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The Five Pillars of Islam

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DEVOTIONAL PRACTICES The structure of Islâmic devotional practices rests upon the five pillars, namely : Declaration of faith. Prayer. Compulsory charity. Fasting. Pilgrimage. Declaration of faith: There is no object worthy of worship besides Allâh and Muhammad is the messenger of Allâh. COMMENTARY: By declaring the oneness of Allâh and the prophethood of His apostle Muhammad (SAW), we willingly recognize the sovereignity of Allâh and humbly submit and surrender to His law and directives as shown to us by His final prophet Muhammad (SAW). It further implies that the only Law Maker, Sovereign and absolute object of worship is Allâh and we obey the Prophet (SAW) with unquestioned obedience. His example and teachings are to be followed unconditionally. We offer absolute loyalty and allegiance to him. He is the model of perfection and only in following him could we obtain divine pleasure.

NOTE: The Prophet (SAW) did not only transmit the word of Allâh, but also gave the exposition of its meaning, i.e. the Prophet (SAW) was not given the freedom of explaining the word of Allâh based on his own understanding. The intent and interpretation of the Qur’ân was also from Him (Allâh). If the Prophet (SAW) was not authorized to determine its meaning and significance on his own accord, it would be preposterous to suggest that any person could arrogate to himself the right to interpret the Qur’ân according to his own thought and opinion. The Holy Prophet (SAW) stated: "The Israelites were divided into 72 groups and my followers will be split into 73 groups. All of them shall be in the fire of hell except one. The companions asked, "Which one will be saved?". He replied: "Those who are on my path and the path of my companions." The above prophecy has undoubtedly been fulfilled. Many splinter groups purporting to be Muslims have sprung up, however the majority of the Muslims subscribe to the ‘Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’at’, the people of the path of the Prophet and his companions.

PRAYER The Holy Qur’ân states: "Surely I am Allâh, there is no object of worship but I, serve Me and establish prayer for My remembrance." The primary object of prayer is the remembrance of Allâh. Prayer is prescribed 5 times daily, wherein a Muslim acknowledges the Greatness of Allâh, seeks His forgiveness and guidance. Prayer destroys evil tendencies and bad habits. The Holy Qur’ân states: "Verily prayer wards off indecencies and lewdness." Prayer purifies the heart and develops the mind It consists of three elements: Humility of heart. Recognition of the Majesty of the Almighty. Physical demonstration or reverence.

FASTING Fasting literally means abstention from food, drink and sexual relations from the break of dawn till sunset, during the month of Ramadhân - the ninth month of the Islâmic calendar. The Holy Qur’ân states: "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was for those before you, so that you may learn self - restraint." The primary objective of fasting is to subjugate the beastly tendencies/inclinations in man. The dictates of lust and passion are greatly subdued. It generates a spirit of sympathy and generosity for the poor and destitute. It is a prescription for self-control and will- power. It contributes to the preservation of health. A physician once said: "Take away food from a sick man’s stomach and you begin to starve not the sick man, but the disease."

ZAKÂT - COMPULSORY CHARITY The Holy Qur’ân states: "And establish Salât, and pay the Zakât (compulsory charity) and offer to Allâh a beautiful gift." Zakât (compulsory charity) is a charity enjoined by Allâh upon all those who can afford it. It purifies the wealth of the owner and cleanses him of greed and selfishness. It promotes the spirit of social responsibility on the part of the donor and a feeling of security and belonging on the part of the recipient. The Holy Qur’ân states: "Extract from their wealth charity, it would cleanse them and purify them...." The Holy Prophet (SAW) has stated: "The hand that gives is better than the hand that receives."

HAJJ - PILGRIMAGE The performance of pilgrimage is obligatory upon a Muslim at least once in a life time, if he is financially capable and physically fit. Pilgrimage is a journey undertaken to Makkah in the month of Zul-Hijja, the 12th month of the Islâmic calendar. It is a commemoration of the great sacrifice of Ibrahim (AS) and his triumph over infidelity. It is the largest annual convention of faith. It is the demonstration of the universality of Islâm. It is to confirm the commitment of the Muslim to Allâh. It is a reminder of the great assembly of the Day of Judgment. The Holy Qur’ân states: "Haj (ought to be performed) in the months well known. If any one undertakes to fulfill the obligation therein, let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Haj..."