29 Dec Roots Of The Religion
The parts of the religion concerning the faith of the individual which remain hidden in his heart and cannot be seen, are called the roots (in Arabic, Usool) because they are its fundamental beliefs – just as the roots of a tree which remain hidden under the earth cannot be seen, yet they are the tree’s very foundation. A true believer must ensure his/her faith is firmly grounded in the correct knowledge and understanding of these fundamentals (Usool-e-deen), and then keep them constantly nurtured and cultivated to allow for the healthy growth of its branches, the Furoo-e-deen (Branches of Religion). There are 5 fundamental articles of faith, or Roots of Religion, that every Shi’a Muslim must research and properly understand before truly believing:
- Unity of God (Tawheed)
Allah, or God, is the center of Muslim belief. Whereas certain religions focus on individuals, like Christianity focuses on Jesus (peace be upon him), Islam focuses solely on Allah. Although Muslims respect the divine prophets, the prophets – including Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) – are still only servants of Allah.
The Qur’an itself speaks of the Oneness of God: “Allah has borne witness that there is no God but Him – and the angels, and those with knowledge also witness this. He is always standing firm on justice. There is no God but Him, the Mighty, the Wise.” (3:18)
One of the shortest chapters of the Qur’an, “The Oneness of God”, summarizes the nature of God in five verses:
“In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Say, He is Allah, the One
Allah, the Eternal He begets not, nor was He begotten
And there is nothing at all comparable to Him.”
The most fundamental Islamic teachings about God are contained in these verses, i.e. that there is only one God Who is eternal, unique, and has no blood relation to any human beings. Different prophets also gave their own descriptions of God which are also related in the Qur’an. Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) says: “My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death.” (2:258) after him, Moses (peace be upon him), when confronting the Pharaoh, says: “Our Lord is He Who gave each thing its form and nature then guided it aright.” (20:50) these two verses both describe Allah in His relation to human beings, but of course Allah’s being extends far beyond His relation to mankind.
To learn more about Tawheed, below are some useful resources:
- God and His Attributes
- Allah: The Concept of God in Islam
- Monotheism of Allah (Tawheed)
- Names and Attributes of Allah
- Justice of God (Adalat)
Anyone who believes in Islamic monotheism must believe in the Almighty’s justice. Because Allah is just, He never wrongs His creatures, for injustice is an evil deed while He is far from doing evil. Because He is omniscient, He does not neglect anything, and because He is self-sufficient, He has no cause to wrong others. Since He owns everything, He does not need the actions of anyone. His wisdom also transcends the universe. Thus, unlike some human beings, He has no cause for injustice:
“He is always standing firm on justice. There is no God but Him, the Mighty, the Wise.” (3:18)
“And your Lord does not deal unjustly with anyone.” (18:49)
“We  did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves.” (16:118)
Allah’s justice embraces the entire universe. Whoever ponders over the existence of the universe and the order therein will not only observe the spread of Allah’s justice over His entire creation but also each of its signs apparent in all aspects of nature — from the physical world to the biological world, and from the microcosms to the macrocosms. The justice of God is particularly visible in the fate and destiny of human beings, and in their freedom of choice.
To learn more about Adalat, below are some useful resources:
- Prophethood (Nabuwwat)
The prophets were the people who received divine revelation. Allah has sent numerous prophets and messengers to humankind since the dawn of history. These prophets were of two types: “local” and “universal.” While the local prophets were sent with specific messages to specific groups of people, the universal prophets were sent with messages and books for all of humankind. There were only five universal prophets, and their names were Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (May the peace of Allah be upon all of them).
A unique characteristic of all the prophets and messengers is that they were infallible – that is, they never committed any sin. The easiest way to see this is to consider that these people were the examples sent for humanity to follow, and so if they committed errors, people would be obliged to follow their errors, thereby making the prophets and messengers un-trustable. Infallibility means protection, and, in Islamic terminology, means the spiritual grace of Allah enabling a person to abstain from sins by his own free will. This power of infallibility and sinlessness does not make a person incapable of committing sins; rather, he refrains from sins and mistakes by his own power and will.
Infallibility is essential since the job of the prophets and messengers is not only to convey the divine scriptures of Allah but also to lead and guide humanity towards the right path. Therefore, they have to be role models and perfect examples for mankind. This has basis in both the Qur’an and conventional wisdom; the Qur’an mentions infallibility 13 times. Allah says to the Satan: “Certainly you shall have no authority over My servants except those who follow you and go astray.” (15:42) The Satan then says to Allah: “By Your might, then I will surely mislead them all, except Your chosen servants among them [the messengers and imams]” (38:82)
To learn more about Nabuwwah, below are some useful resources:
- Seal of the Prophets and His Message
- Lessons – Prophethood
- The Sealing of Prophethood
- The Last Message & The Last Prophet
- Successorship of Prophets (Imamate)
All of the prophets and messengers of God had successors, and just as Allah appointed His prophets and messengers for the guidance of mankind, He also appointed successors to the prophets and messengers as a matter of necessity. Abraham (peace be upon him) was succeeded by two of his sons, Isaac and Ishmael (peace be upon them), while Moses (peace be upon him) was succeeded by his brother Aaron (peace be upon him) and Jesus (peace be upon him) by two prophets whom the Qur’an mentions in the chapter called “Ya Sin”. (36:13-14)
Likewise, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) was succeeded by twelve distinguished successors, one after another. These successors were called imams and were appointed by Allah, not by humankind. The right to ordain imams belongs only to Almighty Allah, and the Qur’an speaks about this in many verses:
“And remember when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Verily I am going to place a successor (khalifa).” (2:30)
Allah addressed Prophet David (peace be upon him) as such: “O David! Verily We have placed you as a successor on earth.” (38:26)
“And remember when the Lord of Abraham tried him with certain commands which he fulfilled; Allah said to him, ‘Verily I am going to make you a leader (imam) of mankind.'” (2:124)
Allah also attributes the right of appointing leaders to Himself: “We made from among them leaders, giving guidance under Our command.” (32:24)
During his lifetime, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) specifically mentioned the names of the leaders that would come after him, that there would be twelve of them, and that all of them would be descended from a particular Arab tribe called Quraysh.
To learn more about Imaamah, below is a useful resource:
- Qayamat (Day of Judgment)
Approximately 1,200 verses of the Qur’an speak of life after death and the Day of Resurrection, as do a vast number of sayings related from Prophet Muhammad and his successors (peace be upon all of them). This number reveals the importance and significance of life after death and emphasizes that the life of the human being does not end at death but in fact continues afterwards towards a new life – indeed, its true life. Allah placed human beings on the earth to test them, and so different people live for different lengths of time before they die and their souls are separated from their bodies. Their souls then live on, facing the grave and the questioning therein. After that, the souls return to their bodies which will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment, on which day they will receive whatever they deserve according to their beliefs and deeds in life.
Some people will go to Heaven, also called the Garden, or the Paradise. Others will go to Hell, oftentimes called the Fire. And a select few will be brought into a state of nearness to God.
Both Heaven and Hell have different levels; the worst of people will be in the lowest depths of Hell, while the best of them will be in the highest parts of Heaven.
To learn more about Qiyamah, below are some useful resources:
- Resurrection Judgment and the Hereafter – By Sayyid MujtabaMusaviLari
- The Hereafter – Ma’ad – By Ayatullah DastghaibShiraazi
- Manazelul Akhira – By Shaikh Abbas Qummi
The above summaries are taken from the book Invitation to Islam, by Moustafa al-Qazwini.