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
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
Ďessentialsí 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
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
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 Ďbooksí 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 Godís final revelation revealed to Prophet Muhammad and has been
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) al-Fatihah
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 follows:
"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."
To 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:
are judged by the intention behind them.
is Pure and does not accept anything unless it is pure and God has commanded
the faithful with what He commanded the prophets.
of a personís good observance of Islam is to leave aside what does not concern
person cannot be a complete believer unless he loves for his brother what he
loves for himself.
should not harm himself or others.
let your focus in this life be to amass worldly gain and God will love you.† Donít
be concerned with what people have, and they will love you.
Core of Islamic Law or Shariah
The core of Islamic Law is preservation of:
contemporary scholars suggest either justice or liberty to be the sixth
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 God."