to the Articles and Pillars of Islam
The Meaning of Islam
"ISLAM" is derived from the Arabic root
salaama peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the
religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and
obedience to His law.
Everything and every phenomenon in the world, other than man
and jinn is administered totally by God-made
laws,they are obedient to God and submissive to His laws, i.e.
they are in the state of Islam. Man possesses
the quality of intelligence and choice, thus he is invited to
submit to the good will of God and obey His law, i.e. become a
Muslim. Submission to the good will of God,
together with obedience to His beneficial law, i.e. becoming a
Muslim, is the best safeguard for man's peace and harmony.
Islam dates back to the age of Adam and its message has been
conveyed to man by God's Prophets and Messengers including
Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Islam's message has been
restored and enforced in the last stage of the religious
evolution by God's last Prophet and Messenger Muhammad.
The word ALLAH in the Arabic language means
God, or more accurately The One and Only Eternal God, Creator of
the Universe, Lord of all lords, King of all kings, Most
Compassionate, Most Merciful. The word Allah to mean God is also
used by Arabic speaking Jews and Christians.
Articles of Faith
1. Allah, the One and Only God
A Muslim believes in ONE GOD, Supreme and
Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate,
Creator and Provider. God has neither father nor mother, neither
sons nor was He fathered. None equal to Him. He is God of all
mankind, not of a special tribe or race.
God is High and Supreme but He is very near to the pious
thoughtful believers; He answers their prayers and helps them.
He loves the people who love Him and forgives their sins. He
gives them peace, happiness, knowledge and success. God is the
Loving and the Provider, the Generous, and the Benevolent, the
Rich and the Independent, the Forgiving and the Clement, the
Patient and the Appreciative, the Unique and the Protector, the
Judge and the Peace. God's
attributes are mentioned in the Quran.
God creates in man the mind to understand, the soul and
conscience to be good and righteous, the feelings and sentiments
to be kind and humane. If we try to count His favours upon us,
we cannot, because they are countless. In return for all the
great favours and mercy, God does not need anything from us,
because He is Needless and Independent. God asks us to know Him,
to love Him and to enforce His law for our benefit and our own
2. Messengers and Prophets of God
A Muslim believes in all the Messengers and Prophets of God
without any discrimination. All messengers were mortals, human
beings, endowed with Divine revelations and appointed by God to
teach mankind. The Holy Quran mentions the names of 25
messengers and prophets and states that there are others. These
include Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and
Muhammad. Their message is the same and it is Islam and it came
from One and the Same Source; God, and it is to submit to His
will and to obey His law; i.e., to become a Muslim.
3. Revelations and the Quran
A Muslim believes in all scriptures and revelations of God,
as they were complete and in their original versions. Allah, the
Creator, has not left man without guidance for the conduct of
his life. Revelations were given to guide the people to the
right path of Allah and sent down to selected people, the
prophets and messengers, to convey it to their fellow men.
The message of all the prophet and messengers is the same.
They all asked the people of their time to obey and worship
Allah and none other. Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad
who were revealed their own book of Allah, were sent at
different times to bring back straying human beings from
deviation to the right course.
The Quran is the sacred book of the Muslims. It is the last
book of guidance from Allah, sent down to Muhammad, peace be
upon him, through the angel Jibraeel (Gabriel).
Every word of it is the word of Allah. It was
revealed over a period of 23 years in the Arabic language. It
contains 114 Surahs (chapters) and over 6000 verses.
The Quran deals with man and his ultimate goal in life. Its
teachings cover all areas of this life and the life after death.
It contains principles, doctrines and directions for every
sphere of human life. The theme of the Quran broadly consists of
three fundamental ideas: Oneness of Allah, Prophethood and life
after death. The success of human beings on this earth and in
the life hereafter depends on obedience to the Quranic teaching.
The Quran is unrivalled in its recording and preservation.
The astonishing fact about this book of Allah is that it has
remained unchanged even to a dot over the past fourteen
hundred years. No scholar has questioned the fact that the Quran
today is the same as it was revealed. Muslims till today
memorize the Quran word by word as a whole or in part. Today,
the Quran is the only authentic and complete book of Allah.
Allah is protecting it from being lost, corrupted or concealed.
4. The Angels
There are purely spiritual and splendid beings created by
Allah. They require no food or drink or sleep. They have no
physical desires nor material needs. Angels spend their time in
the service of Allah. Each is charged with a certain duty.
Angels cannot be seen by the naked eyes. Knowledge and the truth
are not entirely confined to sensory knowledge or sensory
5. The Day of Judgement
A Muslim believes in the Day of the Judgement. This world as
we know it will come to an end, and the dead will rise to stand
for their final and fair trial. On that day, all men and women
from Adam to the last person will be resurrected from the state
of death for judgement. Everything we do, say, make, intend and
think are accounted for and kept in accurate records. They are
brought up on the Day of Judgement.
One who believes in life after death is not expected to
behave against the Will of Allah. He will always bear in mind
that Allah is watching all his actions and the angels are
People with good records will be generously rewarded and
warmly welcomed to Allah's Heaven. People with bad records will
be fairly punished and cast into Hell. The real nature of Heaven
and Hell are known to Allah only, but they are described by
Allah in man's familiar terms in the Quran.
If some good deeds are seen not to get full appreciation and
credit in this life, they will receive full compensation and be
widely acknowledged on the Day of Judgement. If some people who
commit sins, neglect Allah and indulge in immoral activities,
seem superficially successful and prosperous in this life,
absolute justice will be done to them on the Day of Judgement.
time of the Day of Judgement is only known to Allah and
6. Qadaa and Qadar
A Muslim believes in Qadaa and Qadar which relate to the
ultimate power of Allah. Qadaa and Qadar means the Timeless
Knowledge of Allah and His power to plan and execute His plans.
Allah is not indifferent to this world nor is He neutral to it.
It implies that everything on this earth originates from the one
and only Creator who is also the Sustainer and the Sole Source
Allah is Wise, Just, and Loving, and whatever He does must
have a good motive, although we may fail sometimes to understand
it fully. We should have strong faith in Allah and accept
whatever He does because our knowledge is limited and our
thinking is based on individual consideration, whereas His
knowledge is limitless and He plans on a universal basis. Man
should think, plan and make sound choices, but if things do not
happen the way he wants, he should not lose faith and surrender
himself to mental strains or shattering worries.
The purpose of life
A Muslim believes that the purpose of life is to worship
Allah. Worshipping Allah does not mean we spend our entire lives
in constant seclusion and absolute meditation. To worship Allah
is to live life according to His commands, not to run away from
it. To worship Allah is to know Him, to love Him, to obey His
commands, to enforce His laws in every aspect of life, to serve
His cause by doing right and shunning evil and to be just to
Him, to ourselves and to our fellow human beings.
Status of Human Beings
A Muslim believes that human beings enjoy an especially high
ranking status in the hierarchy of all known creatures. Man and
woman occupy this distinguished position because they alone are
gifted with rational faculties and spiritual aspirations as well
as powers of action. Man and woman are not a condemned race from
birth to death, but dignified beings potentially capable of good
and noble achievements.
A Muslim also believes that every person is born
Muslim. Every person is endowed by Allah with the spiritual
potential and intellectual inclination that can make him a good
Muslim. Every person's birth takes place according to the will
of Allah in realization of His plans and in submission to His
commands. Every person is born FREE FROM SIN.
When the person reaches the age of maturity and if he is sane,
he becomes accountable for all his deeds and intentions. Man is
free from sin until he commits sin. There is no
inherited sin, and no original sin. Adam committed the first
sin, but he prayed to Allah for pardon and Allah granted Adam
A Muslim believes that man must work out his salvation
through the guidance of Allah. No one can act on behalf of
another or intercede between him and Allah. In order to obtain
salvation, a person must combine faith and action, belief and
practice. Faith without doing good deeds is as insufficient as
doing good deeds without faith.
Also, a Muslim believes that Allah does not hold any person
responsible until he has shown him the Right Way. If people do
not know and have no way of knowing about Islam, they will not
be responsible for failing to be Muslim. Every Muslim must
preach Islam in words and action.
Acceptance of Faith
A Muslim believes that faith is not complete when it is
followed blindly or accepted unquestioningly. Man must build his
faith on well-grounded convictions beyond any reasonable doubt
and above uncertainty. Islam ensures freedom to believe and
forbids compulsion in religion (one of the oldest synagogues and
one of the oldest churches in the world are in Muslim
A Muslim believes that the Quran is the word of Allah
revealed to prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. The
Quran was revealed from Allah on various occasions to answer
questions, solve problems, settle disputes and to be man's best
guide to the truth. The Quran was revealed in Arabic and it is
still in its original and complete Arabic version
today. It is memorized by millions.
A Muslim also believes in a clear distinction between the
Quran and the Traditions (called Hadiths) of the Prophet
Muhammad. Whereas, the Quran is the word of Allah, the
Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (hadiths - i.e. his teachings,
sayings, and actions) are the practical interpretations of the
Quran. Both the
Quran and the
Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad are the primary sources of
knowledge in Islam.
Pillars of Islam and
Application of Faith
Islam is built on five pillars (Hadith
Sahih Bukhari Vol 1, Book 2, No 7 ), the first of which is a
state of faith, the other four are major exercises of faith of
which some are daily, some weekly, some monthly, some annually
and some are required as a minimum once in a lifetime. These
exercises of faith are to serve man's spiritual purposes,
satisfy his human needs and to mark his whole life with a Divine
touch. The five pillars of Islam are:
- WITNESSING (SHAHADA) THAT ALLAH IS ONE AND
MUHAMMAD IS HIS MESSENGER
- This statement of faith must be declared publicly. It
should be a genuine belief which includes all the above
articles of faith. The witnessing of the Oneness of Allah is
the rejection of any form of deity other than Allah, and the
witnessing that Muhammad is His Messenger is the acceptance of
him being chosen by Allah to convey His message of Islam to
all humanity and to deliver it from the darkness of ignorance
into the light of belief in, and knowledge of, the Creator.
The statement of Shahada in arabic is:
Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna
Muhammad Rasulu Allah
An English translation would be:
I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I
bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger
- PRAYER (SALAH)
- Praying to the Creator on a daily basis is the best way to
cultivate in a man a sound personality and to actualize his
aspiration. Allah does not need man's prayer because He is
free of all needs. Prayer is for our immeasurable benefit, and
the blessings are beyond imagination.
In prayer, every muscle of the body joins the soul and the
mind in the worship and glory of Allah. Prayer is an act of
worship. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of
intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral
elevation and physical exercise, all combined.
Offering of prayers is obligatory upon every Muslim male
and female who is sane, mature and in the case of women free
from menstruation and confinement due to child birth.
Requirements of prayer: performing of ablution (Wudu), purity
of the whole body, clothes and ground used for prayer,
dressing properly and having the intention and facing the
Qiblah (the direction of the Ka'bah at Mecca).
Obligatory prayers: Five daily prayers,
the Friday's noon congregation prayer and the funeral prayer.
Times of obligatory prayers:
- Early morning: After dawn and before
- Noon: After the sun begins to decline
from its zenith until it is about midway on its course to
- Mid-afternoon: After the expiration of
the noon prayer time until sunset.
- Sunset: Immediately after sunset until
the red glow in the western horizon disappears.
- Evening: After the expiration of the
sunset prayer until dawn.
Highly recommended prayer:Those
accompanying the obligatory prayer and the two great festival
Optional prayer:Voluntary prayer during
the day and night.
Prayer should be offered in its due time, unless there is a
reasonable excuse. Delayed obligatory prayers must be made up.
In addition to the prescribed prayer, a Muslim expresses
gratitude to God and appreciation of His favours and asks for
His mercy all the time. Especially at times of, for example,
childbirth, marriage, going to or rising from bed, leaving and
returning to his home, starting a journey or entering a city,
riding or driving, before or after eating or drinking,
harvesting, visiting graveyards and at time of distress and
- OBLIGATORY CHARITY (ZAKAH)
- Obligatory charity giving is an act of worship and
spiritual investment. The literal meaning of Zakah is
purity and it refers to the annual amount in kind or coin
which a Muslim with means must distribute among the rightful
beneficiaries. Zakah does not only purifies the property of
the contributor but also purifies his heart from selfishness
and greed. It also purifies the heart of the recipient from
envy and jealousy, from hatred and uneasiness and it fosters
instead good-will and warm wishes for the contributors.
Zakah has a deep humanitarian and social-political value;
for example, it frees society from class welfare, from ill
feelings and distrust and from corruption. Although Islam does
not hinder private enterprise or condemn private possession,
it does not tolerate selfish and greedy capitalism. Islam
adopts a moderate but positive and effective course between
individual and society, between the citizen and the state,
between capitalism and socialism, between materialism and
Zakah is paid on the net balance after paying personal
expenses, family expenses, due credits, taxes, etc. Every
Muslim male or female who at the end of the year is in
possession of the equivalent of 85 grams of gold (approx.
$1400 in 1990) or more in cash or articles of trade, must give
Zakah at the minimum rate of 2.5%. Taxes paid to government do
not substitute for this religious duty. The contributor should
not seek pride or fame but if disclosing his name and his
contribution is likely to encourage others, it is acceptable
to do so.
The recipients of Zakah are: the poor, the needy, the new
Muslim converts, the Muslim prisoners of war (to liberate
them), Muslims in debt, employees appointed to collect Zakah,
Muslims in service of research or study or propagation of
Islam, and wayfarers who are foreigners in need of help.
Note the obligatory nature of Zakah; it is required.
Muslims can also go above and beyond what they pay as Zakah,
in which case the offering is a strictly voluntary charity (sadaqa).
- FASTING (SAWM)
- Fasting is abstaining completely from eating, drinking,
intimate sexual contacts and smoking from the break of dawn
till sunset. It is a matchless Islamic institution which
teaches man the principle of sincere love to God. Fasting
teaches man a creative sense of hope, devotion, patience,
unselfishness, moderation, willpower, wise saving, sound
budgeting, mature adaptability, healthy survival, discipline,
spirit of social belonging, unity and brotherhood.
Obligatory fasting is done once a year for the period of
the month of Ramadan; the ninth month of the Islamic year.
Recommended fasting includes every Monday and Thursday of
every week, three days in the middle of each Islamic month,
six days after Ramadan following the Feast Day and a few days
of the two months before Ramadan. Fasting of Ramadan is a
worship act which is obligatory on every adult Muslim, male or
female if he/she is mentally and physically fit and not on a
journey. Exceptions: women during their period of menstruation
and while nursing their child, and also in case of travel and
sickness for both men and women.
- THE PILGRIMAGE (HAJJ)
- It is a pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in a lifetime
and it is obligatory upon every Muslim male and female who is
mentally, physically and financially fit. It is the largest
annual convention of faith on earth (in 1989: 2.5 million).
Peace is the dominant theme. Peace with Allah, with one's
soul, with one another, with all living creatures. To disturb
the peace of anyone or any creature in any shape or form is
Muslims from all walks of life, from every corner of the
globe assemble in Mecca in response to the call of Allah.
There is no royalty, but there is loyalty of all to Allah, the
Creator. It is to commemorate the Divine rituals observed by
the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael, who were the first
pilgrims to the house of Allah on earth: the Ka'bah. It is
also to remember the great assembly of the Day of Judgement
when people will stand equal before Allah.
Muslims go to Mecca to glorify Allah, not to worship a man.
The visit to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad at Madena is highly
recommended but not essential in making the Hajj
valid and complete.