By A. Zeynep Donmez – Ozlem Ata Translated from Turkish by Yilmaz Kaso
A chapter from the book ‘Friday of the Youth” Sydney, AUSTRALIA
WHAT DO WE BELIEVE IN?
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
يَا أَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ آمِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَٱلْكِتَابِ ٱلَّذِى نَزَّلَ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَٱلْكِتَابِ ٱلَّذِيۤ أَنَزلَ مِن قَبْلُ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلآئِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلآخِرِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلاَلاً بَعِيداً
“Oh you who believe! Trust in Allah and His Messenger and the Book which He has sent down to His Messenger and the Books which He had sent down before. Whoever ignores Allah and His Angels and his Messengers and the Day of Judgment, he has indeed gone far astray.” (Al-Nisa 4:136)
قَالَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ أَخْبِرْنِي مَا الإِيمَانُ قَالَ ” الإِيمَانُ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلاَئِكَتِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَتُؤْمِنُ بِالْقَدَرِ خَيْرِهِ وَشَرِّهِ”
“Jibreel (Gabriel) said that; Oh Muhammad! Tell me about what faith is! The Messenger of Allah said that faith is believing in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Day of Judgment, and that God has established the criteria for the good and the evil.” (Muslim, Iman, 1)
When we mention scripture class, we recall particular knowledge which is taught during our early education. The first one of these is what we believe in. We can get this information from both Surah Al-Nisa 4:136 which we recited at the beginning of our speech and Surah Al-Baqarah 2:177: “Virtuousness is not turning your faces to the direction of East or West. Virtuousness is (the manner of) the person who trusts in Allah, the hereafter, the angels, the Books, and the prophets.”
The pillars of faith which are listed in different orders in these verses have been compiled in five articles which are belief in Allah, His angels, His books, His prophets, and the Day of Judgment. The traditional belief of qadar (fate) which is recited in the prayer of Amantu is not mentioned among these. However, in the Quran, the word “qadar” is mentioned in many verses. For example in the Surah Al-Furqan 25:2, it is stated that “Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure/criterion.” We will explain this in detail later. Now we will analyze the articles of belief in the light of the hadith which we partly recited at the beginning of our speech. It is widely known as “Hadith Jibreel” (narration of Gabriel). In this narration which includes information about Islam, beneficence, and the end of the world (qiyamah), the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) informed people that the person who asked the questions was Jibreel (Gabriel) in the form of a human and He came to teach religion to the humankind.
Everything which Allah (S.W.T.) created is the indication of His existence. To have duly believed in Allah, a person must make his own observations of the self and the surroundings, and then reach the conclusion that Allah exists and He is the only deity and the owner and executive of everything. As a matter of fact, Allah created humankind with a disposition to understand and acknowledge all of these facts. This is the first pillar of faith.
The second pillar of faith is believing in angels. There are agents of God who are charged with maintaining the regular operation of the Universe. Some of them are assigned to protect the people and some others are assigned to record whatever they do. These invisible agents of Allah are called “angels”. In the Quran, the most frequently mentioned angel is Gabriel, who brought the revelations from Allah (S.W.T.) to the prophets safely under the protection circle of accompanying angels. When prophets receive God’s verses, first they comprehend the verses themselves and then they convey them word by word to the people around them. A person who receives revelations from Allah is called a “Nabi.” A Nabi acts as a “Rasul” that is, a Messenger, while he conveys the words of God to the people exactly as they are. Although we call them “prophets” as a general name, we should keep in our mind the meaning of the Arabic words of Nabi and Rasul and this is the third pillar of faith.
The fourth pillar of faith is believing in Allah’s books. Allah sent revelations one after another to show the truth and the falsehood since the time of the first human being Adam (A.S). These revelations are written down and collected into books. Divine books thus came into existence. The contents of these books are based on the same principle of beliefs and rules but in time people covered up some verses or made additions to some verses. Yet the correct information has always been protected in the world and accessible for the people who wanted to reach them. The information in the Quran which mentions the facts in previous books also proves this. We also ought to believe that the Quran and the previous books have the common fundamentals of beliefs and rules and the Quran verifies this.
The fifth pillar of faith is believing in the hereafter. Hereafter is the name of the life after death. On the last day of this world, all the creation of Allah will die, then Allah will resurrect everyone in new bodies and they will be questioned for everything they did. The good deeds they performed during their life span will be rewarded in multitude, whereas they will receive a punishment that is equivalent of their bad deeds.
Finally, let’s analyze the concept of “qadar” or “fate”. Qadar can be described as Allah (S.W.T.) establishing the criteria for everything. Humankind and everything in the universe are created and continue to exist according to a certain set of laws. We also have to comply with these laws for something to come into existence or to happen. For example, to be able to go somewhere, we either need to walk or use a vehicle. Otherwise, we will never reach our destination. Here is another example: Humankind always dreamed about flying. However, no matter how hard they tried, their bodies never had the capability of flying. Nevertheless, because of this extensive desire to fly, humankind used the intelligence and the laws of nature (physics and science) to build an airplane and fly by means of it. Being unable to fly with our bodies and being able to build an airplane to fly both depend on the criteria -the laws and rules- that are set by Allah (S.W.T.). There are plenty of other criteria that must be fulfilled to achieve a certain goal in this Universe, and all these criteria are called “qadar”. So we should learn the meaning of qadar correctly and believe it in this way.
There is very good news in the Quran for those who believe in the mentioned pillars of faith. “Surely those who believe and do righteous deeds and keep up the prayer and give the zakat, deserve the reward in the presence of their Master. They neither fear nor grieve” (Al-Baqarah 2:277)
We wish that we will be one of those people so we will be among the saved ones.