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Pillars of Islam

Pillars of Islam

The message which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form.

The creed of Islam with its articles of faith is generally the same as that of the other Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Judaism. Indeed Islam describes the previous messengers of God and their followers as "muslims" (small m) following "islam" (small i), the literal meaning of islam being submission to the will of God.

An aspect that is more specific to Islam is the system of worship. It is so central to Islam since it focuses on the individual Muslim in order that the Islamic collectivity be made of healthy units, or in other words, the building be made of healthy blocks.

Despite the great body of tradition and law, the practice of Islam is essentially personal-between God and the believer. Islam has five primary obligations or pillars of faith that each Muslim must fulfill in his or her lifetime.

The first of which is a state of faith, the other four are major exercises of faith of which some are daily, some weekly, some monthly, some annually and some are required as a minimum once in a lifetime. These exercises of faith are to serve man's spiritual purposes, satisfy his human needs and to mark his whole life with a Divine touch.

As described by Prophet Mohammad. "Islam is built on five pillars:

  1. The declaration (bearing witness) that there is no god but God (Allah) and that Mohammad is
  2. His messenger
  3. The establishment of prayers
  4. The payment of the Zakat (tax),
  5. Observation of the fast of Ramadan
  6. The Hajj (pilgrimage) if affordable."

On another occasion, when the prophet was asked to give a definition of Islam, he named those five pillars. Needless to say people do not live in pillars only for the pillars are there to carry a whole building.

Every action done with the awareness that it fulfills the Will of God is considered an act of worship in Islam. But, it is the specific acts of worship termed the Pillars of Islam which provide the framework of Muslim spiritual life.

Those who reduce Islam to the area of ritual worship naturally lack the understanding of the comprehensive and total nature of Islam and the symbolism which these rituals are supposed to reflect on life in general. They constitute the bare minimum of requirements (obligatory articles), worship in any amount or form and charitable pursuits are open without limit, down to the detail of meeting people with a smiling face or removing dirt from the road as Mohammad taught. Practically all details of life can, upon one's intention, belong in the area of worship.

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