The Islamic system of belief is a set of principles pertaining to the Creator, to prophecy, and to the unseen, which includes such matters as the existence of angels, the Resurrection, and the Last Day. It deals with anything that the Messengers have informed us about on the basis of revelation – the teachings that they commanded us to believe in with certainty while knowing that everything to the contrary is false.
What is Included in the Islamic Belief System
1. Everything that pertains to Allah and everything that Allah has told us about himself regarding His essence, His attributes, and His actions.
2. Everything that pertains to the attributes of the noble Messengers who were sent by Allah to deliver His message to Mankind, as well as what is necessary for the Messengers, what is possible for them, and what is impossible.
3. Everything pertaining to the Unseen that can only be known by way of revelation from Allah Almighty, His messengers (upon them be peace), or one of His revealed books.
Belief in the unseen includes the following:
The angels: It is obligatory for us to have a general believe in all of the angels. It is also incumbent upon us to believe specifically in the angels who are mentioned by name.
The revealed books: It is obligatory for us to believe that Allah has books that He sent down to His Messengers (upon them be peace). We must believe in the books that are specifically mentioned. Allah says:
“We gave the Zabûr (Psalms) to Dâwûd”
“Verily, we sent down the Tawrât containing guidance and light”
“Let the people of the Injîl (Gospel) judge by what Allah has revealed therein.”
Likewise, we must have a general belief in the existence of books that have not been mentioned.
The Last Day: We must believe in everything that we have been told about it, including: when it will occur and what will take place when it does, like the resurrection, the gathering of mankind, the judgment, and Paradise and Hell.
Creation: We must believe in everything that has been mentioned regarding the origin of Creation.
The Importance of the Islamic Belief System in a Person’s Life
1. Every structure – whether it be material or abstract – needs to rest upon a firm foundation. The Islamic faith is a complete structure encompassing the entire life of a Muslim from the time he is born to the time that he dies and even to his final destination after his death. This weighty structure rests upon the firm foundation of the Islamic belief system, which takes as its starting point the unity of the Creator. The Almighty says:
“Say (O Muhammad): Truly my prayer, my sacrifice, my life, and my death are for Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds, who is without partner. This is what I have been commanded and I am the first of the Muslims.”
Islam places great emphasis on its beliefs, whether it be by establishing them with clear texts, or with respect to the effects these beliefs have on the minds of those who believe in them. For this reason, we find that Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) spent ten years in Mecca with the Qur’ân being revealed to him. Most of what was revealed during this time dealt with establishing the edifice of Islamic beliefs. After these beliefs were firmly entrenched in the souls of his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), the legal injunctions began to be revealed. This occurred mainly after the emigration to Madinah.
2. A belief system, irrespective of which belief system it is, can be counted as a necessity of human life that no person can dispense with. This is because man, by his inborn, natural disposition, feels a tendency to take refuge in a higher power that he believes has a supernatural and absolute dominion over him and over everything else in Creation. This belief facilitates for him his natural inclination towards religion and fulfills this need of his. This being the case, the best way to facilitate this need is with the correct belief that agrees with human nature and respects both a person’s intellect and his dignified place in Creation. This is what the Islamic belief system offers. Allah says:
“Those who believe and do not corrupt their belief with transgression, for them there is security and they are the rightly guided.”
3. Since Islam is a comprehensive structure, including within itself belief, worship, and behavior, it is necessary that this structure is well coordinated and harmonious. For this reason, we find that the foundation that this structure rests upon is the Islamic belief system. It is the belief system of pure monotheism, of the oneness of Almighty Allah, that is the central factor in the proper understanding of Islam. All the beliefs, acts of worship, interpersonal relationships, and behaviors that Islam calls towards are oriented towards one objective, and that is absolute sincerity to Allah in faith. This unified orientation is of utmost importance in understanding the Islamic religion. Allah Almighty says:
“Who is better in faith than he who submits himself to Allah and does right.”
4. Sincerity and exclusive devotion to Allah in one’s religion cannot be fully realized except through the sincere and exclusive love of Allah, the object of one’s worship. This love can only be complete when there is complete knowledge. The Islamic belief system provides man with everything that he needs to know with respect to Allah. In this way, his love of Allah can attain its fullest potential. He will then strive to be perfectly sincere to Allah, because he has proper knowledge of Him. Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I have the most knowledge of Allah, and I fear Him the most.”
5. Man is Allah’s vicegerent on Earth. Allah has appointed man to inhabit it, just as He has ordered man to worship Him and to call others to His religion. Throughout his life, a Muslim feels that he fulfills Allah’s mission by implementing His Law on Earth, so his beliefs compel him to work sincerely and in earnest, because he knows that he is religiously commanded to do this and will be rewarded for every good thing that he does, be it is great or small.