Asalam alaikum waramatu lah wabarakatu..,

 

Knowledge

Islam urges people to read and learn on every occasion. The verses of
the Qur’an command, advise, warn, and encourage people to observe the
phenomena of nature, the succession of day and night, the movements of
stars, the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies. Muslims are urged to
look into everything in the universe, to travel, investigate, explore
and understand them, the better to appreciate and be thankful for all
the wonders and beauty of God’s creations. The first revelation to
Muhammad showed how much Islam cares about knowledge.

“Read, in the name of your Lord, Who created…” [96:1]

Learning is obligatory for both men and women. Moreover, education is
not restricted to religious issues; it includes all fields of
knowledge, including biology, physics, and technology. Scholars have
the highest status in Islam, second only to that accorded to prophets.

Main Pillars

Shahadah

The first pillar of Islam is that a Muslim believe and declare his
faith by saying the Shahadah (lit. ‘witness’), also known as the
Kalimah:

La ilaha ila Allah; Muhammadur-rasul Allah. ‘There is no god but
Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’

This declaration contains two parts. The first part refers to God
Almighty, the Creator of everything, the Lord of the Worlds; the
second part refers to the Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh) a prophet and a
human being, who received the revelation through the Archangel
Gabriel, and taught it to mankind.

Salat

Prayer (Salat), in the sense of worship, is the second pillar of
Islam. Prayer is obligatory and must be performed five times a day.
These five times are dawn (Fajr), immediately after noon (Dhuhr),
mid-afternoon (‘Asr), sunset (Maghrib), and early night (Isha’).
Ritual cleanliness and ablution are required before prayer, as are
clean clothes and location, and the removal of shoes. One may pray
individually or communally, at home, outside, virtually any clean
place, as well as in a mosque, though the latter is preferred. Special
is the Friday noon prayer, called Jum’ah. It, too, is obligatory and
is to be done in a mosque, in congregation. It is accompanied by a
sermon (Khutbah), and it replaces the normal Dhuhr prayer.

There is no hierarchical clerical authority in Islam, no priests or
ministers. Prayers are led by any learned person who knows the Qur’an
and is chosen by the congregation. He (or she, if the congregation is
all women) is called the imam. There is also no minimum number of
congregants required to hold communal prayers.  They are
said in Arabic, the language of the revelation, though personal
supplications (Du’ah) can be offered in one’s own language.
Worshippers face the Qiblah, the direction of the Ka’bah in the city
of Makkah.

Sawm (RAMADAN)

The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting. Allah prescribes daily fasting
for all able, adult Muslims during the whole of the month of Ramadan,
the ninth month of the lunar calendar, beginning with the sighting of
the new moon. Exempted from the fast are the very old and the insane.
On the physical side, fasting is from first light of dawn until
sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. On the
moral, behavioral side, one must abstain from lying, malicious gossip,
quarreling and trivial nonsense.

If physically unable to do so, they must feed a needy person for each day
missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayers) from
puberty, although many start earlier.

Although fasting is beneficial to the health, it is regarded
principally as a method of self-purification. By cutting oneself off
from worldly pleasures and comforts, even for a short time, the
fasting person gains true sympathy for those who go hungry regularly,
and achieves growth in his spiritual life, learning discipline,
self-restraint, patience and flexibility.

In addition to the fast proper, one is encouraged to read the entire
Qur’an. In addition, special prayers, called Tarawih, are held in the
mosque every night of the month, during which a whole section of the
Qur’an (Juz’) is recited, so that by the end of the month the entire
Qur’an has been completed.

During the last ten days – though the exact day is never known and may
not even be the same every year – occurs the Night of Power (Laylat
al-Qadr). To spend that night in worship is equivalent to a thousand
months of worship, i.e. Allah’s reward for it is very great.

While fasting per se is encouraged, constant fasting, as well as
monasticism, celibacy, and otherwise retreating from the real world,
are condemned in Islam. Fasting on the two festival days, ‘Id al-Fitr
and ‘Id al-Adha, the feast of the Hajj, is strictly forbidden.

Zakah

The third pillar of Islam is the alms-tax (Zakah). It is a tax on
wealth, payable on various categories of property, notably savings and
investments, produce, inventory of goods, salable crops and cattle,
and precious metals, and is to be used for the various categories of
distribution specified by Islamic law. It is also an act of
purification through sharing what one has with others.

“Of their wealth, take alms so you may purify and sanctify them.” [9:103]

For most purposes this involves the payment each year of 2.5% of one’s
capital, provided that this capital reaches a certain minimum amount
that which is not consumed by its owner. A generous person can pay
more than this amount, though it is treated and rewarded as voluntary
charity (Sadaqah). This amount of money is provided to bridge the gap
between the rich and the poor, and can be used in many useful projects
for the welfare of the community.

Hajj

The fifth pillar of Islam is to make a pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah, in
Saudi Arabia, at least once in one’s lifetime. This pillar is
obligatory for every Muslim, male or female, provided that he/she is
physically and financially able to do so. Prerequisites for performing
the Hajj are to be a Muslim, to be free, to be an adult or mature
enough, to be of sound mind, and to have the ability to afford the
journey and maintain one’s dependents back home for the duration. The
reward for the Hajj is nothing less than Paradise.

The Hajj is the ultimate form of worship, as it involves the spirit of
all the other rituals and demands of the believer great sacrifice. On
this unique occasion, nearly two million Muslims from all over the
globe meet one another in a given year. Regardless of the season,
pilgrims wear special clothes (Ihram) – two, very simple, unsewn white
garments – which strips away all distinctions of wealth, status, class
and culture; all stand together and equal before Allah (God).

MUHAMMAD

Mohammad (pbuh) was an illiterate but wise and well-respected man who
was born in Makkah in the year 570 C.E., at a time when Christianity
was not yet fully established in Europe. His first years were marked
by the deaths of his parents. Since his father died before his birth,
his uncle, Abu Talib, from the respected tribe of Quraysh, raised him.
As Mohammad (pbuh) grew up, he became known for his truthfulness,
generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability
to arbitrate in disputes. His reputation and personal qualities also
led to his marriage, at the age of twenty-five, to Khadijah, a widow
whom he had assisted in business. Thenceforth, he became an important
and trusted citizen of Makkah. Historians describe him as calm and
meditative.

Although Mohammad is deeply loved, revered and emulated by Muslims as
God’s final messenger, he is not an object of worship.

 

MASALAM…

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