What is Islam?
What is Islam?
There are around 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, making Islam the second largest religion after Christianity. Muslims believe in one God, called Allah, and follow the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. Islam is a religion of peace and justice, and Muslims are required to behave compassionately towards others and uphold the highest moral standards.
The basic tenets of Islam are simple: belief in God and His prophets, commitment to prayer and charity, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims are also expected to follow the guidance set out in the Quran, the holy book of Islam.
There are many misconceptions about Islam, but the fact is that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Muslims do not condone violence or terrorism in any form, and those who engage in such activities are not true followers of Islam.
The five pillars of Islam
The 5 pillars of Islam define the essential identity of Muslims, their faith, beliefs and practices and bind together a worldwide community of believers into a fellowship of shared values and concerns. The 5 pillars of Islam are considered the essential acts of worship that develop the Muslim character and strengthen Islam. It makes us surrender entirely to Allah’s will and become His faithful servants.
The 5 pillars of Islam remind Muslims of their life’s purpose and raised brotherhood, equality and humanity.
- Shahadah teaches us the purpose of life to worship Allah Almighty alone and to follow the path of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
- Salah enriched the soul by giving peace and acquiring spiritual awareness.
- Zakat teaches us to give what Allah Almighty has granted us. It reminds blessings of Allah and encourages being grateful to Allah Almighty.
- Sawm purifies the soul and helps to acquire obeying Allah Almighty by restraining desires and promoting steadfastness.
- Hajj is a Muslim’s cultural journey that emphasizes the Islamic characteristics of unity and equality among Muslims.
The first pillar of Islam among the 5 pillars of Islam is Shahadah which means that Muslims bear witness to the oneness of God by reciting the creed
شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ
“There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
The shahadah expresses a Muslim’s complete acceptance and total commitment to Islam. It distinguishes Muslims from those of other faiths.
Salah is the second pillar of Islam from the 5 pillars of Islam. It is performed five times a day by all Muslims.
It is the act of worship, like the remembrance of Allah Almighty, the recitation of the Quran, and standing humbly before Allah.
Almighty, bowing, prostration, and requesting to Allah and Takbeer (saying the words “Allah o Akbar”).
وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓا۟ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ حُنَفَآءَ وَيُقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَيُؤْتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ ٱلْقَيِّمَةِ
“And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and establishing prayer and giving Zakah. And that is the correct religion.” [Quran 98: 5]
The most important pillar of Islam among the 5 pillars after the Shahadah. One might wonder why Muslims have to perform salah five-time every day. The timing of these prayers is set throughout the day so that one is constantly reminded of Allah and given opportunities to seek His guidance and forgiveness. Muslims perform salaah at the following times.
Fajr Salah: The Muslims start their day with the remembrance of Allah. It is performed before sunrise.
Salah of Dhohar: After the day’s work has begun, one breaks shortly after noon to again remember Allah and seek His guidance.
Asar Salah: Muslims perform this salah in the late afternoon. Muslims start their evening activities with this salaat.
Maghrib Salah: Just after the sun goes down, Muslims remember Allah again as the day ends and night is approaching.
Salah of Isha: Before going to sleep, Muslims perform this salaat to acquire His guidance, mercy, and forgiveness.
Zakat is the third pillar from the 5 Pillars of Islam . It means to purify one’s possession of wealth by distributing a prescribed amount to the poor as a fundamental Ibaadat.
What does Quran say about Zakat?
Wherever salaat is mentioned, the order for Zakat is there almost every time. Zakat was made compulsory at Makkah at the same time as Salaat; the Surahs of the Qur’an can verify this information. Zakat is mentioned seventy times in the Quran.
وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ ۚ وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوا۟ لِأَنفُسِكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ تَجِدُوهُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ
And establish prayer and give zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed Allah, what you do, is See. (AL Quran 2:110)
Allah says in the Quran:
مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنۢبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِى كُلِّ سُنۢبُلَةٍ مِّا۟ئَةُ حَبَّةٍ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُضَٰعِفُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn. It grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. So Allah increases manifold to whom He pleases. (AlQuran 2:261).
The laws of Zakat are mentioned in the Quran. And The amount, distribution, and other details were defined at Madinah in the second year of Hijri. In the Quran, it is mentioned who is eligible for the Zakat.
إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَٰتُ لِلْفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلْمَسَٰكِينِ وَٱلْعَٰمِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَٱلْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلْغَٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakat] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or enslaved people] and for those in debt and the cause of Allah and the [stranded] traveller – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise. (Al Quran 9:60)
Sawm means fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, the fourth pillar of Islam among the 5 pillars of Islam. Fasting is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan.
The importance of Sawm is mentioned in the Quran,
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was prescribed for those before you that you may become righteous (AlQuran 2:183)
Fasting is also a practice of self-control whereby if someone is fasting with faith and for the sake of Allah Almighty, his sins will be forgiven.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said,
من صام رمضان إيمانًا واحتسابًا، غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه
“He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.”
Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah, is the fifth pillar and the last pillar from the 5 pillars of Islam is mandatory for all physically and financially stable Muslims. It is the most remarkable spiritual gathering of Muslims worldwide to the Holy city.
قَالَ سُئِلَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَىُّ الأَعْمَالِ أَفْضَلُ قَالَ ” إِيمَانٌ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ”. قِيلَ ثُمَّ مَاذَا قَالَ ” جِهَادٌ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ”. قِيلَ ثُمَّ مَاذَا قَالَ ” حَجٌّ مَبْرُورٌ ”.
The Prophet (ﷺ) was asked, “Which is the best deed?” He said, “To believe in Allah and His Apostle.” He was then asked, “Which is the next (in goodness)?” He said, “To participate in Jihad in Allah’s Cause.” He was then asked, “Which is the next?” He said, “To perform Hajj-Mabrur. “
In performing the Hajj, a pilgrim follows the order of ritual that the Prophet Muhammad performed during his last pilgrimage.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told about the importance of Hajj as it is narrated inthe Hadith,
“ مَنْ حَجَّ لِلَّهِ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ كَيَوْمِ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ.
“Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew.”
How Islam effect the world?
The spread of Islam had a profound impact on the world. It led to the formation of new countries and the rise of new empires. It also brought about a new way of life for many people .
Moreover, It not only changed the political landscape, but also had a significant impact on culture, art, and even architecture.
Muslims were able to establish their own culture and society in which they could live and prosper.
Some historians believe that the spread of Islam had a positive impact on the world. They argue that it created a sense of community and networking amongst different cultures. It also led to the rise of an educated middle class and increased trade and commerce.