Pillars of Islam
The message which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad
(saw) is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final
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
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
As described by Prophet Mohammad. "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."
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
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