Checkpoint: The Five Pillars of Islam •What are the central beliefs of Islam, and how are they reflected in the “Five Pillars” (McInerney, 2003)? Which of the Five Pillars do you feel would be easiest to fulfill, and which would be the most challenging (McInerney, 2003)? A central belief of Islam is monotheism. This is a belief of only one God, Allah. The believer’s purpose is to serve Allah and live a moral life by following the Five Pillars. Muslims are obligated to follow these Five Pillars in the Qur’an, the holy book to all Muslims.
The Five Pillars are faith, prayer, Zakat, the fast, and hajj. All of these Pillars show devotion to Allah. The first of the pillar of Islam is faith or Shahadah. The believer must profess God is the only god and Muhammad is His messenger. Muhammad is not a god but a messenger of God for guidance. The Qur’an requires believers tell others of Islam in order for them to make an intelligent choice.
The second pillar is prayer. The believer recites a series of prayers and passages from the Qur’an while kneeling and bowing five times a day while facing Mecca.
When the prayers are recited by a congregation, all stands and bow shoulder to shoulder, without any class distinction. During the prayer, the kneeling and bowing shows submission to Allah. Repeating the prayers is believed to strengthen one’s belief in God’s existence and carry this belief deep into one’s heart and all aspect of external life.
Prayer is also used to purify ones heart, develop the mind and conscience, stop evil in a person, and awakening higher aspiration and morality (Fisher, 2005).
Zakat, spiritual tithing is the third pillar. At the end of the year the believer donates two and half percent of all their income to the less fortunate. This is done for purification and growth. The belief is to help decrease the inequalities in wealth and prevention of personal greed. Charity is a necessity for Muslims. The fourth pillar is fasting. Although frequent fast are recommended the only fast required is during Ramadan. This is to honor the first revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad.
The believer must abstain from sexual relations, drink, food, and smoking from dusk to dawn during the entire month of Ramadan. Muslim’s lunar calendar is 354 days so Ramadan moves through all seasons. Muslims believe fasting purges the body of impurities and provides clarity and a light body to move and act. It teaches one not to allow anything to enter the mind and heart to distract one away from God. Fasting help controls one body’s desire while mastering the lower emotions of jealousy and anger. The pilgrimage to Mecca, hajj, is the fifth pillar.
All Muslims who can financially afford this trip is expected make the trip at least once in their lifetime. The series of symbolic rituals are designed for the believer to experiences a closeness with God like never before. The males dress in special garments not sewn, all looking alike. No distinction is detected. Circling of Ka’ba seven times symbolizes the continual rotation around the One by the angels of all of creation, to the seventh heaven. The pilgrim’s heart should be filled with the remembrance of Allah.
The pilgrim visits the sacred field of Arafat. This site is believed to be where Adam and Eve were taught that humans were created exclusively for worshipping God (Fisher, 2005. ) Here prayer is from noon to sunset for the forgiveness of anything that has separated them from God. The central belief of Islam is, monotheism, prayer, tithing, charity, fasting, and visiting Mecca, echoed in the Five Pillars of Islam. Although I am not of the Islam faith, the easiest pillar to follow is Zakat. Charity and tithing is a part of my life.
I believe in it with all of my heart. It helps me to stay grounded, not put a high level of importance on materialistic objects, and level headed. I also believe God would approve. God does not want His children to be greedy. God want us to help others. I do believe in one God. However, I don’t believe Muhammad should have all the emphasis shown, a self proclaim messenger. I believe in only one God. Therefore I believe the first pillar would be the hardest. Fisher, M. P. (2005). Living Religions (6th ed. ). Pearson Education: Prentice Hall