The Belief Structure of Islam
Basic articles of faith
For the vast majority of Muslims, known as the Sunnis, there are six main beliefs. Islam’s minority sect, Shia, holds that there are five articles of faith: the Divine Oneness, the Prophethood, the Imamate, Justice, and Judgment Day.
Allah as the one and only God
Allah is an Arabic word, which means the One God. By definition, every Muslim believes in God who is known to be the Creator and the Sustainer of all things that exist. Islam holds that God transcends the possession of any physical attributes, and is not bound by any of the limitations of human beings or of anything else. He has no parents, no children, no associates and no partners. God is, however, described by His ‘99 names’, such as the Creator, Sustainer, the Merciful, the Light and the Forgiver.
Muslims believe that Angels are an entirely different creation to humans, and unlike humans they have not been given free will. Angels are there to do the bidding of their Lord, for example the Angel of Death, angels who record everything that happens to a person, and angels who delivered revelations to Prophets.
Prophets or Messengers
In Islam, the word Prophet refers to a human being who is chosen by God to convey His Message and to guide other humans. Muslims believe in all the prophets, or messengers, that God has chosen, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elijah, Job, Jonah, Zachariah, John the Baptist, Jesus and Muhammad. Since Islam is a universal religion throughout the history of humankind, Muslims believe that God continuously revealed Divine Guidance to prophets until the last Guidance was given to the Prophet Muhammad.
The Revealed Scriptures
Muslims believe that God revealed four major scriptures to humankind through his Prophets. Thus, Muslims believe that the Torah was given to Moses, the Psalms to David, the Gospel to Jesus and the Qur’an to Muhammad. They believe, however, that the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel in their original form have been lost as the scriptures were altered and corrupted by Jews and Christians. Muslims believe that the Qur’an is now the only revealed scripture that has not been changed from its original form.
The Day of Judgment
The day when the life of every human being will be assessed to decide whether they go to heaven or hell. Muslims are required to have faith in the reality of the hereafter, the Day of Judgment, Resurrection, Paradise and Hell.
Muslims believe that Allah has the knowledge of all that will happen. He has power over everything. All that happens is according to His will, thus nothing is supernatural or random. However, Muslims believe that this doesn't stop human beings making free choices.
The Shias do not believe in complete predestination, or complete free will. They believe that human life is a mixture of free will and predestination.