The Five Pillars of Islam
Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. It also has received a lot of criticism from Christians and others who perceive it as a bed for terrorism. Many people don’t realize however that this religion is much like Christianity. Christianity was built upon the words of many prophets with Jesus Christ being the most prolific. Islam was built on the words from Muhammad who the Muslims view as their most prolific prophet. Muhammad spoke the words of the Qur’an, or Islam’s holy book. It is because of him that Islam has become what it is and the Muslim people praise him for it. Through his teachings came the principles in which the Muslim people follow and has been what I believe its reasons for growing so fast. Christians believe that the 10 commandments are their guide for living a good moral life. The Muslim people however follow the Five Pillars of Islam. These pillars are Shahadah, Salat, Saum, Zakat, and Hajj. These pillars are the path of every Muslim in order to live a good life in complete surrender to God. The first of the pillars is Shahadah, or their confession of faith. The Shahadah is the creed that every Muslim states and is the most important of the pillars. The creed is “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is prophet.” (Smith 160) This phrase emphasis’s Islam’s monotheistic belief in that there is only one God and that is the only God that should be worshipped. The second part solidifies the Muslim’s view that it is through Muhammad that God or Allah as God is said in Arabic, conveyed the last and final revelation. (carm.org, “Five Pillars”) Since Allah made Muhammad speak these words he is portrayed as the Greatest Prophet. This pillar is most important because it allows people to enter Islam through this creed. This creed allows people to become Muslim as long as they believe those words. This is also important because it takes away the differences in people and unites them. A regular man like Muhammad was chosen to speak the words of Allah, which means there is no one better person and these words allow them to see that. The second pillar of Islam is Salat or prayer. Prayer is extremely important in Islam because it is a direct link to God. The Salat is performed five times a day and is always in the direction of the Ka’ba shrine in Mecca. The first of the prayers is the Fajr or Morning Prayer. This prayer can be performed at anytime between the breaking of the dawn and sunrise. The second prayer is the Zuhr and is performed after the sun declines from its zenith until it is about midway from setting. Asr is the third prayer and begins soon after the time for zuhr prayer ends and extends to just before sunset. Maghrib is the fourth prayer and begins just after sunset and extends to a period of an hour and a half. The fifth and final prayer is Isha. Isha begins an hour and a half after sunset and extends to dawn. (“Prayers”) Each of these prayers contains verses out of the Qur’an and is said in Arabic. Muslims are encouraged to worship together but cannot always do so, so they may pray wherever they are. The prayer should be performed on a sajjada or prayer mat. The focal prayer of the week is the midday prayer at the mosque on Friday. Islamic prayer begins in a standing position and moves through several simple postures until the person is kneeling. There are specific recitations that are said through each position. The salat is a Muslims way of making sure God is always at the center of their life and by performing it so frequently they are showing their surrender to Him. The third pillar of Islam is Zakat or alms giving. Zakat is a Muslim person’s way of showing that all things belong to God. There are two kinds of charities in Islam “the obligatory and the voluntary.” (Alislam.org “Zakat”) The obligatory charity is called zakat and the voluntary charity is called sadaqah. The zakat is the amount of...
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