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Translator’s Preface 5
The Islamic Religion (Deen) 11
The Pillars of Islam 15
Pillars of Islam
Shahaadah (Testimony of Faith) 15
Salaah (Prayer) 16
Zakaah (Alms and charity) 17
Sawm (Fasting) 17
Hajj (Pilgrimage) 17
The Fundamentals of Islamic Creed 20
- Pillars of Īman (Creed) 20
Belief in The God – Allah 22
Belief in the Angels 40
Belief in the Scriptures 47
Belief in the Messengers and Prophets 50
Belief in the Last Day and Resurrection 58
Belief in Qadar 77
Objectives of Islamic Belief and Creed 91
Indeed, all praise belongs to Allah. We praise Him, seek His Aid and His Forgiveness and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from the evil of our actions. Whomsoever Allah guides, none can misguide; and whomsoever Allah leaves unguided, none can guide thereafter. I bear witness that there is no god (nothing has the right to be worshipped) except Allah, who is alone without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except that you are Muslims. [Surah Aali-’Imraan (3):102]
O Mankind! Fear your Lord, Who created you from a single soul (Adam) and from him created his partner (Eve) and from them both sent forth and scattered many men and women. So fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights and by the reverence of the wombs that bore you. For Allah is ever watchful over you.[Surah an-Nisaa’ (4):l]
O you who believe! Fear Allah and say a truthful word. He will direct you to do righteous actions and will forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has already attained the highest success.[Surah al-Ahzaab (33):70-71]
To proceed: Indeed the best speech is the Book of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him. The worst of affairs are the newly invented matters (in religion), for every invented matter is a bid’ah1, every bid’ah is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in Hellfire.
This is a new translation of Sheikh Muhammad ibn Salih al-Uthaymeen’s book about the fundamentals of Islam and Islamic creed and belief, may Allah have mercy on him. It is hoped that the information and learned perceptions of the Sheikh are communicated in a manner and form which capture and express the concepts and eloquent arguments of the Sheikh, who is known for making complicated matters easy and simple for us common Muslims, seeking to better understand and practice our religion of Islam.
My gratitude goes to all those who assisted in the preparation of this booklet, for their useful suggestions and corrections, and my special gratitude goes to Um Salman for continual encouragement and detailed scrutiny, criticism and review of the work. May Allah give all of them the great reward for all their good deeds, and for engaging in the work that pleases their Lord, Most Majestic and promoting the revitalization of His religion of Islam.
Any mistakes and lapses are my own for which I am solely responsible. I would be grateful for any constructive criticism to correct shortcomings and improve the work, by the Will and Aid of Allah Most Gracious.
In the name of Allah, the Ever Compassionate, the Ever Merciful
Indeed, all praise belongs to Allah. We praise Him, seek His Aid and His Forgiveness and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from the evil of our actions. Whomsoever Allah guides, none can misguide; and whomsoever Allah leaves unguided, none can guide thereafter. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, who is alone without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. May God praise Muhammad, his family, his Companions and whoever follows them in goodness, and keep them safe from all evil.
The knowledge of Islamic monotheism is the most noble of all branches of knowledge. It also has the greatest worth. In addition, it is the most important of all obligations. It is all of these because it is knowledge of Allah, His names, His attributes and His rights upon His servants. Furthermore, it is the opening to the path that leads to Allah and the foundation of His Sacred Laws.
For these reasons, all of the messengers called to this knowledge and understanding. Thus, Allah says,
“And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad but We inspired him (saying): There is none worthy of worship but I (Allah), so worship Me (Alone and none else).” [Surah al-Anbiyaa (21):25]
Allah Himself bears witness to His own Oneness. The angels also bear witness to that as well as the people of knowledge. Allah says,
“Allah bears witness that none has right to worshiped but He, and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); established on justice. None has right to worshiped but He, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [Surah Ali-Imraan 3:18]
Since this is the place and status of Islamic monotheism, it becomes a must upon every Muslim to attend to it by learning it, teaching it, pondering over it and believing in it. In this way, his religion may be built upon a sound foundation of conviction, confidence and submission and he may happily reap the fruits and results of this Islamic monotheism.
The Islamic Religion (Deen)
The Islamic religion is the religion with which Allah sent the Prophet Muhammad, sealing thereby the religions, perfecting it for His servants, completing upon them His bounty and chose it for them as a faith. No other faith or religion other than it will ever be accepted.
“Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last of the Prophets. And Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything” (al-Ahzaab 33:40).
Allah has also said,
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Surah al-Maaidah (5):3)
The Exalted has also said,
“Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam.” (Surah Aali-Imraan (3):19).
Again, Allah says,
“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” (Surah Aali-Imraan (3):85)
Allah has made it incumbent upon all of humankind that they that this as a religion and means of submission to Allah. In speaking to the Messenger of Allah (), Allah has said,
“Say [O Muhammad to the people:] O humankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah - to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. None has the right to be worshipped but He. It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write who believes in Allah and His Words, and follow him so that you may be guided.” (Surah al-Araaf (7):158)
In Sahih Muslim, it is recorded on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah () said,
“By the one in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no one, be he Jew or Christian, of the people of this nation hears of me and yet dies without believing in what I have been sent with except that he will be from the companions of the Hell-fire.”
Belief in him means to affirm, with proper acceptance and compliance and not merely an affirmation [in the mind], everything that he has come with. For this reason, Abu Taalib was not a believer in the Messenger () although he affirmed everything he brought and even testified that the Prophet’s religion is the best of all religions.
The Islamic religion encompasses all of the goodness that was embodied in previous religions. However, it is distinguished by being suitable for all times, places and peoples. Allah says, while addressing His Messenger (),
“And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and as a criterion over it (old Scriptures).” (Surah al-Maaidah (5):48)
The meaning that it is suitable for all times, places and peoples is that the one who adheres to it will never go against what is beneficial for the nation in any place or time. In fact, it is the thing that makes things right. It does not mean that it is meant to serve any place, time or people, as some people have tried to twist it to mean.
The Islamic religion is the religion of truth due to which, if one abides by it properly, Allah will give help and victory over all other religions. Allah has said,
“He it is Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to make it victorious over all (other) religions even though the polytheists hate (it).” (Surah as-Saff (61):9)
Allah also says,
“Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to [the present rulers] in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e., Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear [provided] they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything [in worship] with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the evildoers.” (Surah an-Noor (24):55)
The Islamic religion is both a matter of creed as well as law. It is complete both in its beliefs and its laws.
It enjoins the oneness of Allah and prohibits associating partners with Allah.
It enjoins truthfulness and prohibits lying and falsehood.
It enjoins justice and prohibits injustice.
It enjoins fulfilling trusts and prohibits treachery.
It enjoins fulfilling promises and prohibits deception.
It enjoins being dutiful to one’s parents and forbids being disobedient to them.
It enjoins being good to one’s neighbors and prohibits harming them.
In general, one can say that Islam enjoins every noble and virtuous character, while prohibiting every evil, harmful trait. It enjoins every good, pious act and prohibits every evil deed. Indeed, Allah has said,
“Verily, Allah enjoins justice and goodness, and giving (help) to kith and kin; and forbids all evil deeds, bad conduct and wrongdoing. He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” (Surah an-Nahl (16):90)
The Pillars of Islam
Islam is established on five pillars, as mentioned in the hadeeth narrated by (Abdullah) Ibn Umar (), in which the Prophet () said:
Islam is built on five [pillars]: To single out Allah in worship (and in other narration: “The testimony that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the slave of Allah and His Messenger”) and to establish the prayers, and to offer the Zakaah, and to fast Ramadan, and to perform the pilgrimage.
A person said (to the narrator),
“Pilgrimage or the fast of Ramadan?”
To this (the narrator) replied:
No (it is not the pilgrimage first) but the fast of Ramadan precedes the pilgrimage, this is how I have heard it from Allah’s Messenger. (al-Bukhari and Muslim reported this hadeeth, and this wording is Muslim’s)
The five pillars in this hadeeth indicate the following:
1. “The Shahaadah (testimony and witness) that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah” is belief with firm resolve, expressed by the tongue that this testimony is true. The person testifying makes a firm commitment that the testimony is true, as if he or she is an eyewitness to the event testified about.
Even though more than one thing is being testified about2 this testimony is considered only one pillar. This may be for one of two possible reasons. Either it is because the Messenger () is he who conveys the message of Allah (), and thus the testimony that he is the slave and Messenger of Allah is a necessary completion and, in reality, part of the testimony of LA ILAAHA ILL-ALLAH, or it is because these two testimonies are necessary for the soundness and acceptance of deeds. No deed is good or acceptable unless it fulfills two conditions: that the act be done purely for Allah, (Ikhlaas), and that it be done in accordance to the way shown to us by the Messenger ()3. By doing the act purely for Allah, the testimony of LA ILAAHA ILL-ALLAH is brought into reality and fulfilled, and by obeying the Messenger, the testimony 'Muhammad abdullaahi wa rasooluh' (Muhammad is the slave of Allah and His Messenger) is brought into reality and fulfilled.
There are many great benefits of the declaration of the testimony, one of which is the liberation of the heart, mind and soul of man from slavery and servitude to created things, and from following others besides the Messengers.
2. “To establish Salaah” (the obligatory prayers) means worshipping Allah in the complete and proper manner, with full compliance to its prescribed times and postures. There are many benefits of the prayer, including tranquility, inner peace, happiness, and contentment, and the fact that it prevents one from evil acts and atrocities.
3. “To offer the Zakaah” (obligatory charity) means worshipping Allah by giving the determined amount of obligatory alms from one’s wealth and possessions. The benefits of charity include purifying the heart from the ugly traits of greed and miserliness, besides the obvious benefit of providing for the needy Muslims and needs of the community at large.
4. “To perform the Sawm (fast) of Ramadan” means worshipping Allah by fasting during the days of the Islamic month of Ramadan from early dawn to after sunset by not eating or drinking (or engaging in legal sexual intercourse). The benefits of fasting include training oneself to hold back from prohibited and that which causes the displeasure of Allah the Most Almighty and Majestic.
5. “To perform the Hajj” (pilgrimage to Makkah) means worshipping Allah by traveling to Makkah to perform all the sacred rites of pilgrimage. The benefits of pilgrimage include training oneself to spend the utmost of one’s wealth and physical exertion for Allah’s pleasure. For this reason, Hajj is a type of “Jihad” (striving and exerting oneself) in the way of Allah.
The benefits that we have mentioned here, and many others not mentioned, are the means to purify the Muslim nation and community and establish it upon the religion of truth, worshiping Allah (the Creator) sincerely, and acting with justice towards all His creatures. If these basic foundations of Islamic Law are correct, then whatever other actions are built upon them will also be correct. The Islamic nation and community will only prosper and be successful by fulfilling its religious obligations. Falling short in fulfilling this obligation will proportionally deprive them of success and prosperity.
To see a clear evidence of this principle, read the following verse from the Book of Allah:
And if the people of the town had believed and had piety and fear of Allah, We would have opened for them the blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they rejected (the truth and the Messengers). So we took them for what they used to do. Do people of the towns feel secure against that coming of our Punishment by night, while they are asleep? Or do the people of the towns feel secure against the coming of our Punishment in the afternoon, while they play? Do they feel secure against the plan of Allah? None feels secure from the plan of Allah except the people who are lost and doomed. [Surah al-A’raaf (7):96-99]
Examine the histories of the peoples of the world and you will see lessons for those that take heed and are unbiased. We indeed seek Allah’s aid.
The Fundamentals of Islamic Creed
Pillars of Īman (Creed and Belief)
The religion of Islam, as explained above, is comprised of Aqeedah (creed, faith and belief) and Sharee’ah (revealed laws). We have mentioned some pillars of the Sharee’ah above. The pillars and fundamentals of Aqeedah are to believe in:
the Last Day, and
Qadar (Divine Will), both its good and evil consequences.
These pillars and fundamentals are mentioned in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah4 (the narrations of the Prophet ) of His Messenger ().
An example from the Book of Allah is the saying of Allah:
Righteousness is not that you turn your faces towards the East or the West (in prayers), but righteousness is the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets. [Surah al-Baqarah (2):177].
Verily, We have created all things by Qadar. And Our Commandment is but one, as the twinkling of an eye. [Surah al-Qamar (54):49]
And from the Sunnah of the Prophet (), when asked about Īman by the angel Jibreel, he replied:
“Īman is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in Qadar, and what it brings of good or bad.” (Reported by Muslim)
Belief in Allah
Belief in Allah comprises four aspects:
The First Aspect: The belief in Allah’s existence. This is established by:
Al-Fitrah (the natural pure inclination towards the truth)
Al-Aql (reason and analysis),
Ash-Sharee’ah(revelation and scripture),
Al-Hiss (physical senses).
1. The proof of al-Fitrah concerning Allah’s existence is that every created being innately believes in his or her Creator without any preceding instruction, dogma, or thought. No one deviates from this natural and innate belief except due to external corrupt influences which make his or her heart swerve and depart from belief, as the Prophet () said:
Each child is born in a state of Fitrah but his parents make him into a Jew or Christian or Magian (Zoroastrian). (Reported by al-Bukhari)
2. The proof of al-Aql (reason and analysis) concerning Allah’s existence is that the things that we find in past and present existence must have had a Creator and Originator, since they could not have created themselves, and they could not have come into existence by mere chance, accident or coincidence. The reason they could not have created themselves is that, before their existence, they were nothing; so how can nothing create itself, i.e. something essentially deficient and impotent? They couldn’t have been created by mere chance, accident or coincidence, because every new event must have its prior causes that made it occur. We also see this creation with its amazing and magnificent organization, harmony and cohesion, and with the interrelations between the causes and effects. All this makes it completely unbelievable that it came into being by mere chance, accident or coincidence. How can something that came into existence by mere accident or coincidence become organized and coherent in the process of further development?
If all this creation could not have created itself nor been created by chance, then it must have a Creator and Originator: this is Allah the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe. Allah, the Most Exalted, has mentioned this proof by reason and analysis in the Qur’an in Surah at-Toor, The Mountain, when He said:
Were they (humans) created by nothing, or were they creators themselves? [Surah at-Toor (52):35]
This verse indicates that, since men were not created without a Creator, nor did they create themselves, it must be that they have a Creator who is Allah the most Blessed and Exalted. For this reason, when Jubair ibn Mut’im () heard the Messenger () recite this Surah (at-Toor) from the Qur’an, when he reached the passage:
Were they created by nothing, or were they creators themselves? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm belief. Or are the Treasures of your Lord with them? Or are they the tyrants with authority to do as they like? [Surah at-Toor (52):35-37]
…he said, while still a polytheist at that time:
My heart almost flew out of me (from the common sense of the verse).
And in another version of the narration he said:
This was the first time that Īman entered my heart. (Reported by al-Bukhari)
A practical example clarifies this line of argument. If someone tells you about a huge palace surrounded by beautiful gardens with rivers flowing in them, furnished completely with all the basic necessities and with the best beds and cushions and decorated with all kinds of luxuries. Then after all this, he says to you, “This palace with all its beauty has come into existence by itself, or it came into existence by mere chance and coincidence without any builder or contractor,” immediately you would reject his statement as preposterous nonsense and you would consider his line of argument as most ridiculous. Therefore, can anyone with reason say that it is possible that this universe, with all its awe inspiring expanses of galaxies and amazing order, could have brought itself into existence or that it could have come into existence without an Originator or Creator?
3. The proof of ash-Sharee’ah(revelation and scripture) concerning Allah’s existence is that all of the divinely revealed Scriptures confirm His existence. The laws and instructions that Allah revealed in these scriptures, which address the needs and affairs of His creation, are evidence that they came from an Omniscient and Sublime Sovereign Lord, who knows everything that is best for His creatures. The fact that our observations agree to the information about natural laws contained within them is an evidence that they are from a Lord Sovereign Supreme who is able to bring into being what he informed.
4. The proofs of al-Hiss (physical sense) concerning Allah’s existence are from two directions. The first is that we witness and see that Allah answers those who supplicate to Him and call out to Him in distress. This proves decisively that Allah exists. Allah said:
And (remember) Nooh, when he cried (to us) aforetime; We listened to his supplication. [Surah al-Anbiyaa’ (21):76]
And Allah said:
(Remember) when you sought help from your Lord, and He answered you. [Surah al-Anfaal (8):9]
In an authentic hadeeth reported by al-Bukhari, it is reported that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: