The Oneness of God
Allah is the Arabic word for God, and is derived from the root word ‘walaha’ meaning ‘love’ or ‘worship’. Muslim theology is based on the logical argument that this contingent world needs a Creator to move from a state of non-existence to a state of existence, and since this Creator Himself created the world, He must be free from the limitations in this world such as space, time and form. Therefore, Allah is Unlimited and Eternal, and this means that He must be One.
“Whatever is in the heavens and the earth declares the glory of Allah, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He gives life and causes death; and He has power over all things. He is the First and the Last, the Apparent and the Immanent, and He is Cognizant of all things. He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six periods and He is firm in power” (57:1-4)
Oneness here does not mean numerical unity, rather it means that Allah is Unique and Peerless. This is the basis for Islam denouncing any notion of Dualism or Trinity.
“Say “He is Allah, (the) One. Allah, The Self- Sufficient Master, He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” (112:1-4)
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The Justice of God
Justice is one of the major attributes of Allah. This means that Allah recompenses His creatures, both in this world and the next, in accordance with a just and fair system which He has put in place and which He has made clear for people. Those who believe in Him and perform virtuous deeds are rewarded abundantly, and those who disbelieve in Him and perform evil deeds are punished accordingly.
“That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds. So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it.” (99:6-8)
Allah’s Justice also applies in this world, in which He has blessed humans with free will and conflicting interests which at times pull them towards good and at times pull them towards evil. This free will is the greatest blessings given to humankind, because it is due to free will that we enjoy life. A part of this perfect system of life are the hardships, afflictions and evils as tests and opportunities which give humans the opportunity to perfect themselves and earn greater rewards and higher spiritual stations. Without these tests, free will, that most satisfying flavour of existence, would be futile.
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Nubuwwah and Imamah
Prophethood and Divine Leadership
This is another major foundation of Islamic faith, and it centres on the concept that the connection between Allah and His creatures is established through infallible messengers, prophets and trustees, whom Allah chooses and with whom He communicates through revelation and inspiration. These messengers then have a responsibility to inform people about the rules and regulations that their Creator has set for them, and which are designed to take them to their social and spiritual perfection. This revelation comes in the form of holy books, communicated to several prophets throughout history. These prophets include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the final prophet and messenger, who was sent with the Holy Qur’an, which is the verbatim, unadulterated word of God.
“He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger from among themselves, reciting to them His Verses, purifying them, and teaching them the Book and Wisdom…” (62:2)
After the death of the final Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh), God appointed sinless, divinely inspired successors (Imams) to continue to guide people based on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The first of these Imams was Ali ibn abi Talib, the Prophet’s most prominent and closest companion.
“And We made them Imams, guiding (mankind) by Our Command, and We inspired in them the doing of good deeds, performing Salat and the giving of Zakat and of Us (Alone) they were worshippers.” (21:73)
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The completion of the foundational beliefs of Islam is the belief that when we die in this world, our body decays while our soul separates from our body and remains alive. It lives in an intermediate world named the Barzakh, until such a time when God wills to resurrect all creatures, and reunites the bodies and souls. This time is the Resurrection Day, or the Judgment Day, and it is here that humans will meet with their final judgment. Those who had faith and did virtuous deeds will be rewarded with Paradise and proximity to God, whilst those who were rejecters of faith and did evil deeds will be punished in Hell.
The belief in an afterlife and in resurrection and judgment forms the basis for moral and ethical judgments in Islam. God commands that we do that which will bring us reward and benefit in the afterlife, in preference to that which will give us pleasure and comfort in this current life. Of course, that which is goof for our afterlife is also the best thing for us in this life.
“Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “My Lord! Send me back, So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected. Then, when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another. Then, those whose scales (of good deeds) are heavy, – these, they are the successful. And those whose scales (of good deeds) are light, they are those who lose their own selves, in Hell will they abide.” (23:99-103)
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