An Introduction to Pillars of Islam and Articles of Faith

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(part 1 of 2) Description:  The essential teachings of Islam are based on five principles, referred to as the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’, and s...

(part 1 of 2)

Description: The essential teachings of Islam are based on five principles, referred to as the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’, and six fundamental beliefs, known as the ‘Six Articles of Faith.’ Part 1: The meaning of ‘Islam’ and an explanation of the five pillars of Islam.

Prerequisites
·       The Testimony of Faith.
Objectives
·       Knowledge of the ‘Five Pillars of Islam.’
·       Knowledge of the ‘Six Articles of Faith.’
·       Meaning of ‘Islam.’
New Terms
·       Iman
·       Islam.
The essential teachings of Islam are based on five principles, referred to as the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’, and six fundamental beliefs, known as the ‘Six Articles of Faith.’[1]  This division is based on the following well known hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad. Umar, one of the closest of companions to the Prophet, related the following occurrence:
“Once, while we were sitting with the Prophet, a man appeared before us whose clothes were exceedingly white and hair exceedingly black.  No signs of traveling were seen on him and no one among us knew him.  He sat towards the Prophet, resting his knees against his knees and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs. He then said: ‘O Muhammad, tell me about Islam.’
The Messenger replied: ‘Islam is to testify that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the compulsory charity ( zakah), to fast in Ramadan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.’
He said: ‘You have spoken the truth.’
We were amazed at him asking questions and then saying he had spoken the truth!  
He then inquired: ‘Tell me about faith (Iman)?’
The Prophet replied: ‘It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine decree, both its sweetness and its bitterness.’
He said: ‘You have spoken the truth.’
Umar then related some more questions he asked and the answers given by the Prophet.  Finally, when the man left, the Prophet asked:
‘O ‘Umar, do you know who was the questioner?’
I said: ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’
The Prophet said: ‘It was Gabriel who came to you to teach you your religion.’”[2]

The Meaning of ‘Islam’

The Arabic word ‘Islam’ means to submit, a total surrender, a total resignation to God.  Therefore, a ‘Muslim’ is ‘one who submits to God.’ Islam means to submit to Allah alone, to worship and serve Allah alone, and to believe and follow the prophet sent to them.  To many non-Muslims, ‘Islam’ is a religion that began in the seventh century in the Middle East, but to Muslims, Islam has always been the only religion of Allah since the time of Adam, the first man.  Thus, Islam was the religion of all prophets who came after him.  In the time of Moses, Islam was to worship Allah alone and believe and follow the teachings Moses had brought, and Islam in the time of Jesus was to worship Allah alone and believe and follow the teachings Jesus had brought, as they were both prophets sent by God to teach his religion.  After the coming of Prophet Muhammad, Islam is to worship Allah alone and believe and follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. Although the teachings of all the prophets about God, the Afterlife, and all other realities of belief were the same, there were slight differences in the methods of practice, worship and service, for each prophet was sent to a specific nation and specific period of time. Even though previous religions come under the general heading of Islam, the religion of Muhammad has specifically been given the name ‘Islam’ by God, as it is the final religion prescribed for humanity until the Day of Judgment.

The Five Pillars of Islam

Allah has mandated five acts upon which the whole religion of Islam is built. Due to their importance, the Prophet stated in another hadeeth:
“Islam has been built upon five…”
…and then proceeded to mention the same acts of worship described in the hadeeth of Gabriel above.
These acts of worship are called the Pillars of Islam, and they are as follows:

1. Testimony of faith (Shahadah)        

One must profess this testimony of faith, summarized in the two testimonies:
(a) There is no deity rightfully worshipped but Allah
(b) Muhammad is His Messenger.
Through the belief and attestation of the testimony of faith (Shahadah) one enters the fold of Islam. It is the central belief that a believer maintains throughout his life, and is the basis for all his beliefs and worship.

2. Formal Prayers (Salah)         

One must offer the five daily prayers at their specific times. Through the prayer, a Muslim maintains his relationship with Allah, comes to remember Him often, and avoids falling into sin.

3. Compulsory Charity (Zakah)

Those who have stored a certain amount of wealth must allot a specific portion of it annually to designated deserving recipients.

4. Fasting (Sawm)

Muslims must fast for a period of one lunar month, which is the month of Ramadan, by refraining from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk. The goal of fasting, as mentioned in the Quran, is to increase one’s piety and God-consciousness.

5. Pilgrimage (Hajj)        

Pilgrimage to the House of God, the Ka’bah, in Mecca is obligatory for every able Muslim once in a lifetime. The Hajj is a physical and visual proof of the brotherhood of humanity, and their equality in servitude in front of Allah.


Footnotes:
[1] The Arabic word for faith is Iman.
[2] Muslim and others.  The hadeeth is known as the ‘hadeeth of Gabriel.’

An Introduction to Pillars of Islam and Articles of Faith (part 2 of 2)

Description: The essential teachings of Islam are based on five principles, referred to as the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’, and six fundamental beliefs, known as the ‘Six Articles of Faith.’ Part 2: The six articles of faith and what they entail.
Objectives
·       To learn the fundamentals beliefs i.e. the ‘Six Articles of Faith’ and what they entail.

The Six Articles of Faith

Faith is referred to in Arabic as Iman.  It represents firm belief in the heart, and not simply blind faith. Islamic doctrine revolves around six aspects described by the Prophet.

1. Belief in Allah, which entails the following:

(i)   Belief in Allah’s existence.
(ii)  Allah is the Lord. He is the Creator, the Provider, the Sustainer, and the Owner of the entire universe. None has any share in these roles.
(iii) Allah is the only being entitled to worship. No worship, service or veneration is to be offered to others besides Allah or along with Him, whether they be prophets, priests, saints, angels, idols, or stones.
(iv) Allah has the most beautiful and perfect of names and attributes, which none can be compared to. He is Unique, separate and unlike His creation. No evil or deficiency can be attributed to Him.

2. Belief in the Angels, which entails the following:

(i)   Belief in the existence of angels, a creation of Allah.
(ii)  Belief that they have no right to receive any form of worship
(iii) Belief in the names by which the angels are identified in the Quran and Sunnah(teachings of Prophet Muhammad).
(iv) Belief in the special tasks assigned to each of them by Allah in the Quran and Sunnah (teachings of Prophet Muhammad).

3. Belief in the Revealed Scriptures, which entails the following:  

(i)   Belief that Allah revealed scriptures to various prophets.
(ii)  Belief that they contained the truth from Allah.
(iii) Belief that all previous scriptures other than the Quran have been altered.
(iv) Belief in the Quran has several aspects:
a) Belief that it is one of the scriptures of Allah.
b) Belief that it is the Final Revelation to humanity, and that no other scripture will be revealed after it.
c) Belief that everything in it is true, containing no falseness.
d) Belief that it has remained unchanged, and will remain so for eternity.
e) Belief that it has abrogated all previous scriptures before it.

4. Belief in the Messengers, which entails the following:

(i)    Belief that Allah sent prophets to every nation, calling them to worship and obey Allah Alone. One must believe in all of them, known or unknown, without rejecting any of them.
(ii)   Belief that they were the best of humanity, chosen due to their virtuousness.
(iii) Belief that they were mere humans, not divine in any way, and that they do not have any right to receive worship, nor did they claim so.
(iv) Belief that they merely conveyed the message from Allah and did not legislate from their own selves.
(v)   Belief that they did not err in conveying the message.
(vi) Belief that obedience to them is a must.
(vi) Belief that Muhammad was a prophet, which entails those issues discussed in the lesson entitled The Testimony of Faith.

5. Belief in Life after Death and the Final Day of Judgment, which entails the following:

(i)   Belief that a day will come when everything will come to an end, and Allah will raise the creation and judge them according to their deeds.
(ii) Belief that those who believed and practically followed the correct religion by following the prophets will enter Paradise for eternity, and that those who disbelieved will enter the Hellfire for eternity.

6.       Belief in Divine Decree, which entails the following:

(i)   Belief that Allah’s Foreknowledge is all inclusive and complete. He has always known everything that would or would not happen, even before the creation of mankind.
(ii)  Belief that Allah has recorded everything that was going to occur until the Day of Judgment in a book known as “The Mother of the Books” or “The Preserved Tablet”.
(iii) Belief that whatever Allah willed has occurred, is occurring, and will occur. Nothing occurs against or without this Will.
(iv) Allah created everything.
We have mentioned here the minimal requirements of faith in each of these six categories that Muslims believe in, as the Prophet, may Allah praise him, mentioned that these articles form the basis of Islamic belief and faith.
In subsequent lessons, we will explore the essential teachings by studying each of the Five Pillars of Islam and the Six Articles of Faith in detail.

COMMENTS

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About God,23,Acts of Worship,32,Africa,6,Ahmadiyyah,1,ALLAH,8,and the Quran,1,Angels,1,Approaching the Quran,4,Articles of Faith,11,Asia,21,Benefits of being a Muslim,2,Benefits to Science and Civilization,5,Benefits to Society,6,Bible,11,Bidah,1,Celebrations,1,Christian,12,Coping with Change,6,Dawah,3,Dietary Laws in Islam,3,Dua,1,Education,1,Eid,1,Europe,11,Evidence of Muhammad’s Prophethood,12,Explanation of Quran,6,Fasting,6,Fasting in Islam,1,Features of Islam,3,Finance in Islam,1,Fiqh,2,Five Pillars of Islam,15,Forgiveness for All Previous Sins,1,Future,2,Hadiths,68,Hajj,2,Health Care in Islam,5,Here After,10,Hindu,2,Hobby,1,How to Convert to Islam and Become a Muslim,6,Human Development,6,Interaction with non-Muslims,1,Islam,60,Islam Growth,1,Islamic Beliefs,26,Islamic Dress Code,1,Islamic Guidelines,2,Israel,4,Jerusalam,3,Jewish,6,Jinn,2,Judgment Day,6,Learn Islam Online,4,Life in Islam,49,Life Style,10,Logical Proofs,12,Marriage,4,Means to increasing faith,6,Medina,1,Men Converted to Islam,9,Merits of Islam,4,Middle East,10,Miracles,4,Mohammad,4,Morals and Practices,24,Mosques in Asia,7,Mosques in Europe,1,Mosques in Medina,3,Mosques in Saudi Arabia,4,Muhammad,1,Muhammad Biography,5,Muhammad Companions,10,Muhammad in the Bible and Other Scriptures,1,New Muslims,10,News,12,North America,9,Oceania,4,Oneness of GOD,7,Paradise,4,Peace,30,Popular Mosques in Afghanistan,1,Popular Mosques in Americas,1,Popular Mosques in Germany,1,Popular Mosques in India,7,Popular Mosques in Middle East,6,Popular Mosques in Pakistan,1,Popular Mosques in USA,1,Prayer,19,Prophet Abraham,2,Prophet Ayub,1,Prophet Jesus,6,Prophet Joseph,1,Prophet Lot,1,Prophet Moses,2,Prophet Muhammad,10,Prophet Noah,1,Prophets,16,Quran,23,Quran and Science,5,Ramadan,6,Repentance,1,Salah,11,Salvation from Hellfire,1,Scientists on Quran,1,Sects in Islam,6,Self Purification,2,Shia,1,Social interaction,21,Sodomy,1,South America,6,Spirits,3,Stories of New Muslim Converts,9,Stories of the Prophets,20,Sufism,1,Sunnah,2,Superpower,10,Taj Mahal,1,Tawheed,8,Technology,3,The Authenticity and Preservation of the Holy Quran,8,The Door to Eternal Paradise,2,The Existence of God,29,The Five Pillars of Islam and Other Acts of Worship,3,The Muslim Community,8,The Purpose of Life,7,The Scientific Miracles of the Holy Quran,13,The Scientific Miracles of the Prophet Muhammad Sayings,1,The Six Pillars of Faith and Other Islamic Beliefs,23,Thoughts,1,True Happiness and Inner Peace,9,Truth,10,Universe,7,Various Recommended Deeds,5,What is Islam,11,What Others Say about Islam,3,Women in Islam,1,World Today,6,Zakah,1,
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An Introduction to Pillars of Islam and Articles of Faith
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