REL1006S: COURSE ESSAY
Discuss how Islam is a quest to be faithful to the transcendent, both directly and through social engagement Islam is a religion based on the belief in one God, His messenger and the four other pillars. These five pillars are central to Muslims, followers of Islam and mould their beings and are part of their everyday lives. This essay will look at the abovementioned pillars, what they are and how they form part of the quest to be faithful to the transcendent. Mention will also be made to how Islam ‘plays out’ in everyday life, thus how this quest is and can be done both directly and through social engagement. Firstly, we need to establish who or what the Transcendent is. I would like to describe the transcendent, according to Islamic beliefs, as being both Allah (Arabic word for God) and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Allah, of course is the most important aspect of Islam but it is also relevant that great emphasis is placed on the Prophet. Muslims strive to be more like the Prophet, by following his ‘way of life’, the Sunnah and as a result, pleasing and becoming closer to God. The Five Pillars of Islam, based on work by Mark Sedgwick (2006) are important components of Muslim worship. The first of the five pillars is the “…recognition that there is no god other than God, and that Muhammad is the Prophet of God” (Sedgwick: 2006, 70). This may not seem like an ‘act of worship’ but is very important when looking at Islam and even considering oneself as Muslim. The second pillar, Salah, which involves the five daily prayers, is where ‘acts of worship’ is most prominent. For each of the five Salah’s, specific duas (prayers/sayings) are said. “A dua is an appeal to God”, describes Sedgwick and through Salah, the closest one is to God. He also mentions, on page 70 that Salah may be translated into English as “prayer” but it is better defined as “rite”. Based on the two pillars mentioned above, we can see that Islam is a relationship with God and...
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