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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