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Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Five Pillars of Islam

Every action which is done with the awareness that it fulfils the will of Allah is considered an act of worship in Islam. Nevertheless, the specific acts of worship, termed the pillars of Islam, provide the framework of spiritual life.

They are the following:

1. The declaration of faith: 'I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger; the prophethood of Muhammad obliges the Muslims to follow his exemplary life in every way.

2. Prayers are prescribed five times a day as a duty towards Allah. They strengthen and enliven the belief in Allah and inspire man to a higher morality. They purify the heart and control the temptation towards wrong doing and evil. It should be stressed that while Allah does not need our prayers we cannot survive without His blessings and guidance. "0 you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for Allah is with those who patiently persevere." (Holy Qur'an 2:153)

Fasting is observed once each year during the month of Ramadaan. This means abstention from food, drink and intimate marital relationship from dawn to sunset. and also from evil intentions and desires. It teaches love, sincerity and devotion. It develops a sound social conscience, patience, unselfishness and willpower. When we fast by choice. Allah remembers our sacrifice.

Zakaat - payment annually of 2.5% of one's net savings as a purifying sum to be spent on the poor and needy. Zakaat implies that everything man possesses belongs to Allah and therefore anyone in need has a share in it.

5. Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah - once in a lifetime provided one has the means to do so. Hajj implies man's temporary suspension of all worldly activities and his realisation of himself as a naked soul in front of Allah alone.

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