Islam and the Essence of Islamic Teachings

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The etymological definition of Islam is peace, submission, obedience, surrender, self-surrender, well-being, and flawlessness. As for the terminological definition, Islam refers to the religion of Allah SWT revealed to His messenger, as guidance for humanity to attain happiness in this world and the Hereafter.

The essence of Islamic teachings encompasses all aspects of life, ranging from theology, worship, morality, mysticism, philosophy, history, culture, and others. In Islamic teachings, these essences are derived from the Quran and Hadith as the main guidance for Muslims.

The Quran is the word of Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad through the intermediary of the angel Gabriel. In the Quran, Surah Ash-Shura, verse 51, explains three forms of revelation:

 وَمَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ اَنْ يُّكَلِّمَهُ اللّٰهُ اِلَّا وَحْيًا اَوْ مِنْ وَّرَاۤئِ حِجَابٍ اَوْ يُرْسِلَ رَسُوْلًا فَيُوْحِيَ بِاِذْنِهٖ مَا يَشَاۤءُ ۗاِنَّهٗ عَلِيٌّ حَكِيْمٌ

"It is not ˹possible˺ for a human being to have Allah communicate with them, except through inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger-angel to reveal whatever He wills by His permission. He is surely Most High, All-Wise."

First, revelation in the form of understanding or knowledge that arises and is felt suddenly as a light that enlightens one's soul. Second, revelation in the form of experience and vision during sleep or in a trance state. And third, revelation given through a (Jibril).

Prophet Muhammad received revelations through angel, as mentioned in Surah Ash-Shura, verses 192-193:

وَاِنَّهٗ لَتَنْزِيْلُ رَبِّ الْعٰلَمِيْنَ 192

نَزَلَ بِهِ الرُّوْحُ الْاَمِيْنُ 193

"(192) This is certainly a revelation from the Lord of all worlds, (193) which the trustworthy spirit [Jibril] brought down."

The phrase "Ar-Ruh al-Amin" in the verse is interpreted as the Trustworthy Spirit, which refers to the angel Jibril. This is in accordance with Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 97.

قُلْ مَنْ كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيْلَ فَاِنَّهٗ نَزَّلَهٗ عَلٰى قَلْبِكَ بِاِذْنِ اللّٰهِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَّبُشْرٰى لِلْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ

"Say [O Prophet] “Whoever is an enemy of Jibril should know that he revealed this [Quran] to your heart by Allah’s Will, confirming what came before it—a guide and good news for the believers.”

The Quran was gradually revealed, initially memorized and written down by each of the companions. Then, after the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakar's succession as the first caliph, many memorizers of the Quran fell in battles. Eventually, the Quranic texts written by the companions began to be collected, and during the caliphate of Uthman bin Affan, the Quran began to be compiled into a book.

The second guiding principle of Islam is Hadith. Hadith encompasses every word, action, and decision attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Hadith constitutes any information attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Initially, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not permit his companions to write down Hadith for fear of it being mixed with the Quran. It was only during the caliphate of Umar bin Abdul Aziz in the second century of the Hijra that he ordered Imam Az-Zuhri to collect the Hadith. During this period, Imam Malik bin Anas compiled the book Al-Muwatta. Then, in the third century, the writing of Hadith flourished with the emergence of great Hadith scholars such as Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Ibn Majah, Imam Nasa'i, and Imam Abu Dawud. The Hadith books written by these scholars became the reference for Hadith books until now, known as the Kutub al-Sittah.

Unlike the Quran, the authenticity of Hadith cannot always be proven from the Prophet (peace be upon him) because not all Hadith in every era is conveyed mutawatir. Therefore, in Hadith, Hadith scholars often do classifications. There are divisions of Hadith both quantitatively and qualitatively, as well as other divisions that can be studied in books of Hadith sciences.

In conclusion, Islam and the essence of Islamic teachings are derived from the Quran and Hadith. The primary teaching in Islam is Tawhid, which is the acknowledgment of the existence of the One God. As in the Quran, Surah Al-Ikhlas, verse 1,

قُلْ هُوَ اللّٰهُ اَحَدٌۚ

"Say [O Prophet], “He is Allah—One [and Indivisible]."

A Muslim must not associate anyone or anything with Allah SWT, as stated in Surah An-Nisa, verse 48.

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ اَنْ يُّشْرَكَ بِهٖ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُوْنَ ذٰلِكَ لِمَنْ يَّشَاۤءُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُّشْرِكْ بِاللّٰهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرٰٓى اِثْمًا عَظِيْمًا  

"Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin."

From this verse, we can understand that the doctrine of Tawhid, which is the affirmation of the oneness of Allah SWT, determines whether a person's sins are forgiven or not. Thus, someone who associates partners with Allah will not have their sins forgiven.

Author : Mushpih Kawakibil Hijaj.


[1] KH Zakky Mubarak, Understanding Islam in Various Aspects, accessed on December 6, 2023, at 8:30 PM,

[2] Harun Nasution, Islam Reviewed from Various Aspects Volume I, Jakarta: Universitas Indonesia Publishing, 2020, p. 18.

[3] Hengki Ferdiansyah, Division of Hadith Reviewed by Its Quality, accessed on December 6, 2023, at 9:36 PM,