I dont know really anything about Islam so I am asking this from a Christianity perspective..(dont know much about Christianity either though heheh. But I have noticed that alot of Christians use these creeds to express their belief and i guess to make sure they dont stray from mainstream tradition. But does Islam do something similar, and if they dont, then what would you say is the closest approximation to a creed for Muslims? Thank you
There is no creed in Islam, but there are pillars that form Islam and imān (faith) in Allah from a Sunni point of view. This is well explained in Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 65, Hadith 4777:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ﷺ كَانَ يَوْمًا بَارِزًا لِلنَّاسِ إِذْ أَتَاهُ رَجُلٌ يَمْشِي فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَا الإِيمَانُ؟ قَالَ
الإِيمَانُ أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلاَئِكَتِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلِقَائِهِ وَتُؤْمِنَ بِالْبَعْثِ الآخِرِ
Narrated Abu Huraira: One day while Allah's Messenger ﷺ was sitting with the people, a man came to him walking and said, "O Allah's Messenger ﷺ. What is Belief?" The Prophet ﷺ said:
Belief is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Apostles, and the meeting with Him, and to believe in the Resurrection.
What constitute imān (faith or belief) in Islam are the following:
- Belief in Allah as the only deity
- Belief in the existence of angels as Allah's creation
- Belief in the books (Qur'an, Injīl [Gospel], Tawrah [Torah]), Zabūr [Psalms], etc.) as revealed by Allah
- Belief in the prophets and messengers of Allah ﷻ, the ones we know of and the ones we do not
- Belief in the day of resurrection and judgment
- Belief in fate and destiny (see 40 Hadith Nawawi, Hadith 2).
As you can see, all articles of faith are without proof other than what we as Muslims are told by Allah ﷻ and the Prophet ﷺ. We do not believe in them because we can prove them, but because we believe in the informer (the Prophet ﷺ). There are ways of proving that Mohammad in Allah's prophet, but this another topic.
قَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَا الإِسْلاَمُ؟ قَالَ
الإِسْلاَمُ أَنْ تَعْبُدَ اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا، وَتُقِيمَ الصَّلاَةَ، وَتُؤْتِيَ الزَّكَاةَ الْمَفْرُوضَةَ، وَتَصُومَ رَمَضَانَ
The man asked, "O Allah's Messenger ﷺ What is Islam?" The Prophet ﷺ replied:
Islam is to worship Allah and not worship anything besides Him, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay the (compulsory) charity i.e. Zakat and to fast the month of Ramadan.
What constitute Islam are the following five pillars:
- Testifying that Allah is the only deity worthy of worship, and that Mohammad is his messenger
- Performing salāh (prayers)
- Paying zakāh (alms or charitable donations)
- Fasting Ramadan
- Performing hajj (pilgrimage) when physically and financially capable (see 40 Hadith Nawawi, Hadith 2).
As you can see, all pillars of Islam are actions or declarations made, and can potentially be all witnessed by others (although this is not a requirement).
Both imān and Islam are what you may say resemble to some extent a form of creed.
قَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، مَا الإِحْسَانُ؟ قَالَ
الإِحْسَانُ أَنْ تَعْبُدَ اللَّهَ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ، فَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ تَرَاهُ فَإِنَّهُ يَرَاكَ
The man again asked, "O Allah's Messenger ﷺ What is Ihsan (i.e. perfection or benevolence)?" The Prophet ﷺ said:
Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not achieve this state of devotion, then (take it for granted that) Allah sees you.
This is about seeking a high level of both imān (it is related to an unseen, as one cannot see Allah) and Islam (as it pertains to rituals).