Introduction to Islam
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Knowledge of theology is one of the most important branches of knowledge and is the most important in Islamic sciences. Theology seeks to explain the creed that a Muslim is obliged to believe in absolute certainty.
This module contains concise notes on Islam that every Muslim must know. This knowledge is required to ensure that our ibadah is valid and accepted by Allah.
Heritage of Our Great Muslim Scholars
حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ أَبِي أُوَيْسٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي مَالِكٌ، عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ عُرْوَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ " إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ انْتِزَاعًا، يَنْتَزِعُهُ مِنَ الْعِبَادِ، وَلَكِنْ يَقْبِضُ الْعِلْمَ بِقَبْضِ الْعُلَمَاءِ، حَتَّى إِذَا لَمْ يُبْقِ عَالِمًا، اتَّخَذَ النَّاسُ رُءُوسًا جُهَّالاً فَسُئِلُوا، فَأَفْتَوْا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ، فَضَلُّوا وَأَضَلُّوا"
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As:
I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) saying, "Allah does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away from (the hearts of) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray." (Bukhari)
We are truly seeing the impact of the decrease of knowledge. Our pious and knowledgeable great scholars have massive knowledge and the knowledge have reduced over time. Unfortunately, in this era of social media, we have forgotten to learn the knowledge left by our pious and knowledgeable predecessors, may Allah gives rahmah to them. Instead many have resorted to learning from social media and this also exposes them to the dangers of accepting absurd suggestions that are alien to Islam. Most unfortunate is when someone tries to understand Islam from short video clips or short text rather than learning Islam in a systematic way. Alhamdulillah more resources (books, videos etc) are now available in English. This will help us to understand true Islam for many of us who are unfortunate not to have access to scholars.
Some of our great Muslim scholars:
Scholars from the salaf (first 3 generations of Islam)
- Imam Abu Hanifa (80 - 150 AH)
- Imam Sufyan al-Thawri (97 - 161 AH)
- Imam Malik bin Anas (93 - 179 AH)
- Imam Shafii (150 - 204 AH)
- Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (164 - 241 AH)
- Imam Junaid al-Baghdadi ( - 298 AH)
- Imam Abu Jaafar At-Tahawi (239 - 321 AH)
- Imam Abu Hassan Ash'ari (260- 324 AH)
- Imam Abu Mansor Al-Maturidi ( - 333 AH)
Scholars from the khalaf (subsequent generations)
- Imam Al-Juwaini aka Imam Al-Haramain (417 - 463 AH)
- Imam al-Ghazali (450 - 505 AH)
- Imam Nawawi (631 - 676 AH)
- Imam Ibnu Hajar Al-Asqalani (773 - 852 AH)
- Imam as-Suyuti (849 - 911 AH)
Aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah
The ‘aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa‘ah is the most dominant creed among Muslims worldwide
The term Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa‘ah originated from two words, namely “Ahlus Sunnah” and “al-Jamaa‘ah,” which indicates a group that adheres to the beliefs of Prophet sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam or following his way of life sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam and his Companions radiyAllaahu ‘anhum ajma‘een especially the Rightly Guided Caliphs whom were groomed and trained by Rasulullah sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam himself.
The beliefs of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa‘ah encompasses Islamic teachings pertaining to ‘aqeedah, Sharee‘ah, and akhlaaq, which was taught since the time of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam and his Companions. The term Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa‘ah was coined and concluded by the scholars from a hadeeth.
‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr radiyAllaahu ‘anhuma reported that the Messenger sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “Verily, the Children of Israel had split into seventy-two sects and my ummah will split into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in Hellfire, except one group.” They (the Companions) said: “Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?” He (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “(Those who follow) that which I and my companions follow.” (at-Tirmidhi: hasan)
Based on the narration above, combined with various narrations having the same meaning, the scholars have concluded that the definition of those that strictly follow the sunnah of the Messenger and the Companions are referred as Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa‘ah.
Their ‘aqeedah is deeply rooted within the teachings brought by Rasulullah sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam and his Companions radiyAllaahu ‘anhum ajma‘een. The ‘aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa‘ah is deemed as the teachings that is true, guided, safe, clear, and having no confusion within itself. On the contrary, all other teachings are colluded, misguided, and erroneous, prone to stray far beyond the teachings of alQur’an and as-Sunnah.
Among the characteristics of the creed of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa‘ah are:
- Firm belief and interpretation of Islamic rulings based on primary sources, namely alQur’an, as-Sunnah, ijmaa‘, and qiyaas, without rejecting or reducing the role of any one of them.
- Firm adherence to Islamic teachings that include matters pertaining to imaan that is ‘aqeedah; Islam that is shara‘; and ihsaan that is akhlaaq.
- Clinging onto al-Qur’an that was compiled by the Companions radiyAllaahu ‘anhum ajma‘een especially that which is known as Mus-haf ‘Uthmaani, and holding firm onto as-Sunnah especially ahaadeeth that was collected by the great imams such as Imam al-Bukhaari, Imam Muslim, Imam at-Tirmidhi, Imam Abu Dawood, Imam an-Nasaa’ie, Imam ibn Maajah, and others that are also recognized rahimahumullah.
- Believing that the Companions are all trustworthy and just without declaring any one of them as apostates, especially the Rightly Guided Caliphs, whom are Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattaab, ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, and ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib radiyAllaahu ‘anhum ajma‘een.
- To believe and have firm imaan upon Unseen matters, especially those that are affirmed by al-Qur’an and asSunnah, such as the torment of the grave, the reward of Paradise, the torment of Hellfire, and many more.
- Not easily and hastily declaring kufr upon the Muslims or ahlul Qiblah (those having Ka‘bah as their qiblah) except with full knowledge, established proofs, and justice.
- Moderation in beliefs and practice, which is not being too extreme nor being negligent.
Ideologies that violate some or all of the previously mentioned matters e.g. rejecting alQur’an and as-Sunnah, interpreting Islam based on rational (reason) due to whim desire, renouncing the Companions as apostates, adopting extreme views are all rejected and lies outside the fold of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa‘ah.
Resources on Aqidah
There are 2 main schools of aqidah in the Ahlus Sunnal wal Jamaah i.e. Maturidi and Ash'ari. Hanafis mainly follow the Maturi school and Shafiis and Malikis follow the Ash'ari school. Righteous scholars in the past have documented invaluable evidence of the aqidah e.g. the book Umm al-Barahin was written by Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Sanusi al-Husayni al-Maliki on the Ash'ari aqidah. Imam Abu Ja'far at-Tahawi had explained in greater detail the aqidah of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah. Sheikh Ahmad Marzuki al-Maliki explained the aqidah of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah through him poem "Aqidatul Awam" (The creed of the common people).
فَٱعۡلَمۡ أَنَّهُ ۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ
Meaning: Know (acquire the knowledge of) there is no god but Allah (Surah Muhammad:19)
The first obligation of a mukallaf is to learn about Allah. A mukallaf is one who meet all of the following criteria:
- reached the age of puberty
- has received the message of Islam
Please click the link below for online resources which are beneficial in understanding our rightful aqidah.
- The Creed of The Masses (Lessons on aqidah)
- Commentary on Aqidah Tahawiyyah
- Aqeedah of Muslims
- Al-Aqidah Al-Tahawiyyah
- Al-Aqidah Al-Sanusiyya
Pillars of Belief
- Belief in Allah
- Belief in Messengers
- Belief in the Books
- Belief in Angels
- Belief in the hereafter
- Belief in Qada' and Qadr (predestination)
Pillars of Islam
- Shahadah (testimony) that Allah is the one and only God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God
- Prayers 5 times daily
- Fasting in the month of Ramadan
- Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) for those who can afford it
Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)
Please click here for other resources in fiqh.