Fundamental belief of Islam is epitomized in Kalimah Tayyaba:
La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasul Allah
There is no Allah except Allah; Muhammad is His Prophet.
The first part of the Kalimah presents the concept of tawheed which means the oneness of Allah and its second part affirms the prophet hood of Muhammad (P.B.U.H).
Islam is the religion of the truth. It is the second largest religion worldwide, with over one billion followers, scattered all the across the world. Islam means ‘submission’ or ‘total surrender’ and in religious context it means ‘total surrender to the will of Allah’. Word Islam comes from the word salaam meaning peace. Follower of Islam called Muslims means ‘submitter’ or ‘the one who submits to the true will of Allah’. By this definition, everything in nature is in state of submission.
In the Quran, Allah clearly states that the only purpose for which He created this mankind is to worship Him. Islam has provided us with a well guided path for life, now this is our freewill which path you opt for. Knowing that whatever we do in this life we will be held accountable about it, in the next one.
Islam teaches us that by performing good deeds and by seeking the pleasure of Allah, our souls find true happiness and peace. Muslims are expected to live their life according to Islamic Law, source of which are Quran and the saying of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) called as hadith.
Tawheed is the bedrock which constitutes the whole of the essence of Islam. It means there is only one Allah, who is supreme and omnipotent, with no partner or peer in His essence and attributes. Whoever does not acknowledge Allah in these terms can not be considered as a Muslim.
The three categories of Tawheed are referred as:
- Tawheed ar–Ruboobeeyah
This means maintaining the unity of Lordship. The word Rabb in itself refers to a relationship of dominance and control. He is the creator of all things there is, and needs no assistance at all.
- Tawheed al-Asmaa-was-sifaat
This means maintaining the unity of Allah’s name and attributes. Having firm conviction that Allah is characterized by all attributes, and is above all the defects.
- Tawheed al-Ibaadah or Tawheed Al-Uloohiyyah
It means maintaining the unity of deity or worship. He alone deserves to be worshipped. The importance of directing all forms of worship to Allah alone which is emphasized time and again in the Qur’an. It is the purpose and goal of creation of mankind.
The division of tawheed into categorize was not done by our Prophet (P.B.U.H) or his noble companion, because this was not a requirement of that time. As the religion spread across the nation, for its better understanding, there became a need for more through explanation. Each of the foundations and components of the categories of tawheed are clearly based on the teaching of Quran and hadiths.
2. Prophet Hood
Allah has created mankind but did not leave them stranded to live their life aimlessly. For their guidance, He sent a total of 124,000 prophets. Out of which 25 are mentioned in the Holy Quran, and prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is the last messenger of Allah. To believe in a Prophet means to believe in the revelation that he has received, to accept the law that was transmitted to him by Allah, and to follow the code of conduct that he was instructed to pass on to humanity. The most significant part here is all Prophets, whose life are a living and breathing model for mankind, are just ordinary human being. This is done to give Muslim ummah a clear sign that to follow the right path you do not have to be special. Human has the free will to choose the correct path that will enlighten his life leading him to Jannah.
Thus, after tawheed, believing in the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) to be the last messenger, and to accept his teaching as the word of Allah is the requirement of being a Muslim. Code of conduct, standards whether one thing is good or bad or halal or haram is revealed to us by our Prophet and is considered as Islamic Shariah. So, for a muslim, belief in the Prophet also requires the acceptance of these laws and to implement them in our daily life.
3. Characteristics of Islam
Islam is the religion of truth and simplicity. Its teaching is easily comprehendible even for those who are non believers, based on reason and sound logic. It is above superstitions and irrationality. Quran teaching is for all times and era, not a single word has been changed since its revelation many years ago. It has the answer to all the questions and problems mankind has yet to know.
Islam is a complete way of life. It is applicable for all aspects of life – individual and social, material and moral, economic and political, legal and cultural, and national and international. Through this we can achieve not only worldly success but also spiritual peace. This religion also awakens a sense of social responsibility in an individual. Like prayer is offered in congregation and zakat is distributed to keep a balance between the less fortunate of our society.
In the eye of Islam, everyone is equal. No one is superior to another on the basis of color, race, status or wealth. Unfortunately, there is no denying that such prejudice does exist even in this modern time. Even though Islam has banished such barrier and given rights to women and minorities, which previously had no say in the matter.
Islam gives respect and dignity to the humanity by freeing them from the slavery and worship of other objects of universe. Muslim kneels only in front of Allah and only fear Him. Islam makes him submissive, patient, content, obedient, disciplined and pious. Islam wants to unite the entire human race under one banner, calling for a universal brotherhood. To a nation torn by worldly rivalries and feuds, it presents a message of life and hope and of a glorious future.