It is difficult to limit all of Islam into a few core values. Nevertheless,
the most important beliefs and religious practices were identified by Prophet
Muhammad himself. Thus, there is general agreement on them among all Muslims.
It provides an interesting comparison since modern Jews and Christians do not
have similar uniformity in their belief systems. Christians, for example, have
numerous creeds and Jews do not have any
agreed upon beliefs. Modern Jews mostly agree over the 613 commandments that
Maimonides, a Jewish rabbi from Muslim Spain, recorded and classified in the 12th
Additionally, Muslim scholars, past and
present, have also identified and in certain cases agreed on the core teachings
of the Quran, of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon
him, and the ‘essentials’ of Islamic Law (Shariah).
Core Islamic Beliefs: Six Articles of Faith
More than a billion Muslims share a
common set of fundamental beliefs that are described as “Articles of Faith.”
These articles of faith form the foundation of Islamic belief system.
1. Belief in One God: The most
important teaching of Islam is that only God is to be served and worshipped. Also,
the biggest sin in Islam is to worship other beings with God. In fact, Muslims
believe that it is the only sin that God does not forgive if a person dies before
repenting from it.
2. Belief in Angels: God created
unseen beings called angels who work tirelessly to administer His kingdom in
full obedience. The angels surround us at all times, each has a duty; some
record our words and deeds.
3. Belief in Prophets of God:
Muslims believe that God communicates His guidance through human prophets sent
to every nation. These prophets start with Adam and include Noah, Abraham,
Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them. The main message of all the prophets
has always been that there is only One true God and He alone is worthy of being
supplicated to and worshipped.
4. Belief in Revealed Books of
God: Muslims believe that God revealed His wisdom and instructions through
‘books’ to some of the prophets like the Psalms, Torah, and the Gospel. Over
time, however, the original teachings of these books got distorted or lost. Muslims
believe the Quran is God’s final revelation revealed to Prophet Muhammad and
has been fully preserved.
5. Belief in Day of Judgment:
The life of this world and all that is in it will come to an end on an
appointed day. At that time, every person will be raised from the dead. God
will judge each person individually, according to his faith and his good and
bad actions. God will show mercy and fairness in judgment. According to
Islamic teachings, those who believe in God and perform good deeds will be
eternally rewarded in Heaven. Those who reject faith in God will be eternally
punished in the fire of Hell.
6. Belief in Destiny and Divine
Decree: Muslims believe that since God is the Sustainer of all life, nothing
happens except by His Will and with His full knowledge. This belief does not
contradict the idea of free will. God does not force us, our choices are known
to God beforehand because His knowledge is complete. This recognition helps
the believer through difficulties and hardships.
Core Religious Practice of Islam: The Five
“Pillars” of Islam
In Islam, worship is part of daily life
and is not limited to mere rituals. The formal acts of worship are known as
the five “pillars” of Islam. The five pillars of Islam are the declaration of
faith, prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage.
1. Declaration of Faith: The “Declaration
of Faith” is the statement, “La ilaha illa Allah wa Muhammad Rasul-ullah”,
meaning “There is no deity worthy of being worship except God (Allah), and
Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God”). The Declaration of Faith is more
than just a statement; it must be shown with one's actions. To convert to the
faith of Islam, a person has to say this statement.
2. Daily Prayer: Prayer is a
method by which a Muslim connects to God and gathers spiritual strength and
peace of mind. Muslims perform five formal prayers a day.
3. Zakah: A type of
charity. Muslims recognize that all wealth is a blessing from God, and certain
responsibilities are required in return. In Islam, it is the duty of the
wealthy to help the poor and needy.
4. Fast of Ramadan: Once
each year, Muslims are commanded to fast for an entire month from dawn to
sunset. The period of intense spiritual devotion is known as the fast of Ramadan
in which no food, drink and sex is allowed during the fast. After sunset one
can enjoy these things. During this month Muslims practice self-control and
focus on prayers and devotion. During the fast, Muslims learn to sympathize
with those in the world who have little to eat.
5. The Hajj Pilgrimage
to Mecca: Every Muslim strives to make once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the
sacred sites in Mecca, in present-day Saudi Arabia. It is the most intense spiritual
experience for a Muslim. Typically, 2-3 million perform hajj every
Core of the Quran: Surah (Chapter)
Scholars consider Surah
al-Fatihah, the first chapter of the Quran, to be the core of the Quran. It is
recited in every formal prayer in the Arabic language. The translation
“I begin with the name of God, the Most
Beneficent, the Most Merciful. All praise and thanks are for God, the Lord of
the worlds. The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. Sovereign of the Day of
Recompense. You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help. Guide us to
the Straight Path (of Islam), the path of those You have blessed, not the path
of those who have incurred Your wrath nor of those who have gone astray.”
listen the recitation of Surah al-Fatiha click here
Core Teachings of Prophet Muhammad
Classical scholars of Islam have
condensed the teachings of Prophet Muhammad into a few statements. These
comprehensive statements touch every aspect of our lives. Some of them are:
1) Actions are judged by the intention behind
2) God is Pure and does not accept anything unless
it is pure and God has commanded the faithful with what He commanded the
3) Part of a person’s good observance of Islam is
to leave aside what does not concern him.
4) A person cannot be a complete believer unless
he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
5) One should not harm himself or others.
6) Don’t let your focus in this life be to amass
worldly gain and God will love you. Don’t be concerned with what people have,
and they will love you.
Core of Islamic Law or Shariah
The core of Islamic Law is preservation
6) Some contemporary scholars suggest either
justice or liberty to be the sixth category.
In the vision of Islam, they are known
as “essentials” because they are considered essential to human welfare.
In conclude, if someone were to ask,
what is the core of Islam in the fewest possible words, the answer would be,
“it is within the word Islam itself: to serve, worship, and lovingly submit to