complete knowledge of the past, present, and future. While humans have free will, Allah, the Omniscient, knows every action we will perform. Understanding and accepting that everything happens according to the will of Allah, the All-Wise, gives us strength in hard times. It is vital for Muslims always to be content with the Qadar of Allah.
Central teachings: The five pillars of Islam
Islam prescribes numerous obligatory acts of worship for the believers. The 5 pillars of Islam include the most important mandatory acts of worship.
The Shahada (declaration of faith)
We make the declaration of faith by saying: La ilaha illa Allah wa Muhammad Rasul-ullah; this means “There is no deity worthy of being worship except God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” To embrace Islam as one’s religion, utterance of the Shahada is compulsory. However, one must have a sincere belief in Islam and submit to Allah for one’s Shahada to be valid.
Salah (the five daily prayers)
There are five compulsory daily prayers in the teachings of Islam. They are Fajr (dawn prayer), Zuhr (midday prayer), Asr (afternoon prayer), Maghrib (sunset prayer), and Isha (night prayer). The regularity of prayer protects us from sins and increases our awareness of Allah. Prayer protects us from getting too occupied in this worldly life at the cost of the Afterlife. Furthermore, prayer will be the first thing Allah will ask us about on the Day of Resurrection. (Abu Dawud)
Zakah (the obligatory charity)
Islam is undeniably a just religion. Every year, Muslims must give charity to the poor and needy, and others who are eligible. One only has to pay charity if he meets the Nisab (possession of a certain amount of wealth). Muslims are required to give charity for the sake of Allah, using the wealth He blesses them with in a beneficial manner.
Fasting in Ramadan
Every year, Islam requires Muslims to fast throughout the month of Ramadan. The fast commences from dawn and necessitates abstinence from food, drink, and sex until it’s broken at sunset. Ramadan is a time to draw closer to Allah through spiritual devotion and practicing patience. Muslims are also temporarily exposed to the hunger the poor regularly face. This humbles them and helps instill within them gratitude for Allah’s blessings, and kindness and generosity towards the poor.
Hajj is the obligatory pilgrimage to Makkah, where one performs a set of religious rituals as prescribed in Islam. The performance of Hajj at least once in a believer’s lifetime is compulsory, provided one is financially and physically capable.
Five central teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
- Actions are judged by their intentions
The Prophet (PBUH) said in a Hadith recorded in Sunan Abi Dawud that Allah would judge actions by their intentions.
- Believers shouldn’t get into matters that don’t involve them
The Prophet (PBUH) said in a Hadith recorded in Sunan at-Tirmidhi that leaving alone something that doesn’t concern a person is part of being a good Muslim.
- A complete believer should love for his brother what he loves for himself
The Messenger (PBUH) said in a Hadith recorded in Sunan an-Nasa’i that none of the believers really believed until they loved for their brothers what they loved for themselves.
- One mustn’t cause harm to himself or others
The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said in a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari that if a person commits suicide, he will continue to do the act (stabbing, throttling himself) in the Hell Fire.
One of the Muslims asked the Prophet (PBUH) regarding which of them was the most virtuous. He replied that it was the one from whose hand and tongue other Muslims were safe. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi)
- Don’t desire this world and Allah will love you, and don’t covet people’s possessions and they will love you
A man asked the Prophet (PBUH) to tell him about an action that would make Allah and the people love him. The Prophet (PBUH) suggested that the person should have no desire for this world. Then, Allah would love him. And if he had no desire for people’s possessions, then they too would love him. (Ibn Majah)