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 century.
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 and 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 all. 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”
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
MuhammadRasul-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
2. Daily Prayer: Prayer
is a method by which a Muslim connects to God and gather 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 year.
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
“In 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
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 them.
is Pure and does not accept anything unless it is pure and God has commanded the
faithful with what God commanded the prophets.
of a person’s good observance of Islam is to leave what does not concern
person cannot be a complete believer unless he loves for his brother what he
loves for himself.
5)There is no harming or returning harm.
6)Renounce this world, God will love you. Renounce what people
have and they will love you.
Core of Islamic Law or Shariah
The core of Islamic Law is
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
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