What are the principles of Islam?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
The principles of Islam are clarified in the Hadeeth (narration) of Jibreel (Gabriel) which was narrated on the authority of ‘Umar . In this Hadeeth, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, mentioned that Islam means testifying that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah The Almighty, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger. It also includes praying, paying Zakah (obligatory charity), fasting Ramadan and performing Hajj (pilgrimage) for those who can afford it. He added that Eemaan (faith) means believing in Allaah The Almighty, His angels, books and Messengers and believing in the Day of Judgment and in Fate as a whole, with its good and bad aspects. He defined Ihsaan as worshipping Allaah The Almighty in a way that indicates one’s full awareness of the fact that He is watching him. He also said that only Allaah The Almighty knows the time of the Hour, and that no favored angel or Prophet knows of its time. He then mentioned some of the Signs of the Hour. [Muslim and others]
In the previous Hadeeth, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, divided religion into three levels. The first level is that of Islam (submission), which includes all the practical duties of religion. When one becomes a Muslim, after the declaration of the Two Testimonies of Faith, he must start performing the five obligatory prayers; pay Zakah on his money if a full lunar year has passed since it reached its Nisaab (minimum amount); fast Ramadan by abstaining from eating, drinking, having sexual intercourse and avoiding all actions that nullify the fast from dawn to sunset, if one is in full possession of his mental faculties, mature and not traveling and if all the excuses and impediments are absent. Moreover, one is obliged to perform Hajj if he has the physical and financial ability, in the manner prescribed by the Sharee‘ah (Islamic law), even if it is only once in his lifetime.
The second level is that of Eemaan, which includes the principal beliefs that must be adopted by the believer. These are:
1-Believing in Allaah The Almighty and this includes belief in His existence, belief in His Lordship, meaning, believing that He alone is the Creator, the Sovereign and the only One Who arranges the affairs of His creation, and belief that He alone is worthy of worship. Belief in Allaah The Almighty includes belief in His Names and Attributes that are mentioned in the Quran and in the authentic Hadeeths (narrations) of the Prophet without distorting their wordings or meanings, nor denying, nor asking how, nor drawing resemblance between Allaah The Almighty and any of His creation.
2-Believing in the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as a Prophet who was sent by Allaah The Almighty to be the last Messenger who came with the last religion that has abrogated all previous messages. This includes belief that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was a human being who used to eat, drink, sleep and get sick like any other human being; however, he was infallible, by the will of Allaah The Almighty, meaning, he never committed anything that would violate the rules of religion and honor. Believing in the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, necessitates following him, adhering to his Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) and obeying his commands.
3-Believing in the angels, and this includes four things: belief in their existence, in their actions, in those who are mentioned from among them in the Quran and those who are not, in the way they were described and in the fact that they are infallible, meaning, they never disobey Allaah The Almighty and always do what they are commanded.
4-Believing in the Divinely revealed books in general and in those that are mentioned in the Quran in particular, which are the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms and the Quran. This includes belief in the fact that the Quran is the last Divinely revealed book, which has abrogated all the previous books, and applying all of its unabrogated rulings.
5-Believing in the Messengers in general, those who are mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) and those who are not. In fact, twenty-five Messengers were mentioned in the Quran besides others who were mentioned in the authentic Sunnah. This also necessitates belief in Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as the last and best Messenger, and in the fact that all Messengers were human beings, who had no divine characteristics, and were chosen by Allaah The Almighty to convey His messages.
6-Believing in the Day of Judgment. This necessitates belief in the Resurrection, the gathering on that Day, the reckoning, reward and punishment, the Siraat (the Bridge), the Balance, intercession, Hell and Paradise and the life in Barzakh, which is the interim life that starts after man’s death and lasts until the Hour comes.
7-Believing in Fate. This includes four things: belief in creation, writing, Divine will and knowledge. In other words, one must believe that Allaah The Almighty is the only Creator and that He possesses all creation. One must believe that Allaah The Almighty wrote the Fate of everything before the creation of the heavens and the earth and that nothing in this universe happens without His permission or against His will and that His knowledge surrounds all things.
The third level is that of Ihsaan, which is the highest level in religion. It is the degree attained when one worships Allaah The Almighty with full awareness that He is watching him.
Finally, we say that Islam encourages all virtues, and fights all vice, and that it aims at establishing fairness and justice among people.
Allaah Know best.
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