Because of man's afflictions and troubles, he is in constant search for a solution. The materialistic theories do not ease his pains and suffering. These theories have failed because they have deviated from God's path of truth and enlightenment.
God has created man and made him the successor of the land. He made man the master of nature. He bestowed on man many blessings, including knowledge to understand how to behave and deal with his existence.
He has established truth for man's ease to achieve happiness in this life and the Hereafter. God has sent prophets and messengers as a mercy for man. All prophets and messengers such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be with them all, followed each other in succession in order to guide us to the right path.
One of the hopeful signs of today is the return of most people to the worship of God and His religion. Millions of truth seekers are familiarizing themselves with Islam and its principles.
The Definition of Islam: The Arabic meaning of "Islam" is submission, yielding and obedience. This religion of Islam was revealed by Prophet Muhammad who was the last prophet to be sent by God and therefore his mission was to guide all of mankind for all time since no prophet shall follow him.
A Muslim is one who bears witness to one God and the prophethood of Muhammad. Faith holds a higher position than submission (Islam). Faith is belief and action. A faithful Muslim's belief is rooted in a deep conviction and certitude toward his Creator in obeying and worship and sets the course of his life, behavior and thought based on Islam.
Concepts concerning the creation of the universe, belief in God, belief that the universe will end, belief in the prophets, belief in the messengers, belief in the Hereafter, and belief in the angels, are some of what is called divine doctrine. Islamic doctrine is built on basic pillars. The main pillars are:
- Belief in the Oneness of God;
- Belief in prophethood;
- Belief in the Hereafter.
BELIEF IN THE ONENESS OF GOD (ALLAH):
The belief in Allah as the Creator of the universe is the base of Islam and the criterion of thought, education, behavior and action of a Muslim. Belief in Allah, in Islam is based on logical evidence. Islam disapproves of imitation.
Islamic doctrine is rooted in the pure belief in the Oneness of Allah and that there is no one but Allah, no one like Him, or opposite Him, or equal to Him. Allah is the Absolute, Independent and Self-Sufficient. He is above human qualities like dependence and need.
Sound intellect and scientific reason verify these facts. Logic accepts that the cause is different from the effect.
Allah, alone has divine attributes. He is absoluteness, knowledge, power, will, wisdom, and independence. He is without fault and no one is like Him in His attributes. Allah is above any fault the polytheists attribute to Him. The belief in the Oneness of Allah cannot be comprehended except after stating the attributes, which are His. They are the "attributes of perfection", like power, knowledge, will, eternal being, wisdom, creator, etc. Believing in His Oneness also entails denying whatever attributes are not His such as imperfection, need for time and space, evil, incarnation, movement, physical being, etc. These are the "negative attributes". Belief in Allah's Oneness is also belief in His actions. He can do whatever He wills and no one can repeal Allah's will, or do what He does.
True belief in the Oneness of Allah is incomplete without worshipping Him faithfully. He is the Creator and the Owner of His creatures. He grants them His grace. He is worthy of being worshipped.
Worship is the gratitude shown to the source of grace and blessing and acknowledgement of His favors and obedience to His orders. Obeying Allah propels man to break the shackles of servitude to any party except Allah. The feeling of freedom and dignity intensifies in man. The soul of man yearns for a god with such attributes and seeks to attain perfection. A Muslim knows with certainty that Allah owns the glorious attributes. he is the Just, Merciful, Wise, Oft-Returning to Mercy, Kind, Generous, Benefactor, Acknowledger of thanks, Protector, Truthful, etc. Man works to reflect these attributes on his life. Islamic rites of worship have educational and reformatory effects on the life of the individual and the group.
Another attribute of Allah is justice. He does not do injustice to anyone, nor does He deny anything beneficial to mankind. He does not resort to injustice because He does not need to, nor is He unaware of it. He created everything on the basis of justice and right. He does not order injustice, nor does He approve of it. He does not coerce man to do something then punish him for it, nor does He order man to do something beyond his ability. He does not leave people without reward or punishment. He sent the prophets and revealed religion to save people and guide them to the right path so that we would know how to obey and worship Him.
Allah's justice is manifested in everything. For example:
- Creation: He does not do injustice to anyone in respect to His creation. He creates everything in justice and right. We can see this in the creation of the human body. He creates man in a way that he can live on earth, grants him hearing, sight, emotions, mentality, and the ability to move.
- Destiny: Allah causes death, provision, events that befall man and everything else on the basis of justice. Man is compensated for the pains he suffers in this life, as willed by Him, by granting him more grace than the pains he sustained.
- Obligations and Laws: Divine obligations and laws are distinguished by being just. Allah does not impose any duty on His servants above their abilities. So, all the obligations are within man's capability. The prominent manifestations of divine justice are the call to social equality, administration of justice between people, and fighting oppressors, for injustice is forbidden.
- Freedom of Choice: Allah grants man the ability to choose. Man can choose freely for himself. He can do good by helping the poor, respecting parents, offering prayers, and discharging justice. He can also do evil like murder, alcohol and drug use, stealing, backbiting and slander, etc. Allah never forces anyone to do anything. If He did, man would not deserve rewards or punishment in proportion to his good and evil deeds.
- Punishment and Reward in the Hereafter: The good and upright ones receive Allah's grace. The evil doers are punished according to their bad deeds. If this were not so, than the doer of good and the evil doer would be equal. This is injustice and Allah is incapable of injustice.
- Everyone is responsible for his own deeds: Allah never punishes anyone for something someone else has done, except when he is the one who incites to evil. In this case he is an accomplice in the evil deed.
BELIEF IN PROPHETHOOD:
The prophets and the revelations they brought call for reform and cultural values. It is the second pillar of Islamic doctrine.
The prophets are human beings ordained by Allah to carry the divine message and reform mankind because of their psychological and intellectual perfection and their righteous behavior. All the prophets called man to worship Allah. They all called to good and the best of morals. They all challenged injustice, corruption, and the tyrants. They all brought the good news of Allah's rewards and forewarned of His punishment. They all told of the Hereafter. Therefore, they all preached the same message and should all be honored and obeyed.
Islamic doctrine leans on the belief of the prophethood of Muhammad supported by the miracles. One of these miracles is the everlasting and unchangeable Qur'an, which cannot be challenged nor changed. The belief that Muhammad is the last of Allah's messengers and prophets means that all previous messages are abolished and Islam is the final perfected form of worship and religion.
The Islamic message, being complete and perfect, is able to solve all the problems of mankind.
BELIEF IN THE HEREAFTER:
The belief in the Hereafter and life after death is the third pillar of Islamic doctrine. The life of this world is only a stage in man's journey. The deeds of this life are not disconnected from their fruits in the Hereafter. Islamic doctrine, relating to the Hereafter, is composed of the following principles:
- Man is flesh and soul. Death is the separation of the soul from the flesh. The body is only a container for the soul.
- The materialistic world is edging towards complete destruction. No one and no thing will survive except Allah.
- Allah will raise the dead from their graves as He created them in the first place.
- An individual's deeds, the good, the bad, and the ugly, are recorded and nothing will be forgotten. Actions will be reckoned with justly and precisely. Both the doers of good and evil will be rewarded or punished accordingly. There is paradise and hell. There is an eternal life after death, while this material life is only a temporary stage.
Muslims believe that: 1) Death is a process in which the spirit leaves the body. It remains eternally in another world. 2) After death, human beings pass through a middle stage called the "world of isthmus" (purgatory), before the Day of Resurrection.
On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will make the spirits return to their bodies. Every one will see that every deed he performed in his life is recorded.
In summary Islamic doctrine is the belief in Allah, His books, His apostles, His angels, the Day of Resurrection and Judgement, and submission to Allah's will.
Courtesy: Al-Balagh Foundation