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ISLAM INSIDE

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The Five Pillars of
Islam

1)
Faith
| 2) Prayer | 3) The
‘Zakat’

4) The Fast | 5) Pilgrimage
(Hajj)

They are the framework of
the Muslim life: faith, prayer, concern for the needy,
self-purification, and the pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are
able.

1)
FAITH

There
is no god worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is His
messenger.
This declaration of faith is called the Shahada,
a simple formula which all the faithful pronounce. In Arabic, the
first part is la ilaha illa
Llah
– ‘there is no god except God’; ilaha (god) can refer
to anything which we may be tempted to put in place of God –
wealth, power, and the like. Then comes illa Llah: ‘except God’,
the source of all Creation. The second part of the Shahada is Muhammadun
rasulu’Llah
: ‘Muhammad is the messenger of God.’ A message
of guidance has come through a man like ourselves.

Shahada inscribed at Ottoman Topkapi Palace, Istanbul. 

2)
PRAYER ( Prayer
Performance
)

Salat
is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five
times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God.
There is no hierarchical authority in Islam, and no
priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the
Quran, chosen by the congregation. These five prayers contain
verses from the Quran, and are said in Arabic, the language of the
Revelation, but personal supplication can be offered in one’s own
language.

Prayers are said at dawn,
noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall, and thus determine the
rhythm of the entire day. Although it is preferable to worship
together in a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as
in fields, offices, factories and universities. Visitors to the
Muslim world are struck by the centrality of prayers in daily
life.

A translation of the Call
to Prayer is:

God is most
great. God is most great.
God is most great. God is most great.

I testify that there is no god except God.

I testify that there is no god except God.

I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

Come to prayer! Come to prayer!

Come to success (in this life and the Hereafter)!

Come to success!

God is most great. God is most great.

There is no god except God.

New Mexico,
U.S.A.

Prayer Call from Abiquiu Mosque.

Adhan

3)
THE ‘ZAKAT’
( Zakat
Information Center
)

One
of the most important principles of Islam is that all things
belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings
in trust.
The word zakat means both ‘purification’ and
‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a
proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants,
this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.

Each Muslim calculates his
or her own zakat individually. For most purposes this involves the
payment each year of two and a half percent of one’s capital.



Zakat keeps the money flowing within a society, Cairo.

A pious person may also
give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqa, and does so
preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as
‘voluntary charity’ it has a wider meaning. The Prophet said ‘even
meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity.’

The
Prophet said: ‘Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. ‘
He
was asked: ‘What if a person has nothing?’ The Prophet replied:
‘He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give
something out of such earnings in charity.’ The Companions asked:
‘What if he is not able to work?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should
help poor and needy persons.’ The Companions further asked ‘What
if he cannot do even that?’ The Prophet said ‘He should urge
others to do good.’ The Companions said ‘What if he lacks that
also?’ The Prophet said ‘He should check himself from doing evil.
That is also charity.’

4)
THE FAST
( Ramadan
Information Center
)

Every
year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light
until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations.

Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are
pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an
equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically
unable to do this, they must feed a needy person for every day
missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from
puberty, although many start earlier.

Although the fast is most
beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method
of self purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly
comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true
sympathy with those who go hungry as well as growth in one’s
spiritual life.

5)
PILGRIMAGE (HAJJ)
( Hajj
Information Center
)

The
annual pilgrimage to Makkah – the Hajj – is an obligation only for
those who are physically and financially able to perform it.

Nevertheless, about two million people go to Makkah each year from
every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those
of different nations to meet one another. Although Makkah is
always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj begins in the twelfth
month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not solar, so that Hajj
and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winter).
Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away
distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before
God.



Pilgrims praying at the mosque in Makkah.

The rites of the Hajj,
which are of Abrahamic origin, include circling the Ka’ba seven
times, and going seven times between the mountains of Safa and
Marwa as did Hagar during her search for water. Then the pilgrims
stand together on the wide plain of Arafa and join in prayers for
God’s forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the
Last Judgment.

In previous centuries the
Hajj was an arduous undertaking. Today, however, Saudi Arabia
provides millions of people with water, modern transport, and the
most up-to-date health facilities.



Pilgrim tents during Hajj.

The close of the Hajj is
marked by a festival, the Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated with
prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities
everywhere. This, and the Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating
the end of Ramadan, are the main festivals of the Muslim calendar.

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One Comment

  1. Posted October 15, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for all the knowledge Jazakallah


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