Belief in one God, Allah in Arabic, constitutes the very foundation of Islam. There is no deity except Allah. He is indivisible and absolutely transcendent. God is the Almighty, the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him.
The basic message of Islam is that God (Allah in Arabic) and His creation are distinctly different entities. Neither is Allah His creation or a part of it, nor is His creation Him or a part of Him. This might seem obvious, but, man's worship of creation instead of the Creator is to a large degree based on ignorance of this concept. It is the belief that the essence of Allah is everywhere in His creation or that His divine being is or was present in some aspects of His creation, which has provided justification for the worship of creation, though such worship may be called the worship of Allah through his creation.
However, the message of Islam as brought by the prophets of Allah is to worship only Allah and to avoid the worship of his creation either directly or indirectly.
Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Surah 112)God is He, than Whom there is no other god;- Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. God is He, than Whom there is no other god;- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to God! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him.
He is God, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colors). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (59:22-24)
The Unity Of God
From the beginning of mankind, the first of all revelations is the guidance in the understanding of the ONE TRUE CREATOR GOD - Who He is and who He is not. The One true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. Oneness of God, means uncomprising and pure monotheism. Islam teaches that God is One and unique. The Unity of God, as taught in the Holy Quran implies that God is One in:
- His zat, or person or essence
- His sifat or qualities or attributes
- His affal or work
His oneness of attributes implies that no other being possess one or more of the Divine attributes to perfection.
His Oneness in works indicates that none can do the works which God has done or which God may do.
Nature of God
The Nature of God is summed up in the Holy Quran in Surah Ikhlas or Purity (of Faith): "Say: He is Allah, The One and Only, He is the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, Nor is He begotten; And there is none Like unto Him. Ikhlas 112 : 1-4 Religious scholars have related that Allah has three thousand Names. One thousand are only known by angels, 1,000 known only by prophets, 300 are in the Torah (Old Testament), 300 are in Zabur (Psalms of David), 300 are in the New Testament, 99 are in the Qurfan. This makes 2,999 Names. One Name which has been hidden by Allah is called Ism Allah al-a'zam : The Greatest Name of Allah. All of Allah's Name are great, but since He has hidden this particular Name it is referred to as The Greatest Name. The Name is mentioned in the Qur'an as this Hadis States: Asma, radiyallah anhu, reports that Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said : "The Greatest Name of Allah is in these two verses of the Qur'an, 'He who is worshipped by you is One God, there is no god but Him, the Compassionate and the Beneficent (sura II, 163) : also in the first part of sura Ali Imran, Alif Lam Min - Allah, there is no god but Him, the Alive, the Self-Subsisting. The word Allah is the essential personal name of God. There is no ilah other that the one Great Being known by the name "Allah"
The nature of Allah is here indicated to us in a few words, such as we can understand. Here we are specially taught to avoid the pitfall into which men and nations have fallen at various times in trying to understand Allah.
- His nature is so sublime, so far beyond our limited conceptions, that the best way in which we can realise Him is to feel that He is a Personality, 'He', and not a mere abstract conception of philosophy. He is near us; He cares for us; we owe our existence to Him.
- He is the One and Only God, the Only One to Whom worship is due; all other things or beings that we can think of are His creatures and in no way comparable to Him.
- He is Eternal, without beginning or end, Absolute, not limited by time or place or circumstance, the Reality.
- We must not think of Him as Having a son or a father, for that would be to import animal qualities into our conception of Him.
- He is not like any other person or thing that we know or can imagine: His qualities and nature are unique.
He is All Powerful, Ruler and Master of all, who requires no partners nor has any offspring or family. God is Omnipotent and He is the Creator and Nourisher of the Universe and everything therein; the seen and the unseen, and He it is who takes care of all worlds. God is also Omniscient, Absoletely Just, Most Honorable, Most Excellent, Most Benevolent, Most Compassionate. He has no beginning and no end. He is Unique and spouseless. He is not born nor does He give birth, but He creates. He has control over the Universe and will be sole Jude on the Day of Judgement. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to HIM. The Act of Creation
THEattributes to the act creation are the Creator, The Creator of the soul, the Fashioner of shapes, the Originator.
In trying to understand God, we are told to look into our own existence and the existence of this whole universe.
"It was indeed We who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul whispers to him for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein." Al-Qaf 50:16 Allah is nearer to man than man himself. The things we see and know are the objects of His creations. For example:
We can see anything with our eyes, but we cannot see our eyes without a mirror or a reflection cast on water, etc. The orderly behavior of stars and planets, the distance between the sun and the earth and the space between the moon and the earth are evidence of Allah' Power. We would have been burnt to cinders if the sun were just a little too near to our earth, and we would have been twice inundated by colossal floods everyday if the moon were to come closer to our globe.
THE qualities of Allah are described in numerous places in the Holy Quran. According to Ilmu al-Tauhid, the qualities of Allah are described as:
- Wujud which means the Existence;
- Qidam, the First without a beginning;
- Baqa, the Eternal without an end;
- Mukhalafatuhulil hawadith, the Difference from orginated things;
- Qiamuhubinafsih, the Self-sufficing;
- Wahdaniah, the Oneness in person, qualities and works;
- Qudrat, The Mighty without any limbs or gear;
- Iradat, He wills all learning and thinking;
- Hayat, He lives without life of breath, food or water;
- Sami',He hears without ears;
- Basar, He Sees without eyes or light;
- Kalam, he speaks without words, voice or language;
- Allpowerfull; All-knowing; Everliving, Allhearing; all-seeing.
The knowledge of the Unity of God enables man to see himself in the right perspective in relation to his God, his fellow creatures and the world at large. His mind is free from fear of external influences from animate or inanimate objects, forces of nature and even manmade ism to dominate or exploit man. His fear is to Allah alone Whom he worships and to Whom he seeks help and guidance. He is free to uplift his own physical, moral and spiritual being.
2.Belief In ANGELS
MUSLIM belief in the existence of the angels of Allah and that they over "honoured servants". They do not speak before HE does, and they act only by His command (21:26) Allah created them and they worshipped and obeyed HIM. According to the Holy Book and the Hadith of Muhammad, the immediate servant of Allah to carry out His will are the angels. In the Quran 66:6 we are told:
"Angels, strong and severe, who resist not Allah in that He commandeth them, but do that which they are commanded." Nature Of Angels
ALTHOUGH classified as beings, the angels are sexless and are not endowed with powers of discrimination like those of the human beings. Theirs is to obey Allah and do precisely what they are commanded. Unlike man, they have no will of their own. Hence man is superior to angel. This is evident in Surah 2:34 where angels were commanded to make obeisance to man: " And behold, We said to the angels, 'Bow down to Adam'; and they bowed down; except Iblis (satan). He refused because of pride (of his so-called superior origin) and so be became a disbeliever." Can angels be seen? Angels are not settlers on earth. They are sent down from heaven. The Holy Quran mentions of the angelic hosts sent to help Muslims were not seen by human eyes. The manner in which Divine message is delivered by angel is by revealing it to the hearts of Prophets. The dumb can still communicate with the sign language without voice or words. There instances in the lives of several prophets especially Muhammad s.a.w. when the angel Jibrail or Gabriel was seen by the prophet coming with the Divine revelation, sometimes in the shape of a man. This, however, was not seen with the physical eyes but hose of spiritual. There were occasions when Prophet Muhammad received the Divine message while he was sitting among his Companions: yet no one heard the message nor saw the angel. What Are Angels Created From?
THEangels are immaterial beings. Angels are a special creation of Allah. Although in the Quran man is stated to have been created from dust and jinn or satan from fire, nothing is mentioned about the origin of angels.
However the Holy Prophet said that the angels are created from nur or the divine light. Thus the angels and jinns are two different classed of beings. Angels And Their Function
THEREis a host of angels in the kingdom of Allah. Prominent among them as stated in the Quran and Hadith are: Jibrail or Gabriel
CHIEFamong the angels, archangel Jibrail is also called Ruh al Amin or the Faithful Spirit and Ruh al Qudus or the Holy Spirit.
Jibrail's main function is to communicate God's message to mortal prophets. He revealed to Adam the twenty-one leaves; taught him the cultivation of wheat, the working of iron and the letters of the alphabet and he took him to the site of Mecca where he taught him the rites of pilgrimage.
To Noah, he showed how to build the Ark. He saved Ibrahim from the flame. It as Jibrail who helped Moses to fight against the magicians of Egypt. He was also instrumental in the destruction of Pharao's army in the Red Sea. He appeared to Samuel and Daud to whom he taught the art of making coats-of-mail. Mikail or Michael
GOD commands Mikail to look after the universe, the movement of stars and planets and all the galaxies, and the forces of nature. In Surah 2:98, Mikail is mentioned thus:
"Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and apostles, to Jibrail and Mikail, verily Allah is an enemy to the unbelievers." Izrail
IZRAILis also known malakal Maut or Angel of Death. In Kisas al ambiya there is an account of how Izrail became the Angel of Death. When Allah wanted to create man, He commanded Jibrail to snath from earth a handful of its main constituents.
By the will of God, the earth stirred and begged Jibrail not to take any part of it to create a khalifahon earth for fear that in the end it might rebel against Allah and be tortured in hell. So Jibrail returned commanded him again, he would execute it this time.
But Allah commanded Mikail and Israfil who also failed. It was Izrail who turned a deaf ear to the earth and did what was commanded of him. When Izrail brought the handful of earth to Allah, God said that it was Izrail who brought the elements to create Adam and it shall also be Izrail who will take away the lives of Adam and his generation. Israfil
INthe Holy Quran, it is stated that when the time comes for the Day of Judgement, a trumpet will sound the blast to arouse men from the graves. It is the duty of Israfil to blow the trumpet. Surah 69: 13-20 describes what happens after the trumpet is blown thus:
"Then, when one blast is sounded on the trumpet, and the earth is moved and its mountains, and they are crushed to powder at one stroke; on that day shall the great Event come to pass, and the sky will be rent as sunder, for it will that Day be flimsy, and the angels will be on its sides and eight will, that Day bear the Throne of thy Lord above them. That day shall you be brought to Judgement: not one act of yours that you hide will be hidden." The number of angels and their other functions are known only to Allah.
While Raqib and Atid record our words, Kiraman and Katibun write down the deeds of men. We are told that as soon as the deed is laid in the tomb, two angels namely Munkar and Nakir would appear to interrogate his deeds in this world and examine his faith with such questions as whom he worships as God; who his Prophet is; who his Iman is; etc...., etc....
Two other known angels are Zabaniyah or the Guardian of Hell and Ridzwan or Keeper of Paradise.
- strengthen the rightenous servants god;
- give them comfort in trails and tribulations;
- carry out Divine punishment against the wicked;
- intecede and pray for men on behalf of sinner and those on earth;
- help in the spiritual progress of man;
- prompt man to noble deeds; and
- record the deeds of man.
Significance of the belief in Angels
THEbelief in angels is not just a question of dogma o an article of faith. The proximity of these angels provide us with inducement to do what is good to please those honoured guest who are with us, it will also keep us from doing something evil not only because we feel shame before God but also before the angels who are with us, the presence of the angels help us avoid doing what is immoral or appropriate.
The Quran considers the belief in Angels as part of righteousness as expressed in 2:177 and 2:285. They help awake our moral consciousness.
To the one who has firm belief in God and angels he will hold on the God's promise as in Quran 41:30. "In the case of those who say "Our Lord is Allah", and furthermore stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them so that they will not fear nor grieve, but receive the glad tidings of the Garden or Bliss which were promised."
3.Belief In HOLY BOOK (AL-QURAN)
The Need For Revelations
MAN is endowed with the faculty to conquer and harness nature and subdue his enemies. Among God's creatures, man is the most powerful: even the stern and strong angels have to bow before him. Yet he is a weakling to his self. God, the Most Merciful and Forgiving, despite man's constant sins, resolved through His revelations to the prophet of a particular period. The revelations were then collected into scriptures or holy books which become man's guidance towards the righteous path of life as in Quran 2:24. "This is the Scripture or Book whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who fear Allah. Who believe in the unseen, steadfast in prayer; and spend of that We have bestowed upon them; and who believe in the revelations sent to thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter." Revealed Book
The above verses also enjoin every Muslim to believe not only what was revealed to Muhammad but also those revealed before him.
THUS the third pillar of faith is to believe in revealed books namely:-
- Taurat or the original Torah of Musa (Moses)
- Zabur or the original Psalms of Daud (David)
- Injil or the Original Gospel of Isa (Jesus)
- Quran or Furqan and other Books of previous prophets.
All the above books are indicated in the following surahs and verses in the Quran : 3:3-4
"He hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Book with truth, confirming that which was revealed before it. And He revealed the Taurat and the Injil as a guidance to mankind; and hath revealed the Furqan or Criterion (of right and wrong). Then those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, theirs will be a heavy doom. Allah is mighty and Able to Requite (the wrong)". Quran : 4:163
"Lo! We inspire the (Muhammad) as we inspired Noah and prophets after him, as We inspired Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ismail (Ishmael) and Ishak (Isaac) and Ya'kub (Jacob) and the tribes and Isa (Jesus) and Lut (Lot) and Yunus (Jonah) and Harun (Aaron) and Sulaiman (Solomon), and unto Daud (David) we gave the Zabur."
Muhammad (s.a.w.) in the Bible
However, it is not the Torah or Pentateuch in the Old Testament, the Psalms and the Gospels in the New Testament, in the present form, that are required to be believed by Muslims. They have been tampered by human hands and no longer remain the original revelations of God. AND woe has indeed bee on half the mankind when the coming of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. has not been given the proper commentary in the Bible such as in John 16:12 and 13:
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now".
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth : for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak : and he shall show you things to come". On both these verses, James M. Gray, D.D., in his Christian Workers' Commentary on the whole Bible states:
"Verses 12 and 13 of this chapter are 'Christ's preauthentications of the New Testament'. He would leave many things to be revealed for example, and this revelation would be completed after the Spirit came".
Who is "he, the Spirit of truth"? Has he come?
The original text is lost and verification cannot be made now, But the last clause "for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak"... refers to none other that the Holy prophet Muhammad also known as al-Amin (the truthful one) who did not speak for himself, but the words of God revealed to him.
Nevertheless, the actual name of Muhammad is mentioned in the Gospel of St. Barnabas 163:180 thus:
"Jesus answered: He is Muhammad, the Messenger of God".
Similar instances of misinterpretation and alteration occur in the Torah supposedly in the Pentateuch of the God Testament. The truth is contained in the Quran 5:51:
"And unto the (Muhammad) have we revealed the Book with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee..." Thus the above verse shows that after the corruption of the older revelations, the Quran comes with a tow fold purpose:
- to confirm the true and original Message and
- to guard it or act as a check to its interpretations.
Surah 5 verses 47 and 50 ordain the People of Gospel and the Law (Torah) to judge only by what God has revealed. Revelation
Quran 42:51 tell how revelation comes to man, thus:
"It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by:
- inspiration; or
- from behind a veil, or
- by the sending of a Messenger to reveal, with Allah's permission
what Allah wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise."
Revelation is not only universal but also progressive according to the need of time and development of the prophet- Muhammad s.a.w. as in Quran 5:4:
"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion."
That was the last verse revealed to our prophet. All religions were from God. But when man started to tamper with the word of God, doubts and differences occur. And these bred sceptics, hypocrites, atheists and unbelievers, bringing more and more woes to the world, instead of bringing unity among mankind under the banner of God. And those who have been endowed by God the knowledge of Quran, the Holy Book of Truth, they are constantly reminded of the purpose of the Quran as revealed to our Holy Prophet in Quran 16:64:
"And We sent down the book to thee the express purpose that thou should make clear to them those things in which they differ, and that it should be a guide and a mercy to those who believe." The Quran of Furqan. "Read! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher who created: Created man out of a clot of congealed blood.
Read! And thy Lord is most Bountiful. He who taught (the use of) the Pen. Taught man that which he knew not". That was the first Divine Message revealed to Muhammad s.a.w. The were recited by Jibrail (Gabriel), the Archangel, to the Holy Prophet in the Cave of Hiraa on the night of 17th in the month of Ramadhan (fasting month) during the 41st year of Muhammad's life. To believe in the Quran is to have faith in it as the words of God.
Since that night, henceforth called Lailatul Qadar-the Grand Night-for a span of twenty-two years-over 12 years in Mecca and 10 years in Madina, the Divine revelations were delivered to him until 9th Zulhijjah, Hijrah 10. On that date, while performing the Haji Akbar or Haji Wada'-farewell Pilgrimage-the last message was revealed to the Holy Prophet:
"This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for your Islam as your religion". Eighty-one days after this final revelation, the Holy Prophet passed away at the age of sixty-three.
The revelations came piece-meal-verse by verse. There are altogether 6,666 verses although some school would say 6,240. Each verses was committed to memory by Muhammad who could not read or write. His Companions and followers however wrote the verses on date leaves, camel bones and goat skins and the record was testified by the Holy Prophet.
The arrangement of the Quran was a part of the Divine scheme. Under Divine guidance, the verses were grouped into 114 surahs or chapters of varying lengths. Ninety-two of the surahs were revealed in Mecca while the rest in Madina. The Meccan surahs are thus called Makkiah and those of Madina, Medaniah.
The Meccan revelations, are mainly on faith in God, monotheism, ethics and life hereafter. The Mediniah is chiefly intended to translate that faith in to action through the principles of Islam and Iman (faith), the laws governing Man's deeds and actions while some of the Madina verses dwell on State matters.
In fact, the Quran besides teaching Man of his obligations of God, reveals to Him the manner of conduct towards mankind and society. The Holy Book not only abounds in moral teachings but also a wealth of sciences yet to be explored. Al-Quran also shows the Way to success in life.
In 25 A.H. Huzaifah ibni Al-Juma'an who had just returned from the battlefields in Armenia and Azerbaijan was reported to have to Caliph Othman that he had heard several variations in the recitation of the Holy Quran in several Muslim countries. At once, Caliph Othman ordered the compiler, Zaid ibni Thabit to make several copies of the Holy Quran, so that "there would not arise any differences with regard to the Quran as in the case of al-Taurat, Zabur and Injil".
Today, although millions of copies have been printed, al-Quran has not lost its originality. Not even a dot or a line has been abrogated in the course of over 1,400 years of its existence.
4.Belief In Prophets
Man is animal - a higher animal" so goes the saying.
However, the mind in man makes him different from the animal.
The mind is the greatest gift that God has bestowed upon man. Tamed and cultivated the mind can control matter, yet subservient to God. Wild and unschooled, the mind is able to master the forces of destruction and turn rebellious to God. Hence, although man is endowed with intellect, he has to be instructed, preached to and shown examples for his upliftment in line with his destiny in this world - to be the vice-regent of God-as in Surah 2:30
It takes a man to guide a man, for a man has emotions and ever confronted with all kinds of temptations unlike angles. Thus God chose among human beings, men whom He raised as prophets to guide men to attain perfection. But the guidance comes from His as He warned in Surah 2: 38-39: "When there comes to you a guidance from Me, then who so follows My guidance, no fear will be on them, nor shall they grieve. But those who reject Faith and belief Our signs, they shall be companions of the fire; and there, they shall abide." Belief in All prophets
Although every people, generation or nation has had its prophet, Islam enjoins its followers to believe in all the prophets as ordained by God in Surah 4:152: "Those who deny Allah and His apostles, and those who wish to separate Allah form His apostles, saying: "We believe in some but reject others," and those who wish to take a middle course, they are in truth unbelievers; and We have prepared for unbelievers a humiliating punishment."
"To those who believe in Allah and His apostles and make no distinction between any of the apostles, We shall give their due rewards for Allah is All Forgiving and Most Merciful." According to a hadith the number of prophets is 124,000 but the Quran mentions only 25 of them namely, Adam, Nuh (Noah), Hud, Salih, Ibrahim (Abraham), Lut (Lot), Ismail (Ismael), Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), Shu'aib, Yunus (Jonah), Ayub (Job), Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Daud (David), Sulaiman (Soloman), Zakaria (Zachariah), Yahya (John the Baptist), Elias (Elijah), Dzulkifli (Ezekiel), Elisha, Idris, Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad. In surah 40:78 Allah revealed to Muhammad s.a.w. "We did aforetime send apostles before thee: of them there are some whose story We have not related to thee." An outstanding aspect of the Islamic belief in prophethood is that Muslims believe in and respect all the messengers of God with no exceptions. Since all the prophets came from the same One God, for the same purpose - to lead mankind to God - belief in them all is essential and logical; acceptiong some and rejecting others has to be based on miconceptions of the prophet's role or on racial bias. The Muslim are the only people in the world who consider the belief in all the prophets of God as an article of faith. Thus the Jews reject Jesus Chirst and Muhammad (PBHU) : the Christians reject Muhammad (PBUH) and in reality reject Moses because they do not abide by his laws. The Muslims accept them all as messengers of God who brought guidance to manking. However, the revelation which those prophets brought from God had been tampered with in one way or another. The belief in all the messengers of God is enjoined on the Muslim by the Quran: "Say (O Muslims) : we believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ismael, and Isaac and Jacob, and their children, and that which Moses and Jesus received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and Unto Him we submit The Quran continues in the following verses to instruct the muslims that this is the true and imperial belief. If any other nations believe in the same, they are following the right track. If they do not, they must be following their own whims and biases and God will take care of them. Thus we read: "And if they believe in what you believe, then they are rightly guided. But if they turn away, then they are in disunity, and Allah will suffice you against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower. This is God's religion and who is better than God in religion?" (2:137-38) Attribute of Prophets
What type of beings are the prophets?
Prophets were all human beings since human beings alone could serve as models and become reformers of mankind.
According to Surah 21:7-8: "...The apostle we sent before thee were men to whom We granted inspiration. Ask the people of the Book if you know not. Nor did We give them bodies that ate food; nor were they exempt from death." Besides being human, they are:
- Siddiq : Truthful and righteous;
- Amanah : Faithful and trustworthy;
- Tabligh : Never withhold what has been revealed to them;
- Fatanah : Intelligent and sagacious; and
- Sinless :
Miracles which occurred uring the life of several of the prophets should not be attributed to powers of the prophets or certain faculties of the prophets, like Musa's splitting the sea nad drowning Pharoah and his army; Yunus' deliverence from fish's mouth; and Isa' a raising the dead to life, restoring sight to the blind and curing all kinds of ailments. A prophet has to effect a moral and spiritual transformation. In a society "seeing is believing" miracles became just a means to appeal to the reasoning faculty.
The miracle of Islam is the Holy Quran. It has transindividuals and families; societies and nations. It has awakened the material as well as the moral, intellectual as well as the spiritual being in a man. Prophecy
While miracles are generally the manifestation of the powers of Allah, prophecy gives prominence to God's knowledge which comprehends the future as well as the past and present. Among the prophecies, the triumph of Islam finds a prominent place in the Holy Quran.
These prophecies were revealed when Muhammad s.a.w. stood alone against the mighty forces of polytheism and idolatry. True to the prophecy, Muhammad s.a.w. succeeded in delivering the message of The Unity of the Divine Being, and inviting the people of the world to obey this Being and to do good to their fellow men. And thus Muhammad s.a.w. becomes the world prophet as in Surah 25:1: Blesses is He Who sent down the Criterion upon His servant that he ammy be a warner to all the people of the world. Unlike his predecessors Nuh, Hud, Salleh, Shu'aib - each of whom was raised to be the prophet "to his people" and Musa, was commanded to "bring forth thy people from darkness into light" (14:5) and Isa is spoken of as "a messenger to the children of Israel" Finality of Prophethood
With the appearance of the world-Prophet in the person of Muhammad s.a.w. comes the truth of Surah 2: 213:
"All the mankind are one single community..."
We have seen how Islam sweep away all barriers of geographical, colour, racial-to unify the human race under the banner of One God.
A religion brought to perfection whereby one has only to seek in the Quran to find the requirements of the present-day world or for the future generations. For no other religious book has ever claimed thus as in Surah 5 Verse 3 of the Holy Quran: This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed on My blessing.
With the perfection of religion comes the finality of prophethood for there is no need for another prophet and another religion after the Holy Prophet Muhammad and Islam. Muhammad s.a.w. appeared some six hundred years after the prophecy of Jesus. It is now nearly fourteen hundred years after the advent of Muhammad without any other prophets.
5.Belief In Life After Death
In the same way that Muslim believe in God although they cannot see Him, we are slso required to believe in Life after Death, although no dead man has ever come back to tell us his story.
However in the Quran, in Surah 23: verses 99 and 100, and in many other chapters and verses, God has revealed to us what happens to those who have refused to believe:
"Until, when death approaches one to them, he says, "My Lord, send me bacl (to life), so that I may do right in that which I have left undone. "By no means. It is a mere word that he speaks. And behind them is a barrier (barzakh) until the day they are raised up."
From these two verses we can see that:
- there is continuity of life immediately after 'death':
- the period spent in the grave is an intermediate one, between death and resurrection:
- the life hereafter is eternal unlike the life on earth which is rasitory, as a preparation for the higher life;
- the fruit of our actions or deeds on earth is accordingly shown to us immediately after death; hence the need to live a virtuous life.
Physical & Spiritual Development
Thus our life is a continuous development of our physical and spiritual being. The Holy Quran has indicated the three stages of physical development namely the stages of dust or clay, embryo and birth. There are also three stages of spiritual development which can also be identified with the physical one thus:
We all know that we were created from dust or clay like our forefather, Adam. The clay contains the elements with which we will be moulded. This is the preparatory stage of our physical development. Surah 23:12 states:
- "Verily, We created men from the product of we earth."
Verses 13 and 14 the same Surah further indicates the formative stage of physical development thus;
- "Then We placed him as a drop (or seed) in a safe lodging. Then We made the drop a clot; then We made that clot a little lump; then We clothed the bones with flesh..."
And finally the verse shows us the fully developed human being in a new form, unlike the dust from which he was created: "… and then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators!"
In this developed staged, we are endowed with a body, a soul and mind, or in other words, physical and spiritual being and intellect. This is the most critical stage of our development for whatever physical action we commit on our fellow creatures and how we react to situations in this life on earth have a certain bearing on our spiritual development, which is very essential for the next step in our life as in verses 15 of the same Surah:
"After that, at length you will die." Death
Death, like dust in our physical development is only the beginning stage into a higher life. The fruits of our deeds in this world is immediately known to us as indicated by spiritual experience of evil one taken by death in verses 99 - 100 of Surah 23 at the beginning of this article.
Thus the virtues and vices we committed during our life on earth become, as it were, the elements for the next formative stage of our spiritual development - the grave or the intervening barzakh - like the embryo in the mother's womb during the physical development. Grave
According to a Hadith transmitted by Bukhari and Muslim, Muhammad s.a.w. is reported by Abdullah bin Umar, as saying, "When a person dies, his abode among the inhabitants of paradise will be shown to him morning and evening if he is to be one of them; but if he is to be one inhabitants of hell. His abode among them will not be shown him. He will be told that this is his abode to which God will finally raise him on the day resurrection."
We have only a glimpse of the happening immediately after death - the reward and the punishment in the grave but there are yet many secrets beyond our perception like Surah 32:17:
"No person knows what is kept hidden from them of joy as a reward for what they used to do." Resurrection
What resurrection means can be gauged from the various names under which it is referred to in the Holy Quran. The resurrection refers to a general destruction and a great awakening. The Holy Quran gives some vivid revelations on this great event in the following verses, which are found in the chapter entitled "The Awakening".
- "He (the sceptic) asks "When is the day of Resurrection' When the sight is dazzle, and the moon becomes dark, and sun and moon are united. On that day man will cry: "Where can I run away to?" "Alas! There is no place of refuge…some faces on that day will beam in brightness and beauty looking towards their Lord and some faces on that day will be sad and dismal knowing that there will bade to befall on them some great calamity. : -Surah 75:6-25.
- And the book (of deeds) shall be put forward, then youwill see the guilty fearing or account of what is in it, and they will say, "Ah! Woe to us! What a book this is! It does not leave out a small(deed) or a great one, but records them all." - Surah 18:49
- "And the measuring out that day will be just; then as for those whose measure of good deeds is heavy, they shall be successful. And as for those whose measure of good deeds is light, those it is that have made their souls suffer loss."
No person know what delights of the eye are in store for them as a reward for their good deeds."
Dwellers of Paradise
Generally those whose good deeds outweigh the bad ones will have a place in Paradise. There are four classifications of people according to various spiritual experinces gained in this life, namely:-
- the prophet who taught and led mankind; lovers of truth who upheld it with their person, influence and resources; and the witnesses who testified to the truth either by martydom, the tongue of the true preacher, the pen of the devoted scholar or the life of the man devoted to service; and good people who led ordinary lives but always in righteous way, these will be bestowed with the Grace of God and united in a beautiful fellowship thus a s in Surah 4:69:
- "All who obey God and the Apostles are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of god - the prophets, the sincere, the witnesses and the righteous: and what a beautiful fellowship they make." and again:
- The righteous will be amid gardens and fountains of clear flowing water.
Their greetings will be 'Enter ye here in peace and security." And we shall
remove from their hearts and lurking sence of injury. They will be brothers,
joyfully facing each other. There no sense of weariness shall touch them, nor
shall they ever be asked to leave. Surah 15:45-48
Again, it is our deeds that decide our life in the Hereafter, The Holy Quran states in Surah 43;72-74:
- This will be the garden or which you are made heirs for your good deeds in life. You shall have therein abundance of fruit, from which you shall have satisfaction." However, in Islam, the greatest sinner has the opportunity to redeem himself in this life by repetence, for God is Most Merciful and Oft-Forgiving and He promises in Surah 39:53-54:
- "Says: O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of god: for God forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn ye to your Lord in repentence: bow to His will, before the penalry comes to you: after that ye shall not be helped …"
Life in Hell
When death overtakes sinner before they repent, they will become the citizens of Hell,
- "And verily, Hell is the promised abode of them all! To it are seven gates: for each of these gates is a special class for sinners." Surah 15:43-44
Every man's Hell will take its shape according to his evil deeds ensuing from atheistic belief or polytheism, hypocrisy, base passion and evil practices, oppression of the innocent, sensuality and iniquity or vicious activities.
- Jahim - intense heat produced by leaping flames of fire;
- Saqar - the excessive heat melting everything;
- Laza - sweeping flames of fire;
- Jahannam - deep pit;
- Hutama - that which crushes and grinds everythiung to powder;
- Sa'ir - blasting fire; and
- Hawiah - bottomless pit.
Like the heaven or paradise described in symbolic terms too is hell. A man's Hell is within his own heart as in Surah 104:4-9:
- "He will surely be cast into the crushing fire; and what shall cause thee to
understand what the crushing fire is ; It is the fire kindled by Allah which
rises from the hearts verily rising over them like a vault on outstreched
What punishment awaits those who disbelieve in God and the sinners? Surah 22:19-22 states;
- "Those who deny their Lord, for them will be cut out a garment of Fire and over their heads will be poured out boiling water. With it will be scalded what is within their bodies as well as their skins. In addition, there will be maces of iron to punish them. Every time they wish to get away from it all, they will forced back therein, and (it will be said unto them)"Taste you the penalty f burning!" As for their drink and food, the Holy Quran states:
- "The tree of Zaqum. We have truly made it an ordeal to the wrong-doers. It
is a tree that springs out of bottom of Hell-fire: Surely they will eat of it
and fill their bellies with and then they will be given a mixture of boiling
water to drink." Surah 37:62-67
Several verses in the Quran state that sinners will have chains around their necks symbolic of those who were slaves of their lusts and those who were not capable of independent thinking. Some will be in scoarching wind and scalding water with no food except the filthy wash of their wounded bodies or thorns which will neither nourish them from hunger while some will be clothed in shirts of pich. The torment or punishment in hell is continuous. When any part of the body loses its sensitiveness, fresh skins will be substituted so that they will be constantly subject to pain. This is indicated inSurah 4:46:
- "Those who reject Our signs. We shall soon cast them into the fire as often as their skins are roasted through. We shall change them for fresh skins so that they may taste the torments. For God is Mighty, Wise." Such is the contrast in life after death that we now see how important is every deed of ours in this world toward God and His creatures. While the promise of reward in Paradise persuades us to aspire towards a higher spiritual life, the punishment in Hell deters us from evil deeds and baser from of life. It is our deeds in this would that decide our abode in the next for;
- "Every man's deed have We fastened on his own neck. On the Day of judgement We shall bring out for him a scroll which he will see spread open. Read your own record: only you, you alone on this day make out an account against you" Surah 17:13-14
6.Belief In Taqdir
True Muslims believe in Taqdir as ordered by Allah. Those who believe in Fatalism are not true Muslims. Fatalism as we all know, asserts that all human activities have been predestines. Fatalism denies the freedom of will in man, thus dampening all enthusiasm for progress, besides destroying morality. There are several verses in the holy Quran which give the meaning of taqdir. Surah 25: verses 2 states: -
"He Who create everything, then ordained for it a measure (taqdir)"
This is further explained in Surah 36: 38-40 thus: "And the sun runs its course for a period determined for it: that is the taqdir (law) of the Mighty and the knowing. And as for the moon, We have measured for it stages till it returns like the old and withered palm leaf. It is not catch up the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day each floats in its own orbit according to law." From the above verses we can see that Allah created the universe and all the things in it with a certain purpose. To achieve that purpose a certain law has to be obeyed, the law, which is commonly, know as the law of Nature. For example in the solar system, if the sun tilts a bit from its position, some planets might be burn up while others might freeze.
Likewise, man, as a part of the universe has been created with a function to serve and has been endowed with certain faculties and capabilities related to that function.
To enable man to discharge his various function, Allah has endowed him with the necessary capabilities as in Surah 95: 4: "We have indeed created man in the best of moulds." With this best of moulds, he is to conquer nature; to elevate himself morally and spiritually through his dealings with his Creator and seek purity in life. For his conquest of nature, Allah has bestowed him intellect. In our lifetime, we have seen ourselves how man uses his intellect to probe into the unknown laws of nature that enable him through modern science to land on the moon. While man rejoices over his materialistic benefits, he still needs guidance to keep the peace among his fellow creatures on earth as well as to uplift his moral and spiritual being.
This guidance is provided by Allah through His book of revelations, in particular the Holy quran in Surah 5: 16-18: we read: "O people of the Book! There has come to you Our Apostle, revealing to you much that you used to hide in the book (Torah and Bible) and passing over much (that is now unnecessary): There has come to you from Allah a new light and a clear Book, wherewith Allah guides all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leads them out of darkness, by His will unto the light - guides from to path that is straight." Going back to the people in despair over their first failure in life mentioned the beginning of this article, they should not commit unislamic acts. They should analyse themselves or open themselves to self-criticism.
To a true Muslim, failure and success like misfortune and prosperity are mere opportunities to exercise his dormant capabilities. Now that we know that we have been created with a certain measure (taqdir) for a certain purpose, when we "Have I gone beyond my capabilities or taqdir?" For in Surah 2:286, it is stated that: "On no, soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear." We should also ask "Have I transgressed the law (taqdir) ordained by Allah for me in performing my functions. From these simple questions we might be able to figure out what actually is our own specific purpose, for which we have been created in this world. Knowing our specific purpose in this universe will help us to pursue our ambition in the right direction. We can only know this after several trails and tribulations. The world has produced many great men who succeeded through their very failures. In fact, between misfortune and prosperity, the latter is a more severe from of trial. The Quran warns us that it is prosperity and plenty that often turn man away from Allah and Surah 64:15 keeps reminding us that: - "Your riches and your children are only a trial; but in the presence of Allah is the highest reward." Taqdir which recognizes freedom of human will makes a man responsible and accountable for his deeds. It makes man the ruler of the universe, harnessing the forces of nature to the service of man, bringing peace on earth and promoting love between man and his fellow beings. Together with the belief in Allah, Angels, Prophets, Scriptures and Life after Death we are also ordered by Allah to believe in Taqdir or Premeasurement. The belief constitute the Pillar of Faith or Iman essential for every muslim. Thus concludes the series with a reminder from Surah 35:8: "Is he, then, to whom the evil of his conduct is made alluring, so that he looks upon it as good (equal to one who is rightly guided ?)
For Allah leaves to stray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills. So let no your soul go out sighing after them: for Allah knows well all that they do!"