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Published on February 28, 2006 By Dynosoar In Religion
Assignment Choice 1 Write a three-page essay (between 700 and 900 words) on the Five Pillars of Islam, describing them, analyzing them (that is, separating different elements and explaining each), and placing these Pillars in their historical and doctrinal context.
The first pillar of Islam is the profession of faith. Quite literally a Muslim must profess “There is no god but the God (Allah), and Mohammed is the messenger of God.” By stating this simple verse one becomes a Muslim, and the repetition affirms that faith. This affirmation is heard throughout the day as the call to prayer from the minaret’s, and is even emblazoned on the Saudi national flag.
This profession was one of the first practices taught by the prophet, it declared only one God, and authenticated the prophet’s role in Islam. The separation of God and the prophet reinforced the Koranic verse ( 4:48) which basically states that God has no co-equal, or partner, and that God does not tolerate, nor forgive the implication of association. Mohammed is “just” a messenger. This seems to be an adaptation of the Jewish Torah, and the 1st commandment, as well as a repudiation of Jesus as the son of God.
As I have surmised in previous post and essays, the prophet had to distinguish Islam from the other Abrahamic religions, this profession of faith separates the Muslims from Judaism and Christianity, while incorporating the majority of biblical text, albeit with an Arabic twist.
The second pillar of Islam is Prayer. The prophet’s sunnah establishes that prayer, or salat, be preformed five times daily. The times are; day break, noon, mid-day, sunset and evening. Prayer is preceded by ablutions, or the cleansing of the body, mind, and spirit, in order to prepare for divine worship. The prayer begins with the declaration “God is most great” and consists of bows, prostrations, and recitation of Koranic verse, all while facing in the direction of Mecca. The prayer is followed by the recitation of the peace greeting,” peace be upon all of you and the mercy and blessings of god”.
Friday is the holy day in Islam, and noon prayers should be practiced at the Mosque, where they are led by the imam, who also provides a sermon based on a Koranic verse. Only men are required to attend the congregational prayer, women may attend, but are segregated, on the grounds of modesty, to a side room, or the back of the mosque.
Prayer is another early facet in the method of worship devised by the Prophet. Again, in my opinion, to control the warring, nomadic Arab tribes of the 7th century, constant reminders of the faith had to be in place that also differentiated the religion from the other monotheistic choices.
The third pillar of Islam is the zakat, or almsgiving. This pillar compares to the tithing of Christianity and Judaism, yet it addresses directly the social responsibility of Muslims to provide for the care and wellbeing of the poor, widows, orphans, and debtors, as well as the spread of Islam. Islam considers the wealth one attains as a trust of God’s, and to be shared with all.
The zakat was surely instituted in Medina, and was separate from other taxes and tributes paid to the ummah. The communal aspects of Islam are one of the primary reasons for its longevity and appeal. The zakat finances schools, hospitals, and many other social services usually attributed to a political entity. It is also the zakat that has been used to fund terrorism, paying the families of suicide bombers, financing terror training camps, and infusing young Muslims with hatred in the madrasa’s.
The forth pillar is the fast of Ramadan. For the entire Islamic month of Ramadan, Muslims must fast during daylight. Exceptions are only for the sick, elderly and children, or soldiers in battle. This is a time for reflection, spiritual awakening, atonement for sins, and awareness of mankind’s dependence on God. In the evenings of Ramadan there are traditional late evening meals, special prayers and sermons at the mosque, and ending with a great “break fast” feast commemorating the Prophets first revelations.
This pillar compares with Christian Easter celebrations, or with the Jewish Hanukah observations. It surely was adopted by the Prophet to solidify Islamic practices and to reinforce the tenets of the Koran.
The fifth pillar of Islam is the Hajj. The hajj is required of all Muslims that are physically and financially capable at least once in their lifetime. It is the mandated pilgrimage to Mecca, and is preformed in the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijja. Rituals included in the Hajj are; circling the Ka’ba, (thought to be constructed by Abraham and Isma’il, and cleansed of tribal idols by the prophet upon his return to Mecca), Stoning of the devil at the pillars, and atonement for sins on the plain of Arafat (thought to be the site of the Prophets last sermon). The pilgrimage ends with the great feast, in commemoration of Abraham willingness to comply with God request of sacrificing Ishmael.
The Hajj is another mandate that both unifies Muslims, and differentiates Islam from the other “People of the book”; the practice had to initially be a concession to the Meccan merchants who feared losing the economic impact of the various pagan pilgrimages. It is by far the most visible reflection of the communal and “oneness” of the Muslim faith.

Comments
on Feb 28, 2006
Bump to the forums.
on Feb 28, 2006
Not to minimize or politicize your efforts....well written piece, but how about a list of the 5 PILLAGERS of Islam:

1. Arafat
2. bin-Laden
3. al-Sadr
4. R.Khomeni
5. Our own Louis Farrakan

on Mar 01, 2006
slam are the true "puppet masters" of the individuals you identified, namely various members of the House of Saud. There is ample evidence that these behind the scene manipulators are the true source of the misuse of Islam.
on Mar 05, 2006
My recent studies have led to research into the Nation of Islam, which in no way is a Muslim religion.


I tend to agree, as I had a co-worker who was a "Black Muslim". He was part of the NOI, and did follow SOME Muslim observances, but it was a VERY loose following.
I think they just claim Islam as a faith because having some spiritual connection gives them at least some foundation. Christianity would have worked just as well, if not for Jesus' instructions of universal love and not to be judgmental and intolerant. Islam is less tolerant.
From their perspective, Christianity is mainly a white man's faith, anyway; that is, the whites brought it to the blacks, and as racists, they wouldn't want to be part of that.
That would mean, for example, that Muhammad Ali's Conscientious Objector status was false, and that he was nothing more than a simple draft dodger. How surprising (yawn).
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