Pillars of Islam

 

Sources:

·        "Islam in brief" by Mahmoud Murad

·        "Your way  to Islam" by Dr Mohammad S.Al-Ashqar

·        "Basic lessons for every Muslim" by Abdulaziz Al-Shoumar

 

 

The Messenger of Allah (May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five pillars”:

    

1-    Ash-Shahaadah

 

      It is the confession or the declaration of faith which must be recited by anyone embracing Islam.

 

Ash-shahaadah means to say, with a firm belief in heart and mind, the following:

 

 "Ash-hadu an laa ilaha illa-Allah

                                       I bear witness that there is no true god except Allah

 

 "Wa Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasool-Allah

                        and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

 

The Shahaadah or the testimony - Laa ilaha illa-Allah comprises of two concepts; Denial and Affirmation.

 

Firstly, it denies the attribute of divinity to anyone and anything other than Allah, the Exalted. All others, besides Allah, such as the angels, the prophets, the idols, etc., are not gods nor do they deserve to be worshipped.

 

Secondly it (the testimony of faith) affirms and restricts divinity to Allah, the Exalted alone. That is, the slave must believe that Allah is the only true God, and accordingly dedicate no act of worship to any, other than Allah, the Exalted. 

 

This Shahaadah expresses a Muslim’s firm acknowledgment and belief in Allah’s existence and oneness. There is none to be worshipped but Allah, and that He must be worshipped only according to the teaching of His Messenger Muhammad (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

 

Also this Shahaadah expresses a Muslim’s firm belief that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger; and that his book Al-Qur’an is the Word of Allah, and that his Sunnah (traditions) form an integrated and comprehensive system to guide man’s life to the right path.

 

Conditions of “Laa Ilaha Illa-Allah”:

 

1.     Knowledge, which consists of recognizing Allah, the Exalted as the only true God to Whom worship must be dedicated.  

2.     Certainty, that the belief in Allah I must be without any doubt.

3.     Acceptance, it is to accept all its conditions, meaning etc.

4.     Submission, it is to fulfill its conditions submissively and willingly being content with Allah, the Exalted as the only Lord and Muhammad (May peace   and blessings of Allah be upon him), as His slave and last Prophet and Messenger.

5.     Truthfulness, it is to fulfill its requirements truthfully.

6.     Sincerity, it is to be sincere in worshipping Allah, dedicating all acts of worship to Him alone.

7.     The love of Allah, the Exalted, and the love of His Messenger Muhammad (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and the love of Allah’s devotees and the people of His obedience, which means love of all Muslims.

 

      Finally, it should be borne in mind that Allah; the Exalted must be obeyed, by following His commands and refraining from His prohibitions. Obedience to Allah must be associated with loving Him, fearing His punishment, and hoping for His reward, seeking His forgiveness and adhering to the teachings of His Messenger Muhammad (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who is the last of Allah’s Messengers and his Shari’ah, i.e. the laws and religious rites, that abrogate all other preceding laws and religious rites, as Islam comprises the best of every preceding Shari’ah or religion.

 

2.  Salat (Prayer)

 

Salat is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day, and they are a direct link between the worshipper and God.  These five prayers contain verses from the Qur’an, which are said in Arabic, the language of the revelation, but personal supplication can be offered in one’s own language.

 

The five prayers are:-

 

1.      The Fajr (Dawn) prayer: consists of two Rakaa’t (units).  It’s time starts just after dawn and ends at sunrise

2.     The Dhuhr (noon) prayer: consists of four Rakaa’t.  It’s time starts; just after the sun moves down from its zenith (mid-day, when the sun is exactly in the middle of sky) and ends at its midpoint between zenith and sunset (or when the size of an object’s shadow is equal to the size of the object).

3.      The Asr (late afternoon) prayer: consists of four Rakaa’t.  It’s time starts after the end of the Dhuhr prayer and ends at s

4.      The Maghrib (sunset) prayer: consists of three Rakaa’t.  It’s time starts just after sunset, and ends when twilight has disappeared.

5.     The Isha (evening) prayer: consists of four Rakaa’t.  Its time starts when twilight (sun’s redness) disappears, and ends at midnight.

 

Note:

        The midnight is determined by calculating number of hours between the Maghrib prayer to the dawn prayer, then divide it by two.

 

Prayers however must be preceded by ablution which is washing the hands, face, and the forearms, wiping over the head, and washing the feet.

 

Prayer is one of the greatest pillars of Islam.  It is the first act of worship about which man shall be asked on the Day of Resurrection.  If it is accepted by Allah, then the rest of man’s good deeds are accepted too.

 

3.  Zakat (the poor-due):

 

Literally means ‘purification’, indicating that such a payment makes the rest of the Muslim’s wealth pure.

 

In Islamic law, it means paying a certain percentage of your savings every lunar year, which is to be given to the poor, the needy and other specified classes of people defined by the Qur’an.

 

·        If you have, for that period, an amount of money equal to the value of 85 grams of pure gold or more, you must pay 2.5%.

·        Zakat is paid to the poor and the needy Muslims, to the wayfarers, to propagate Islam or fighting for Islam, to help new Muslims, or encouraging Non-Muslims to embrace Islam, and to those who are burdened with debts and are unable to pay them.

·        If you have articles of trade, you calculate their Zakat in the same way.

 

       Why do we pay Zakat?

 

1. To show devotion to Allah who commanded us to do so and informed us that He loves the charitable.

2. To be grateful to Allah who provided us with wealth and helped us to earn an income

 3. To mitigate the suffering of the needy.

 4. To help in the betterment of the Muslim society.

 5. To participate in propagating Islam in the whole world.

 6. To cure ourselves of selfishness and greed.

 7. To make ourselves masters of our property not slaves of it.

 8. To keep our needy fellows away from envy and hatred.

 9. To help in protecting our society from economic class conflict, and to participate in solving the economic crisis.

 

4. Sawm (Fasting):

 

Fasting is observed during the month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar). It begins at day break (dawn), and ends at sunset. Eating, drinking and sexual activities with one’s wife are forbidden. Besides the  health benefits which one gains through fasting, it is an act of worship which helps the one who observes it attain piety, humbleness, and share feelings  of the deprived and hungry in the community.

 

5.  Hajj (Pilgrimage):

  

Pilgrimage to Makkah is prescribed for those Muslims who can afford the trip financially and health-wise, once in a lifetime. The Hajj rites take place during the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hijja.