Obviously, every Muslim realizes the importance of faith, alongside the numerous gains and advantages it has for the faithful, both in this life and in the hereafter. Without a sound faith, no worldly or heavenly benefit can be obtained; hence it is the greatest of all demands, the most important purpose, and the noblest oof all aims. With faith, a person has a unique opportunity to lead a happy life and be safe from misfortunes, evils, and difficulties. He will also be rewarded in the hereafter and live in it with eternal bliss and permanent comfort, which will neither end nor vanish. Allah says,

“Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” (Q, 16:97)

“But whoever desires the Hereafter and exerts the effort due to it while he is a believer – it is those whose effort is ever appreciated [by Allah].” (Q, 17:19)

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“But whoever comes to Him as a believer having done righteous deeds – for those will be the highest degrees [in position].” (Q, 20:75)

“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – they will have the Gardens of Paradise as a lodging, wherein they abide eternally. They will not desire from it any transfer.” (Q, 18:107-8)

Many other verses of the Qur’an have also spoken about the same matter.

Faith, according to proofs from both the Qur’an and the Sunnah, is based on six principles, which are:

  1. Belief in Allah
  2. Belief in His angels
  3. Belief in His Books
  4. Belief in His Messengers
  5. Belief in the Last Day
  6. Belief in predestination, whether favorable or unfavorable

The above articles of faith are mentioned in many places in the Book of Allah and in the Sunnah of His Messenger, including:

“O you who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.” (Q, 4:136)

“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the Prophets.” (Q, 2:177)

“The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His Messengers, [saying], ‘We make no distinction between any of His messengers.’ And they say, ‘We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.’” (Q, 2:285)

“Indeed, all things We created with predestination.” (Q, 54:49)

‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb related, according to the famous ḥadīth of Jibrīl recorded by Muslim in his Ṣaḥīḥ, that Jibrīl asked the Prophet about faith. He replied,

“It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and in predestination, whether it is favorable or unfavorable.”[1]

These six great foundation or articles of faith are indispensable. Additionally, they are all inherent qualities of faith, and so no one can be separated from the other. Believing in any of them, therefore, presupposes belief in the rest, which to disbelieve in any, equally amounts to being an unbeliever in all. Therefore, every Muslim must attach importance to the articles of faith, both in learning them and in acting in line with their teachings.

Chapter 1: Belief in Allah

The prime article of faith and its most important foundation is to believe in Allah, and the remaining articles are only branches or subdivision of this one.

To have faith in Allah means believing in His tawḥīd (monotheism) in regards to His Lordship, Divinity, and Names and Attributes, since these elements represent the bases of the belief in Allah. Additionally, Islam, the true religion, is also known as tawḥīd, since it is based on believing in the oneness of Allah regarding His sovereignty and actions; His Self, His names and attributes, and Him being the object of worship. It is inferable from this that the tawḥīd professed by the Prophets and Messengers of Allah has three ramifications:

  1. Tawḥīd al-Rubūbiyyah (Oneness of Lordship): This indicates believing in Allah as the Lord and Possessor of all things. Its Creator and Provider, who gives life and has the power to revoke it. the Beneficent, who is capable of inflicting harm, and it is only He who responds favorably to invocation in hard times. He has control of all matters, every goodness is at His disposal, and to Him do all things return. He does not have any partner in any of the aforementioned qualities.
  2. Tawḥīd al-Ulūhiyyah (Oneness of Divinity): This means to worship only Allah with all forms of worship, such as submission, humility, adoration, reverence, bowing, prostrating, sacrificial offering, an oaths. None should be associated with Him in any of these things.
  3. Tawḥīd al-Asmā’ wa’l-Ṣiffāt (Oneness of Names and Attributes): This is to believe in the exclusive possession by Allah of names and attributes which have been attributed to Him either in Book or in the Sunnah of His Prophet. This also entails exalting Him above any defect or shortcoming, and not to liken Him to any of His creation in anything known to be His special quality. Additionally, the believer must believe in Allah’s knowledge of all things, and His ability to do whatever He wills. That He is the Ever Living, who sustains and protects the entire creation, and He is neither overtaken by drowsiness nor sleep. His will is effective at all times, and His wisdom is always far reaching. He is the All Hearing and the All Seeing. The Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful, who is established upon the Throne, and has full control over His dominion. The King and the Sanctified. He is completely free from any defect, and He is the Giver of Security. The Overwhelming, the Almighty, the Compeller, and the Supreme; Glory be to Him, and exalted is He above all that is ascribed to Him as partners. All of these, along with the rest of His beautiful names and lofty attributes, must be believe in.

There are numerous proofs from both the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet on each of the aforementioned divisions of tawḥīd. Indeed, the Qur’an as a whole pertains to the topic of tawḥīd, its rights, as well as the gains achieved by becoming a monotheist, and the issue of polytheism (shirk), the polytheists, and their punishment.

Muslims scholars deduced the three branches of tawḥīd after thorough exploration and close examination of related Qur’an and Sunnah texts. This has led them to conclude that humanity is required to believe in Allah’s oneness in regards to His Lordship, Divinity, and Names and Attributes. Whoever fails to believe in this is an unbeliever.

[1] Muslim no. 1.

to be continued…

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