Shahada, Salat, Zakaat, Sawm, Hajj The word “Islam” translates to “submission” or “surrender” to the Will of God. It derives from the word “salam”, which means peace. The Pillars of Islam are five basic acts, considered obligatory for all practicing Muslims. The Qur’an presents them as a framework for worship and a sign of commitment to the faith. Pillar 1: Shahada Shahada is essentially the initial declaration of one’s faith to Allah. To be considered a true Muslim, one must recite the words: “La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah,” meaning, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. Sincere recitation of this confession before two Muslims is the sole requirement for those who wish to become a practicing Muslim. As the first of five Pillars, the Shahada must be recited aloud with full understanding and sincerity at least once in every Muslim’s lifetime. This represents acceptance and submission not only to Allah and his prophet, but to the entirety of Islam. “Shahada” written in Arabic Pillar 2: Salat Salat is the Pillar of prayer. It reflects on self-purification and practicing one’s dedication to God.
Salat says that Muslims must pray five times per day: at dawn when they rise for the day, at oon, afternoon, evening, and before they sleep. It’s necessary for Muslims to face the Kaaba in Mecca when praying. They will ritually wash themselves before praying everyday, and make sure to pray on rug to avoid impure ground. The act of ritualistically washing oneself before praying signifies cleansing their body and soul from all sin, for the act of praying transfers them to a common ground where Allah is present. Much like the importance of Sundays to Christians, Fridays are considered a holy day in Islam.
However, it is unlike a day of rest or Sabbath in the way that Muslims devote Fridays to raying. This is the day most Muslims gather at a mosque to pray alongside one another. Pillar 3: Zakaat Zakaat is the act of charity. The Islamic religion believes that “In the eyes of God, all people are equal”. Because of this, Muslims donate anywhere from 2. 5-20% of their income to the less fortunate. ‘Income’ refers mainly to money, food, agriculture, and more. The less fortunate are not expected to give what they don’t have – donations are generally from the wealthier or ‘better off while the proceeds go to the poor.
Pillar 4: Sawm Sawm is the process of fasting for the month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar, Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and marital relations. However, Muslims are granted the privilege of eating and drinking before sunrise and after sunset each day. During Ramadan they are restricted from eating sugary foods or “sweets”. Those who are ill, pregnant, or otherwise unable to commit to Sawm are not expected to do so. When able, they will often fast in order to compensate for this.
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims will gather to celebrate the past month. This is called a Eid al-Fitr, or “sugar feast”, in which Muslims may indulge in sugary comfort foods once again. It is believed that through fasting, the human being comes to grip with his self, taming his physical appetites, subduing his greed and lust, and thus traveling a path which progressively elevates his consciousness. This consciousness and submission is in a cultivation of self-discipline and is ideal to improve society by improving the individual self.
Pillar 5: Hajj The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims. It must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims. The gathering uring Hajj is considered the largest annual gathering of people in the world. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God. The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham.
During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Ka’aba, runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and AI- Marwah, drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, spends a night in the plain of Muzdalifa, and performs symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at three pillars. The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.
Pilgrims can also go to Mecca to perform the rituals at other times of the year. This is sometimes called the “lesser pilgrimage”, or Umrah. However, even if they choose to perform the Umrah, they are still obligated to perform the Hajj at some ther point in their lifetime. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity Abraham’s Genealogy Abraham is considered to be the Common Father. It is said that when Abraham was ninety-nine, God presented himself to Abraham and offered a deal; a covenant. They sealed a covenant that essentially stated that Abraham would follow and carry out the will of God.
This consisted of the ideas that Abraham would become the ancestor many nations, and in turn, He would be Abraham’s God and the God of every descendant of Abraham thereafter. (Source 1. ) So, God presented Abraham with fertility. Abraham produced a son with their handmaiden Hagar. This son was Abraham’s first son, whom was then presented (by God) with the name Ishmael. Soon after, he had a second son with his wife Sarah. This child was named Isaac, also by the word of God. Ishmael went on to have twelve sons, known as the Twelve Sons of Ishmael, or the Twelve Arabian Tribes.
Isaac had two sons named Jacob and Esau. Jacob then had twelve sons, creating the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Ishmael & Isaac Shi’a and Sunni The Shi’a and Sunni are separate divisions of Islam. When Muhammad died in the early 7th century, he left both the religion of Islam and the community of about one hundred housand Muslims. This was the event that led to the divide; for the death of Muhammad was followed by the controversy of who should succeed the Prophet. The larger group of Muslims chose Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr was a close companion of the Prophet, although he was not related to him.
He was accepted by much of the community who saw the succession as being political rather than based on spiritual terms. This group has been given the name Sunni. However, another group believed that the Prophet’s son-in-law, Ali, should be Caliph. They believed that Muhammad the Prophet had appointed him as the interpreter of his legacy. These people are the Shi’a. Although different, it is important to understand that both divisions follow and wholeheartedly believe in Islam. Certain similarities support this: They both agree on the fundamentals of Islam (the Five Pillars, the Will of Allah).
They share the same Holy Book (The Qur’an). Sunni & Shia The Rise and spread of Islam Although the Islamic religion has existed for more than one thousand years, it’s golden age is found around the 7th to 15th centuries C. E. The Beginning The founder of Islam is believed to be a mortal man named Muhammad. Muhammad, sometimes Mohammed, is considered in Islam to be the greatest messenger and prophet sent by God to guide humanity to the right way (Quran 7:157). Muslims believe that Muhammad is the final prophet sent by God.
He is generally referred to as Prophet Muhammad or The Prophet; however, non-Muslims may refer to him as Muhammad (considered informal). Muhammad was born circa 570 CE into a respected Quraysh family of Mecca. He was taken in by his uncle, as his mother and father had died shortly after his birth. At the age of 40 in 610 CE, Muhammad is said to have received his first verbal revelation from an angel, Gabriel. Scared and concerned for his mental health, he ignored and even turned away from these visions. His wife eventually convinced him that he was a prophet of God.
Muhammad began to reveal the messages he was receiving to his tribe. These were gathered verse by verse and later would become the Qur’an. Muhammad began preaching Islam in Mecca. This created an uprising of sorts; Muhammad essentially began calling upon Meccans to abandon their Gods and give themselves to Allah, for Islam is a monotheistic religion while most Meccans had worshipped many. Muhammad and his followers were persecuted and soon left Mecca. As Muhammad began finding success in preaching Islam and more people converted, the religion grew larger and stronger.
Muhammad died in 632 CE, which led to the Shi’aSunni split. Extent of Islam in 632 CE >> Caliphs and Empires Following an ancient tribal custom, Muslims elected a new successor, called a “caliph”. There were four caliphs succeeding Muhammad: Abu-Bakr; Umar; Uthman; and Ali. These four caliphs began what was called the Caliphate. During the era of the Caliphate, Islam spread beyond the boundaries of the Arabian Peninsula. In this period, an Islamic state stretched from Tripoli in the west to Horosan in the east and the Caucasus in the north.
After Islam emerged from the Arabian Peninsula, it was adopted by various peoples and nations in Asia and Africa. During this period, the new Islamic states were to found their political and legal foundations. The caliphs continued to spread the moral teachings of the Qur’an over an ever-increasing territory. The First Caliph: Abu-Bakr Abu-Bakr, Muhammad’s close friend, took over as the active religious leader of Islam. In response to this, many tribes either left Islam, refused to pay their taxes, or began claiming they were prophets themselves.
Abu-Bakr retaliated by using force to reassert authority to reunify the peninsula. He sent an expedition from Medina toward Syria. As Arabia was pacified after the revolts, other expeditions were sent to Iraq, then a part of the Persian Empire, and to Syria. Shortly before Abu Bakr’s death in August 634, his army defeated a large Byzantine army in Palestine. In the short reign of Abu Bakr, the Islamic tate was not only preserved intact but was launched on the movement of expansion that produced the Arab and the Islamic empires.
The Second Caliph: Umar Umar was a close friend of both Muhammad and Abu-Bakr. After his conversion, he became a well-known leader of Islamic morality; he put his wealth, time and love into spreading Islam. In fact, Umar openly praised Abu-Bakr and encouraged others around him to accept him as Caliph. Following Abu Bakr’s death, Umar was elected as caliph. He was known for his efforts to establish justice and his complete devotion to the moral teachings of the Qur’an.