How does Islam define “religion”?
According to Islamic teachings, religion is defined as “a way of life” and “a complete code of conduct” that Allah conveys to humanity through divine revelations. Religion is a manual for the cherished and inestimably valuable creatures named “humans.”
Islam is the only true religion that is acceptable to Allah. The Creator knows best about His creations and instructions for created beings is best written by their Creator.
Human beings need a manual and a road map, and the religion of Islam provides just that, for Allah Himself is the author.
What is the purpose of the religion of Islam?
- The purpose of the religion of Islam is to bring about the contentment of human beings in this world and hereafter through living with other humans and nature in peace. The Islamic religion does this in four ways: Ensuring that humans meet their potential in accordance with the purpose of their creation;
- Allowing humans endowed with active mind, will power, and conscience to develop a sense of moral responsibility;
- Freeing humans from enslavement to their desires and instincts by providing them with a higher value system; and
- Teaching humans about their status before Allah, and their status in relation to their fellow human beings and non-human objects.
What is faith (“iymân”) and who is the faithful (“mu’min”)?
To have iymân is to trust Allah completely. A mu’min, therefore, is one who places his/her trust in Allah. The natural consequence of such trust is a conscious submission to Allah; this complete and unconditional submission is called Islam.
One of the magnificent names of Allah in the Qur’an is Al- Mu’min (The One who trusts). Allah trusts and believes in human beings, and He wants them to trust and believe in Him.
In fact, the very existence of human beings is the result of His trust in them.
The Arabic word religion (al-deen) is derived from the root word for debt (al-dayn). The Creator did not take any payment from human beings for creating them. Human beings are, therefore, indebted to the Creator since birth.
However, the Creator does not expect them to pay off their debts, because it is simply impossible to do so. There is no way to pay off this debt other than by those means, which depend on Allah’s blessings. Every single breath a human inhales increases the debt.
The constant consciousness of being indebted to Allah and acting accordingly is considered an adequate payment.
Furthermore, humans who acknowledge their indebtedness are promised a divine reward—an eternal life in Paradise. The human is expected to believe in this pledge of Allah first, and then in all other messages He sent. Believing in Allah actually means being humbled by trust that He placed in human beings from the very beginning of their creation.
What are the principles of iymân in the Qur’an?
Every single word between the two covers of the Qur’an speaks of faith in Allah. The principles of faith particularly touched upon are the following (see: Baqarah 2:177, 284-285, and Nisa’ 4:136):
Belief in Allah
Belief in Angels
Belief in Divine Books
Belief in the Messengers of Allah, and
Belief in the Day of Judgment