The Arabic word “Islam” means the submission &/or surrender of one’s will to the Almighty Allah, Creator of the universe. A person swearing that there is no God but Allah, Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H) is his messenger and Jesus Christ (P.B.U.H.) is his messenger, is a “Muslim”. The word “Muslim” also implies “peace” which is the natural consequence of total submission to the will of Almighty God.
Islam is the worship of Almighty God alone. Anyone worshiping any person, place or thing other than one true God is a non believer. Since everything other than Almighty God, the Creator of all things, is God’s creation; it may be said that Islam in essence, calls man away from the worship of creation and invites him to worship only its Creator. He is the only one deserving man’s worship as it is only by His will that prayers are answered.
Islam has five primary obligations or pillars of faith that each Muslim must fulfill in his or her lifetime.
Islam is built on five pillars:
– The declaration (bearing witness) that there is no god but God (Allah) and that Mohammad is His Messenger
– The establishment of prayers
– The payment of the Zakat (tax)
– Observation of the fast of Ramadan
– The Hajj (pilgrimage) if affordable
1) Testimony: The First pillar of Islam.
Muslims bear witness to the oneness of God by reciting that:
THERE IS NO DEITY WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH AND MUHAMMAD IS HIS MESSENGER
This statement expresses a Muslim’s complete acceptance of, and total commitment to, the message of Islam. This statement of faith should be declared publicly. It should be a genuine belief, which includes all the article of faith. The witnessing of the Oneness of God is the rejection of any form of deity other than the One Almighty God. And the witnessing that Muhammad is His last Messenger is the acceptance of him being chosen by Almighty God to convey His message of Islam to all humanity.
2) Prayers: The 2nd pillar of Islam
Performing daily prayers is an act of communication between humans and God. The prayers are considered a duty for all Muslims. Prayer (Salah) is a distinct entity from worship in its wider sense, that is communicating your feelings to God at any time in any place and asking for His guidance, help and forgiveness, an ingredient of life which is highly commendable whether in Islam or other religions. Salah takes a special form and content, where both body and soul are harmoniously involved.
In prayer, every muscle of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of Allah. Prayer is an act of worship. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.
3) Charity: The 3rd pillar of Islam
Giving money for charity is highly commendable, and the sky is the limit, but Zakat is different because it is obligatory and is given in a calculated amount. Zakat represents the unbreakable bond between members of the community, whom prophet Mohammad described to be “like the organs of the body, if one suffers then all others rally in response.”
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Zakah does not only purifies the property of the contributor but also purifies his heart from selfishness and greed. It also purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, from hatred and uneasiness and it fosters instead good-will and warm wishes for the contributors.Zakat is the right of the poor in the wealth of the rich and is neither optional charity nor philanthropy. Zakah has a deep humanitarian and social-political value; for example, it frees society from class welfare, from ill feelings and distrust and from corruption. Although Islam does not hinder private enterprise or condemn private possession, it does not tolerate selfish and greedy capitalism. Islam adopts a moderate but positive and effective course between individual and society, between the citizen and the state, between capitalism and socialism, between materialism and spiritualism.
4) Fasting: The 4th pillar of Islam
Fasting, during the holy month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam. The fast is an act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a richer perception of God. Fasting during Ramadan or any time is recognized as physically demanding but spiritually rewarding.
It is the duty of all healthy muslims to observe the fast for this whole month. It is done so that we will know what humility really is. Fasting is also an exercise in self-control whereby one’s sensitivity is heightened to the sufferings of the poor.
5) Hajj(Pilgrimage): The 5th pillar of Islam
Hajj means “visit to the revered place”.The pilgrimage to Makkah, is the most significant manifestation of Islamic faith and unity in the world. For those Muslims are able to make the journey to Makkah, the hajj is the peak of their religious life.
*Courtesy of emuslim.com. For more information or any concerns Click Here