5 Pillars and 6 Tenets of Belief

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What is a Muslim? What do they believe in? A Muslim is an adherent of the faith of Islam. Islam is the world's second largest faith with more than a billion followers. It ‘means submission and obedience, and Muslims are expected to live their lives in submission to Allah’. Muslims can be of any race or ethnicity and the word should not be confused with Arab’. Muslims believe Islam was revealed to humanity in the 7th Century, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Prophet Muhammad to reveal verses sent by Allah. The words are believed to have been written down during Muhammad's life, forming the Muslim holy book the Qur’an. The main beliefs of Muslims are included in the six articles of faith as well as the five pillars of belief.

The six articles of faith consist of the: belief in Allah, belief in his angels, belief in his books, belief in his messengers, belief in death and resurrection and also the belief in Devine determination.

Belief in Allah: There is only One God- the Creator and the Provider, who is the most Merciful and Compassionate. It is He Who gives life and causes death, and it is He, that is Unique in His Names and Attributes. The Quran declares "That is God, your Lord. There is no god but Him, the Creator of everything. So worship Him. He is responsible for everything." (6:102) Allah has never fathered anyone, nor was He fathered. He simply has no equals. He is the God of all races and colours, of all believers and unbelievers alike. He is the reason for people’s prayers being answered.

Belief in His Angels: Allah has created the angels from light. They are honourable slaves of Allah, who obey Him and execute His Commands."They never disobey Allah in what He commands them, and they do as they are commanded." (66:6)Allah created them to worship Him, and only Allah knows how many they are. Among them are:- Gabriel, who is charged with delivering Divine revelations to the Prophets and Messengers of Allah,- Michael, who is charged with the rain,- The angel of death who is charged with collecting human souls,- The bearers of the Throne of Allah and- The guards of Paradise and Hell.

Beside these, there are angels who guard humans, others who record people's deeds and utterances and still others who are charged with various other duties and tasks.

Belief in his Books: Muslims believes that the Qur'an is the word of Allah (God), but not the only word. Allah has sent many prophets before Muhammad and He spoke to them as He spoke to him. So a Muslim also believes in the earlier books such as: the Torah and the Gospel, since the true believers are those who "believe in what has been sent down to thee (Muhammad) and what has been sent down before thee" (2: 4).

"Say: We believe in Allah, and that which has been sent down on us, and sent down on Abraham and Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob, and the Tribes, and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and the prophets, of their Lord; we make no division between any of them." (2:136)Belief in His Messengers (the Prophets): Messengers are human beings chosen by Allah who have the honour of conveying God's message to other men and women. Being such a Messenger is not a position that one attains by any consciously designed effort. It is a grace from Allah, but Allah grants this grace to those only who are deserving of it. When Allah chooses any of them, He supports the messenger with a clear 'sign' (57:25) that proves the truth of his claim, and distinguishes him from false prophets, sorcerers and soothsayers (64:41-42), (20:69). None of them betrays the message or falls short of being exemplary in practicing what he preaches. (11:88)"And we send not the Messengers but as givers of glad tidings and as warners. So whosoever believes and does righteous good deeds, upon such shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. * But those who reject Our Ayaat, the torment will touch them for their disbelief." (6:48-49)There are many Prophets and Messengers; no one knows their exact number except Allah. One must also believe in all of them and that they were human; they were not supernatural beings. Allah says:"And we sent not before you (O Muhammad «peace be upon him») but men to whom we inspired, so ask the people of the Reminder (Scriptures) if you do not know. And we did not create them (the Messengers, with) bodies that ate not food, nor were they immortal." (21:8)Belief in Death and Resurrection:Surah Infitaar‘When the heaven is cleft asunder, when the stars are scatteredWhen the seas are burst forth, when the graves are turned upside down,Each soul shall know its earlier actions and its later ones.

O man! What has lured you away from your Gracious Lord,Who created and molded you and gave you an upright shape?In whatever form He willed, He put you together.

Nay! But you deny the Day of Recompense.

Yet there are guardians watching over you,Noble recorders, who know all your actions.

Surely the righteous shall be in Bliss, while the wicked shall be in Hell,Wherein they will enter and taste its burning flame on the Day of Recompense;And they will not be absent therefrom.

Would that you knew what the Day of Judgement is!Oh, Would that you knew what the Day of Judgement is!It is the day when no soul can be of any help to any other soul,And the Decision, that Day, will be with Allah’.

The belief in the Hereafter is a belief in all that the Prophet (peace be upon him) told of what will happen after death, belief in the grave trial, in the grave punishment and in the grave delight, belief in the Day of Judgement, Paradise, and Hell. This trial, of Questions, will be followed either by delight or punishment, until the Big Resurrection (al-Qiyamah al-Kubra) will take place. The souls will be returned to their bodies and the Resurrection, which Allah has told of in His Book (the Qur'an) and through His Prophet, will occur. The people, naked, barefoot, uncircumcised, will rise from their graves to face The Lord of The Universe, while the sun moves nearer to them and their own sweat overwhelms them. Then the scales will be set so that people's deeds may be weighed.

"Those whose scales are heavy (with good deeds) will be successful and those whose scales are light (lacking sufficient good deeds), will lose their souls eternally to Hell." (23:102-103)Belief in Devine Determination (the Hereafter): One must believe that Allah knew everything before it came into being, and what will happen to it afterwards. He then brought them into existence, all in accordance to His Knowledge and Measure. Allah says: "Verily, We have created all things with Qadar." (54:49) Only he has the power to bring good fortune of bad fortune into one's life. Belief of fate has two parts, each part includes two things: The first part is belief that Allah ,The Exalted, knows what the creatures will do in accordance with His Knowledge, which He described as being of Eternity; He has known all their states of obedience and disobedience, all their sustenance and their life span.

The Messenger of Allah said: “A person is not a Muslim until he believes in Qadar, its good and its evil consequences – until he knows that whatever happened to him would have never missed him, and what missed him would never have occurred.” (Tirmidthi 2144)All of the mentioned articles of faith link up to the belief of Humanity, which helps guide many Muslims onto the right path in life; The Quran and other divine scriptures testify this verity that humanity is the core message of prophecy. Some non-believers maintain that religion is the apple of discord. But is it not the mind’s inability to understand and the selfish and greedy passions that cause the discord, not the Truth given by God through the prophets? The prophets rendered great sacrifices. John was beheaded with a saw. Jesus Christ (prophet Issa- Peace be upon him) was tortured and crucified. Muhammad (peace be upon him) was teased and attacked. Thy tyrants and tribal chiefs troubled him, but the prophets tolerated all trials, for God and humanity. Humanity is the message of all religions.