Articulating Muslim belief

Life is full of ideas, events, and people that test our beliefs - sometimes, even shake them. In our culture of scientism and scepticism, religion is seen as foolish, irrational, and outdated. Muslims have a responsibility to know and articulate their beliefs in the light of prevailing trends.

Based on the famous Sunni creed of Imam At-Tahhawi, formatted thematically with relevant historical and cultural notes that aid in the understanding of the topic, these two modules allow students to understand both what Muslims believe and why. The modules will aid students in articulating and presenting Muslim belief in the Divine attributes, the nature and qualities of Messengers, as well as issues relating to the hereafter and the unseen. Students will thereby be afforded the capacity to navigate misconceptions and flawed beliefs, some of which impinge on the rights of others, prevalent in contemporary Muslim discourse.

Creed 1 303-i

Exploring the testification of faith

“The existence of His effects (athar) point to His names; The existence of His names point to the existence of His qualities; The existence of His qualities point to the existence of His essence since it is impossible that qualities stand alone [without an essence]” [Ibn Ata’illah]

The first module provides students with an understanding of the key issues of Islamic creed (al-aqidah) related to the ‘testification of faith’ (al-Shahadah), as explained by the scholarly tradition of Sunni Islam. The Muslim belief in God will be explored, explaining how scholars have set out to preserve the unique oneness of God in the face of internal and external challenges to this. The module will also cover the tenets of belief that relate to the Prophets and their special qualities.

At a glance. Just some of the issues and questions explored.

  • Why did Muslims feel the need to set down the science of creed?
  • How do we know God exists?
  • What are the essential attributes of God?
  • How may we and may we not describe the Creator?
  • Why do we need Prophets?
  • Who are they and what qualities do they possess?
  • These questions, and more, will be covered, focusing on the methods used by scholars to preserve the integrity and status of Prophethood.

By the end of this module, students will:

  • Have confidence in their beliefs out of conviction and proofs.
  • Be able to navigate erroneous beliefs by referring back to basic principles of creed.
  • Gain exposure to the beliefs of the main Muslim sects and groups, understanding where they went wrong and why.
  • Have an opportunity to have all their specific faith-related questions, confusions, and doubts answered.
  • Cover one of the earliest statements of orthodox Muslim belief.

Creed 2 403-i

Unveiling the Unseen

A’isha (r.a.) narrated the Prophet   said: "The angels were created from light, the jinn were created from fire, and Adam was created from that which has been described to you. [Muslim, 5314].

The second module will look in detail at how issues of creed are classified into what is essential and what is not. They will also see how this determines what Sunni Islam’s understanding of issues such as freewill and predestination, belief in the unseen, ‘Faith and the Community’ as well as  the issue of ‘who is a Muslim?’.

At a glance. Just some of the issues and questions explored

  • How do scholars decide what is essential to believe in and what is not?
  • Are we free to act as we want or does God control our destiny?
  • Why does God allow evil to exist in the world?
  • Does committing a major wrong action lead to one leaving the Muslim faith?
  • What are the creedal issues that are related to belief in the unseen realities such as paradise and hell?

By the end of this module, students will:

  • Be able to better understand what it entails to be a Muslim.
  • Have the confidence to separate the essentials of creed from those that are of a secondary nature.
  • Learn how to understand the role of human free will and predestination in their lives.
  • Realise the inclusive nature of Muslim belief.