What is Islam?
“تبسمك في وجه أخيك صدقة، وأمرك بالمعروف صدقة ونهيك عن المنكر صدقة، وإرشادك الرجل في أرض الضلال لك صدقة، ونصرك الرجل الرديء البصر لك صدقة، وإماطتك الحجر والشوك العظم عن الطريق لك صدقة
Smiling in your brother’s face is an act of charity.
So is enjoining good and forbidding evil,
giving directions to the lost traveller,
aiding the blind and
removing obstacles from the path”.
Islam has five primary obligations, or pillars of faith, that each Muslim must fulfill in his or her lifetime
They are as follows:
- Shahadah: declaring there is no god except God, and Muhammad is God’s Messenger
- Salat: ritual prayer five times a day
- Zakat: giving 2.5% of one’s savings to the poor and needy
- Sawm: fasting an0d self-control during the holy month of Ramadan
- Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime if one is able.
Praying five times a day is considered the second most important of Islam’s five pillars, after professing that there is no god worthy of
worship but God and that the Prophet Mohammed is God’s messenger.
Salat, ritual Islamic prayer, prescribed five times daily:
- Fajr — the dawn prayer
- Dhuhr — the noon prayer
- Asr — the afternoon prayer
- Maghrib — the sunset prayer
- Isha’a — the night prayer
Besides the five daily prayers, other notable forms of salat include:
- Jumu’ah — weekly congregational prayer (replaces dhuhr on Fridays)
- Eid salah — performed during the two primary Islamic festivals, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha
- Tarawih — lengthy night-time prayers during Ramadan
A Muslim who has learned the requirements of his individual duties is responsible for disseminating the knowledge he has acquired to his family members first;
then to his friends, co-workers, neighbours, etc. Allah (Most Exalted is He) says:
“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones…”
(Qur’an, Al-Tahrim 66:6)
The only way to save one’s family members from Hell is to teach them the Islamic obligations and instruct them to observe them consistently.
The Messenger of Allah also emphasised this responsibility.
“Every one of you is a steward and is accountable for that which is committed to his charge.
The ruler is a steward and is accountable for his charge, a man is a steward and is accountable for his charge, a man is a steward in respect of his household,
a woman is a steward in respect of her husband’s house and his children. Thus, everyone of your is accountable for that which is committed to his charge.”
(Related by Bukhari and Muslim)
Muhammad, the final messenger sent by God, belonged to the Quraysh, the tribe that controlled the sacred sites of Mecca, including the Kaaba. At the time of Muhammad’s birth, ca. 570 C.E., the culture of the Arabian peninsula was generally animistic and polytheistic. Shrines with idols proliferated, especially in Mecca. The Kaaba was filled with idols that had been placed there by the different tribes and clans of Arabia. Allah, which means quite simply “the God,” was the highest god, but only one among many.
“Whatever you imagine in your Minds, Allah does not resemble it”.