The Creed of Islam
Islam was sent by God-Almighty for the well being of humanity, both on an individual and collective basis, for both the material world and the afterlife. The creed of Islam is belief in the One God-Almighty, worshipping Him alone without appointing any partners to Him, in any way, shape, or form.
In order to begin the process of understanding the teachings of Islam, one should turn to the word itself. Islam is derived from the Arabic root meaning “slm”: peace, purity, salvation, and submission. (1)
What is a ‘Muslim’? Everything in the universe is ‘Muslim’ for it obeys God by submission to His laws. Ibn al-Anbari said a Muslim is a person who submits and dedicates their worship only to God Almighty. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) stated in a hadith, “The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one who is trusted with the lives and wealth of the people. (2) Combined these tell one that a Muslim is a person from whose tongue and hands all are safe, and their prayers and worship are preserved in full submission for God Almighty alone.
The Holy Qur’an provides the example of said submission through the prophets Abraham (Ibrahim) in “When his Lord told him, Submit yourself wholly (to your Lord), he responded: “I have submitted myself wholly to the Lord of the worlds,” (2:131) through Joseph (Yusuf) in “”My Lord! You have indeed granted me some important part of the rule and imparted to me some knowledge of the inner meaning of all happenings (including dreams). O You, Originator of the heavens and the earth, each with particular features! You are my Owner and Guardian in this world and in the Hereafter. Take my soul to You as a Muslim, and join me with the righteous” (12:101) and through Jesus in, “Who will be my helpers (on this way) to God?” The disciples answered: “We are the helpers of God’s cause. We believe in God, and (we call you to) bear witness that we are Muslims (submitted to Him exclusively)” (3:52) only to mention a few. (3) Peace be upon them all.
The First Statement of Belief – The Shahada
“Say (to them, O Messenger): “O People of the Book, come to a word common between us and you, that we worship none but God, and associate none as partner with Him, and that none of us take others for Lords, apart from God. ” If they (still) turn away, then say: “Bear witness that we are Muslims (submitted to Him exclusively).” (3:64) (3)
The first pillar of Islam, the declaration of faith is as follows: I bear witness that there is no god but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.
This means that a Muslim declares the Unity of God-Almighty in clarity and purity and His messages transmitted by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). All of the teachings and rituals in Islam point to Unity of God-Almighty (Tawhid). (4) These two statements are the summary of the doctrine of the Unity of God-Almighty.
The Shahada must be declared, but it is not merely an expression without a strong foundation in the heart and mind. The principle of Tawhid (Divine Unity) in Islam implies the necessity of man’s being in harmony with the world around him.
Gulen states “The vast realm of the universe, which is in submission to One God only, displays a coherence and harmony of which the human world is also a part. Although the human world is subject, in addition to the general laws of nature, to a particular set of laws special to itself, yet it is also in harmony with other laws governing the rest of the phenomena beyond it. Man, unlike his fellow creatures that tread ‘the path of nature’, is endowed with the power of free will. He carries the gift of freedom together with the obligation to harmonize his life with the rest of nature – a harmony which is also the path of his exaltation and progress.” (4)
The remaining pillars of Islam, the five daily prayers, the giving of zakah (alms-tax), fasting the month of Ramadan, and hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah, are the practical ways Muslims uphold the Unity of God-Almighty in their lives on a daily basis.
All of these lead one to the true meaning of Islam: surrendering oneself to God-Almighty. A man asked Prophet Muhammad, “What is Islam?” He replied, “It consists of making over your heart entirely to God and in the safety of Muslims from your tongue and hand.” (5)
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) also taught us that, “There is in the body a piece of flesh which, if it is sound, the whole body will be sound, and if it is unsound the whole body will be unsound, and that is the heart.”
Gulen, Fethullah. Muhammad as Commander. Somerset, NJ: Light, 2002. Print
Sunan al-Nasā’ī 4998
Unal, Ali. “The Miraculous Quran.” The Miraculous Quran.
Recorded by al-Bukhari, Muslim, and al-Tirmidhi