Question: What Are The Main Beliefs of Muslims?
The following six concepts are the most important beliefs of the Islamic faith.
The central message of Islam is monotheism. Belief in monotheism is the cornerstone of the Islamic faith. Muslims believe that all the Prophets sent by God to humanity shared the same central message, which was the message of monotheism. Monotheism is a term used to refer to the belief in the existence of only one deity (God). Muslims believe that there is only one God who created the universe and everything within it. This one God created the heavens, the earth, the stars, the mountains, the oceans, humans, animals, plants and everything else in existence. Muslims also believe that this one God sustains us with mercy by continuing to bless us with the essentials of life. Please refer to the answer "Who is Allah? Is Allah different from God?" for a detailed discussion of the concept of Allah in Islam versus the commonly understood notion of God.
For example, we plant seeds and water them and simply watch the plants as they grow. When the time comes, we harvest the crops and eat from them. Who created these seeds for us? How do they continue to bloom year after year providing us with the food we need to survive? Who created the process of growth for these seeds that allow them to work the way they do? Who put in place the laws of nature that make all of this possible? It is God, the one God who is sustaining us with their mercy. If all seeds stop growing one day, would humans be able to manufacture a seed from nothing and make it grow and provide food? Humans are able to improve seeds, cross breed plants and invent ways to make plants grow faster, but we cannot create anything new from nothingness. We work from the materials which God provided for us. Without these basic materials, we would not be able to invent, create or manufacture anything.
Muslims believe that since there is only one God who created us and who continues to sustain us, then it follows logically that only this one God is worthy of worship. If we want to thank someone for the blessings we have, it should be this one God. If we want to ask someone for more blessings, it should be this one God. Only this one God is able to truly help or harm us, and so we must dedicate our true and pure love to this one God. Therefore, Muslims believe that all acts of worship should be directed to the one God. Worshiping other deities would be unjust to ourselves, since those deities did not create us, do not sustain us, and have no role to play in our lives at all. In fact, such false deities have often been used to control people and to empower and enrich certain classes of people over the common person. Believing in the one God brings freedom and equality to humanity, because it means that all humans have the same, equal, and direct relationship to God.
Muslims also believe that the one God possesses all the best qualities and attributes, since it was God that created all of those qualities and attributes. For example, God is the most merciful. A human being may be merciful, but the mercy of God is many times greater. The mercy of God is the most perfect and complete mercy. The same applies to any other good quality or attribute. God is the most just, most powerful, most wise, most honest and so on.
Belief in the Angels
Muslims believe that just as God created human beings, God has also created angels. However, humans were given free will, whereas angels are always obedient to the will of God. Angels are not able to disobey God, and they carry out all the tasks entrusted to them by God. Muslims do not delve into unnecessary details of how angels were created or where and how they exist. This is knowledge that is beyond our understanding as human beings. We were created within this universe, and everything we observe around us is a creation of God. God created the laws of physics that govern our existence. Even though these laws apply to the entire universe as we know it, they do not apply to God because it is God who created them in the first place. It is impossible for us to understand something that falls outside the normal laws of physics that we know. All knowledge we have of angels was revealed to us by God through the Prophets and Messengers that God sent to humanity. For example, we have been told that angels were created before humans, and that they were created from light. We have also been told about a few specific angels and their tasks. For example, the angel Gabriel is responsible for transmitting the revelations from God to the Prophets and Messengers.
Belief in the Prophets and Messengers
Muslims believe that God created humans and wanted us to be able to live a good life. God does not want us to be misguided or to live miserable lives. God also does not want us to harm other humans or to do other morally evil actions. Therefore, God will hold every human being accountable for every action they have done in their life. In order to teach humanity what is right and what is wrong, God has sent Prophets and Messengers to guide us. These Prophets and Messengers are human beings just like the rest of us. But they were selected to take on the role of receiving guidance and revelations from God through the angel Gabriel and to spread the message among the rest of humanity.
So what is the difference between a Prophet and a Messenger? Messengers are those individuals to whom God sent new revelations constituting a new message for humanity. For example, Moses was a Messenger whose message was the Torah. Jesus was a Messenger whose message was the Bible. Mohammad was a Messenger whose message was the Quran. On the other hand, Prophets were assigned the task of calling people to an existing message. For example, Prophets David and Solomon did not come with a new message, but were calling their people to abide by the existing message of their people.
As you could probably already tell from the previous paragraph, Muslims do believe in Moses, Jesus and many of the same Prophets mentioned in the Bible. However, Muslims believe that all of these Prophets, including Jesus, were normal human beings. Jesus was not the son of God, he was simply a Messenger from God. God gave many of the Prophets and Messengers signs to prove to their people that they are truly Prophets. For example, Jesus was given the ability to heal the sick and even to revive the dead by the will of God. Muslims believe that Jesus never claimed to be a God or the son of God.
Belief in the Holy Books
As mentioned in the previous section on Prophets and Messengers, Muslims believe that God revealed certain messages to guide humanity and to teach them right from wrong. The goal of all of these messages was to guide people to worship God only, and to liberate humanity from the oppression of worshiping false Gods such as idols or kings. Also, the messages were sent to help humans establish a set of laws that would enable them to minimize injustice and evil actions and to make them live happy and fruitful lives. These messages are known as the Holy Books. They include the Torah, the Bible and the Quran.
Belief in the Day of Judgement
Muslims believe that God will hold every human being accountable for each of their actions no matter how small. Since God is the most just, God will not allow someone who lived their entire life stealing, cheating and hurting others to escape with no punishment. God is able to punish these people in their life here on earth, and can punish them even more severely on the Day of Judgement. Also, God will reward those who were patient and who prevented themselves from hurting others for their own personal gain. Although they could have joined others in stealing and cheating to increase their wealth and material possessions during their life, they instead were kind to others and volunteered to help the less fortunate. How can these people and the first group have the same fate in the end? Indeed, when the time comes, the world will end and the Day of Judgement will arrive. Every human being will be held accountable for every action they did, even if it is an atom weight of goodness or evil, they will be rewarded or punished for it.
Belief in Predestination
Muslims believe that God is all knowing. God knows what actions we will take before we take them. In fact, God knew before we were created how we will live our lives and every action that we will do. This does not mean that God controls us. Humans were given free will and they have full control over their actions. However, God simply knows all events that have occured in the past or will occur in the future. As mentioned earlier, the laws of physics, and the laws of space and time as we know them do not apply to God. In fact, God created those laws. Therefore, even though it is very difficult for us to understand, God is all knowing. Even though we have free will, God is aware of what we will do. Muslims believe that if God wants to stop something from happening or force something to happen, God is certainly able to do so. Therefore, everything that happens occurs because God has allowed it to happen.
This is a difficult concept to deal with, because many people will ask why God allows evil and injustice. If God knows about these things before they occur, then why does God not stop them? These are very good questions, and are hard for us as humans to understand. What we do know is that God has created the universe and the laws of nature that make it run. God has chosen to give humans free will knowing full well that many of them will commit injustice and harm other beings. God knows that some people will misuse their power to oppress others. But this is where our belief in the day of judgement comes in, and also our belief that God is the most just. Every human will be rewarded or punished based on their actions during their life.
In fact, take the example of a person who lived a life of total luxury and had everything they ever wanted in life. They were rich, powerful, healthy, and had all the pleasures that this life can offer. Muslims believe that if such a person were evil, a single moment of punishment on the day of judgement would make them forget that anything good had ever happened to them.
On the other hand, take the example of a person who suffers greatly in this life. They are poor, hungry, don't have proper shelter, have illnesses, have lost loved ones, were oppressed and harmed by people, and generally have suffered greatly in life and have never once experienced anything good in this world. Muslims believe that if this person was a good person, a single moment spent in heaven on the day of judgement would make them forget all their hardships and forget that they have ever had anything bad happen to them.
This incredible power of God to heal good people and to punish evil people gives Muslims great comfort that everything will be made right by God on the day of judgement, and everyone will get what they deserve regardless of their circumstances in this life.