Islamic Doctrines Simplified
Allah, Our Lord
If we see a beautiful picture painted on good canvas, do we not think that an artist produced it?
If we see an automatic machine, regularly manufacturing articles, are we not led to think that there is an engineer who made, designed and invented its system?
If we see a book written in any scientific field, surely we are aware that an author wrote it?
Surely the picture could not have been created without an artist!
Surely the machine could not work without an engineer!
Surely the book could not be written without an author!
Is it possible to say that this book in your hand was written by chance? Would you believe it if someone told you that it happened that the paper was scattered by wind, and ink was spilt on it, and thus the book was written?
Basic human sense does not believe such a supposition but rather, makes fun of it.
Thus everything needs a maker or a creator; nothing can come into existence without there being an originator: the creator.
Look at the sky and do you not wonder how the bright and beautiful sun sends down its light and heat to the people on earth? Look at the land upon which we live and ask how do plants grow on it?
Look at the water we drink, the air we breathe; the sun when it sets and the night when it comes; then, look at the beautiful stars which are impossible to count, and the light of the moon.
Look, and then think how were these wonders created and who then created them? Are they created by themselves or do they have a creator who made them?
They are as in need of a maker or a creator, as a house which needs a builder to be built; or a chair, on which we sit, needs a carpenter to be made; or a picture needs an artist in order to be painted, or a book needs an author to be written. And certainly Allah is their Creator and Maker Who created everything.
Let us ponder about ourselves and our bodies, and ask:
Who created us in this unique way?
Who gave us two eyes with which to see?
And the tongue with which we talk?
And two hands with which we work?
And two legs with which we walk?
And two ears with which we hear?
Who created the food we eat and the water we drink?
Not the farmer who cultivated the crops nor the plumber who connected the pipes.
Without food and water, one will surely die.
Who gave us the air which we breathe?
Without air, surely we will suffocate and die.
Indeed, our Creator is He Who created the heavens, the earth, water, air and the stars. And He is All-Great and All-Powerful. It is He Who created and provided us with all these amenities of life.
Thanking the Creator
If one of your parents or relatives gives you a present, surely you will be happy and thank them for it. Any one who does good to us deserves our gratitude and should be thanked for his goodness and favour.
We are given many favours from our parents who bring us up and who spend nights awake for our sake; from our teachers, who educate us and impart good manners, from our friends who give us their help. We thank these people and accept their favours and kindness. We consider it a virtue to do good, and in return we praise them for their goodness.
Then do we not think our Creator, Who created us and provided us with our parents and gave us so many blessings, deserves many thanks and worship from us?
It is Allah and He Who alone created us, Who provides for us and blesses us and it is to Him and Him alone for Whom should be reserved the ultimate praise.
Anyone who fails in his duty and neither worships Allah nor thanks Him can only be arrogant and evil.
No sane person can reject goodness and be ungrateful towards One Who provides favours, offers help and is merciful towards him.
My Lord! Inspire me to thank You for Your Favour which You bestowed upon me and on my parents, that I may do righteousness such as will please You.
You have seen how a mother embraces and suckles her little baby, how she expresses her feelings towards the infant. She does this due to her love and emotion for the baby.
You will also have seen how birds care for their young, how they bring food and water and put morsels in their mouths. They protect their young if they are attacked by other birds, by a snake or by other predators.
And even though they suffer as a consequence, birds surely love their young, show them great mercy and forbid evil being committed against them. This kind of mercy that fathers, mothers, and people generally, as well as animals, show within themselves, is from the Almighty Allah. It is He Who created such compassion and it is He Who instilled in animals how to love their young.
Allah bestows mercy into the souls of humans and animals. He is the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful, showing His love for all His creatures. He created love and mercy in the soul so that people and animals may have compassion for each other. Verily His love and mercy to us is far more than can be bestowed by our parents and families.
It is He Who created and provided us with the amenities for life on earth including the necessities for the time we were in our mother's womb.
He sent us the prophets to teach us the right path, to keep us far from evil and corruption, so we may enter paradise and be saved from fire and torment.
Surely He is the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful; constantly demonstrating His love and His sympathy for His creatures. In return, we should love our Creator by thanking and worshipping Him. He Who has such love and mercy for us deserves great praise and gratitude.
The Oneness of Allah
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
"Say: He is Allah, the One and Only Allah, the Eternal, Absolute. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like Him."
Holy Qur'an (112:1-4)
During the time of ignorance in the pre-Islamic period (Jahiliyah), polytheists used to worship idols which they themselves made out of iron, stone, wood and other materials. They believed that the idols themselves had the ability to provide, give benefit and inflict harm. They would offer presents or carry out sacrifices for their idols, whom they asked to meet their needs. For instance, the sick would ask to be cured, the poor for sustenance and childless couples for a child.
The people at that time were polytheists, who worshipped other than Allah; Who thus sent Prophet Muhammad [s] to bid them to stop adoring idols and tell them that these statutes were merely stones, which could neither benefit nor harm them.
The above-mentioned surah (chapter) of the Holy Qur'an was sent down to explain to people that the only god whom they should worship is the One God and there is no god save Him. It is He alone Who creates, provides, gives life and causes death, and it is He towards Whom people should turn for help.
Indeed Allah is not like any other creature; He has neither father nor mother, nor wife nor children. It is people who are in need of a father, mother and children because they themselves are created and have needs to produce young. Some are similar to others, but Allah the Creator is One and has no equal.
None of Allah's creatures are like Him. He, Who alone is Ever-Lasting and All-Powerful. It is He Who creates, provides and knows everything, no one can be characterised with such great attributes except Him. It is He alone Who deserves praise, obedience, and thanks.
 [s] is an abbreviation for an Arabic phrase "sallalahu aleihi wa alihi wa salam" meaning "peace be upon him and his holy family". It is recommended for all Muslim's to invoke this salutation when mentioning the name of Apostle Muhammad [s] or referring to him.
The Bestower of Provision
Allah, the Almighty says:
"Surely Allah is the Bestower of provision, Lord of Power, the Almighty".
Holy Qur'an (52:58)
People, birds, fish, animals, insects and reptiles are all creatures, which need food, air and water. Allah has bestowed His sustenance on each and every creature on earth and all must work and search for their provision.
Allah, the Most High says:
"And He set on the earth firm mountains standing above its surface, and He blessed the earth and measured therein nourishment for all things, in four periods: in accordance with the needs of the seekers".
Holy Qur'an (41:10)
People are the seekers of sustenance, for food, water and money, on this earth. In our organized society we get them through working in different fields such as: agriculture, industry, cattle-rearing, commerce and other kinds of employment such as carpentry, science, medicine, engineering, tailoring, etc.
Consider the food which you eat at every meal and think from where it came?
The vegetables, grain, fruit, meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs or dairy products and so on.
Who brought forth the crops which farmers grow to be processed into delicious food?
Who created animals whose flesh may be cooked to give us sustenance, or from which milk is obtained?
Only our Creator is the Maker of provisions for us on this earth. And surely, to gain these we need to work. Indeed prophets themselves have striven for the sake of obtaining sustenance.
Prophet Moses [a] used to graze cattle and so did Prophet David [a]. Prophet Noah [a] worked as a carpenter, as did Prophet Muhammad [s], who also used to graze cattle, and who worked in commerce in Mecca for a certain time.
The acquisition of provision needs supplies, demand and surety. Allah has provided such basic requirements as oxygen, sunlight and rain in order that land can be irrigated, plants cultivated and animals reared. For man to survive and be healthy and strong in both body and mind he needs to think, work and to organise his life around him.
Allah's blessings upon us are numerous and uncountable. He provides basic provisions and favours for all mankind. So why, it can be asked, do we see that some poor people starve, and have no material benefits or dwellings? Verily the reason behind this can be seen very clearly.
At one end of the scale, some people are lazy and have no inclination to work for the sake of earning their provision. And indeed Allah dislikes them.
At the other end of the scale, some people behave as oppressors and tyrants, amassing fortunes out of their own greed and not for the good of society. They use the poor and needy for their own ends and neglect their welfare.
This is despite the fact that Allah has made it obligatory to help the poor so that no one remains in need.
Therefore, the real reason for people's poverty in most cases is the deprivation of their rights by the rich, upon whom Allah has placed responsibility to alleviate their burden.
Surely Allah is the Bestower of Provision, the Lord of Power, the Almighty.
 [a] is an abbreviation for the Arabic phrase "aleihi/aleiha/ aleihim salam" meaning "peace be upon him/her/them". It is recommended for all Muslims to invoke this salutation when mentioning the names of the fourteen members of the Ahlul Bayt [a] or any of the prophets, messengers or pure saints [a].
Allah, the Omniscient
Allah, the Almighty, says:
"Say: Do you instruct Allah about your religion? But Allah knows all that is in the heavens and on the earth; Allah is Knowing of all things'.
Holy Qur'an (49:16)
When we look at an airplane, we are aware that the engineers who designed must it have had great knowledge and understanding of aerodynamics and other fields of science to make it fly in the sky. Without such capabilities, the achievement could never have been accomplished.
If you read an interpretation of the Holy Qur'an, you will realise that he who wrote and composed it was a scholar of Islamic theology. Otherwise he would be unable to produce such a great book.
A man suffers with his sight and is unable to see. And then a doctor cures him. His eyes recover, so he becomes able to see again. What can you say concerning this doctor?
Surely that he has knowledge regarding medicine, otherwise he would not have been able to treat such a patient.
You will recognize that these achievements indicate the ability of scientists who have knowledge and skill in their field.
In that case, what can we say about the creation of man, his body, mind and vision, which he has been given? It can only be concluded that He Who created man and gave him this wisdom is Allah, the Almighty, Who knows all things.
"Read! In the name of your Lord Who created. Created man of a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Bountiful, who taught man what he knew not..."
Holy Qur'an (96:1-5)
Now think and further ponder about the creation of the heavens, the earth, the seas and the stars. Do not these indicate that He Who created them is Omniscient? Indeed they demonstrate for all to know that He Who created them has ultimate knowledge and acquaintance of existence.
Otherwise He would not have been able to make and create them.
"Indeed, their creator can only be Omniscient, the Able One".
We realise that scientists, engineers and designers who make aeroplanes, televisions, and cars, and doctors with medical knowledge, have gained and learned their subjects through schools, books and research. But their vast knowledge is limited and they are not able to know everything or even have in-depth understanding in several fields.
An engineer, who makes aeroplanes, is not familiar with the medical sciences, and eye-specialists have no knowledge of curing stomach sickness or heart complaints. It should also be noted that scientists and doctors depend upon tests and experiments before an invention can be developed, or a patient diagnosed. Their knowledge is based upon what has previously been learnt from higher knowledge that can come only from Allah.
Reading these examples, one is automatically led to understand that Allah's knowledge differs immensely from that of people.
And it is obvious that Allah, the Almighty, is Omniscient and needs no one to teach Him. It is He Who teaches man.
Allah the Omniscient knows everything in the heavens, what is on the earth and what is in the depths of seas.
Verily He knows the unseen, what will happen tomorrow, after tomorrow and in the distant future, because He is the Creator of man and all creatures altogether. He knows what is known, what will be known and what never will be known by man because He created them, knowing everything in them, like an engineer who knows the machine which he himself made.
Allah knows what is going on in the human soul, though He speaks not. He knows all secrets and whatever man does of good and bad deeds.
There are no mysteries for the Omniscient regarding what man does not understand about the world, about its atmosphere and about its life: why there is tranquillity, why there is war; how many different species make up a harmonious planet and what causes disaster and destruction.
"O mankind, the Messenger has come to you with the truth from your Lord; so believe, it is better for you. And if you disbelieve, to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth; Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise."
Holy Qur'an (4:170)
We have spoken about birds and how they care for their young and protect them from attack by predators.
You have also seen how they build their nests in distant and remote places as a safeguard. Different creatures respond in various ways to danger, like a mouse which automatically runs away when it sees a cat. But who taught them this behaviour?
Animals are neither able to think nor understand in a way similar to humans. But Allah, Who created them, has provided them with natural knowledge, the instinct to reproduce, to fear uncertain situations and threats, to know their enemies, where to build their homes, and numerous other abilities, differing according to their needs.
It is an impulse which exists in them, which certainly, Allah, the Almighty created, so that animals can live and guard their lives, and without which they would be unable to survive.
Certain animals, such as the chameleon, are even able to change colours according to the place in which they live in order to hide themselves so that those wanting to prey on them cannot distinguish them from the plants and stones around them.
For man, Allah the Most High created the thumb on our hands and made it parallel to four fingers. This thumb is made of two joints and without its styling, man would not be able to catch anything nor do many other tasks. Progress in different fields would be strictly limited but for the unique system given to the hand. All these wonders are the result of Allah's wisdom. He is All-Wise. The meaning of wisdom is having sound judgement in using knowledge. Allah does not work in vain and without reason or purpose for what He creates.
Everything created is for the sake of this existence and nothing is defective as He never creates anything incomplete.
Therefore we say: 'Surely, Allah is All-Wise" because He created all for the use, and in the interests of, His creation.
To Allah belongs what is in the East and the West.
Truly Allah created mankind on this earth, giving people wisdom with which to think, and to differentiate right from wrong, and to know useful things from harmful ones, and having the ability to do good or evil. Thus man is able to worship Allah, pray, fast, help the poor, reconcile among people in case of a conflict, behave well towards his parents, relatives and neighbours and do other good deeds.
All these actions can be distinguished as good and righteous as opposed to bad, through man's use of his mind.
On the one hand, man is able to do good deeds, and on the other hand he is able to do evil and wicked ones. He is able to steal, lie, cheat, kill, hurt people, disbelieve in Allah, and obey the oppressor, while his wisdom is able to differentiate that these actions are wicked and evil.
Man can do good or evil deeds through his own will and choice and he himself decides between the two. Allah gave him this ability so it is up to man how he behaves.
Allah, the Almighty, bids man to do good and pious deeds and forbids him to commit wicked and evil actions.
Thus, He sent the prophets to mankind to make clear to people what is bad and harmful and what is forbidden. He also clarified for them what is useful and lawful and obligatory for people to follow. Verily, the Almighty, will charge us on the Day of Resurrection regarding our deeds which we do in our life. Those who do evil and disobey Him are cast into hell and those who do good and obey Him enter the Garden of Paradise.
Surely Allah in His wisdom and justice does not make the doer of good and evil equal.
According to their deeds, each will be either rewarded or punished on Judgement Day.
Among Allah's justice is that He does not place any burden upon a person, which is beyond their ability to bear. For instance, no sick or old person will be blamed for not fasting because it would harm their health. Obligations, however, are quite modest, like prayer being only five short duties a day, which virtually no one should find difficult to perform.
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Progeny.
Who is a Prophet?
A Prophet is a human being whom Allah chooses among His people and teaches him through the Angel Gabriel [a]. Each has been sent to mankind, at a particular time, to guide the people to religion.
Attributes of a Prophet:
When Allah chooses to send a Messenger to people to instruct and teach them to put trust in One God, to worship Him and do good deeds, the person selected should be the noblest in thought, speech, deeds and behaviour, so that people believe, respect and trust him. Therefore, prophets altogether are characterised with good morals and virtues, foresight, intelligence, exemplary behaviour and doing good deeds in their communities.
Prophet Muhammad [s], like other prophets, had these exemplary attributes, which is why people called him, both before and after being called to prophethood, "the truthful and honest one". He was sent for all people and the Holy Qur'an was revealed through him to teach the Islamic religion, which was conveyed to mankind to guide them on the right path.
The Need for Prophets
Allah created man on this earth and provided him with all his needs. He also gave him wisdom. Yet it is necessary for man to know the purpose of his existence and his Lord Who created and provided for him. In return, it is also necessary for him to thank his Creator for the blessings He bestowed upon him, how to praise and worship the Almighty and carry out his duties.
Man himself lives in communities which themselves need love, co-operation, cleanliness, justice, knowing-the truth and helping the poor, as well as harbouring things which are harmful and evil like gambling, falsehood, murder, stealing, accepting falsehood and being oppressive. These are the indispensable facts that people must know in order to lead them to an honourable and pious life.
Allah loves His creatures and desires for them goodness, therefore He sent them prophets from among them to teach all these things as a guide towards goodness and righteousness:
1. The prophets teach people that Allah is One and there is no god besides Him.
2. The prophets teach people how to worship Allah through following certain obligations placed upon them, like prayer, fasting, performing pilgrimage (hajj)...etc.
3. They teach man how to live with each other on the basis of love, fraternity and co-operation.
4. They forbid them against committing harmful deeds.
5. Allah surely sent the prophets so that man could not pretend to have the excuse on Resurrection Day that he was unfamiliar with his religious duty, nor Allah sent any messages for him, nor any instructions.
6. Consequently, the prophets are like leading lights for mankind, acting as reformers.