105 Pillars of IslamWorship of Allah is foremost in a Muslims mind all the time. There are also five formal acts ofworship which help strengthen a Muslims faith and obedience. They are often called the "FivePillars of Islam." Testimony of Faith (Kalima)This is simply the declaration, "I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, and I bearwitness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger." As mentioned previously, all of Islamis based on faith in the Unity of God. When one declares this statement, one testifies to theUnity of Allah, and to the message of the Prophethood. When one bears witness thatMuhammad is His messenger, one is confirming that all of the prophets before him were alsoHis messengers - Allah is One and His message is one (that is Al-Quran). A person becomes aMuslim when he or she declares this statement with purity of heart and conviction of faith. Prayer (Salat)Formal prayer is the most important act of worship; it is mankinds connection to Allah throughwhich one gathers strength, guidance and peace of mind. Islam prescribes five formal prayersdaily, through which Muslims repeat and refresh their beliefs, taking time out of their busy dayto remember Allah and renew the effort to follow His guidance. Five times each day (beforedawn, noon, afternoon, after sunset, and evening) Muslims rise, cleanse with water, andpresent themselves directly before Allah for prayer.Far from being a ritualistic and mindless activity, prayer constantly reminds us of the purpose oflife itself, refreshes our faith, and keeps our belief in Allah alive and ever-present. We go backto our wordly affairs conscious of our duties and strengthened against sin. Prayers said incongregation bond Muslims together in love and brotherhood. Prayer also symbolizes theequality of believers; there is no hierarchy, and all stand side-by-side in rows and bow only toAllah.Aside from the five formal prayers each day, Muslims begin and complete every activity withAllah ever-present in their minds. The words "Bismillah" (In the name of Allah) precede everyaction, and "Alhamdilillah" (Thanks be to Allah) completes it. Muslims also make privatesupplications, and words in praise of Allah fall constantly off ones lips.
2 Fasting (Sawm)"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you,that you may learn self-restraint. Fast for a fixed number of days....Ramadan is the month inwhich was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, and clear signs for guidance andjudgment between right and wrong. So every one of you who is present at home during thatmonth should spend it in fasting....Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to putyou to difficulties. He wants you to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in thatHe has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful" (Quran 2:183-185).What the prayers seek to do five times a day, fasting in the month of Ramadan (9th month ofthe lunar year) does once a year. During this month, Muslims do not eat anything nor drinkeven a drop of water during the daylight hours. Each and every moment during the fast, wesuppress our desires and remember Allah alone.This places in us a consciousness of duty and aspirit of patience that helps strengthen faith in Allah.Discipline and hardship during this monthbring us face to face with the realities of life and the suffering of so many throughout the year.The whole month is filled with increased devotion, piety, and purity of mind, soul and body. Almsgiving (Zakat)Every Muslim whose financial conditions are above a certain specified minimum, must payannually at least 2.5% of his savings to a deserving needy person, a new convert to Islam, atraveler, or one overwhelmed by debts.This fosters in a Muslim the quality of sacrifice and ridsone of selfishness, greed and vanity. As all wealth is a gift from Allah, one has the duty to helphis needy brethren when he is able. Pilgrimage (Hajj)Once in a lifetime, a Muslim who is financially and physically able must go on the pilgrimage toMecca, Saudi Arabia, during the month of Hajj (12th month of the lunar year). Mecca is thespiritual center of the Muslim world. It was here that Abraham built the first house of worship(the Kaaba), towards which all Muslims stand in unity in their daily prayers. "The first House of worship appointed for men was that at Bakka (Mecca), full of blessing and of guidance for all the worlds. It it are Signs manifest - the Station of Abraham - whoever enters it attains security. Pilgrimage there to is a duty men owe to Allah, for those who can afford the journey..." (Quran, Ali Imran:96-97).When this house was desecrated into a center of pagan worship, it was the prophetMuhammad that cleansed it of its 300+ idols and rededicated it to the worship of Allah alone.
3All pilgrims dress in pure white cloth, and are required to suppress passion, refrain from anybloodshed, and be pure in word and deed. "For Hajj are the months well-known.If any one undertakes the journey therein, let there be no obscenity,nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj.And whatever good you do, be sure Allah knows it. And take aprovision with you for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct..." (Quran, Al-Baqarah:197).The pilgrimage is a great international conference, wherein all people, kings or peasants, blackor white, stand before Allah as equals.During the ten days of the annual pilgrimage, severalmillion Muslims from all over the world, of all nations, languages, and colors come together inthe largest spiritual gathering of the world.The teachings of Islam indicate a balance between the life of this world and the life of the next.While often seen as a radical or extreme religion, Muslims consider it the middle road. "Thus have We made of you a community justly balanced..." (Quran, Al-Baqarah:143).Muslims do not live this life selfishly, with complete disregard for God. Nor do they neglect theworld to devote themselves solely to worship.Muslims strike a balance by fulfilling theobligations of and enjoying this life, always mindful of their duties to Allah and toothers.Extremity in either direction is frowned upon.God-fearing people should be the best in morals and manners.Islam forbids any action whichinfringes on the rights of others or harms oneself.Forbidden to Muslims are: dishonesty, theft,murder, suicide, bribery, forgery, interest and usury, gambling, lottery, consumption of alcoholor pork, backbiting, gossiping, slandering, hoarding, destruction of property, cruelty to animals,adultery, fornication, etc.While forbidding these things, Islam enjoins upon mankind the use of all clean, healthy anduseful things, and asks us not to deprive our bodies of clean food and healthy recreation. Islamalso encourages marriage and stable family life, modesty, generosity, hospitality, respect forparents, honorable treatment of women, helping those in need, etc.The law of Islam forbids public nudity and orders Muslims to use decent and dignified dress.Muslims are called upon to practice moderation in this area as well. One of Muhammadscompanions once said, "Eat what you wish and wear what you wish if you can avoid two things:extravagance and conceit." In dress and behavior, Muslims are to be modest. "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is Well-Acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing womenthat they should lower their
4 gaze and guard their modesty; that they should no display their beauty and ornaments..." (Quran, An-Nur:30-31).According to the Prophets tradition, no man should expose his body from the navel to theknees, nor should a woman expose any part of her body except her face and hands while inpublic. This is called "covering" and to keep these parts covered is the religious duty of everyman and woman.Through this directive, Islam cultivates in its followers a deep sense ofmodesty, purity and respect.Islam enjoins mankind to control and regulate sexual desires and seek its fulfillment only withinthe bonds of marriage. Marriage is a solemn contract, and the basis of a stable family andsociety. The Quran describes husband and wife as comforts for and protectors of oneanother.Divorce, while frowned upon, is permitted in cases where the marriage is irrevocablydamaged.Throughout our lives, we must always be respectful of our parents.They suffer and makesacrifices for us throughout our lives. Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said that "Heavenlies under the feet of mothers," so high are they in respect and admiration. Our duties to ourparents come second only to our duties to Allah, and the majority of Muslim families have closeextended family ties. "Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one orboth of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address themin terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say, My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood." (Quran, Al-Israa:23-24).There is no place in a Muslims heart for racial, national, gender, or other prejudices. There isOne Creator, and we are all His creation.The diversity of human life is one of the Signs of Allah,part of the beauty of His creation, and something to be admired and respected. "And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors; verily in that are Signs for those who know" (Quran, Ar-Rum:22).Righteousness is the only distinguishing factor among people. "O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes sothat you may know one another.Verily, the most honored among you in the sight of Allah is the one whois the most righteous.Indeed, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware" (Quran, Al-Hujurat:13).
5In dealing with non-Muslims, the believers are instructed not to be intolerant or narrow-minded. We must not abuse or speak ill of other religious leaders, nor say anything insulting. "Invite all to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. For thy Lord knows best who have strayed from His path, and who receive guidance" (Quran, An-Nahl:125).We must not seek dissention unnecessarily, but live in peace and amity.Nor can a Muslim passjudgment on whether someone will be to Heaven or Hell - only Allah is the Judge. "Those who believe in the Quran, and those who follow the Jewish scripture, and the Christians and the Sabians - any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness - shall have their reward with their Lord. One them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve" (Quran, Al-Baqarah:62).There is a special place in a Muslims heart for Christians and Jews, whom the Quran calls"People of the Book," meaning people who have received previous scriptures. Muslims areencouraged to seek good relations especially with them, as they have more in common to usthan that with the pagans or atheists. "...nearest among them in live to the believers will you find those who say, We are Christians, because among them are men devoted to learning, and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant" (Quran, Al-Maidah:82).When arguments or debates arise, Muslims are to treat them with kindness, try to findcommon ground, and if differences persist, to simply say, "Well, to you be your way, and to memine."Muslims are absolutely forbidden from forcing their faith on others; this negates the very ideaof free will and choice. The Quran says, "There is no compulsion in religion..." (Quran, Al-Baqarah:256).It is up to each individual to investigate religion, and personally make a decision as to its validityand their faith in it. Muslims are not in a position to force anything on anyone - the job ofguidance belongs to Allah alone. "If it had been your Lords Will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Will you then compel mankind, against their will, to believe?! No soul can believe, except by the Will of Allah". (Quran, Al-Yunus:99).
6Five Pillars of IslamEvery Muslim must fulfill the obligations imposed by the five pillars of Islam. These obligationsmust be performed assiduously and wholeheartedly. These rituals and duties are woven intothe lives of Muslims and give order and coherence to each and every day, taking precedenceover all secular considerations. This means that, for a Muslim, Islam, submission to the will ofGod, is in the fullest sense, a way of life, not merely a part of life.Observation of the five pillars of Islam involves a direct relationship between the Muslim andGod. There is no need for a priestly intermediary. Because the Muslims communication withGod is direct and unmediated, the relationship is essentially honest and pure. THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM The Prophet (S.A.W) has said, "Islam is based upon five pillars" these being: The Five Pillars consist of: Shahaada: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith Namaaz (Salaat): performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day Zakaat: paying an alms (or charity) tax to benefit the poor and the needy Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca Shahaadah Ash-hadhu-an Laa-ilaa-ha Ill-allahu Wah-dahu Laa Shareekalahu Wa Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadan Abduhu Wa Rasoolu The Shahaadah has two parts. First part: To believe that Allah (SWT) is the only Lord and Ruler, and He (SWT) Alone is worthy of Worship. He (SWT) has No Partner, and He (SWT) cannot be compared with Anything. Everything in the Universe is under His (SWT) Control and Command.
7 Second part: To believe that Muhammad (S.A.W) is the Messenger of Allah (SWT). To show the utmost respect to Him (S.A.W) and to follow His (S.A.W) teachings without any hesitation. Whenhearing the Blessed name of the Prophet (SAW) you should send Darood upon Him (S.A.W). Allah Says I will grant the one who sends the Darood : 10 Blessings, Raised his/her status 10 times and forgive 10 of their sins.Reciting the shahaada statement three times in front of witnesses is all that anyone needs do to become a Muslim. A Muslim is expected to recite this statement out loud, with total sincerity, fully understanding what it means. Namaaz / SalaatSalat is the obligatory Muslim prayers, performed five times each day by every good Muslim. God ordered Muslims to pray at five set times of day: fajr: dawn, before sunrise zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest asr: the late part of the afternoon maghrib: just after sunset isha: between sunset and midnight ZakaatZakaat is the compulsory giving of a set proportion of ones wealth to charity. It is regarded as a type of worship and of self-purification. Zakaat does not refer to charitable gifts given out of kindness or generosity, but to the systematic giving of 2.5% of ones wealth each year to benefit the poor. It is important to note that Zakat is paid by each person not each household. It is a Hadith of the Prophet (S.A.W) reported by Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) that: “Every morning two angels come down from the Heaven. One says, "O Allah! Reward all those who give in Your cause," while the other says, "O Allah! Uproot every miser who withholds". The benefits of Zakaat, apart from helping the poor, are as follows: Obeying God
8 Helping a person acknowledge that everything comes from God on loan and that we do not really own anything ourselves And since we cannot take anything with us when we die we need not cling to it Acknowledging that whether we are rich or poor is Gods choice So we should help those he has chosen to make poor Learning self-discipline Freeing oneself from the love of possessions and greed Freeing oneself from the love of money Freeing oneself from love of oneself Behaving honestly Sawm / FastingSawm is fasting. Its the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam. Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.During the 29/30 days of Ramadan all adult Muslims must give up the following things during the hours of daylight: Food or drink of any sort Smoking, including passive smoking Physical activity with the partner Muslims who are physically or mentally unwell may be excused some of these, as may those who are under twelve years old, the very old, those who are pregnant, breast-feeding, menstruating, or travelling. If an adult does not fast for the reasons above they should try tomake up the fast at a later date, or make a donation to the poor instead. Muslims do not onlyabstain from physical things during Ramadan. They are also expected to do their best to avoid evil thoughts and deeds as well. Allahs Messenger (S.A.W) said “When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained”. It is a Hadith of the Prophet (S.A.W) that:
9“One who while fasting does not guard his tongue from telling lies and does not refrain frombad deeds, is not respecting his fast. Allah does not approve of mere abstention from food”. There are many good reasons for this fast, including: Obeying God Learning self-discipline Becoming spiritually stronger Appreciating Gods gifts to us Sharing the sufferings of the poor and developing sympathy for them Realising the value of charity and generosity Giving thanks for the Holy Quran, which was first revealed in the month of Ramadan Sharing fellowship with other Muslims Hajj It is a Hadith of the Prophet (S.A.W) that: “Hajj wipes out whatever (sins) came before it.”Once a year, Muslims gather together in Mecca and stand before the Kaaba praising Allahtogether and also visit the Holy Grave of our Prophet (SAW). It is a ritual that is designed topromote the bonds of Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood by showing that everyone is equalin the eyes of Allah. The Hajj makes Muslims feel real importance of life here on earth, andthe afterlife, by stripping away all markers of social status, wealth, and pride. In the Hajj allare truly equal.The Hajjis or pilgrims wear simple white clothes called Ihram. During the Hajj the Pilgrimsperform acts of worship and they renew their sense of purpose in the world. Mecca is a placethat is holy to all Muslims. It is so holy that no non-Muslim is allowed to enter.For Muslims, the Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam. It occurs in the month of Dhul Hijjahwhich is the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is the journey that every saneadult Muslim must undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it and are physicallyable. In the year 628 the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) set out on a journey with 1400 of hisfollowers. This was the first pilgrimage in Islam, and would re-establish the religioustraditions of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS).