Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Five Pillars of Islam

The Muslim life is framed by the Five Pillars of Islam. They consist of obviously five key parts to their religion. The first is testimony of faith, second prayer, giving to the needy, fasting, and a pilgrimage. Some of these things are done on a daily basis, some monthly, some annually, and one is to be completed only once during a persons lifetime.Source 1

The first Pillar of Islam is called Shahadah. It is the worship of Allah(god)alone.
"There is none worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is the messenger of God." This is the declaration of the faith that the Muslims speak. It is stating that the only purpose in life is to serve and obey Allah. This is achieved by reading the teachings of Muhammed. (Wilkinson, 12)

The second Pillar of Islam is called the Salah. This is the worship of five times a day to Allah. The prayers are prayed at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. These prayers are spoken in Arabic and contain many scriptures from the Qur'an. Each prayer is done facing Mecca and the Ka'bah. Source 2 (Gordon, 74)

The third Pillar of Islam is called Zakah. This is the action of giving regularly to the poor. The cutting back of a persons wealth is encouraging in new growth and it balances. Each person calculates their owns Zakah. It is a fortieth of a person's wealth. This includes everything except professional tools and automobiles. Source 2

The fourth Pillar of Islam is called Sawm. This is the fasting during the month of Ramadan for thirty days. During this month all Muslims fast from drink, food, and from sexual relations with their spouses. This is a time for self purification. If someone has to many health problems during this month they can make up the days that they break the fast later in the year if their health allows them to.

The fifth and final Pillar of Islam is called Hajj. The hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a Muslim's lifetime. The pilgrimage is to the Ka'bah and other place including the hills of Safa and Marwa, then Arafa. "The rites of the Hajj include circling the Kaaba seven times and going seven times between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa, as Hagar did during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together in Arafa5 and ask God for what they wish and for His forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Day of Judgment."

Gordon, Matthew S. Islam:World Religions. New York: Facts on File Inc, 1991.

Wilkinson, Philip. Islam. New York: DK, 2002