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Beliefs and Pillars of Islam

The Islam faith’s core stems from the belief that the prophet Muhammad received a revelation from God which states that there is no other god but Allah, and that he (Muhammad) is the messenger of God. The said message has been inscribed and preserved in the Qur’an. Islam, by itself, means a submission to God’s will, and Muslims are the ones who wholly submit to it (Voll, para. 1). The core faith is embodied and expounded on by the Five Central Beliefs; the basic doctrines which the Muslims live by in their day to day lives and activities.

The Five Central Beliefs are summarized as thus: 1) belief in the one true God (Allah), without equal and comparison, and the only one worthy of worship; 2) belief in the Angels; 3) belief in the scriptures, most especially the Qur’an; 4) belief in the prophets; and 5) belief in the Day of Judgment and accountability of one’s actions. The Muslims live out these beliefs through the Five Pillars which the Muslims dutifully follow to the best of their capabilities.

The Five Pillars are as follows: 1) Shahada (the declaration of faith to God and Muhammad); 2) Salat (prayer); 3) Zakat (charity to others); 4) Sawm (fasting); and 5) Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). It is through these acts that a Muslim professes witness to the central beliefs of his faith. Through the five pillars, Muslims are able to prove their total submission to God and their beliefs by way of the mentioned rituals. Strictly speaking, all five central beliefs are already reflected by the first pillar, since the first pillar is practically a declaration of one’s faith.

In a way, this also translates to the other things mentioned in the central beliefs (belief in angels, the scriptures, the prophets, and judgment day) since the beliefs are already woven amongst themselves. The remaining pillars are just a reinforcement of these beliefs; praying, fasting, and the pilgrimage reflects the Muslims belief of sacrifice and achieving nearness to God, in relation to the first belief and pillar, and giving or being charitable reflects the belief of being good to others in order to be rewarded on the day of Judgment.

The easiest pillar to fulfill would have to be the third pillar, charity to others. Since you’re only required to give a certain percentage based on your own income or wealth for one full lunar year. There is no set quota you have to strive to meet, since the contribution is purely dependent on your own financial standing, hence it should be easy to fulfill that certain task. It would just be like paying taxes, but on a more lenient and less stressing way. The most challenging pillar to fulfill would have to be Sawm, the fourth pillar, or fasting.

Fasting as a regular duty is already a hard task, but to fast for one month (during Ramadan) in addition to it considerably makes this pillar one for the really strong-willed. Bearing in mind the fact that fasting in this sense is not only limited to eating or drinking, but to other activities as well, Sawm must surely be a challenge to a non-practitioner of the custom.

References

Voll, J. (2008). Islam. CQPress In Context. Retrieved on January 9, 2008, from http://www. cqpress. com/context/articles/epr_islam. html

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