Essay, 5 pages (1200 words)

Islam five pillars essay

Explain and analyse the significance of the Five Pillars of Islam on the individual and the community making reference to the principal beliefs where relevant.

Central to the Muslim belief is the importance of devotion and total submission to Allah. This is put into practice through the Five Pillars of Islam –the five obligatory duties that must be performed by all practising Muslims. These are the acts of faith, prayer, charity, fasting and pilgrimage. Carrying out these duties creates structure in a Muslim’s life, teaching them to devote their time to Allah and not get caught up in their own secular lives. The effect the Five Pillars of Islam has on not only the individual but the community as a whole is substantial. Constantly sacrificing time, money and pleasures the Five Pillars of Islam provides the individual with life long skills whilst bringing together the Muslim community in a way that no ordinary lifestyle could.

Submitting themselves both spiritually and physically.

Shahada is the first pillar of faith. For one to be accepted into the Muslim community they must first publicly declare their faith by speaking aloud the words of Kalima (Arabic for sentence). ‘ I testify that there is no god but The God. And I testify the Muhammad is the Messenger of God.’ Once said he or she has said this they will be accepted as a Muslim. The act of being accepted highlights the strong importance of community in the Muslim belief. Being brought together by the common belief that the only purpose in life is to serve and obey God, unifying the Muslim community. The principal beliefs of Tawhid and Rusaluhu are explored in the declaration of faith. Core to the Muslim religion is the belief in the existence and unity of God, that there is no God but Allah, no one else is worthy of worship. In fact worshiping or comparing other idols to Allah is an unforgivable sin referred to as Shirk. Rusuluhu, the belief in the prophets and messengers of God are central to the Muslim religion and are also explored in the first pillar of faith in the second sentence of the Kalima. Th declaration of Shahada is significant as it highlights the strong importance to a Muslim that the only purpose in life is to serve and obey God.

Obligatory to every Muslim is Salat the five daily prayers that must be performed by each capable Muslim. Prayers are performed at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night. These may be completed almost anywhere although a Mosque is preferable. By performing these prayers the individual is not only filled with inner peace and happiness with the pleasure that God satisfied with them but also they are taught to manage their time to satisfy the needs of God. This prevents one from getting caught up in their own materialistic lives but yet focusing on the belief that this life is a test and the choices they make in this life will be reviewed on the day of judgment -linking to the principal belief of al-Akhira. Although the prayers of Salat are based upon a personal connection between the person and Allah, these prayers often take place in a mosque led by an Imam along with many other practicing Muslim’s. The Pillar of Salat brings together the Muslim community as one, giving them the opportunity to turn their heart mind and soul to Allah. (refer to principal belief mala’ika)

It is believed by all Muslim’s that all things belong to God, what you have is on lend including your wealth. The Third Pillar is the requirement of almsgiving known as Zakat, this is the compulsory welfare contribution that the well-off Muslims must give a specified percentage of their wealth to the poorer. Doing so the individual feels a sense of gratification knowing that they have pleased Allah, proving their devotional duty of worship and obedience to their God. Actions like these are believed to be recorded by the individual’s guardian/recording angles. Which at death will produce each good and bad deed carried out in one’s life for Allah to decide on their afterlife -this is known as the Day of Judgment. The belief in angels is referred to as Mala’ika and is one of 6 principal belief’s of the Muslim belief. By carrying out the pillar of Zakat the community benefits as a whole. This way the wealth is spread so that the less fortunate families are able to celebrate at the end of fasting with everyone else.

The forth pillar of faith is referred to as Sawm. From sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan adult Muslim’s are expected to partake in fasting. This means they mustn’t eat, drink, smoke or have sexual intercourse within the hours of daylight. Instead one should take the time to prayer reflect or meditate. Participating in fasting Muslim’s learns the traits of self-control, sympathy and discipline. These are important qualities for all Muslims to have, as the principal belief of Al-Akhira is that we humans, despite God’s will, have the freedom of choice. This way Muslim’s are able to exercise this belief during fasting. Ramadan is the celebration of the first revelation of the Qur’an given directly through the prophet Muhammad, therefore it is a sacred time of special significance to all Muslim’s. Kutubu’llah is the name given to the principal belief in God’s revelation to humans in holy books. The breaking of the fast is a significant part of Sawm, it is the time after sunset when Muslims can enjoy their achievement in fasting. Gathering together among friends and family they may share and light meal and celebrate their self-control and strength throughout the day. This small act highlights the significant effect Sawm has on bringing together the Muslim community.

The final pillar of Islam is Hajj. This is the required pilgrimage to Ka’ba in Mecca, were up to 2 million Muslim’s across the globe will go to worship on Mount Arafat. A true practicing Muslim must undertake this journey once in a lifetime if they are physically or financially able to perform it. The effect this journey has on not only the individual but the community as a whole is truly significant; stripping down the barriers of race, language and culture each Muslim is bound by their faith, standing equal before their one God. Tawhid the principal belief of the existence and unity of God is strongly reflected in the pilgrimage, as this is the focus of their motivation and worship. The pilgrimage to Mecca gives the individual the opportunity to reflect on their life, where they may ask for forgiveness or guidance; forming an unbreakable bond with their faith.

In conclusion it is clear the significance the Five Pillars of Islam has on not only the individual but the community as a whole. Being the backbone to the entire Islamic religion the five pillars tie in almost every aspect of the faith, including the 6 principal beliefs –Tawhid, Mala’ika, Kutubu’llah, Rusuluhu, Al’akhira and Al-Qadr. Each and every Muslim is brought together to devote themselves to a life of worship and complete submission to Allah, were they have the opportunity to endure the knowledge of true devotion, generosity and obedience.

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