Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pillars Of Islam

There are five basic pillars of Islam that define and build up a muslim’s faith. These five pillars form the basic prerequisites for a person to be a muslim.

A muslim's faith or iman rests on five pillars, that make a person a muslim. These pillars or tenets of faith are obligatory on every muslim.
They are as follows:

First is the Shahada or declaration of faith: this is the most fundamental requirement of a muslim, this is the first thing that a person needs to believe in, in order to be a muslim. This is nothing but, to testify that there is no other God except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. By testifying this, a muslim in a way takes an oath that he will henceforth live his life in accordance with Allah's commands and prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) teachings.

As Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"Say (O Muhammad): O men! I am sent to you all, as the messenger of Allah, to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth! There is no God but He; It is He that gives both life and death. So believe in Allah and His messenger, the unlettered prophet, who believes in Allah and His words; follow him so that you may be guided." (Holy Quran-7:158)

Second is the Prayer or Salat. The prayer is done five times a day, at appointed times i.e. at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and night. The prayer or salat is a means of direct connection between the worshiper and the God. Islam doesn’t approve nor does a muslim require a mediator between him and God. All his prayers are directly to the lord, and for all the help he needs he goes directly to Him and doesn’t use an intermediary.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"Verily, I - I alone - am God; There is no deity save Me. Hence, worship Me alone, and be constant in prayer, so as to remember Me" (Holy Quran-20:14)

Third is the Fast. A muslim is supposed to fast the whole month of Ramadan, a lunar calendar month. It  is  in this month that Allah first revealed the Holy Quran. A fast means that the muslim is required to keep away from food and drink, from dawn till dusk. Not only is he supposed to abstain from food but also from all kinds of vices and evils and keep away from his worldly desires.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn self-restraint" (Holy Quran-2:183)

Fourth is the Zakat, a kind of tax. It is what people having a certain measured amounts of wealth or more are required to give to those in need. This is done yearly, preferably in the month of Ramadan. It actually is a way of ensuring that our less fortunate brothers are not deprived of comforts and wealth doesn’t stay accumulated and stagnant at one place. It is a way of purifying one’s wealth as well as one’s soul.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"And those who dispense their charity with their hearts full of fear, because they will return to their Lord; - It is these who hasten in every good work, and these who are foremost in them." (Holy Quran-23:60 & 23:61)

Fifth is the Hajj. It is a pilgrimage to mecca (Makkah), to be made minimum of once in a life time by those who can afford to.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"The first House to be built for mankind was the one at Bakkah (Makkah). It is a blessed place; a source of guidance for the whole world. There are clear signs in it; it is the place where Abraham stood. Anyone who enters it will be secure. Pilgrimage to the House is a duty to God for anyone who is able to undertake it. Anyone who disbelieves should remember that God is independent of all creatures." (Holy Quran-3:96 & 3:97)

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