Iman is an Arabic word that means belief or faith. Faith or belief is the first and foremost gate to Islam which is founded on several fundamental pillars. In other words, Iman is one of the main foundations of Islam. Therefore, the importance of Iman or faith is considered paramount in the concept of Islam. However, in order for a person to become a Muslim, it is essential and obligatory to believe in several fundamentals. And these are considered the pillars of Iman in the concept of Islam. So, let’s have a clear sight of those things below.
Meaning of Iman in Islam
Iman or faith in Islam means to believe in the Tawheed (The Monotheism) of Allah Almighty. The concept of Tawheed means to declare the Speech of Shahadah, keep a firm belief in it, and act according to faith by the commandment and instructions of Allah Almighty. The Speech of Shahadah is to testify that ‘There is no true god except Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) is His Servant and Messenger’. But apart from it, belief or Iman includes some other elements that have been determined by Allah SWT. These elements are called the pillars of Iman in Islam. Therefore, if a person can establish his belief with these pillars or elements is called a believer or Mumin in Islam.
Six Pillars of Iman (Faith) in Islam
Before discussing this chapter, we would like to add a quote from the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). That is: One day, Zibreel (Gabriel) came in disguise as a stranger and said to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “Inform me about Iman (Faith). He (the Holy Prophet) Replied: That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His Angels, in His Books, in His Apostles’ Messengers, on the Day of Judgment, and you affirm your faith in the Divine Decree about good and evil.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Therefore, according to this quote, we can say that Iman or faith in Islam is based on six essential elements. These are known as the six pillars of Iman.
Belief in Allah SWT
The first and foremost of the pillars of Iman in Islam is to believe in Allah SWT as the only God and Lord. The Great Allah is the Almighty and Most Powerful over all things. He is the One, Only, and Unique. Belief in Allah SWT also means to believe that He has no partner in His Godhood. He is our Lord, Owner, Creator, Protector, Helper, Lawgiver, Sustenance Giver, and the Owner of Death alone. Belief in Allah SWT also refers to the belief that Almighty Allah sees and knows everything whether it is known or unknown to all of His creatures. He is the Highest, Greatest, Holiest, and Ever-living entity. The Most Omniscient and Wise Lord sustains and Protects all that exists. The concept of Iman in Islam must have faith in Allah as:
“He is Allah, none has the right to be worshipped but He, the All-Knower of the unseen and seen, He is the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. The Creator, the inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” -Al Hashar:(22-24)
Belief in the Angels (Malaika)
Belief in the Angels is the second of the six pillars of Iman in the concept of Islam. The concept of Iman in Islam believes that the Angels are the heavenly beings created by Allah SWT. Their duty is to praise and glorify Allah SWT and obey all His commandments and orders. Therefore, A Muslim has to believe that the Angels are created to interact with other creatures of the Almighty in ordinary life, defend against devils, and carry-on natural phenomena along with the praise of Allah SWT. It is also believed in Islam that the Angels are created with the Noor of Allah SWT. Muslims also believe that there are different types of Angels and they carry different qualities for different ones. So, to believe in the virtue and dignity of the Angels is also necessary for a Muslim. Their description comes in the Holy Qur’an as:
“All the praise and thanks to Allah, the only creator of the heavens and earth, who made the angels messengers with wings, -two or three or four”. -Al Fatir:01
Belief in the Divine Books
Belief in the Divine Books is the third of the six pillars of Iman in Islam. In Islam, the Divine Books are the books that have been revealed by Allah Almighty as guidance for human beings throughout the ages. It is said that a total of 104 Divine Books have been sent into the world although this number is not mentioned in the Qur’an and major Hadith Books. The most famous and significant Divine Books are:
The Qur’an: Revealed upon the great Prophet and Messenger Muhammad (PBUH).
The Injeel: Revealed upon Prophet Isa (Jesus) (PBUH)
The Torah: Revealed upon Prophet Musa (Moses) (PBUH)
The Jabber: Revealed upon Prophet Dawood (David) (PBUH)
“This is the book (The Qur’an), whereof there is no doubt, guidance for the pious. And who believe in (The Qur’an) which has been sent down to you (O Muhammad PBUH) and in which were sent down before you and……” Al-Baqarah: 02, 04
Belief in the Prophets
Allah SWT has sent His Messengers and Prophets (Peace and Mercy of Allah be upon them) as the guide for misguided mankind throughout the eras. So, to believe in the Prophets is also one of the six pillars of Iman in Islam. The individuals who received revelation from Allah SWT and conveyed them to the people are the Prophets. Almighty Allah has chosen these great men as guides for worldly peace and liberation in the Hereafter for the people. According to Islamic belief, this series of Risalah is declared completed with the arrival of the last Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Holy Qur’an states regarding the belief in the Prophets:
“The Messenger (Muhammad PBUH) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one of them believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. They say: We make no distinction between one another of Messengers.” -Al-Baqarah: 285
Belief in the Hereafter
Faith in the hereafter is one of the most important fundamentals and one of the six pillars of Iman in Islam. This part of Belief in Islam motivates Muslims to do good deeds. Belief in the afterlife means eternal life again after death. Hereafter is a thorough trial of all the actions of this life and receiving the appropriate good or bad results and enjoying heaven and hell as a consequence. Belief in the Hereafter is an important part of belief in the unseen and a pillar of Iman in Islam. Akhirah means hereafter or future. Belief in akhirah or the afterlife regulates and consolidates human life. Because it involves resurrection, judgment, and karma. Heaven and hell are related to it. To say that belief in the Hereafter is the most important aspect of Iman. The Qur’an states-
“This is the book (The Qur’an), whereof there is no doubt, guidance to the pious. And who believe in which has been sent down ……….and they believe with certainty in the Hereafter.” Al-Baqarah: 02, 04
Belief in Predestination (Taqdeer)
Belief in the Taqdeer (predestination) is also one of the seven articles of belief and pillars of Iman in Islam. The word ‘Taqdeer’ means fate, divine fore-ordainment, divine decree, or divine destiny in Islamic ideology. Muslims believe that everything that happens and will happen in the universe is predetermined by Almighty Allah. The name of this belief is Taqdeer in Islam. By believing in predestination a Muslim finds every purpose in things that are happening in his life. The Holy Qur’an states:
“Indeed, all things I created with predestination”. Al Qamar:49
Islam is incomplete without Iman. Therefore, in order for a person to enter Islam, he must establish complete faith in the above-mentioned six pillars of Iman, give verbal recognition, and act according to faith. there is no point in doubt or disbelief about one of these pillars. And if that is done, then according to the rule of Islamic Shariah, he will be considered an unbeliever whose consequence is dire. Allah Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an:
“Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make a distinction between Allah and His Messengers saying, we believe in some but reject others, and wish to adopt a way in between. They are in truth disbelievers. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating torment.” -Surah An-Nisa: 150-151
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