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Five Fundamental Pillars Of Islam

The five fundamental acts of worship in Islam are:

1. Declaration of Faith
2. Prayer
3. Fasting
4. Pilgrimage
5. Zakat

Now, one by one, we will study these various acts of worship.

1. DECLARATION OF FAITH

The first step towards the implementation of faith in Islam is to declare it. The declaration of faith or Kalima carries in its two short sentences the essence of Islam:

"There is none worthy of worship except God Muhammad is the Messenger of God"

In the early days of Islam, the reciting of this Kalima marked the act of conversion to the new faith.


2. PRAYER:

There are two kinds of prayers in Islam: Du'a or the Silent Prayer, invoking God's help, and Salat or the ritualistic Prayer. In this section we will deal mainly with the Salat. The performing of the Salat was the rust duty enjoined upon the Holy Prophet and the keeping up of Prayer is the most frequently repeated injunction in the Holy Quran.

In Islam, no one day is set aside exclusively for Prayer such as the Sabbath (Saturday) for the Jews and Sunday for the Christians. For Muslims, Prayer is made part of everyday life. There is a Prayer in the morning before sunrise; another just after midday; a third in the afternoon; a fourth at sunset; and a fifth later in the evening


3. FASTING:


The third act of worship in Islam is the fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadhan by all able, adult Muslims. The fasting begins before daybreak and continues till sunset. During this period a Muslim does not eat or drink anything and abstains from any vulgar speech or act. Fasting in some form or another has been practiced by almost all religions. 


4. PILGRIMAGE:

The fourth act of Islamic worship is the performing of the Hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca. A Muslim must perform this pilgrimage at least once in his lifetime if economic and political conditions are favourable. The focal point of this pilgrimage is the Ka'ba, which was rebuilt by Prophet Abraham some 4,000 years ago. Today, the Ka'ba stands in the middle of a large courtyard of Masjid al Haram or the Sacred Mosque. The courtyard of Masjid al Haram contains, besides Ka'ba, the Maqam a Ibrahim and the fountain of Zamzam.

The Hajj is performed during the Muslim month of Dhul Hijjah which comes two months after the festival of Eid al Fitr


5. ZAKAT (OBLIGATORY ALMS WITH PRESCRIBED RATE)

Charity towards man, in the widest sense of the word, is the cornerstone of the Islamic society and a constant theme in the Quranic teachings. There are two kinds of charities in Islam: the obligatory and the voluntary. The obligatory charity is called Zakat while the voluntary charity is called Sadaqah.

The concept of Zakat was not totally new to Islam; similar alms giving had been enjoined upon the Israelites and the Christians as well. In Islam, the Zakat takes the form of a prescribed contribution based on a person's wealth and income. The rate of contribution varies with the kind of property owned but, on an average, works out to two and one half percent of the total value. The proceeds of Zakat are supposed to be devoted towards:

o Relieving poverty and distress
o Helping those in debt
o Providing comfort and convenience for travelers
o Providing stipends for scholarships
o Providing ransom for prisoners of war
o Propagation of Islam
o Meeting the expenses for the collection of Zakat
o Other things beneficial for the society

Zakat, therefore, is a duty enjoined by God in the interest of the society as a whole. While on one hand these charitable contributions provide for the needs of the society, on the other hand the act of giving in the name of God purifies the heart of the contributor from selfishness and greed


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