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ISLAM BELIEFS AND PRACTICES – (PART 2)

ISLAM BELIEFS AND PRACTICES – (PART 2)

PILLARS OF ISLAM:

There are five pillars of Islam:

1. Shahada (Testify)
2. Salah (Prayer)
3. Seyam (Fasting)
4. Zakat (Charity)
5. Hajj (Pilgrimage)

SHAHADA (Creed):
The verbal commitment and pledge that there is no deity but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.

SALAH (Mandatory Worship [Prayer])
It is the duty of every Muslim, male and female, after reaching the age of puberty, to perform five Salats (Prayers) at specific times during the day and night. These five specific times are: – Dawn, Noon, Afternoon, Sunset, and Night. A ritual called Wudu (Cleaning several parts of the body with water) is a prerequisite to Salah.

One “rak’a”, i.e, one set of standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting. Each Salah consists of several Rak’a. Muslims are strongly encouraged to pray in the masjid, but if that is beyond their ability, they can pray anywhere that is clean.

SIYAM (Fasting):
Fasting during the month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the lunar calendar) is from sun up to sun down only and is an obligation on every adult healthy Muslim, male or female. Fasting is total abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, gum chewing, intimate relations, and taking anything into the body. If a person is ill and needs to take medication, she/he cannot fast. Fasting is also a time to discipline one’s self from bad behaviors, such as arguing and saying mean things. Those who are ill or unable to fast for health or reasons of age are exempt from fasting. However, they should feed the poor one meal for every day they miss of fasting. Women who are pregnant, menstruating, or nursing, or any who are traveling, are also exempt from fasting. However, when their situation changes, they make up the days of fasting or feed the poor one meal for each day of fasting they missed.

ZAKAH (Charity):
Zakat is an annual obligatory charity on every Muslim, male or female, who possesses over the last year money or property that exceeds their minimum needs. The requirement is 2.5% of one’s excess wealth.

HAJJ (Pilgrimage):
The performance of the pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia is required once in a lifetime of every Muslim, if financially able, as well as physically able. Hajj begins every year during the month of Dul Hijja; Dul Hijja is the 12th month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar year. The Hajj is a spiritual journey where a Muslim forgets all worldly things and devotes his\her attention and time to Allah alone.

PILLARS OF FAITH

In Islam, there are six pillars of faith: Belief in Allah, His angels, His books to mankind, His Prophets and Messengers, the Day of Judgment, and Destiny.

1. Belief in God (Allah):
Islam teaches that there is one Unique God (Allah) who should be worshipped and obeyed.

2. Belief in Mala-eka (Angels):
Muslims believe that Allah created unseen creatures such as Angels. Muslims believe in their existence, their names, their tasks, and descriptions as explained in the Quran and in the Sunnah (Teachings of the Prophet).

3. Belief in the Books of Allah:
Muslims believe that Allah from time to time revealed books to mankind through His Prophets. These books originated from the same divine source; they are all divine revelations. Muslims believe in the original text of these books when they were revealed. The five prominent divine books are: 1) Abraham’s Scrolls; 2) Zabur (Psalms) revealed to Prophet David; 3) Tawrah (Torah) revealed to Prophet Moses; 4) Injil (Gospel) revealed to Prophet Jesus; 5) Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

4. Belief in the Prophets of Allah:
Muslims believe that Allah sent Prophets to all mankind as messengers for their guidance. Muslims believe in their existence, their names, and their messages, as Allah and His Prophet informed about them. Prophets are void of divinity because divinity is exclusive only to Allah (God) the Almighty. They are all righteous, truthful, and pious men chosen by Allah to be models to all mankind, both their words and deeds being in accordance with the divine commandments.

5. Belief in Yawm al-Qiyama (Day of Judgement):
Muslims believe that the life of this world and all that is in it will come to an end on one appointed day, when everything will be annihilated. This day will resurrect all the dead; Allah will judge with perfect justice each person individually according to his good or bad actions that he did during his life, and every victim will have his/her rights. Allah will reward those who lead a righteous life and did good deeds by sending them to Paradise (Jannah). Allah forgives whom He pleases of those who disobeyed His Command, or punish them in the Hellfire (Jahannam).

6. Qada wal-Qada (Destiny, Divine Decree):
Muslims believe that since the whole universe is entirely under the direction and control of Allah, then everything that is or that happens in this universe, from the smallest to the greatest event is governed by Allah. Muslims put their trust in Allah only. They are required, however, to make a sincere effort to strive and do their best, and not simply sit back and let things take their course in blind resignation. Such belief gives a person a tremendous degree of inner certainty, confidence and peace of heart, especially in the face of afflictions. Moreover, he lives with the assurance that whatever is to come to any individual, including death, cannot fail to come at its appointed time.