Six Basic Muslim Beliefs

Six basic doctrines are generally identified as central to Islamic teaching.  They are:

1. Allah – the Arabic word for “The God.”  He is viewed as an absolute unity with no partner, companion or equal and as the only true God for all people.  He is totally transcendent (unreachable) and unknowable.

2. Angels – sinless beings, created by Allah from light.  They have various duties.  The greatest angel is Gabriel who appeared to Muhammad.

3. The Prophets – Islamic tradition teaches that there were 12,400 prophets, men to whom God revealed His message.  The Quran mentions only 28, and 25 of those are also found in the Bible (e.g. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus).  Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last and greatest of all the prophets, a prophet for all people for all times.

4. The Holy Books – The Quran is the holiest book in Islam and supersedes all previous revelations including the Torah (given to Moses); the Psalms (given to David); and the Gospels (given to Jesus).  Though not considered direct revelation from God, the Hadith (collections of Muhammad’s sayings and actions not recorded in the Quran) are given a high level of authority.

5. Day of Judgment – God will judge each person according to his or her deeds by weighing them on a scale, determining who will go to paradise or to hell.  Worshippers of other gods or unbelievers will abide in the fires of hell forever.  Muslims may spend some time in hell to pay for their misdeeds but ultimately will be sent to paradise.  There is no assurance of going straight to paradise for the Muslim unless he or she dies a martyr’s death in a holy war (jihad).

6. The Will of Allah – Allah ordains the fate of every creature.  Both good and evil are viewed as coming from God.  Muslims are to submit to the events that come into their lives as their unchangeable fate brought about by the will of Allah.  Of course, this view is held to varying degrees by Muslims, but in general it has a great impact.