Imaan (Faith) is the very first Pillar of Islam, which includes a number of components. Of those components, the most fundamental is the belief in the Oneness of Allah (Tawheed) and in the Messengership of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Testifying Islamic Faith
Islam is the Deen (religion and way of life) ordained by Allah for the human nation from the time of the first man, Prophet Adam (peace be upon him – PBUH) until the last day of the world.
To quote Allah (Glorified be He), “The only Deen (that is acceptable) to Allah is Islam” (Qur’an 3:19). At another place, He says, “Whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted (by Allah) and he will be a loser in the Hereafter” (Qur’an 3:85). Now, the question is – what is Islam?
Islam means submission to Allah and to live life according to His commands in the way of His prophet of the time and place concerned (No’mani 2009 vol. 1. p. 8). Thus, Allah calls upon mankind to submit to Him because He is the only One God (Qur’an 22:34). And all the prophets (peace be upon them) called people to obey Allah and follow their footsteps. For example, Prophet Nuh/ Noah (PBUH) urged his people to worship Allah, obey Him, and follow his way of life (Qur’an 71:2-3). One who responds to such a call (he is a Muslim) and accepts Islam as the way of life is the best in the judgment of Allah (Qur’an 4:125).
In the line of prophethood, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the last. He is the Prophet for the whole world until the last day of the world. Allah asks the Prophet (PBUH) to call people to humble themselves to Him by accepting Islamic Shari’ah (Islamic way of life) brought by him (Qur’an 22:34). At another place, Allah commands the Prophet to preach, “O mankind! I am indeed the Messenger of Allah for you…” (Qur’an 7:178). Thus, the Islamic Shari’ah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the complete code of life for mankind. After his advent as the Prophet, no other religion is acceptable to Allah, the Lord of the Universe (Qur’an 3:19).
As said above, Islam is the complete code of life. Unlike any all-ritualistic religion, its teachings cover all aspects of life from birth to death. However, it is based on five pillars, namely Imaan (Faith), Salah (Obligatory Prayers), Zakah (Obligatory Charity), Sawm (Obligatory Fasting) and Hajj (Obligatory Pilgrimage).
The first Pillar requires a person to believe in a few articles of Faith. Those are (1) Oneness of Allah (Tawheed), (2) Prophethood of all prophets (Peace be upon them), in particular Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) being the last and universal Prophet, (3) Angels, (4) all Divine Books, (5) Resurrection and Day of Judgment, and (6) Destiny (Jahangir 2017 p. 85). After Faith, a Believer is required to demonstrate his/her Faith to Allah through the physical action of Prayers (Salah), most importantly the five times obligatory Prayer.
Third, he/she is obligated to share their wealth with the poor, provided he/she owns wealth of a certain amount (technically called Nisab) for one year. Fourth, he/she has to fast for the month of Ramadan, which may be called a trainer through restraint in the obedience of Allah. Last, if financially capable, a Believer must perform Hajj, which is visiting the House of Allah (Ka’ba) in Makkah and doing other related rituals. This is an opportunity of meeting other fellow Muslims coming from all over the world and declaring unison the Oneness of Allah.
As understood from above, Imaan (Faith) is the very first Pillar of Islam, which includes a number of components. Of those components, the most fundamental is the belief in the Oneness of Allah (Tawheed) and in the Messengership of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) because the Islamic Shari’ah of Prophet Muhammad demands obedience to Allah in the way of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). That is why, for one to submit to this Deen, one has to testify the basic Postulate (Kalimah) that ‘There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah and (Prophet) Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah.’ By pronouncing this postulate, one becomes Muslim and thereby qualifies to enter Paradise in the afterlife (Muslim 1/61).
The above paragraph shows that the basic Postulate (Kalimah) has two components, namely Faith in Allah as the Only One God, and Faith in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the Only Last and Universal Prophet. The first part is called Tawheed and the second Risalah. Both of these components are vast in meaning and significance. Without the knowledge of the full remit of these two, a Believer’s Faith will not be strong and testimony of the Postulate will not be complete. And without strong Faith, it will not be easy to fulfill the demands of the Postulate (Kalimah), some of which may be encapsulated in the following:
First, Allah wants the Believers to keep their Faith pure from Partnership with Allah (Shirk) and not to adulterate with wrongdoing and injustice (Qur’an 6:82);
Second, Believers must be free from hypocrisy. In other words, their testimony of the Faith must not be discordant with what is in the heart (Qur’an 2:8);
Third, Believers must not have doubts about what they believe in. Otherwise, it will be difficult for them to obey Allah’s commands and strive in His way with their lives and wealth (Qur’an 49:15);
Fourth, Believers must pray Salah, pay Zakah and do other good deeds (Qur’an 9:18);
Fifth, Allah wants His servants to keep firm Faith in Him and to never despair of His help (Qur’an 26:61-62);
Sixth, saying that we believe in Allah is not enough. This demands complete obedience to Allah and His Messenger (Qur’an 49:14);
Seventh, Allah wants believers to do good deeds as commanded and recommended by Shari’ah and stay away from wrongdoing and help each other in this respect (Qur’an 9:71);
Eighth, it is expected of the believers that they keep complete trust in Allah in the face of any difficulties (Qur’an 3:173);
Ninth, believers should be prepared to undergo any hardship in the obedience of Allah and His Messenger (Qur’an 12:32-33);
Last, Believers must love Allah and His Messenger more than anything (Qur’an 2:165).
Given the importance of true and strong Faith and their related knowledge, henceforth we will be discussing the components of Tawheed (Oneness of Allah) first in the upcoming papers. This will be followed by reflections on Risalah (Messengership of Prophet Muhammad- PBUH).
Hadith: Muslim, Saheeh Muslim (Book of Hadith)
Jahangir, KA (2017), Qur’an-Sunnaher Aloke Islami Aqida (in Bangla) (Islamic Creed in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Jhenidah: As-Sunnah Publications.
No’mani, MM (2009), Ma’riful Hadeet (in Bangla). Dhaka: Imdadiya Library.