The Meaning of Islam (2)



All praise is due to Allah, the Lord and the Cherisher of the Universe. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), his household, companions and the followers of the right guidance till the Day of Judgment.

Praise be to Allah Who has sent to His Servant (Muhammad) the Book (Qur'an) and has allowed therein no Crookedness: (He has made it) Straight (and Clear) in order that He may warn (the godless) of a terrible Punishment from Him and that He may give Glad Tidings to the Believers who work righteous deeds that they shall have a goodly Reward(Paradise). Wherein they shall remain forever: Further that He may warn those (also) who say "Allah has begotten a son". No knowledge have they of such a thing nor had their fathers. It is a grievous thing that issues from their mouths as a saying. What they say is nothing but falsehood". Q18:1-5.


The Second Pillar- The Five Obligatory Prayers (Salah or Salat)

This is the first act of worship that is made obligatory by Allah. Its obligation was revealed directly to the Prophet, during his ascension to heaven.

"Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose precincts We did Bless in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the one Who hears and sees (all things)". Q17:1.

Also Anas relates,

"The prayers were made obligatory on the Prophet, upon whom be peace, the night of his ascension to heaven. At first, they were fifty in number, but were reduced several times until they were five. Then it was proclaimed, 'O Muhammad, the order is not changed. These five are (equivalent) to the fifty." (Ahmad, an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmidhi)

This Salah translated as prayer is different from mere supplication (du'a) but it entails standing, reciting the Qur'an off hand, bowing, prostrating and sitting. It is obligatory on all matured Muslims, it is so important that it must be observed even during the war, sickness and travelling. It differentiates Muslims from non-Muslims and it is the first act of worship that will be examined on the Day of Judgment.

"Abdullah ibn Qart related that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said "The first act that the servant of Allah will be accountable for on the Day of Judgment will be prayer (Salah). If it is good, then the rest of his acts will be good. And if it is evil, then the rest of his acts will be evil". (At-Tabarani)

Allah, the Exalted, informs us of the importance of salah in the following verses:

"Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee and establish regular Prayer for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and the remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that you do." Q29:45

"Allah commanded Moses (PBUH): "Verily I am Allah: there is no god but I; so worship thou me (only) and establish regular prayer for My remembrance". Q20:14

The Bible describes the way Moses (PBUH) and the Prophets (PBUT) after him used to pray; the mode of worship is similar to the Salah that we Muslims perform. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of the people; (for he was above all the people) and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great GOD. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and the bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Nehemiah 8:5-6.

"Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers. And who (strictly) guard their prayers". Q23:1-9

"So woe to the worshippers. Who are neglectful (heedless) of their Prayers. Those who (want but) to be seen (of men). But refuse (to supply) (even) neighborly needs." Q107:4-7


Prerequisite for Prayer (Salah)

1. The time of Prayer must have begun.

"... Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed times." Q4:103.
2. The person should be free from major and minor impurities. Ablution must be performed before salah.

"O you who believe! When you prepare for prayer wash your faces and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity bathe your whole body.  But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from offices of nature or you have been in contact with women and you find no water then take for yourselves clean sand or earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allah does not wish to place you in a difficulty but to make you clean and to complete His favor to you that you may be grateful". Q5:6

3. Properly dressed. A man must cover at least from his navel to knees while a woman must cover her whole body except her face and hands.

"O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah loves not the wasters". Q7:31

4. Facing the Qiblah.

"To each is a goal to which Allah turns him; then strive together (as in a race) toward all that is good. Wheresoever you are Allah will bring you together. For Allah hath power over all things. From whencesoever thou stand forth (for prayer) turn thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque; that is indeed the truth from thy Lord. And Allah is not unmindful of what you do". Q2: 148-9.

There is also the call to prayer (Adhan) to remind Muslims when it is time for prayer. It is highly recommended that men should perform all salah in congregation in the mosque. Our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was reported to have said that Muslims should pray as they saw him prayed. And Allah, the Exalted, says:

"It is not fitting for a Believer man or woman when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Apostle to have any option about their decision: if anyone disobeys Allah and His Apostle he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path". Q33:36.

Those Muslims that say that they will only follow the Holy Qur'an and not the practices (Sunnah) of our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) should note that the number of rakas of each salah is not mention in the Qur'an but is found in the sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).

The salah stars with the raising up of the hands and praising Allah by saying Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest). Reading suratul Fatiha and other surah that is convenient, bowing down the head (ruku) and prostrating with the faces to the ground (sujjud). It ends by sitting down and saying "assalamu alaykum (peace be upon you).


The Third Pillar: Alms Giving (Zakat)

One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to Allah, and that wealth is held by human beings is a trust from Allah. The word zakat means both 'purification' and 'growth'. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth. Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually. For most purposes this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one's capital. Zakat is for rich people and it is paid to the Islamic government or the Islamic Organization to which one belongs. The Zakat is use to run the Islamic State and to take care of the poor.

Every Muslim is enjoined to give as much as he or she can afford in charity (sadaqa), and should do so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as voluntary charity it has a wider meaning. The Prophet (PBUH) said: Even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is a charity.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. He was asked What if a person has nothing? The Prophet (PBUH) replied: He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity. The Companions asked What if he is not able to work? The Prophet (PBUH) said: He should help poor and needy persons.  The Companions further asked What if he cannot do even that? The Prophet (PBUH) said He should urge others to do good. The Companions said What if he lacks that also? The Prophet (PBUH) said He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.


The Fourth Pillar - Fasting (Saum)

"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may (learn) self-restraint. (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill or on a journey the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more of his own free will it is better for him and it is better for you that you fast if you only knew. Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an as a guide to mankind also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).  So everyone of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting but if anyone is ill or on a journey the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later.  Allah intends every facility for you He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful". Q2:183-5

Allah's Apostle said, Allah said,

"All the deeds of Adam's sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it".

"Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, "I am fasting". (Al-Bukhari)


The Fifth Pillar: The Pilgrimage (Hajj)

The annual pilgrimage to Makkah, Hajj, is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. About two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. The annual Hajj is in the twelfth month of the Islamic year. Pilgrims wear special clothes- simple garments, which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God.

The rites of the Hajj, which are of Abrahamic origin include, putting on the Hiram at designated places, circling the Ka'ba seven times, and going seven times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of Arafah and join in prayers for God's forgiveness. The Muslims that do not perform Hajj observe Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities all over the world. This, and the Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are the two festivals of the muslims.

It is important to mention that fighting in the cause of Allah (Jihad), although it is not a pillar in Islam, is equally very important and every Muslim must be prepared to participate in Jihad when situation demands for it. This is what protects Islamic State and the dignity of Muslims. Allah, the Exalted says,

"O you who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Penalty? That you believe in Allah and His Apostle and that you strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah with your property and your persons: that will be best for you if you but knew! He will forgive you your sins and admit you to Gardens beneath which rivers flow and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity: that is indeed the supreme Achievement." Q61:10-12.

Abu Huraiah (RA) related,

"The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died the death of a hypocrite." (Muslim 4696)

There are three levels of Jihad:

(1) Jihad of the mind- to hate evil and oppression of people,
(2) Jihad of the tongue - to preach against evil and oppression, and
(3) Jihad in person - fighting with weapon against evil and oppression.

May Allah strengthen our faith in him and guide us to the right part.

REFERENCE: AS-SAYYID SABIQ, FIQH SUNNAH VOL 1-5;.(Translated by Muhammad Saeed Dabas and M. S. Kayani). American Trust Publications, USA.