Introduction belief in allah - belief in angels

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Beginners’ Course on Islam, …

Beginners’ Course on Islam,
by Muhammad Taufiq bin Abdul Majeed.


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  • 1. What is Islam?Islam is the name of a way of life followed by more than 1.5 billion people around the world today.Muslims, or those who follow Islam, are the majorities in over fifty countries, and the numbers aregrowing every year.The name Islam is an Arabic word that has the meaning of: 1. Total submission and obedience to God. 2. Peace.The full definition implies that when you surrender your will to God, you will find peace in your soul. AMuslim is a person who surrenders to God and for that, he/she finds peace. It is also important for oneto note that Islam is not just another religion that focuses only on the spiritual beings and ritual aspects;rather, it is a complete way of life that is patterned after the natural trend in the universe.God has said in the Quran:“The way of life before God is Islam (peaceful submission to His Will) Nor did the people of the Bookdissent therefrom except through envy of each other after knowledge had come to them. But if anydeny the signs of God, God is swift in calling to account.” [Quran, 3:19]The Message of Islam:Islam teaches that there is only one God. He is the Creator of all things and is above everything in theuniverse. There is nothing or no one who is like Him or can be compared to Him. God, out of His love forus, has sent down guidance through his commandments and laws. For this purpose through the ages, Hechose selected people to convey His messages. These were His Messengers and Prophets. The numberof such messengers and prophets is large and they were sent to all communities. There is no communitywhere He did not send a messenger with His message.The core of the commandment has always been to ask man to serve Him alone and not to associatepartners to Him. This message of all the prophets and messengers from Adam to Muhammad (peace beupon them all) is the same. This message reached its perfection and culmination with Muhammad(peace be upon him) who is the last in the chain of the prophets (peace be upon them).The message of God (in His very own word) was sent through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)and is recorded in the Quran, the holy book1 used by Muslims.1 Essence of Islam, pg.2 - 3
  • 2. Allah:“And yet, some people choose to worship certain earthly things or beings as deities that [are supposedto] resurrect the dead; and they fail to realize that, had there been in heaven or on earth any otherdeities other than Allah, both [those realms] would surely have fallen in ruin!” Quran, 21:21Allah, is the name chosen by the Creator to call himself and was mentioned more than 200 times in theQuran and the name chosen by Him when He introduces himself to Moses. This was recorded in theQuran, 20:14: “Verily, I am Allah: There is no god but I: So serve Me alone, and be constant in prayer, so as to remember Me!”Allah caused the universe to come into existence billions of years ago. He set up natural laws andordered the functioning of matter in accordance with His will. In this way, we can say that the entireuniverse is Muslim, i.e. submitted to His will.2Muslims:To submit to Allah means to follow His Guidance. A person who submits to Him and one who follows Hisguidance is called a Muslim. Acceptance of Allah’s guidance requires one to act and behave in a specificway. That is, one has to put it into practice. This reflects one’s submission to Allah Himself. Allah’sguidance covers all aspects of a man’s life.Hence, the followers of Islam are called Muslim. The Muslim is a noun derived from the root word ofIslam. The followers of Islam cannot be called Mohammedans after Prophet Muhammad (peace be uponhim), for Muslims does not worship Muhammad (peace be upon him).Muslims are simply those who submit to the Will of Allah and obey His commands and refrain fromdoing the things that He prohibits.Who is Muhammad (peace be upon him)?He (Allah) it is Who has sent His messenger (Muhammad) with the guidance and the religion of Truth,that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the idolaters may detest it.”[Quran, 61:9]Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in the year 571AD into the well-respected Quraish tribe ofBanuHashim family clan. He grew up as an orphan, having neither father nor mother. In Arabian societyhe would have been considered a worthless child without a family. But Muhammad’s grandfather lovedthe boy dearly out of the memory of his beloved son, Abdullah. As his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, was2 The subject on Allah will be explained in detail in the next chapter.
  • 3. very old, he then made his son, Abu Talib, promise to care for the young Muhammad. Thus, when hisgrandfather to live under the care of Abu Talib.At the age of 40, Muhammad received the first revelation in a cave 3 miles from Makkah called Hira’. Hethen began teaching and calling people to believe in the oneness of the Creator for a total of 23 years.During this period, he and his followers were tested physically and psychologically. They were eventhrown out and disowned by their families. But with their faith holds strongly to Allah, they perseveredhundreds of challenges and for that, Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions was able totransform the whole of Arabia in one generation.How did this one man and a small number of his close companions manage to win the hearts of theentire Arabian nation? We have heard numerous claims and theories on how that was achieved but theview that is most supported is of his character towards not just his fellow brethren, but to those whoopposed him. It was his kindness and character that won the hearts of those who were against him.The life and the gracious character of the Prophet (peace be upon him), mark the apex of humanconduct, even simply with his pattern of behavior that can be grasped by human understanding. Thepinnacle of prophets and the archetype of human character who completed his mission in the midst ofsociety by setting the best example to emulate, the Almighty has presented him to mankind as, in thewords of the Quran, uswat’ul-hasana, the quintessential example.3Thus states the Holy Quran: “You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a quintessential example forany one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.”[Quran, 33:21]The Essence of Islam:Muslims see Islam as a complete way of life. Islam covers not only the spiritual and ritual aspects, butalso covers every sphere of human activity and for all times. It has the following three distinctdimensions: Faith or belief (iman) Iman is the belief system of Islam, which is the basis of the Islamic worldview. Iman relates closely to the heart of a believer. One of the pious Muslim scholars, Al-Ghazali said: “And faith realizes by a spoken declaration, by confirmation in the heart, and by acting and behaving according to the fundamental principles.”4 A true believer’s does not only say that he/she believes in God while the heart denies what were uttered by the tongue. And one cannot be a true believer without performing the acts that were prescribed upon them. The various aspects of this belief are called the Articles of Faith.3 The Exemplar Beyond Compare Muhammad Mustafa, Osman Nuri TOPBAS, pg.264 Advice to a son, Imam al-Ghazali’s letter, translated and published by A.S Nordeen, pg.6
  • 4. Acts of submission to Allah (‘ibadah/worship) Based on the belief system above, this dimension lays down the ways in which man is to lead his life. It gives detailed guidelines of right and wrong action and conduct in man’s life as an individual and as a member of the community. It also prescribes the obligatory acts of service and worship required of him by his Creator. These acts are called Pillars of Islam. These are the pillars supporting the structure of the Islamic way of life, which is made up of the acts of submission. Perfection of Conduct (ihsan) A true believer is someone who has close relations to the Creator. His mind, heart and soul is connected to the Creator and whatever he does, he does it with sincerity because he knows that his Lord is constantly watching over him. Having this in mind will result in adding quality of beauty and perfection to one’s actions and conduct. Perfection of conduct is about bringing our motivation and spiritual qualities in harmony with our actions and understanding. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Ihsan is that you serve and worship Allah as though you see Him, if not certainly He sees you.”5Article of Faith (ArkaanulImaan): Course Objective: At the end of the lesson, students should be able to identify the six articles of faith, which are: 1. Believe in Allah. 2. Believing the Angels. 3. Believing in the Sacred Books. 4. Believing in the Prophets and Messengers. 5. Believing in the Day of Judgment. 6. Believing in the Divine Will. Introduction: The structure of any building must have pillars, without which no building can be erected. In Islam, these pillars are the articles of faith. Profession of belief without any one of these pillars would render one’s faith incomplete; rejection of any of these pillars would constitute deviation. The definition of Iman: The Prophet (peace be upon him) defines Iman as: “The uttering with tongue, the believing in the heart and performing the actions (to prove the belief) with parts of the body.”5 Hadith Narrated by Bukhari, Hadith no. 50
  • 5. What the Prophet (peace be upon him) meant in his statement above is that, Iman or faith comprises three essential elements: 1. Uttering with tongue: it is to say LaaIlaahaIlla Allah MuhammadurRasullullah, which means that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. 2. Believing in the heart: it is to believe in the meaning of the abovementioned and that the heart acknowledges what was uttered by the tongue. 3. Performing the actions with the parts of the body: it is to prove one’s belief in performing what was commanded and refrain from the things that are prohibited.A Muslim is expected to believe in all six articles of faith. He cannot have partial belief. The expression offaith with all these articles is as follows: Meaning I (solemnly) believe In Allah And His Angels And His Books And His Messengers And the Last Day And the power of doing Good actions And bad (comes) from Allah the Most HighArticle 1: Belief in Allah.As mentioned earlier the Arabic word Allah means ‘The God’. Allah is not a physical or tangible beingand is therefore not visible. He cannot be seen. He is free from limitations of time and space. The wordAllah is neither feminine nor masculine. Allah is indeed a unique word that should not be easilytranslated as God. This name was chosen by Him when He described Himself in the Holy Quran.In one of the briefest chapter in the Quran, Allah chosen to describe Himself in these words:
  • 6. “Say He is Allah, the One! Allah, the Self-Sufficient Master whom all creatures need. He begets not, norwas He begotten And there is none comparable unto Him [Quran, 112: 1-4].Believing in the Creator is the basis of the religion. Everything that we see around us has a Creator forthe creation would not exist without the Creator. Let us see the evidences that were discussed byscholars on the existence of Allah, the Creator. But before doing so, let us reflect on one simplehistorical fact: Since the beginning of human life, the overwhelming majority of humanity has believedthat God’s existence.In addition, people usually confuse the non-acceptance of something’s existence with acceptance of itsnon-existence. While the former is only a negation or a rejection, the latter is a judgment that requiresproof. No one has proven God’s non-existence, for to do so is impossible, whereas countless argumentsprove His existence. This point may be clarified through the following comparison.Imagine a palace with 1,000 entrances, 999 of which are open and one of which appears to be closed.Given this, it would be unreasonable to claim that the palace is inaccessible. Unbelievers confine their(and others’) attention only to the door that is seemingly closed.The doors to God’s existence are open to everybody, provided they sincerely intend to enter throughthem. Some of those doors – demonstrations for God’s existence – are as follows: Everything is contingent, for it is equally possible that they will exist or not exist. Anything can exist anytime and anywhere, in any form, and with any character. Nothing or no one has a role in determining the way, time, and place of its coming into existence, or its character and features. So, there must be a power that chooses between a thing’s existence and non- existence, giving it unique characteristics. This power must be infinite, have absolute will and all- comprehensive knowledge. Necessarily, it is God. Everything changes. Therefore it is contained in time and space, meaning that it begins and ends. That which has a beginning needs one with no beginning to bring it into existence, for it cannot originate itself, as this would require an infinite regression of originators. As reason cannot accept such a situation, an originator who is infinitely self-existent, self-subsistent, and unchanging is needed. This original originator is God. Life is a riddle (scientists cannot explain it with material causes or discover its origin) and transparent (it displays a creative power). Given this, life declares: “God created me.” Everything that exists, and the universe as a whole, display a magnificent harmony and order in themselves and in their interrelationships. The existence of one part necessitates the existence of the whole, and the whole requires the existence of all parts for its own existence. For example, a deformed cell may destroy an entire body. Similarly, a pomegranate requires the
  • 7. collaborative and cooperative existence of air, water, soil, and the sun, as well as their mutual and well-balanced cooperation, for its existence. This harmony and cooperation point to a creator of order, who knows the relationships and characteristics of everything, and who can order everything. The creator of order is God.6These are some of many evidences on the existence of the Creator. Allah has endowed mankind withthe ability to reason, for them to ponder and recognize that the creations need their Creator.The concept of One God teaches us that the One God is the Almighty, the Supreme, the All-knowing ofthe past, present and future. There is none comparable to Him as they too are His creations. Noneshould be called upon Him in worship or in submission together with His name.Allah is the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful. These are the two attributes that link closely to Himand was mentioned in 114 times in the Quran at the beginning of 113 chapters. Allah described to usHis mercy in the Quran: “He (Allah) said: “With My punishment I visit whom I will; but My mercy extendto all things. That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who do right, and practise regular charity, and thosewho believe in Our signs;-“*Quran, 7:156+ A Muslim does not worship to anything or anyone besides Allah. If they do, then they have committedShirk or Polytheism. Committing Polytheism is the greatest sin that a Muslim commits and they will nolonger be regarded as a Muslim as they have associated Allah with another creation. They are regardedas an unbeliever. Allah mentioned about this act in the Quran by saying: “Allah forgive not that partnersshould be set up with Him; but He forgive anything else, to whom He please; to set up partners withAllah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.” *Quran, 4:48+Allah loves all His creations. He mentioned this in the Quran by asserting His qualities as being theLoving one (Al-Wadud), the Most Gracious (Ar-Rahman), etc. He the most Loving, Merciful, Generousand Forgiving to all who seeks His Mercy, Generosity and Forgiveness with a sincere heart. A believermust not lose faith in Him for He is always looking for His servants who’re looking for His redemption.Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “When Allah decreed the Creation, He pledged Himselfby writing in His book which is laid down with Him: ‘My mercy prevails over My wrath.’”7 He also toldthe Prophet (peace be upon him) to tell His servants that He is indeed close to them and that He alwayslistens to their prayers. This was recorded in the Quran: “When My servants ask thee concerning Me, Iam indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me…” *Quran,2:186]6 The Essentials of the Islamic Faith, M.FethullahGulen, pg: 3-57 Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari, Muslim, an-Nasa’I and IbnMajah)
  • 8. Article 2: Belief in the Angels of Allah.Allah created His creations from many types of matter. Some were created out of fire, water, air andclay. Some were created out of nothing. This only shows God’s ability in creating, with or withoutmatter, for He is powerful over all things and if He intends the creation of a thing He wills it to “Be” andit becomes.8Islam teaches us that angels are beings that are neither male nor female. They are not children of Allahor His equals. They are beings created by Allah from divine light. They are invisible to the human eye andunlike other creations, they do not eat, drink, sleep, marry, etc. Their sole purpose of creation is toworship Allah and they are loyal to Him alone. They are bestowed with necessary qualities and powersto carry out their duties as assigned by the Creator, without resorting to choice or free will. Man, on theother hand, is created from clay and has been given free-will and the right to choose between right andwrong.Angels do not oppose commands from Allah as they never go against their Lord. This was explained byAllah in the holy Quran:“They all revere their Lord, high above them, and they do all that they are commanded.”*Quran, 16:50+Angels are assigned by Allah to fulfill numerous duties as assign by Allah Himself. Amongst theseimportant duties that are assigned to them is to record every single deed and action done by man. Wehave to understand that Allah, the All-Knower doesn’t need his servants (the angels that record all ofour actions and deeds) to do this as His knowledge encompasses our every action. He merely wills it so.Allah also assigned the angels to guard both Heaven and Hell, as well as to take the souls of mankindwhen it is time for them to meet their Creator.The most important of all His angels is the one named Jibreel. He is the one who brought revelation toall the Prophets. He is also known in the Quran as RuhulQuddus, or the Spirit of Holiness for his role inbringing the good news to the people of the world.There are a total of 10 names of angels mentioned in the Quran and in the tradition of ProphetMuhammad (peace be upon him). They are:8 Essence of Islam, page 15
  • 9. Name DutiesJibreel Conveyer of Divine messages to all Prophets of AllahMika’il The guardian spirit of land, sea and air. The angel of providenceRaqib‘Atid Records all good and evil actions of manRidhwan In-charge of guarding HeavenMalik In-charge of guarding HellIsrafil Who will sound the note (surin Arabic) which will signal the end of the world and the Day of JudgmentIzra’il Angel of death, in charge of taking people’s souls when they dieMunkar&Nakir They are angels which will question the soul of the dead person as they are awaiting resurrectionAngels not only watch our actions and perform multiple tasks which Allah assigns them; they can alsoimplant peace within our minds and cause a feeling of tranquility to come over us when we are afraid orworried. Only those who have Iman and Taqwa and who sincerely look towards their Lord can hope forthis Sakinah, or tranquility to come. They can also place terror in the hearts of those who are enemies ofAllah.This is a near complete picture of what angels are and what they do. There is no magic. They are notintermingling with us in restaurants and street-corners like they show in movies and on television.Angels don’t feel pride; they don’t disobey Allah nor do they run around like independent agents. Theycan appear in human form but rarely do so, and only when there is some pressing issue that needs to beperformed.99 What Islam is All About, Yahya Emerick, pg. 72