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
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
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
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
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.