Beliefs and Practices
Islam is the only religion in the world that says that its precepts are natural. The Holy Quran says:
"..It is Allah's Nature on which Allah has created humans. There is no change in Allah's creation. This is the established religion (deen al-qayyim) but many of the humans know not." (al-Room, 30).
In Islam, the beliefs have primary position; they are the roots, and the practices are branches that are dependent for their existence on the roots. The primary belief is that of the Unity and Supreme Sovereignty of Allah, the Almighty, the Everpresent, the Everlasting, the All-knowing. Allah is Just. He sent prophets to convey His message. He ordained a Day of Judgement when the deeds of His creatures will be measured and rewarded or punished accordingly. Belief in Allah, therefore, entails belief in all of the above.
Islam is the last divine religion and Prophet Muhammad is the last Messenger of Allah. In Islam, Allah has encompassed all His commandments and decrees - decrees that will suffice for humankind til the end of the world. The commandments are there not only to guide His creatures to proper belief, but also to show them the proper way to live their lives. Islam says that its practices are for benefit of the followers, benefit in this world and in the hereafter.
The ethical and moral degeneration of the western society and the predominance of suicide, drug abuse, and crime, seem to clearly indicate that spiritual health of an individual and a community is as important as physical health. The factors of physical and spiritual well-being form the basis of Islamic practices. All that is necessary for a person's spiritual and physical well-being is obligatory, and all that is harmful is haram (prohibited). Islam shows ways of dealing with the world around us; the responsibilities of a person to oneself, to parents, to siblings, to offspring, to spouses, to neighbors, to society, to nation; what habits to cultivate and what to avoid; what things to possess and what to give away; what time to sleep and what time to wake up; when and how to make love and when and how to refrain from it; when to speak up and when to remain silent; what to eat; how to eat; how to seek knowledge, etc. In short, Islam teaches values and priorities concerned with every walk of life.
Islam fulfills all the needs of the human nature in such a way that by following the path of Islam, a person can attain a state of perfection that is close to divinity. Here is a very brief look at some of the general guidelines that Islam provides for living an ideal life.
In conclusion, a point to remember is that according to Islamic spirit, the first and foremost aim of a believer in following the practices laid down by Islam is to seek Allah's pleasure.