05 June, 2015
It is never too late to learn about Islam and the most proper way to get to know about Islam is to first learn about its very fundamental- the principle of Islamic belief.
In that spirit, let us all begin a lesson on Aqidah Islamiyah (or The Islamic Creed) based on a book of the same name that was authored by none other than the highly respected Islamic scholar, Sheikh Sayyid Sabiq.
Islam, as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), consists of Iman (faith) and Amal (deeds).
In the simplest terms, Iman is the principles upon which Shariah law and amal are derived.
Consistent with the meaning of the word Islam, which is ‘to submit’, the essence of Iman calls for all Muslims to solidly believe in the following six articles of faith:
First and foremost is to believe in Allah including His Exalted Names, Supreme Attributes and most importantly, The Oneness of Allah.
Secondly, is to believe in the realm of the unseen especially the Angels of Allah besides recognizing the existence of Iblis, Jinn and the concept of Ruh (soul).
Thirdly, is to believe in the Books of Allah that will guide Muslims in distinguishing between good and bad, between truth and falsehood, between permissible and forbidden as prescribed in Islam.
Fourthly, is to believe in the Prophets who were chosen to convey the divine message and guidance to mankind.
Fifthly, is to believe in the afterlife and all of its elements such as the Day of Resurrection, judgment, punishment and rewards that is either heaven or hell.
Finally, is to believe in the divine destiny (qada’ and qadar) in that everything in this world occurs as predetermined by Allah.
These are the essence of iman in Islam. It is fixed and remains so until the end of time. On this very same note, the principles of Islamic Law, which serves to fulfil the objective of the articles of faith, are also applicable and relevant for all times and places. A Muslim shall never proclaim that some parts of the Islamic Law, such as hudud, are no longer appropriate in this era, or that its implementation must wait for a more suitable time.
“O you, who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.” (An Nisa’, 4:136)
With this set of belief firmly nurtured in the heart of a Muslim, what comes next is all about the responsibility in practicing it and upholding it. It is all about synchronizing one’s actions, and conscience, with one’s belief.
For example, a Muslim is required to perform salat (prayers), and never to miss it regardless of circumstances, as salat has been prescribed as a fardhu (obligation) upon all Muslims. Here, salat becomes the deed that manifests one’s iman.
And to perform the salat as exactly as how the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed it is also a manifestation of one’s iman. So a Muslim shall not do it in other ways such as praying without covering the aurat. Or, a female Muslim prays as the imam to a mixed-gender congregation.
These are just some of the examples on how Islam is really about the faith and the ensuing deeds. A Muslim cannot just profess to have faith but abandon the deeds that are binding to it. And the deeds must also be true as exemplified by the Prophet, and not an innovation. We will discuss more on this later on.
In the next part of this series, we will share the wisdom of Allah in fixing the principles of iman and also the methodology used by the Prophet in nurturing iman to the people.
May Allah guides and blesses us all with Islam.