Islam 1.1 Introduction to Islam
Islam: Muslims believe that Islam is the Religion revealed by God (Allāh) to mankind. It was first revealed to the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him), and then to every Prophet after him (from Noah to Jesus) finishing with the final Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was born in Makkah over 1400 years ago. The definition of Islam is: “To submit to Allah by worshipping Him alone; and to surrender to Him in obedience; and to keep away from idolatry.” Muslims believe that the one who does this sincerely will truly be at peace with himself and his life. Muslims believe that Islam is the Religion ordained by Allah for mankind.
Tawheed (Monotheism): This is the key foundation upon which Islam is built. It is the basis of the Islamic faith. It means: 1. That Allah alone is worshipped to the exclusion of all other gods, idols, celestial bodies and beings. 2. He is the sole Lord, Creator, Controller and Sustainer of all of creation. 3. He has beautiful Names and lofty Attributes that are unique to Him, and His creation does not resemble Him.
“The Religion with Allah is Islaam.” Qur’aan 3:19
“O you who believe, obey Allah and the Messenger.” Qur’aan 4:59
“Who can be better in Religion than the one who submits his whole self to Allah.” Qur’aan 4:125
When one wishes to become a Muslim, he is required to say: “I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.” Muhammad (peace be upon him) is revered and followed by Muslims, but never worshipped. In the life of a Muslim, Allah must always come first. Allah stated in the Qur’aan, “I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me alone.”
“Say: He is Allah, the One and Only! Allāh, the Self-Sufficient Master whom all of the creatures are in need, whilst He is free of need. He is the father of none, and none is His father. And He has none who is co-equal or comparable to Him.” Qur’aan 112
“Allah. There is no god worthy of worship but He, the Everliving, Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him, nor sleep. His are all things in the Heavens and on earth.” Qur’aan 2:255
If they worship Him and obey Him, He will enter them into Paradise and save them from the punishment of Hell. Muslims have a duty to accept whatever happens as the Will of Allah. This means that however bad something appears, Muslims believe that: 1. Allah has always known about it because He is the All-Knowing, 2. That He wrote everything that is to occur till the Day of Judgement, 3. That He Wills everything that takes place, 4. That He creates everything, good and evil. So He allowed it to happen for a good reason and for a wisdom, even if people do not comprehend that wisdom.
This shows that Muslims are required to rely upon God and hold that He alone is ultimately in control of what happens. This is why Muslims add the words “inshā’-Allāh” (If Allah wills) when they promise to do something because they realise that they will only be able to fulfil their intentions if Allāh wills it. However, Muslims also affirm that Allah has given people a freewill to choose between right and wrong and He allows us to choose how to behave.
These verses show that people have free will, but only as Allah ultimately Wills. So people are free to worship Allah if they wish to do so [as they have been commanded in the Qur’an], and they are free to commit sins if they wish to do so [though they have been forbidden to so in the Qur’an].
There was a sect that arose in the early centuries of Islam known as the “Compulsionists” (Jabriyyah) who claimed that humans have no freewill of their own, but they are compelled by God to do evil and good. Ahlus-Sunnah (those who follow the path of the Prophet and his disciples) argue that this opposes the Quran and the Prophetic methodology, and it opposes justice. Why would God punish in Hell someone who He has compelled to commit sins? So people have the free will to choose between right and wrong.
“For whoever among you wills to walk upon the straight path, then you will not will unless it be that God wills.” Qur’an 81:28-29
“No disaster strikes except with God’s permission.” Qur’aan 64:11
There was another early sect known as the “Qadariyyah” who denied the pre-Decree of Allah. They believed that Allah had no will or control over the actions of humans, and they do as they choose without any ordainment or decree from Allah. Ahlus-Sunnah argued that this opposed the clearly established Quranic verses that affirm God’s will over the creation and that nothing takes place in the Heavens and the Earth except by His Will.
So Ahlus-Sunnah are between the Jabriyyah who claim humans have no freewill at all – and between the Qadariyyah who claim that there is no Pre-Decree at all. Ahlus-Sunnah believe that Allah has given humans freewill to choose between right and wrong (and they are judged in accordance to their deeds), and that Allah knew what they would do, He wrote it, willed it and created mankind and their actions.
Allah: Is the Islamic/Arabic term for Almighty God, the only God worthy of worship.
- Learn the meanings of the important words: Islam, Muslim, Tawheed, Allah. Write down the meanings, then close your book and see if you can remember the meanings.
- Explain why Muslims add the words “God willing” when they make promises.
- What does Islam teach about the bad things that happen in life?
- Beliefs can affect both actions and attitudes. How can the belief that God controls everything affect the attitude Muslims have to life?
- Why can no one be absolutely certain that they will be able to keep their promises?
I initially compiled these worksheets for my students at the Redstone Academy (aged between 13 and 16 years), Moseley Road, Birmingham, UK who are working towards their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). I felt that others who do not attend the school can also benefit from these topics since they are presented in simple bitesize chapters. I have relied upon GCSE text books and adapted them for my classes.