The Three Fundamental Principles in Islam – Comprehensive Guide

If someone asked you: “What are the three principles a person must know?” what would you say?

Then answer in this order:

  1. The servant’s knowledge of His Lord, Allah
  2. His Religion, Islam and
  3. His Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ

All these three fundamental principles in Islam are discussed in details in the next section.

The Three Fundamental Principles in Islam - Comprehensive Guide

The First Principle – Knowledge of Lord

What would you say to someone who asks you: ‘Who is your Lord’?

Then say: ‘My Lord is only Allah, who has nurtured me and nurtured all of creation with His blessings. He is the One whom I worship and I have no other deity that I worship besides Him.’

The proof is the Saying of Allah (the Most High): “All praise is for Allah, the Lord of all creation.” [01:01]

Everything besides Allah is a created being and I am one of the creation.

If it is said to you: ‘How did you come to know of your Lord?’

Then say: ‘Through His signs and His creations. From His signs are the night, day, sun and moon. Also from His creations are the seven heavens, the seven earths, all those within them and whatever is between them.’

The proof is the saying of Allah (the Most High): “And from His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Do not prostrate to the sun, nor the moon, but prostrate to Allah who created them, if you truly worship Him.” [41:37]

Also His saying (the Most High): “Your Lord is Allah who created the heavens and the earth to six days, then ascended upon the Throne. He causes the night to cover the day which it follows with haste; and the sun, the moon and the stars are subservient and subject to His command. Certainly creation and commandment are His alone. Exalted is Allah the Lord of all creation.” [07:54]

The Second Principle – Knowledge of Religion Islam

The second principle among the fundamental three principles is the knowledge of the religion of Islam with the proofs. It is to submit to Allah with Tawḥid, being consistent in His obedience as well as disassociating oneself from Shirk and its people.’

For a believer (a Muslim), religion is of three levels:

  • Islam (submission to Allah the Almighty)
  • Iman (The heart’s belief, the tongue’s speech, and the limbs’ actions)
  • Ihsan (perfection of worship)

Each level has its pillars that are described in subsequent sections.

Pillars of the First Level: Islam

The Pillars of Islam are five:

1. The testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muḥammad (S.A.W.W) is the Messenger of Allah.

2. Establishing the Ṣalah (Prayers).

3. Paying Zakat (Obligatory Charity).

4. Fasting in the month of Ramaḍan.

5. Performing Ḥajj at the sacred House of Allah.

The proof for the testimony is the saying of the Most High: “Allah bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Him; and likewise the angels and the people of knowledge bear witness: He who maintains justice, none has the right to be worshipped but Him, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [03:18]

Pillars of the Second Level: Iman

It has seventy-odd branches; the highest of them is the testimony “Lā ilāha illa Allah” (none has the right to be worshipped except Allah), the lowest of the branches, is removing a harmful object from a pathway; Ḥaya (Modesty and Shyness) is also a branch of Īmān.

The pillars of Iman are six, as is mentioned in the Ḥadith: “Iman is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day and the Decree – the good and bad of it.”

The proof for these six pillars is the Saying of Allah: “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the east or the west, but rather righteousness is the righteousness of those who truly believe in Allah, and the Last Day, and the Angels and the Books and the Prophets.” [02:177]

Pillars of the Third Level: Iḥsan

The third level is Iḥsan (Perfection of Worship); it has only one pillar as has been mentioned in the Ḥadīth: “It is to worship Allah as if you see Him and if you do not see him, then He sees you.”

The proof of this is His saying: “Truly, Allah is with those who fear Him and those who do Iḥsan (all types of good).” [16:128]

Also, the saying of Allah: “Put your trust in the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful, who sees you when you stand up and your movements among those who fall prostrate. Verily! He, only He, is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [26:217]

Also, the saying of Allah: “Whatever you may be doing, and whatever portion you may be reciting from the Quran, and whatever deed you perform, We are Witness thereof, when you are doing it.” [10:61]

The Third Principle – Knowing the Prophet

The third fundamental principle of Islam is the knowledge of your Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ. He is: Muḥammad ﷺ  the son of ʿAbdullāh, the son of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, the son of Hashim, the son of Quraysh, who are from the Arabs. The Arabs are from the offspring of Ismail (A.S), the son of

Ibrahim the Khalil (Beloved) – may peace and blessings be on him and our Prophet.

The Prophet ﷺ lived 63 years, 40 of those years were before Prophethood and 23 years as a Messenger and Prophet. [Through the revelation of Surah] ‘Iqra’ he became a Prophet, and [through the revelation of Surah] ‘Muddathir’ he became a Messenger. His city was Mecca and he migrated to Medina.

Allah sent him to warn against Shirk and to call to Tawḥid. The proof of this is the saying of the Most High: “O you enveloped in garments arise and warn! Exalt your Lord! Purify your garments! keep away from ar-Rujz. Give not a thing in order to have more. Be patient for the sake of your Lord.” [74:01-07]

The meaning of ‘arise and warn’ is: warn against Shirk and call to Tawḥīd. The meaning of ‘Exalt your Lord’ is exalt Him with Tawḥid. The meaning of ‘purify your garments’ is: purify your deeds from Shirk. The meaning of ‘keep away from Ar-Rujz (the idols)’ is: Ar-Rujz are the idols; keep away from them is by leaving them, disassociating from them the people who are associated with them.

In implementing this (the above Ayat), the Prophet ﷺ spent ten years calling to Tawḥid. After ten years he was taken to the Heavens and the five daily Ṣalāh (Prayers) were obligated upon him. He prayed in Mecca for three years.

Fundamental Principles Islam – Conclusion

All of these fundamental principles should be well understood by a Muslim. Islam is based on these principles, which should be learned and implemented in one’s life in order to succeed in this life and the next.

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