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The principles of Islamic faith are belief in the divine unity (tawhid), prophecy (nabuwwah), and resurrection (ma`ad). These three pillars constitute the foundations of Islamic faith, so much so that all the tenets and religious statements in Islam derive their meaning from one or all of these principles. Therefore, all Muslims, in spite of their divergent interpretations of these principles, which at times border on outright contradiction, confess belief in the fact that (1) God is the creator of all existence, whose essence, attributes and actions are one and the same, and that He has no partners or rivals (tawhid); (2) that Mohammad (PBUH) is the messenger of God, and is the last one in the chain of divine prophets, to whom the Quran was revealed as the word of God (nabuwwah); (3) and that there will be a Day of Judgment, on which God shall sit in judgment of the good deeds as well as the bad, when the righteous will be rewarded with heaven and the wrongdoers will be punished in hell (ma`ad).
The term “principles of faith” does not occur in the Quran. Neither does it appear in hadith manuals such the Seven Canonical Collections (al-Sahah al-Sittah) or in Bihar al-anwar – as evidenced in the indices compiled for them. This implies that the term first made its appearance in the theological schools formed during the first few decades after the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), as part of their attempts to elaborate Islam as a coherent intellectual system. In any event, the “principles of faith” is an accurate encapsulation of the nature of religion and religiosity in Islam. In fact, religiosity looses its true meaning if it is detached from any of these principles.
* source: Gorji , Abolghasem "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 ,pp.402
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