Islam was introduced through Prophet Muhammad who was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 571 AD. He preached the basic belief, the oneness of God to the people of Mecca for ten years until he was forced to leave the city to settle in Medina where he passed the rest of his life. Within 13 years, Islam became the greatest power of Arabs. By 712 AD, the Islamic Caliphate included Arab, Syria, Egypt, Spain, and territories that extended from African Shores to Western India.
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Five Pillars of Islam
There are five Pillars of Islam.
Faith (Imaan or Shahada)
The basic tenet of Islam taught by Muhammad (PBUH) was the oneness of Allah and that Muhammad was His messenger. This is the first and foremost pillar of Islam. This is called Shahada, or “witness”. Every Muslim bears witness from their tongue and his heart that “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger”. Any person when say this from tongue and accepts this from the heart becomes a Muslim. The people of Mecca worshipped idols of stone and wood before Islam. Christianity believed in the trinity and all other religions had transformed the idea of oneness. Islam came to renew the idea of monotheism.
Any Muslim is obligated to say five prayers every day at fixed hours. The prayers were made obligatory during the Prophet Muhammad’s visit to heaven, the event of Maira’j. During his visit to meet Allah, Allah obligated his followers to say prayers every day. There are five prayers of Faj’r (said before dawn), Zuh’r (said at noon), A’sr (said afternoon), Maghrib (said after sunset), and Ish’a (said before midnight). Sala’t is defined as the purification of one’s soul and prevention from sins.
Second pillar of Islam is Zakat; or the alms to needy. Zakat in Islam is defined as the purification of one’s wealth. Every able Muslim has to pay Zakat on a fixed percentage (2.5%) of the wealth and property that has been kept for over a year. Quran defines the seven categories of those people who can be helped with Zakat.
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is obligatory for every able grown-up Muslim. There are 29 or 30 fasting days in the month of Ramadan (10th month of the Islamic calendar) deepening on the lunar appearance. Fasting is an act of abstaining from all worldly sins and eating, drinking, and intercourse from dawn to dusk. Fasting is also defined to purify the soul and make one patient and enduring in way of Allah.
Hajj is the pilgrimage to the House of God, Kaaba in Mecca. Every able Muslim who can afford to journey is obligated to pay this homage once in life. The Hajj is an event comprising of several activities. These include making rounds around Kaaba, walking between two hills of Safa’ and Marwa’, staying a night in Mina’(a place few kilometers away from Mecca), and finally stoning the devil. The Hajj is performed on the 10th of ZilHajj, the last month of the Islamic calendar.
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Apart from accepting the oneness of Allah and Muhammad’s status as a messenger of Allah that is central to Islamic belief, there are other beliefs as well; belief in books of Allah and Quran as His last book, His angels, all His prophets before Muhammad and the Day of Judgment. The Day of Judgment is when all souls will come alive and every human will be judged on his good or bad deeds.
Islam is currently the second-largest and fastest-growing religion in the world. It has been the greatest spiritual and political power for billions of Muslims for the last 1400 years. The pillars and tents are all vital to the basic coherence and purification of all Muslims. Prayers and Hajj bring the Muslims from all classes and statuses to equal terms without any discrimination; so will be the treatment on the Day of Judgment.