A Muslim's Belief
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What Muslims Believe

The prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace was born in 570 CE. When he turned forty and was meditating in a cave, a luminous presence payed him a visit. It was the angel Gabriel, a messenger from God. Gabriel dictated to him a passage to read. The first bit of the Qur’an was now revealed to the prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace. The angel was to return to the prophet over the next twenty-three years bringing further bits and pieces of the revelation until the entire Qur’an was complete. God’s religion was re-established. The word "Islam" means submission and is related to the word Salam which means peace. Islam is the realization of peace through submission to the one God. The way of submission began with the first human couple, Adam and Eve, and extended down through the ages through God’s prophets and their followers. Every people received a message to worship Allah alone and to shun false gods. A Muslim is one who submits to God. In this sense, it is easy to see that Abraham was a Muslim. He submitted. It is also easy to see that Jesus was a Muslim. He too submitted. In a more limited sense, Islam today refers to that religion which is built upon the Word of God and the man sent to make it known. The Qur’an and the Hadith, the records showing the way of the prophet Muhammad, form the basis of Islam.

What are the
Basic Beliefs of Islam?

1. GOD. Muslims believe that there is only one God alone who is without spouse, children, partners or equals. He begets not, nor is he begotten. And there is none like unto him. He alone deserves to be worshiped. The Muslim confesses: There is no God but Allah. Allah is the Arabic name for God. It is used by Arabic-speaking Christians and Muslims of every language.

The Qur’an denies that God is a duality, or that God is a Trinity. An uncompromising monotheism is maintained throughout.

All except God are his creatures. Those who are regarded as sons of God are in fact no more than chosen servants and messengers of his. Every prophet and messenger preached the same basic message that people should shun false Gods and worship the only true God, Allah.

2. ANGELS. Muslims believe that angels are some of the unseen creatures of God. They are created without the will to disobey, and are therefore always in humble submission to God, carrying out his will. Most popular among the angels is Gabriel, who brought God’s message to human messengers and prophets.

3. BOOKS. Muslims believe that God has revealed his saving message to all of humankind over time. Four such messages are known by the names Torah, Psalms, Gospel, and Qur’an.

The Qur'an is the last of the revealed books. As such, it occupies a unique position as the record of God’s final testament for humankind. God promised to preserve this book from error for all time. Indeed, no one disputes that the Qur’an as we now have it is essentially as it was fourteen hundred years ago.

Because of the Qur’an’s unique historical position, for the believer it acts as a control on the other scriptures; where any of the other scriptures differ from the Qur’an such differences could have arisen through human error in the process of transmission.

On the other hand, the previous scriptures were left to humans to guard as best they could. Over time mistakes arose, commentaries were mixed with the text, and even deliberate changes were made.

The Gospel was true as preached by Jesus, but over time some of his words went unrecorded, and eventually forgotten. Moreover, incorrect teachings came to be associated with his name. The Qur’an is now here to restore his true teachings.

4. PROPHETS. Muslims believe that every people received a messenger from God telling them to worship Allah alone and to shun false gods. Twenty-five such prophets are mentioned by name in the Qur’an. Most of them have been identified as prophets who are mentioned in the Bible. Among them are names like Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Each prophet taught God’s will for the people at the time. The last of all the prophets is Muhammad, on whom be peace. His message will have universal relevance until the last day.

Muslims recognise that Jesus, on whom be peace, was born of a virgin, that he worked miracles, and that he remains alive. We believe that an attempt was made on his life, but God foiled the plans of the enemy and rescued Jesus while the enemy thought they had him. God raised Jesus to Himself, and will send him into the world once again before the Last Day.

Jesus was the Messiah, a prophet of God and his righteous servant. Many took Jesus for the Son of God, and even God himself. Some thought that Jesus’s mother also deserves worship. But the Qur’an restores the teachings of Jesus, who said: ""Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So worship him. This is a straight path"" (Qur’an 3:51).

Some saw his virginal conception as a proof of his divinity. But God replies that he shapes everyone in the wombs as he wants (3:7). Moreover, Jesus is like Adam (3:59). Neither had a father. Both were created by the All-Powerful God. When he intends create a thing he only says to it: ""Be!"" and it is (3:47).

On the Day of Judgement Jesus will deny those who worshipped him; he will clarify that he preached only that which God authorized him to preach: ""Worship Allah, my Lord and yours"" (4:159; 5:110).

5. THE LAST DAY. Muslims believe that in the end God will judge humans for their terrestrial actions. Those who have done well will enter Paradise where they will have everlasting bliss. Others will be doomed to hell.

The judgement will first separate between believers and disbelievers. Disbelievers will be thrown into the fire to dwell therein eternally. Their goodness is already rewarded in this world.

Believers will then be tried according to their actions. Those whose balance of good deeds weigh in their favour will be admitted into Paradise. Of the others God will forgive some and admit them to Paradise. Some he will purify after punishment. Eventually all believers will enter Paradise for their final abode.

The Qur’an is clear that none shall bear the sins of another. Each will carry his own burden. But God is merciful, and will forgive as He pleases.

How does one overcome the burden of sin? First, there is the sin that God will not forgive. That is the sin called shirk, the sin of associating another object of worship along with God. Second, there is the sin that God may forgive. That is everything else but shirk, the one unforgivable sin. Third, there is the sin that God will forgive. That is the sin which was followed by sincere repentance. One who repents after having sinned is like one who has not sinned. For example, entering Islam is a mark of sincere repentance from one’s past life. At that moment all of one’s previous sins are forgiven.

But how can one be perfect enough to please God? The answer is that we cannot be perfect, but God is easy to please. He only requires that we try our best. Ultimately it is not one’s deeds that gets one into Paradise but the grace of God.

6. PREDESTINATION. Nothing happens except by the will and permission of Allah. Everything happens according to the express plan of God. Although from our limited human perspective things happen according to immediate causes, God is the ultimate cause.

Muslims are confident of these beliefs such that Islam usually has a marked impact on a person’s everyday life. They are sure that this is not a man-made teaching but a God-revealed system.