Islam Beliefs + Teachings

Islam overview

"Islam" = to surrender

Religion followed by Muslims - 2nd largest religion in the world - 1 billion followers


A Muslim is someone who has submitted to the will of Allah - Islamic god

Most important belief in Islam = monotheism/Tawhid - believe in one god

Muslim's most sacred text is the Qu'ran

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Beliefs about Allah

  • omniscient - "Allah knows what is in our hearts"
  • omnipotent
  • omnipresent - "He is with you wherever you are"
  • beneficient
  • creator - "creator of all things"
  • imminent - "G-d the eternal"
  • transcendent
  • merciful
  • fair
  • the judge - "your Lord will not be unjust to anyone"
  • has 99 names - "the most excellent names belong to Allah, use them to call upon Him"
  • sent messengers to guide mankind
  • His book is the Qu'ran
  • Has no partners - "He is G-d the One"
  • no one is comparable to Him - "No one is comparable to Him"
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No one is comparable to Allah

Because nothing can be compared to Him, cannot be described either

"No vision can take Him in"

Why there are no pictures of Allah in mosques

instead decorated w verses from the Qu'ran

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Supremacy of G-d's will

Muslims believe Allah is the one and only creator + controller of everything

G-d's will = supreme + above all things

Only unforgivable sin = believing in something/someone else like Allah (e.g. other faiths)

Nothing takes place unless Allah makes it happen - "Misfortunes can only happen w G-d's permission"

Muslims say "Inshallah" - means G-d willing - shows Allah is supreme

Muslims believe they should accept whatever happens as it is the will of G-d + must have happened for a reason

Muslims show their belief in the way they live - making G-d the most important thing in life

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Sunni beliefs

The successor of Muhammad: Abu Bakr - Muhammad's friend + first caliph

% of the Muslim pop.: 95%

Key beliefs:

  • any elected Muslim can lead as a caliph
  • 6 articles of faith

Worship: sometimes go to different mosques than Shias

Time for breaking the fast - Ramadan: at sunset

Prayer: When washing before prayer, wash feet + pray 5 times a day

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Shia beliefs

Successor: Ali - Muhammad's cousin

% of Muslim pop.: 5%

Key beliefs:

  • Ruler/leader must be a descendant of Muhammad - s=chosen by G-d, not ppl
  • 5 roots of usul-ad-din
  • believe there is an imam in every generation

Time for breaking the fast - Ramadan: When it is completely dark

Prayer: When washing before prayer, only wipe the feet + pray 3 times a day

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Similarities in beliefs of Sunni + Shia

Worship: On Fridays, both must attend Jummah prayer

Fasting: both must observe Ramadan + abstain from:

  • eating + drinking during daylight hours
  • sex
  • smoking
  • alcohol

both also celebrate Eid-al-Fitr at the end of the fast

Prayer: Both wash before prayer to be pure + pray every day

Qu'ran: both worship the Qu'ran as their sacred scripture + believe it to be the literal word of G-d

Pilgrimage: Both expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca once in their lifetime

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6 articles of faith

Sunni beliefs:

1. Tawhid - belief in one G-d

2. Prophets - people chosen by Allah to deliver His message

3. Angels - beings of light created by G-d that have many jobs

4. Day of Judgement - there will be a day when everyone in the world will stand before Allah and be judged to see if they enter heaven or hell

5. The supremacy of G-d's will - belief in predestination

6. Holy books - the belief that books such as the Qu'ran, Torah, Psalms of David + the Gospel are guides

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5 roots of usul-ad-din

Shia beliefs

1. Tawhid

2. Prophets

3. Justice of G-d (Adalat) - belief that Allah is wise + does no wrong

4. Resurrection - at the day of judgement everyone will be resurrected

5. The Imamate - belief that Muhammad said that 12 imams should succeed him as leaders of Islam

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Metaphysical being made of light, no free will - can only do what G-d commands + praise Him ceaselessly

Messengers of G-d - "messengers with 2, 3, 4 pairs of wings"

Bring the word of G-d to prophets to spread to ppl

have the ability to take on human form

some jobs of angels:

  • deliver messages/ punishments for Allah 
  • sending blessings to ppl behaving righteously
  • escorting ppl to paradise/hell
  • praise, glorify + pray to Allah
  • some are guardian angels that write down ppl's deeds in their book of deeds- "each person has angels before him + behind, watching over him" and "the record of their deeds will be laid open + you will see the guilty"

archangels - special angels:

  • Gibril - the greatest angel, taught Qu'ran to Muhammad
  • Angel of death - takes ppl's souls back to G-d - "We belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return"
  • Israfil- blows the trumpet on day of judgement
  • Mikhail - angel of mercy, responsible for rain + thunder
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the idea that G-d knows/ determines everything that will happen in the universe

Sunnis believe G-d has already decided what will happen + has written it down in the book of decrees - no free will

they believe His will is so powerful He can control what will happen - G-d created everything + so it must act according to His will - "Only what G-d has decreed will happen to us"

Shias believe although G-d knows what will happen, He does not control it - ppl have free will

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Judgement day

Muslims believe there will be a day of judgement - when G-d decides His purpose for the world has been fulfilled

Everyone will be judged on what they have done in their lives

when a person dies, they enter a stage of waiting called Barzakh - aware whilst in the grave - then 2 angels are sent to ask them about their faith + if they say they believe in Allah, they are rewarded

Souls will remain in Barzakh until DoJ, Israfil will then blow a trumpet, his world will end + everyone will go to a new world - Akhira

Everyone will be resurrected, get new bodies + judged by G-d - their book of decrees will be read out

if ppl feel remorse, they can still be forgiven even if they were going to hell

ppl who die not believing in Allah - other faiths - go to hell - "whoever seeks religion other than Islam...he will be one of the losers hereafter"

Belief in DoJ gives hope + fear to Muslims + encourages them to behave as the Qu'ran says

DoJ ends w a person being sent to heaven - "garden of happiness"/hell - "place of fire + great torment" - If the book is put in the right hand = heaven, left hand = hell

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Muslims believe Islam was gradually revealed through diff prophets over many centuries - 1st = Adam, last + greatest = Muhammad

G-d chose prophets to bring His message to mankind - "every community is sent a messenger"

Name for belief in prophets = Risalah

important because they enable communication between mankind + G-d + are seen as role models

G-d had to keep sending prophets bcs ppl kept forgetting the message - until Muhammad in the 7th century - last prophet "seal of prophets"

important prophets:

  • adam
  • ibrahim
  • musa
  • isa
  • muhammad


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believed to be the 1st man on Earth + 1st prophet in Islam - regarded as the father of human race + greatly respecting in Islam

created by G-d from dust - "He created you from dust... you became human" + "He first created man from clay"

Adam was given knowledge of all G-d's creations as well as how to repent + bury the dead + what foods Muslims can eat, which he passed down the generations - "He taught Adam all the names"

He + his wife Hawwah failed test G-d sent - the temptation of Iblis the devil + so sin was brought into the world + all humans are now judged on DoJ

He built the Ka'aba - black cube-shaped building in the centre of the grand mosque in Mecca, holiest place in Islam, seen as the house of G-d

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Ppl forgot Adam's teachings so G-d sent ibrahim - role model resisted the temptation to sin "G-d took Ibrahim as a friend"

believed in Allah when everyone else worshipped idols, he broke all the idols in his father's shop + spread the word of G-d + monotheism

rebuilt Ka'aba w son Ismail when it was destroyed in Noah's flood

praised greatly by Qu'ran

remembered on Id-ul-Adha:

  • G-d told Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, was going to do it but an angel stopped him - sacrificed a ram instead
  • showed his willingness to obey G-d
  • ppl sacrifice an animal to remember 

also remembered during Hajj:

  • pilgrimage to mecca - sometimes knows as the city of ibrahim
  • part of hajj - throw rocks at stone pillars - warding away sin + disobedience as Ibrahim did
  • another part is walking between 2 hills + drinking from the water of Zamzam to remember the story of Ibrahim's wife Hagar looking for water
  • rewarded w well of Zamzam
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Born around 570CE in Mecca

when he was 40, Gibril purified his soul + he received a revelation on Mt. Hira - learned abt Islam w Jibril for +22 years - formed the Qu'ran

began to preach openly - told ppl of Mecca to give up idolatry, alcohol + gambling + that there was only one G-d

lots of opposition, persecuted by ppl + fled to Medina - the journey is called Hijrah

set up 1st Islamic community in the medina (ummah)

Jibril took him to Jerusalem (called the night journey) + was carried on a horse-like creature to heaven to speak w G-d + other prophets, was told to tell ppl to pray 5 times a day

went back + gathered 10,000 army - lots of battle, eventually, Muhammad won + Islam spread quickly, idols were removed + Sharia law (Islamic law) was introduced

Muhammad died + didn't appoint a successor - how Sunni + Shia started

Important to Muslims bcs set an example of how to live a Muslim life, be a faithful servant to Allah + keep to the path of Islam - "there is no G-d but Allah + Muhammad is the prophet of Allah"

Muhammad's teachings = Hadith, his practices = Sunnah

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Impact Muhammad has on Muslims today

Perfect example - didn't have an easy life, still determined to succeed

had patience, rejected immorality, always focused on Allah

seen as the greatest leader of all time

allwed religious freedom, women's rights, welcomed strangers + thought of the best outcome of his plans for everyone

good father, loving + just to all his wives

lived every aspect of Islamic life so others could follow

taught in mecca 13 years

determined to teach Allah's way

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The Imamate

imam - a person who leads a communal prayer

In Shia Islam, this title is only given to Ali + his descendants

Sunnis believe Muhammad's successors are called Caliphs

Shia Islam believes there are 12 imams in total - last is called Muhammad al Mehdi + is believed to still be alive today, in hiding

the last imam is said to be the one who will save Islam

The Imamate is important to people bcs they need guidance to live their lives according to G-d's will

the 12th imam will:

  • be a descendant of Muhammad
  • have a broad forehead + pointed nose
  • return just before judgement day
  • be preceded by 3 years of devastation
  • have 1000s of followers
  • rule the world for 7 years
  • destroy tyranny + oppression
  • bring peace + harmony
  • lead a prayer in Mecca with Jesus
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Holy books

Qu'ran is the holiest book - word of G-d revealed to Muhammad - "this is truly a glorious Qu'ran"

has 114 Surahs + written in Arabic

"Qu'ran" means "recited" bcs Muhammad recited it to his followers who wrote it down after he died so it wouldn't be forgotten

only holy text that hasn't been distorted/ lost - "this is the scripture in which there is no doubt"

source of authority + guidance for Muslims - contains advice from G-d on how to behave, historical accounts + foundations of faith

Qu'ran is now explained by Imams/ Caliphs to ppl

other holy books:

  • Torah - changed
  • Book of Psalms
  • Gospel - lost over time - "the gospel...a guide"
  • Scrolls of Ibrahim - no longer exist but contained earliest passages of Islam revealed to ibrahim
  • Hadith - Muhammad's teachings
  • Sunnah - Muhammad's practices
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