What Do Muslim’s Believe In?

(Excerpts from the Quran are indicted between parenthesis as chapter:verse.)

GOD:  The Muslim believes in God, the Creator and Lord of the universe, the One and Only Deity.  The Muslim’s belief in God implies rejecting and denying all notions or concepts that ascribe any partner or sharer in Gods divinity.  “Allah,” an Arabic name that means “the God,” is a proper name of God and is used by Muslims as well as Arabic-speaking Christians.  Although commonly referred to as “He,” God is genderless.  The Quran says that He is “high exalted above anything that people may devise by way of definition” (6:100) and that “He neither begets nor is born, and there is nothing like Him” (42:11).  He is transcendent yet very near to man, to be addressed directly, without any intermediary.  The Quran says, “If my servants ask you about Me, I am near.  I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me” (2:186) and “If God supports you, there is no one who will overcome you; while if He should forsake you, who is there to support you?  On God should believers rely” (3:160).  Sound belief in God as an exclusive deity is the foundation of all other articles of faith.

ANGELS:  The Muslim believes in angels, who are spirits created by God who carry out duties assigned by Him with absolute obedience, such as recording our words and deeds, guarding us (6:61, 86:4)  and taking our souls at death (32:11).  “The angels exalt with praise their Lord and ask forgiveness for those on earth…” (42:5)  Some angels were sent to convey messages to prophets, and to the Virgin Mary, about God’s decree (3:39, 3:45).  One of the angels is Gabriel, who was sent by God with the revelation to various prophets (2:97).  Although usually invisible to us, angels can assume human form (11:69-70).  Angels are not divine in any way (3:80).

PROPHETS:  The Muslim believes in all prophets of God who were sent at different times to lead their people to the path of God. The Quran says, “We sent no messenger before you [O Muhammad] without revealing to him: There is no god but Me so worship Me.” (21:25).  The Quran says that the faithful believe “in God, His angels, His books and His messengers, [saying], ‘We make no distinction between any of His messengers…’”  (2:285)  The names and stories of 25 prophets are mentioned in the Quran, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elisha, Jonah, Zachariah, John [the Baptist], Jesus and Muhammad. There were other prophets as well:  “And [We sent] messengers about whom We have related [their stories] to you before and messengers about whom We have not related to you…”(4:164).

SCRIPTURE:  The Muslim believes in all scriptures revealed by God, including the scripture of Abraham (4:54, 87:19), the Torah that was revealed to Moses (11:110, 48:29), the Psalms of David (17:55), the Gospel that was revealed to Jesus (57:27) and the Quran that was revealed to Muhammad (12:2).  The Quran is the only book of divine guidance currently available in its complete, unchanged and original form, with God as its protector (15:9).

PREDESTINATION:   The Muslim does not believe that God is distant and removed from human actions, nor is he fatalistic, believing God’s omnipotence renders it useless to act or react in life.  Rather, the Muslim acknowledges that he is endowed with free will and accepts responsibility for making choices, planning his life and taking necessary action; however, he understands that his choices and the outcome of his actions are subject to God’s acceptance and absolute authority.  The Muslim believes that everything is decreed by God who has perfect knowledge, judgment and complete authority over human destiny.  God says, “Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen” (57:22) and  “He directs every matter from Heaven to Earth…”  (32:5)  God also clarifies man’s responsibility by stating, “God never changes a people’s state until they change what is in themselves…” (13:11). Because God’s knowledge has no time boundaries, He knows what will happen tomorrow as naturally as He knows what happened yesterday.  Therefore, each man’s destiny is known to God even before he is born.

THE HEREAFTER:  The Muslim believes in the life of the hereafter, which begins with death and will eventually be followed by the collapse of the universe on the first blow of “the Trumpet.”   “We shall roll up the heavens as the scribe rolls up the scrolls. As We began the first creation, We will repeat it – a promise binding upon Us…” (21:104)  “Everything will be destroyed except His Face…”(28:88).   On the second blow of the Trumpet (39:68) “…you [people] will come forth in multitudes” (78:18).

Justice will be established on Judgment Day.  God asks “Is one who was a believer like one who was defiantly disobedient?  They are not equal!”  (32:18) and assures us that “not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed We will bring it (to account)” (21:47).  “Then as for he who is given his record in his right hand, he will be judged with an easy account and return to his people in happiness.  But as for he who is given his record behind his back, he will cry out for destruction and enter a blaze to burn… indeed, he thought he would never return [to God]” (84:7-14).  Prophet Muhammad (p) said: “The son of Adam will not pass from God until he is asked about five things: how he lived his life, and how he utilized his youth, how he earned his wealth, how he spent his wealth, and what he did with his knowledge.”  According to a prophetic tradition, grievances between people will also be settled on Judgment Day.  The currency of settlement is vice and virtue: the victim will take the good deeds of the one who wronged him, but if the wrongdoer has nothing to give, the victim’s bad deeds will be transferred to him.  Finally, their good and bad deeds will be weighed on a precise scale.

The successful ones will be granted Paradise while the wrong doers will be assigned to Hell.  Some of the punishments mentioned in the Quran for the people of Hell are shackles and chains, scorching fire, scalding water to drink, bitter food to eat, the shade of black smoke, and evil companions.  They will be told, “Today We will forget you as you forgot the meeting of this Day of yours…” (45:34).  The people who reach Paradise will stay there eternally (10:26).  The Quran says, “And you will have in [Paradise] whatever your souls desire, and you will have whatever you request – accommodation from a Forgiving and Merciful [Lord]” (41:31).  Some of the things mentioned in the Quran for the people of Paradise are luxurious homes, fine clothes, jewelry, good food, loving spouses, friends, delightful scenery, and perfect weather. “And no soul knows what has been hidden for them of delights for the eye as a reward for what they used to do.” (32:17)

Conclusion: When someone believes in these six articles of faith, he is one statement away from being a Muslim.  That statement is:

 I testify that there is only one God and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

While belief in Satan is not one of the main articles of faith, the Quran gives many details about him, and repeatedly warns that he is an enemy to mankind and to beware of him.  Satan also has many helpers among spirits and humans (26:95, 114:5-6).  Out of spite, they try to drive people away from God and his guidance, hoping to eventually lead them to Hell.  Specifically, they deceive people so that they will disobey God, mislead people from true faith, and inspire them to be disobedient and ungrateful (7:16-17, 15:39-42).  They sow discord between people (17:53) and cause friction between husband and wife (2:102).  They put the fear of poverty in us so that we will be miserly, or entice us to greed and wastefulness (2:268).  They attract people to drinking and gambling to keep them from remembering God (5:91), command indecency and wrongdoing (24:21), and make such deeds appealing and attractive to them (8:48).  Satan says to people “disbelieve” and when they do, he says, “I am innocent of your deeds…” (59:16).

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