Beliefs and Sources of Authority

Beliefs and Sources of Authority


Religious studiesThe Tawid is central to Islam. This is the concept that there is only one God, Allah, and he is unique. The first assertion of the Shahada, the Islamic creed, is that there is only one God, ‘There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.’


Risalah is the Arabic word for ‘message’. In the context of Islam, it means the scriptures revealed by God to Muhammad and other prophets like Moses, David and Jesus. These scriptures, most importantly those contained in the Qur’an, define Islamic belief and law.


Akhirah refers to the afterlife that Muslims believe in, and to the Day of Judgement when all people will be judged by God. The faithful will enter Paradise while non-believers will go to Hell.


The literal meaning of Qur’an is ‘recitation’. In Islam it is the name of the most important holy text. Muslims believe that the angel Jibril (Gabriel) revealed the word of Allah to Muhammad.


religious studiesThe Hadith is a collection of the sayings of Muhammad which are used to help with interpretation of the Qur’an.


The Sunnah is a text describing the actions and beliefs of Muhammad. The text is used by Muslims as a guide to life and to interpreting the Qur’an.


The prophet Muhammad (AD570-632) founded Islam. Muslims believe he was a messenger from Allah, and the last prophet to come from Allah.

The Hijra

The Hijra is the journey from Makkah (Mecca) to Madinah (Medina) that Muhammad and his followers made under threat of persecution in 622.


Shari’ah is the set of laws and codes that govern morality and conduct for Muslims.

Sunni and Shi’ah

The two main denominations in Islam are Sunni and Shi’ah. Accurate numbers are hard to come by, but it is certain that a large majority of Muslims are Sunni. The origins of the split date back to the death of Muhammad when there was a dispute about who should succeed him as Caliph (leader) of Islam.