The five pillars namely Shahadah (believe in the oneness Of Allah), Namaz (Prayers), Zakaat (alms to the poor), Sawn (fast) and Hajj (Pilgrimage) are the fundamentals of the religion of Islam and the Muslims are required to observe them with utmost devotion. Just like a building lacks stability without strong and stable pillars in the same way a believer’s faith and relationship with Allah lacks strength without the observance of the five pillars. These pillars form the foundation of the bond between a believer and Allah. They are a proof of one’s love, faithfulness and devotion to Islam. Online Quran Lessons offers you online Quran classes with our expert online Quran teachers, to help you learn Quran online and learn about the basics of Islamic religion.
Shahadah, the testimony of faith, is the first pillar of Islam. Muslims bear witness to the oneness of God by declaring:
“There is no God but Allah; Muhammad ﷺ is the messenger of Allah”
The significance of this declaration is that the only purpose of Life is to serve and obey Allah and this can only be done by following in the footsteps of Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ. A Muslim testifies in the Oneness of Allah and His Prophet ﷺ without ever having seen Allah or His Messenger. This system of belief acts as a justification and logic to explain the existence of Life.
Faith in Allah encourages man to be thankful for His blessings and to be patient in time of difficulty for it allows us to believe that nothing can happen without the will of the Almighty. It prompts people to maintain a connection with Allah through prayer and supplication. Ultimately it enables man to develop a deeper vision, one that goes beyond the sight of their eyes.
The Muslims believe that each individual is connected to Allah and in order to strengthen this connection they offer Namaz five times a day i.e. dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening, while facing the Holy Ka’ba, the most sacred of all lands. In addition to the daily prayers we are also required to offer the Friday congregational service to celebrate this blessed day.
The Namaz that one offers daily is not for the benefit of Allah but it is way for Muslims to worship Allah and be thankful for everything He has provided us with. It is a means of communication between Allah and man through which man shows his love, affection and loyalty to Allah.
The Namaz can be offered anywhere but there is a special significance of performing this religious obligation in the mosque, in congregation with other Muslims. It creates a sense of unity among Muslims making them realize that the entire Muslim Ummah is undivided. Praying in congregation also pleases Allah and brings Muslims closer to Him and to other Muslims.
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Social responsibility is considered part of one’s service towards Allah and helping out the needy giving alms fulfills this responsibility. Zakaat requires Muslims to give away a certain fixed portion of their wealth for the welfare of the society especially those in need. This fixed portion is 2.5% of an individual’s total net worth excluding obligations and family expenses.
An individual may also give as much as he or she pleases as voluntary charity. This charity id not an obligation from Islam and is preferably given away in Secret for the sole purpose of Serving Allah’s creation and seeking His blessings.
The Holy Prophet ﷺ said:
“Every single Muslim must give charity every single day.”
When asked who would be capable of doing such a thing, he replied:
“Your removal of an obstacle in the road is a charitable act; your guiding someone is a charitable act; your visit to the sick is a charitable act; your enjoinment of good to others is a charitable act; your forbidding of others from wrongdoing is a charitable act, and your returning the greeting of peace is a charitable act.”
[Biharul Anwar: Volume 75, Page 50] Zakaat purifies the property of a Muslim from the part of wealth that is no longer his to keep and must be distributed among other Muslims. It also purifies the heart of the giver from selfishness and greed. It reduces the pain and sufferings of the needy people and brings justice and equality to the society.
Fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam. Prescribed in the Holy Quran, the fast is an act of worship in which Muslims seek a richer perception of God. Fasting is also an exercise of self-control in which a person tries to experience the sufferings of the poor. Ramadan, the month during which the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, begins with the sighting of the new moon, after which one abstains from eating, drinking and other sensual pleasures from dawn to sunset.
During Ramadan mosques are filled with worshippers, acts of charity are increased and the bond of Muslim brotherhood is strengthened. People avoid impatience, hatred and violence and an atmosphere of peace is maintained.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said:
“Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey are exempted from fasting and are obligated to make up an equal number of days later in the year if they are healthy and able. Children begin to fast from puberty, although many start earlier.
The sighting of the new moon marks the end of Ramadan. Muslims observe a three day celebration called Eid Al-Fitr. Customarily, it is a time for family reunion and the favored holiday for children who receive new clothing and gifts.
The pilgrimage to Makkah is the fifth and final pillar of Islam. Muslims who are physically and financially able to visit Makkah, are to make this, once in a lifetime, journey as the peak of their religious life. It is a remarkable spiritual gathering of Muslims from all over the World in the Holy city of Makkah during the month of Zilhajj. While performing Hajj Muslims replicate the rituals that were performed by the Holy Prophet ﷺ during Hajj. These rituals include going around the Ka’ba seven times (Taw’af), running seven times between the Hills of Safa and Marwa, offering congregational prayers in the plains of Arafat and much more. The closing of the Hajj is marked by the Eid ul Azha celebrated on the 10th of Zilhajj.
The five pillars of Islam define the basic identity of Muslims – their faith, beliefs and practices – and bind together a worldwide community of believers into a fellowship of shared values and concerns.
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