Explaining The Fundamentals Of Faith

Author: Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen

Source: Dr. Saalih as-Saalih
Translator: Sharh Usool al-Eemaan

Published: Saturday 29th October, 2005

The Belief In Ar-Rusul (The Messengers)

Ar-Rusul is the plural of Rasool which means Mursal: The one dispatched to proclaim something. What is intended (according to the Judicial meaning) is that Ar-Rusul is the man who receives a Shar’a (A Divine code of law) and is commanded by Allaah to convey it. The first of Ar-Rusul (The Messengers) is Nooh (alayhis-Salaam) and the last one is Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

“Verily, We have inspired you (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) as We have inspired to Nooh and the Prophets after him.” [Qur’aan 4:136]

In Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree it is narrated on the authority of Anas bin Maalik (radhi-Allaahu anhu) in the hadeeth of Ash-Shafaa’ah (The Intercession), the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) mentioned that (on the Day of Resurrection) people will go to Adam asking him to intercede for them with Allaah [1], he apologizes and says:

Go to Nooh, the first of Allaah’s Messengers to the people of the earth.”

Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

“Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allaah and the Last (end) of the Prophets.” [Qur’aan 33:40]

And there never was a nation without a Messenger whom Allaah (Ta’aalaa) sends with a particular Sharee’ah to his people, or without a Prophet receiving the revelation of the Sharee’ah of his predecessor in order to revive it. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship Allaah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taaghoot.’ [2]” [Qur’aan 16:36]

He also said:

“There was no Ummah but a warner had passed among them.” [Qur’aan 35:24]

“Verily, We did send down the Torah (to Moosaa), therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets who submitted to Allaah’s Will, judged the Jews.” [Qur’aan 5:44]

The Messengers are created human beings who don’t have any of the characteristics of Ruboobiyyah or Uloohiyyah. Allaah spoke about his Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) who is the most noble of the Messengers and the highest amongst them in honour before Allaah:

“Say (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam to the disbelievers): ‘I possess no power of benefit or hurt to myself except as Allaah Wills. If I had knowledge of the Ghayb, I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner and a bringer of glad tidings to those who believe.’ ” [Qur’aan 7:188]

He (Ta’aalaa) also said (about the Prophet sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam):

“Say (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam): ‘It is not in my power to cause you harm, or to bring you to the Right Path.’ Say: ‘None can protect me from Allaah’s Punishment (if I were to disobey Him), nor should I find refuge except in Him.’ ” [Qur’aan 72:21-22]

Human qualities like illness, death, the need for food and drink, and so forth, affect them. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said about Prophet Ibraaheem (alayhi-salaam) describing his ‘abd (Allaah):

“It is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink. And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me; And Who will cause me to die.” [Qur’aan 26:79]

The Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

“I am but a human being like you, and liable to forget like you. So, if I forget remind me.” [3]

In the context of praising the Messengers, Allaah described them as having Uloohiyyah [4] to Him in their highest ranks of standing, saying about Nooh:

“Verily he (Nooh) was a grateful ‘abd” (slave-worshipper of Allaah Alone). [Qur’aan 17:3]

Allaah said about Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam):

“Blessed be He who sent down the criterion (the Qur’aan) to His ‘abd (Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) that he may be a warner to the ‘Aalameen (mankind and jinns).” [Qur’aan 25:1]

He said about Ibraaheem, Ishaaq and Ya’qoob (may Allaah’s Salaat and Salaam be upon them):

“And remember ‘Ibaadana (Our slaves) Ibraaheem, Ishaaq, and Ya’qoob (Jacob), (all) owners of strength (in worshipping Us) and (also) of religious understanding. Verily, We did choose them by granting them (a good thing, - i.e.) the remembrance of the Daar.” [5] [Qur’aan 38:45-46]

Allaah spoke about ‘Eesaa bin Maryam (alayhi-salaam) that:

“He (‘Eesaa) was not more than a slave (who worships Allaah alone). We granted Our Favour to him, and We made him an example to the Children of Israel (i.e. his creation without a father).” [Qur’aan 43:59]

The Belief In The Messengers Comprises Four Matters:

  • First: To believe that their Message is a true one from Allaah (Ta’aalaa). Therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Message of anyone of them then He disbelieves in all of them, as Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

    “The people of Nooh belied the Messengers.”[/b] [Qur’aan 26:105]

    Allaah made them belie all the Messengers although there was not any Messenger besides Nooh when they belied him. Accordingly, the Christians who belied Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) and didn’t follow him, themselves belied the Messiah bin Maryam and consequently are not his followers, especially when he brought them the good news about Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). The glad tiding would not mean anything unless He (Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) is a Messenger to them wherewith Allaah will save them from going astray and guide them to the Straight Path.

  • Second: To believe in those of them whose names we know, each according to his name: Example, Muhammad, Ibraaheem, Moosaa, ‘Eesaa, and Nooh, the Salaat and Salaam of Allaah be upon them. These five are the ‘Ulul ‘Azm mina ar-Rasul (The Messengers of strong will and steadfastness).

    Allaah mentioned them in two places in the Qur’aan, in His saying (in Soorah Al-Ahzaab):

    “And (remember) when we took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), and from Nooh, Ibraaheem, Moosaa, and ‘Eesaa Ibn Maryam.” [Qur’aan 33:7]

    and in His saying in Soorah Ash-Shoora:

    “He (Allaah) has ordained for you from the same Deen (Islaam) which He ordained for Nooh, and that which We have Inspired in you (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) and that which We ordained for Ibraaheem, Moosaa, and ‘Eesaa saying you should establish the Deen and make no divisions in it.” [Qur’aan 42:13]

    As regard to those of them whose names we don’t know, we believe in them on the whole (as true Messengers from Allaah). He (Ta’aalaa) said:

    “Indeed We have sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam): of them there are some whose story We have told you, and some whose story We have not told you.” [Qur’aan 40:78]

  • Third: To believe in what is authentically reported from their news.

  • Fourth: To act upon the Sharee’ah of the Messenger who is sent to us from amongst them, and he is Muhammad, the last (end) of the Messengers (and Prophets) who is sent to mankind. Allaah (Ta’aalaa) said:

    “But no, by your ‘abd, they can have no faith until they take you (Muhammad sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) as a judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” [Qur’aan 4:65]

The Belief In The Messengers Yields Great Benefits, Including:

  • First: Acknowledging Allaah’s Mercy and concern towards His creation whereby He sent them the Messengers to guide them to His Straight Path and to clearly explain to them how to worship Him, because the human mind is independently unable to realize (how to worship Allaah).

  • Second: Giving thanks to Allaah (Ta’aalaa) on this great Favour (of sending His Messengers).

  • Third: Loving, magnifying and praising the Messengers in the manner that befits them since they are Allaah’s Messengers and because they worshipped Him, proclaimed His Message, and gave advice to His creation.

    The obstinate belied their Messengers claiming that Allaah’s Messengers cannot be human in nature. Allaah mentioned this claim and invalidated it in His saying:

    “And nothing prevented men from believing when the guidance came to them, except that they said: ‘Has Allaah sent a man as (His) Messenger?’ Say: ‘If there were on earth, angels walking in peace and security, We should certainly have sent down for them from the heaven an angel as a Messenger.’ ” [Qur’aan 17:94:95]

    Allaah thwarted their claim by asserting that a Messenger must be a man because he is being sent to the people of the earth who are humans. If the people of the earth were angels, Allaah would have sent them from the heaven an angel for a Messenger to be like them. Thus, Allaah told about those who belied the Messengers to have said:

    “You are no more than human beings like us! You wish to turn away from what our fathers used to worship. Then bring us a clear authority (i.e. a clear proof of what you say).” Their Messengers said to them: “We are no more than human beings like you, but Allaah bestows His Grace to whom He wills of His slaves. It is not for us to bring you an authority (proof) except by the Permission of Allaah.” [Qur’aan 14:10-11]


[1] In the hadeeth, the Prophet (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) describes the distress people will go through on the Day of Resurrection. They will go to Adam then to Nooh, Ibraaheem, ‘Eesaa, and then to Moosaa (alayhimus-salaam). They will decline, each according to his own reason. Moosaa (alayhis-salaam) will direct them to go to Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) and Allaah will permit him to intercede. See Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, V.6, Hadeeth no. 236.

[2] Taaghoot: All forms of false deities. [TN]

[3] Reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim. See Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, V.1, Hadeeth no. 394.

[4] As slaves of Allaah who submit, surrender, and devote worship to Him Alone. [TN]

[5] The home in the Hereafter. They used to make the people remember the Daar (home) in the Hereafter. They invited the people to obey Allaah and to do good deeds for the Hereafter.


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