Belief in Allah’s Names and Attributes
This involves belief in the names and attributes which Allah has affirmed for Himself or which His Messenger has affirmed for Him in a manner that suits His majesty.
Allah has the most beautiful names and perfect attributes. All His names and attributes are unique, as the Qur’an states, “Nothing is like Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” (Soorat Ash-Shooraa, 42:11) Therefore, none of whatever He has created has similar names or attributes in any way.
Some of Allah’s Most Beautiful Names
“The Beneficent, the Merciful.” (Soorat Al-Faatihah, 1:3)
“He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” (Soorat Ash-Shooraa, 42:11)
“He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (Soorat Luqmaan, 31:9)
“Allah, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining.” (Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:255)
“All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.” (Soorat Al-Faatihah , 1:2)
Benefits of Belief in Allah’s Names and Attributes
- Getting to know Allah better, for belief in Allah’s names and attributes increases one’s knowledge of Allah, which in turn increases one’s faith in Him. Those who know and understand Allah’s names and attributes are bound to have their hearts filled with awe of Him and love for Him and tend to submit to Him alone.
- Praising Allah by using His most beautiful names, which is the best form of remembrance of Allah (dhikr), as the Qur’an states, “O you who believe, remember Allah much.” (Soorat Al-Ahzaab, 33:41)
- Asking and invoking Allah by His names and attributes, as the Qur’an states, “To Allah belong the Most Beautiful Names, so call on Him by them.” (Soorat Al-A‛raaf, 7:180) An example of this is to say, Yaa Tawwaab, tub ‛alayya! Yaa Raheem, Irhamnee! “O Most Forgiving, forgive me! O Most Merciful, have mercy on me!”
The Highest Level of Eemaan (Faith)
Faith, or eemaan, comprises different levels. The more a Muslim neglects his duty towards Allah and disobeys Him, the more his faith decreases. Conversely, the more he obeys Allah, worships Him and fears Him, the more his faith increases.
The highest level of faith is what Islam terms ihsaan (literally perfection, charity, performance of good deeds, etc.), which the Prophet r defined as follows: “It is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him and while you see Him not, yet truly He sees you.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 50; Saheeh Muslim: 8)
Therefore, you must remember that Allah is watching you all the time, whether you are standing or sitting, being serious or joking, and thus you must not disobey Him while you know that He is always watching you. Do not let fear and despair get the better of you while you know that Allah is with you. You will by no means experience loneliness when you privately pray to Allah and invoke Him. How can you commit a sin while you firmly believe that Allah is fully aware of what you do secretly and publicly? If, however, you commit a sin, repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness, He will certainly forgive you and accept your repentance.
Some Benefits of Belief in Allah I
- Allah safeguards the believers against harm and adversity and protects them against their enemies’ plots, as the Qur’an states, “Surely Allah defends those who are true believers.” (Soorat Al-Hajj, 22:38)
- Belief in Allah brings happiness and is the source of a good life, as the Qur’an states, “To whoever does good deeds, man or woman, and is a believer, We will surely give a good life.” (Soorat An-Nahl, 16:97)
- Belief in Allah frees the human mind from superstitions. Those who believe in Allah I completely rely on Him and are wholly devoted to Him, being the Lord of all the worlds and the only true God without any partners. As a result, they do not fear anyone and show their devotion to none but Allah. This frees them from all superstitions and misconceptions.
- The best benefit of belief in Allah is attainment of Allah’s good pleasure, admission into Paradise and enjoyment of everlasting bliss and Allah’s boundless mercy.
Belief in the Angels
The Meaning of Belief in Allah’s Angels
This means firm belief that they exist, that they belong to the unseen world, not our world, and that they are honoured and pious servants who worship Allah as He deserves to be worshipped, execute His commands and never disobey Him.
The Qur’an says about them, “They are honoured servants. They do not precede Him in speech and they act on His command.” (Soorat Al-Anbiyyaa’, 21:26-7)
Belief in them is one of the six pillars of eemaan (faith), as the Qur’an states, “The Messenger believes in that which has been revealed to him from his Lord and so do the believers. Each one believes in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers.” (Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:285)
When the Prophet was asked about faith, he said, “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day and to believe in the divine decree, the good and the bad of it.” (Saheeh Muslim: 8)
What Does Belief in the Angels Include?
- Belief in their existence: We believe that Allah made them from light and created them with a natural predisposition to worship and obey Him.
- Belief in those angels whose names have been mentioned to us, such as Jibreel (Gabriel) u. We also generally believe in all those whose names have not been mentioned to us.
- Belief in their attributes that have been mentioned to us. These include the following:
• They belong to the unseen world whom Almighty Allah created solely for His worship. They have no divine attributes whatsoever and are naturally disposed to show complete obedience to Allah, as the Qur’an states, “They do not disobey Allah in respect of any order He gives them and carry out what they are ordered to do.” (Soorat At-Tahreem, 66:6)
• Allah created them from light, as evidenced by the hadeeth, “The angels were created from light.” (Saheeh Muslim: 2996)
• They have wings, as the Qur’an states, “All praise is due to Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, who made the angels messengers with two, three or four pairs of wings. He increases in creation what He pleases; surely, Allah has power over all things.” (Soorat Faatir, 35:1)
- Belief in the duties which have been mentioned to us and which they carry out with Allah’s command. These include:
• The angel charged with the task of conveying Allah’s revelation to His messengers, namely, Jibreel (Gabriel) u.
• The angel charged with the task of taking away the souls of those destined to die, namely the Angel of Death and his assistants.
• The angels charged with the task of recording all the good and bad deeds people do, known as the Noble Scribes (al-kiraam al-kaatiboon)
Benefits of Belief in the Angels
Belief in the angels has numerous benefits in the believer’s life. These include the following:
- Being aware of Allah’s absolute strength and power: The magnificent and great creation of the angels clearly testify to the greatness of their Creator. The fact that Allah I created the mighty angels from light and with wings makes us appreciate His attributes with the importance and appreciation that He deserves and revere Him even more.
- Observing righteousness: The firm belief that some angels record all our deeds prompts us to fear Allah I and to try not to disobey Him, whether we are alone or with others.
- Observing patience while carrying out our duties towards Allah: When we become aware of the infinite number of angels in this vast universe who obey Allah and constantly worship Him, along with us, as He should be worshipped, we become prompted to endure all the adversities in carrying out our duties towards Allah. We also experience a great feeling of joy and reassurance.
- Showing gratitude to Allah: The fact that Almighty Allah has created some angels whose task is to guard people against harm prompts us to thank Him for His divine care.
Belief in the Divine Books
The Meaning of Belief in the Divine Books
The Holy Qur’an is written with great skill and precision, based on strict calligraphy rules.
This means firm belief that Almighty Allah has sent down some divine books to some of His messengers, and that they contain the speech of Allah which must be thought of in a manner that suits His majesty. These books also contain the truth, light and guidance for people in both this world and in the hereafter.
Belief in the divine books is one of the six pillars of faith, as the Qur’an states, “O you who believe, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger and the Books which He revealed before.” (Soorat An-Nisaa’, 4:136)
In this verse, Almighty Allah commands the believers to believe in Him and His Messenger and the book which He revealed to His Messenger r, namely, the Qur’an. He also commands them to believe in all the books He revealed before the Qur’an.
Defining faith (eemaan), the Prophet once said, “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day and to believe in the divine decree, both good and bad.” (Saheeh Muslim: 8)
What does Belief in the Divine Books Include?
- To believe that they were truly revealed by Allah.
- To believe that they contain the speech of Allah .
- To believe in the divine books which Almighty Allah has named, such as the Qur’an, which He revealed to our Prophet Muhammad , the Torah (At-Tawraah) which He revealed to Moses (Moosaa) u and the Gospel (Al-Injeel) which He revealed to Jesus (‛Eesaa) u.
- To believe the authentic stories mentioned in them.
The Unique and Distinctive Characteristics of the Qur’an
The Holy Qur’an is the Speech of Allah, which He revealed to our Prophet Muhammad . Therefore, we ought to venerate it, read it, ponder its verses and strive hard to abide by its instructions.
Suffice it to say that the Qur’an is our guide in this life and will be the cause of our salvation in the hereafter.
The Holy Qur’an has numerous unique features which distinguish it from the other revealed books. These include the following:
- The Glorious Qur’an provides a summary of divine rulings. It also came to support and confirm the command to worship Allah alone contained in the previous divine books.
The Qur’an says, “And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, confirming the books before it and with final authority over them. (Soorat Al-Maa’idah, 5:48)
This verse makes it clear that the Qur’an agrees with and confirms the truth, statements and beliefs, amongst other things, contained in the previous divine books and serves as a witness over them.
- All people, regardless of their language or race, must adhere to the Qur’an and act according to its dictates, no matter how far removed they may be from the time the Qur’an was revealed, as opposed to the previous scriptures which were revealed for particular peoples at specific times. The Qur’an says, “This Qur’an has been revealed to me so that I may warn you by it, and anyone else it reaches.” (Soorat Al-An‛aam, 6:19)
- While many additions and deletions have crept into the other divine books, the Qur’an has remained intact because Allah the Almighty has taken it upon Himself to protect it, as the Qur’an says, “We have sent down the Reminder, and We will surely guard it [from corruption].” (Soorat al-Hijr, 15:9)
What is Our Duty Towards the Qur’an?
- We must love and venerate the Qur’an. We must also value its importance because it is the speech of Almighty Allah I, which is unquestionably the best and most truthful speech.
- We must read it, recite it and ponder its verses. We must also reflect on its spiritual guidance, statements and stories and take it as a criterion in our lives whereby we distinguish between truth and falsehood.
- We must act on its dictates, obey its commands and make them our way of life.
When ‛Aa’ishah ~, one of the Prophet’s wives, was asked about the character of the Prophet r, she replied, “His character was the Qur’an.” (Musnad Ahmad:24601; Saheeh Muslim: 746)
In other words, the Prophet r was the practical embodiment of the Qur’anic injunctions in all his actions and worldly life. Indeed, he followed the guidance of the Qur’an in its entirety and provided an excellent example for us to follow, as the Qur’an states, “You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah, for all who hope for Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much.” (Soorat Al-Ahzaab, 33:21)
What is Our Stance regarding the Contents of the Previously Revealed Books?
A Muslim believes that the Torah, which was revealed to Moses u, and the Gospel, which was revealed to Jesus u, were the truth from Allah . He also believes that they comprised rulings, guidance and lessons and news which had guidance and light for people in their worldly life and the life to come.
A Muslim believes that the Torah and the Gospel were revealed by Allah I but that many additions and deletions have crept into them. Therefore, he believes only those statements in them which agree with what is mentioned in the Qur’an and the Prophet’s traditions.
However, Almighty Allah informs us in the Holy Qur’an that the People of the Book, that is the Jews and the Christians, had distorted their divine books through alteration, omission or addition to the original text, and are thus not as authentic as Allah first revealed them.
The Torah, that is available today, is not the same Torah revealed to Moses u, because the Jews corrupted the original text by altering it and changing numerous rulings in it, as the Qur’an states, “Some of the Jews distort the true meaning of words.” (Soorat An-Nisaa’, 4:46)
Similarly, the Gospel available to us today is not the same Gospel revealed to Jesus u, for the Christians distorted it and altered a large number of its rulings. Concerning this, the Qur’an says: “Among them is a group who distort the Book with their tongues so that you think it is from the Book when it is not from the Book. They say, ‘It is from Allah,’ but it is not from Allah. They tell a lie against Allah and they know it.” (Soorat Aal ‛Imraan, 3:78)
“We also made a covenant with those who say, ‘We are Christians,’ and they too forgot a good portion of what they were reminded of. So We stirred up enmity and hatred between them until the Day of Rising when Allah will inform them about what they did.” (Soorat Al-Maa’idah, 5:14)
The Holy Bible available to the People of the Book today, which consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament, has numerous wrong beliefs, misleading misconceptions and false statements and stories. We believe those statements and reports which are shown by the Qur’an or the sound Sunnah to be true, and we disbelieve those ones which are shown by the Qur’an and Sunnah to be false. As for the rest of the statements and reports, we must neither believe nor disbelieve them, because they are not proven in the Qur’an or Sunnah to be either true or false.
Despite all this, a Muslim ought to respect these books and must not demean or desecrate them, for they may still contain some of Allah’s speech which has not been distorted.
Benefits of Belief in the Divine Books
Belief in the divine books has a number of benefits, including the following:
- Awareness of Allah’s great care and immense mercy for His slaves for sending for every people a divine book to guide them, help them achieve happiness in this life and enjoy eternal bliss in the hereafter.
- Awareness of Allah’s absolute wisdom contained in his laws, for legislating for every people what perfectly suits their general circumstances and personalities, as the Qur’an states, “For each [community to which a Messenger was sent with a Book] have We appointed a law and a practice.” (Soorat Al-Maa’idah, 5:48)
- Showing gratefulness to Allah for sending down such books which contain light and guidance for us in this life and in the hereafter. Indeed, this is a great blessing for which we ought to offer thanks to Allah.