Islam is a widely misunderstood religion. In this article I will address the basic beliefs of Islam. Firstly what do the words Islam and Muslim mean. The word Islam means submission and its root word is salam meaning peace. Thus Islam teaches that in order for people to have inner peace and live in peace with each other peopl need to submit (obey) God (Allah). The word Muslim means one who submits i.e. the one who submits(obeys) Allah (God).
The main sources of knowledge of Islam are the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the word of Allah (God) revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A common practise amongst Muslim is to memorise all 114 chapters of the Qur’an. Muslims believe that the Qur’an has been preserved in its original form due both this practise of memorisation and that it has also been preserved in its written form. The Sunnah is basically the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Muslims refer to the God as Allah, which is the Arabic name for The God. Muslims believe that Allah is the only god who is the Creator, Ruler and Provider of the Universe. Allah has neither partners nor children. Allah has no gender and what He looks like is beyond our comprehension. Thus Muslims are not allowed to have pictures or statues of Allah. Attributes of Allah include: The Most Compassionate, the Most Forgiving, the All Knowing and the Most Just.
The belief in the One God is part of the belief in the Unseen. Muslims also believe in two forms of creation which are unseen. Firstly there are angels which are made from light; they are believed to have no freewill and thus have choice but to obey Allah (The God). One of these angels is Gabriel, the angel of revelation. The other type of unseen creation are jinn who are believed to be made from fire. Jinn, like humans, are believed to have free will thus they can choose to obey or not obey God. Satan is believed to be a jinn, Satan tempts people to disobey God.
Islam teaches that humans are born in a natural state without sin. In this natural state they have an inborn belief in Allah and can distinguish between right and wrong. But as they grow older they become influenced by those around them and thus move away from this natural state, thus there was a need for prophets to be sent to remind people of how to live in obedience to Allah (God).
The Qur’an teaches that every nation of the Earth was sent Prophets to remind people about Allah and how to live in obedience to Allah (God). The Prophets mentioned in the Qur’an include: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, John and Jesus (peace be upon them all). All the prohets had basically the same message but there may have been differences in relation to specific laws to address the specific details of the people they were sent to. Muslims believe that Muhammad was sent as the last Prophet because the previous revelations from God (Allah) had been changed by people and the message Muhammad brought was universal for all people for all times.
Finally Islam teaches that after death everyone will wait in their graves until the Day of Judgement. On this day those who believed in and lived by the Truth will be rewarded with Paradise those who did not will go to the Hellfire.