Core Muslim Beliefs
SCTR 19 – “Religions of the Book”
Prepared by Matt Pham
Six Articles of Islamic Faith (for the Sunni majority)
– In addition to Five Pillars of Islamic Practice
– Together, make up Aqidah (“creed”)
– Sunni/Shi’a beliefs differ:
Having Iman (“to fully observe one’s faith”)
– Belief in the heart
– Profession by the tongue
– Performance of the deeds
– Caution / Similar words: Imam = leader vs. Iman = faith
Without the articles of faith, there is
no context for the pillars of practice
To Believe in God (Allah)
Monotheism (tawhid = “divine unity”)
God is absolute, a single inseparable unity
One God  Same God for Jews, Christians, Muslims
Allah: not a proper name, but the Arabic word for “God”
“99 Names of God”: found throughout the Qur’an
God has “no associate or partner”
– Muslims reject the Christian concept of “Trinity”
– God cannot become human; humans cannot be God
– Consider Jesus a great prophet, but not divine
To Believe in the Unseen
– God’s messengers; reveal messages to Prophets
 Ex: Angel Gabriel revealed the Qur’an to Muhammad
– No free will; sole purpose is serving God
– Accompany, guide, and protect people at all times
Spirits (Jinn)
– Spiritual beings, with free will
– Thus can be good or evil
– Root of English word/concept: “genie”
To Believe in Prophethood
Prophets (nabi ) and Messengers (rasul )
– Prophets speak God’s words to people orally.
– Messengers record God’s words in book form.
– So, not all prophets are messengers,
but all messengers are also prophets.
Muslims believe in 1000’s of prophets
– “Chain of Prophets”: Adam was first; Muhammad was last
 Also incl. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, Jesus, etc.
– All transmit same basic message throughout history
 Certain prophets were sent to specific groups/nations
To Believe in Revelation
Holy Books
– Revealed scriptures; messages from God
– Different languages, different cultures, different eras
– But same basic message, culminating in the Qur’an
Progressive Revelation
– Books of Moses, Psalms of David, Gospels of Jesus
– Ultimately the Qur’an, revealed thru Muhammad
– NOTE: Most Muslims do not read the present HB or NT,
believing ancient Jews & Christians altered the messages
God had revealed through Moses, David, and Jesus
To Believe in the Day of Judgment
Resurrection of the Dead
– At the end of time, all people will be raised
– Everyone is held accountable for his/her own deeds
Judgment / Afterlife
– Everyone is judged based on one’s life/actions on earth
– If good deeds outweigh bad deeds:
 Reward  eternal life with God in heaven/paradise/garden
– If bad deeds outweigh good deeds:
 Punishment  in everlasting fires of hell
To Believe in the Divine Decree
Human Nature / Free Will
– Everyone has knowledge & ability to choose
between right & wrong, and so is held responsible
– Yet God has correct fore-knowledge of everyone’s path
Destiny / Fate / Predestination
– God wrote down our destiny in the “Preserved Tablet”
– God knows what our nature will cause us to do
 A person’s actions are not caused by what God has written
 But God is omniscient  God knows in advance
Six Articles of Faith (for Sunni Muslims)
Angels & Spirits
Holy Books
Day of Judgment
Destiny or Fate
Variety of Beliefs
– Most Muslims, esp. Sunnis, believe in all the above
– Specific explanations may vary, even among Sunnis
– Some similarities & differences for Shi’i Muslims

Pillars of Muslim Belief