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What is ISLAM ?


What are the Five Pillars of Islam?

1. Shahadah (Testimony)

There are five pillars of Islam, the first being the declaration

of faith: To bear witness that there is none

worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad

is His messenger to all human beings until the Day

of Judgment. This declaration of faith is called the

shahadah, a simple formula that all the faithful pronounce:

“There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad

is the Messenger of Allah.” These words are to be uttered

with sincere conviction and under no coercion.

The significance of this testimony is the belief that the

only purpose of life is to serve and obey God, and this

is achieved through following the example of Prophet


2. Salat (5 Daily Prayers)

Daily prayers are offered five times a day as a duty towards

Allah. They strengthen and enliven the belief in

Allah and inspire man to a higher morality. They purify

the heart and prevent temptation towards wrong

doings and evils. Male Muslims are greatly encouraged

to perform their five daily prayers in the mosque

in congregation. Female Muslims are free to pray

where it is most convenient. A mosque, in its most basic

form, is simply a clean area designated for prayers.

Mosques throughout the world have taken on various

architectural forms reflecting local cultures. They range

from detached pavilions in China and elaborate courtyards

in India to massive domes in Turkey and glass

and steel structures in the United States.

3. Sawm (Fasting)

Muslims keep Ramadan, the fasting month, not only

by abstaining from food, drink, and sexual intercourse

from dawn to sunset but also from evil intentions and

desires. It teaches love, sincerity, and devotion. It develops

a sound social conscience, patience, unselfishness,

and will power. It also helps the wealthy to understand

the difficulties of those who suffer from hunger.

4. Zakat (Purification of Wealth)

Islamic worship is not limited to the spiritual realm

only. Material obligations apply to those who can afford

it. Zakat is the annual payment of 2.5% of one’s net savings

and commercial assets held for a year as a religious

duty and a purification of one’s wealth. The sum is to

be spent directly on poorer sections of the community.

Muslims are required to help the poor, orphans, and the

needy by providing them with at least a fixed amount of

money in order to facilitate their lives in an attempt to

get rid of inequality. Islam always encourages Muslims

to share their material opportunities with those less fortunate.

However, the minimum of this sharing is to give


5. Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)

This duty is to be performed once in a lifetime if one can

afford it financially and physically. Over the last 1,400

years, the Islamic miracle of real brotherhood of all races

and nations has been seen in action as Muslims gather

for pilgrimage, Hajj, annually in the sacred city of Mecca

where the House of God, the Ka’bah, is located. As

the only pilgrimage site and the direction to be faced in

for the five daily prayers, the Ka’bah, an ancient cubic

shaped building dating from Abraham’s time, is circumambulated

now by around three million Muslims in white

gowns each year during Hajj.

Salvation in Islam

In Islam, every human being is born sinless: there is no

original sin. Each person is responsible for his own acts,

and no one shall bear the burden of others (Qur’an 6:


Each person is inspired with the knowledge of God and

naturally inclined toward Islam before birth. It is therefore

our responsibility to seek the guidance of God and

keep our hearts pure from corruption. God is the judge of

all, and no one has the right to grant salvation or dictate

punishment except Him.


The word “Islam” is an Arabic one meaning peace

and submission. A practicing Muslim strives to submit

whole-heartedly to God, thereby achieving peace

in this life as well as in the afterlife. “Mohammedanism”

is a misnomer for Islam and offends its very


Islam is one of the three Abrahamic religions as are

Judaism and Christianity. As such, it is a religion

based on revelation that believes in the One God and

the guidance revealed by God to the prophets. The

prophets of Islam include ones such as Abraham,

Moses, Solomon, and Jesus: hence Islam is not a new

religion but the final culmination and fulfillment of

the same basic truth that God revealed through all

His prophets to every nation (Qur’an 3: 84).

In What do Muslims Believe?

1. One God: Muslims believe in the One, Unique,

Incomparable, Merciful God, the Sole Creator, Sustainer

and Cherisher of the Universe. Muslims prefer

to use the Arabic name for God, “Allah”, because

it has no plural, feminine or diminutive that could

be associated with idolatry (i.e. gods, goddesses or


2. The Angels: Muslims believe that Allah created

the angels such that they cannot commit sins and

have no gender.

3. The Prophets: With the belief that Allah sent His

messengers and prophets to all people, Muslims

faithfully accept Biblical prophets mentioned in the

Qur’an including Adam, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, David,

and Jesus (peace be upon them all). All prophets

were human beings like us who, as chosen examples

for their people, committed no grave sin. Muslims

accept Jesus as a prophet, believe in his virgin birth,

and respect him very much. His name is mentioned

in the Qur’an almost a hundred times.


4. The Books: To believe in the Holy Books of Allah

that were sent before and in the Qur’an as the

final words from Allah is a pillar of the Muslim’s

faith. The Qur’an was revealed to the last prophet,

Muhammad (peace be upon him), through the

Archangel Gabriel. It confirmed and finalized all

previous revelations that were sent to humankind

through Allah’s messengers. The Qur’an is a miracle

in many senses including that its meanings

still apply in modern times and the verses of the Qur’an are never found to contradict modern science.

5. Fate and Divine Decree: A Muslim believes in Divine Decree, which relates to the ultimate power of Allah. It means Allah is the Omniscience, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent. He has knowledge and power to execute His plans. Allah is not indifferent to this world. Allah is the Wise, Just, and Loving, and whatever He does has wisdom though we may sometimes fail to fully understand it.


6. Resurrection: The following verse explains the significance of believing in the principles of faith including the Last Day:

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards east or west; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing. (Qur’an 2: 177)

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