I consider it a singular honour that the Department
of Islamic Studies, Seville University has thought it fit to
invite me here this evening to address you on the fundamental
teachings of Islam. Before I came, I was advised that I should
speak on the basics of Islam, so that the students who are not
well versed in this subject and who have only an elementary knowledge
should be able to understand. That surprised me indeed. It surprised
me in the first place because I was expecting university students
to have fared better. Secondly, I was surprised because Spain
has a long history of contact with Islam. Yet for it to have
lost that contact so completely as to have erased even the faintest
impression, is astonishing indeed! Here I am today to introduce
to you the basic teachings of Islam.
When I visited Spain in 1982 to inaugurate a
mosque built by the Ahmadiyya Community, which incidentally,
was the first mosque to be built here after a break of five hundred
years, many eyebrows were raised. During my press conference
I was repeatedly confronted with the same questions as to why
we should come to Spain. What was the purpose? Was there any
sinister motive attached to this exercise? Haven't we had enough
of Islam? Should we take it to be a new form of the invasion
of Spain? My reply to all such questions was: 'Yes, I have come
to invade Spain, but not with the intention of winning territories
by the sword, but to win hearts with a message of love and persuasion.'
That reply still holds good. We as a community
in Islam are not built on the same pattern as the commonly perceived
image of Islam on the reflecting mirror of the so-called fundamentalists.
Today, therefore, I will endeavour to present Islam to you not
with reference to the Muslim behaviour in different countries,
but with reference only to the basic teachings of Islam found
in the Divine book, the Holy Quran, and the conduct and traditions
of the Holy Founder of Islam.
Islam means 'peace'. Therein lies the soul and
spirit of Islam. It is ironical that this religion of peace is
understood today in the West as the religion of war, terrorism,
chaos and disorder -- while in reality Islam is not only peace
in name, but peace pervades all its teachings, and works as the
key to its understanding. If translated literally, the second
meaning of the word Islam is 'submission'. So the words 'peace'
and 'submission' create a complete picture of Islam. While peace
is in relation to the Muslim's attitude to his fellow human beings
and also in relation to the deep content he finds in Islam, the
word submission describes the attitude of the Muslim to God.
So, in one single word, the entire philosophy of this religion
is summed up. It is interesting to note that according to Islam,
every true religion must have these two requisite features to
indicate its divine origin. All religions, according to Islam,
endeavoured to bring man back to his creator on the one hand,
and to establish an ideal relationship with his fellow human
beings on the other.
Islam has five fundamental articles of faith,
which must be professed by everyone who desires to become a Muslim.
Although Islam is already divided into many sects -- like all
other religions -- on this issue there are no two opinions. By
whatever title the sects are recognised, be they Sunnis or Shi'ites,
all believe in these five fundamental articles.
The first of these is to firmly believe in the
absolute oneness of God. It is a Unity which is unsplittable
and indivisible, and one which cannot be multiplied or compromised
in any form. The second article relates to the belief in angels.
Although there are varying opinions among Muslims about the concept
of angels, nonetheless all Muslims believe in the existence of
The third article relates to belief in the books.
The books in religious terms refer to such divine scriptures
as contain a new teachings and bring a new religious law. They
are mentioned after the angels because most often revelation
is transmitted to man through the agency of angels, who play
a central role in carrying the divine message to the messengers.
Angels have many other tasks to perform, but of that we will
The fourth article relates to the messengers
or prophets, who sometimes bring a new code of life and a new
law for a specific people in a specific age, and who sometimes
are sent only for the purpose of reform. The fifth and last article
of faith relates to the Day of Judgement. It also implies that
every human being will be raised after death in some form, and
will be held answerable to God with regards to the life he had
led here on earth.
These are the five fundamentals of Islam. However,
according to some there is a sixth constituent of Muslim belief
included in the fundamentals by the Holy Founder of Islam, and
that is belief in divine decree. Let us now turn to a more detailed
study of these articles one by one.