Pillars of Submission
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It was released gradually to Muhammad and the believers in order
to fix it in their memory (25:32). Muhammad is the last prophet
of God, but not the last messenger. The Holy Quran is the final
and complete message of God to mankind. No other scripture will
come. The Quran contains all we need for salvation. Previous scriptures
were suited for previous stages of human development. They have
now been tampered with and been filled with some idolatry, additions,
and subtractions to the original scriptures. The Quran confirms
the previous scriptures and supersedes them. (5:48).
Duties of Muslims (Submitters)
There are essentially five duties that Muslims are required to
observe to ascertain their faith in God. These are traditionally
known as the five Pillars of Islam:
1) Declaration of Faith
(Shahada) 2) Contact Prayers (Salat)
3) Obligatory Charity (Zakat)
4) Fasting (Seeyam)
5) Pilgrimage (Hajj)
Declaration of Faith (Shahada)
This is the most important article of faith for a Muslim. This
is to declare that there is only One All-Knowing, All-Powerful God:
God bears witness that there is no god except He
and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge. Truthfully
and equitably, He is the Absolute God;
there is no god but He,
the Almighty, Most Wise. (3:18)
The Shahada to declare is:
La elaha illa-Allah.
There is no god except God (Allah).
The majority of Muslims around the world add the name of the Prophet
Muhammad, or even the name of his son-in-law and cousin Ali, or
other names after this declaration. This is wrong as the Quran says:
When God alone is mentioned, the hearts of those
who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion. But when
others are mentioned beside Him, they become satisfied. (39:45)
It is interesting to note that the Shahada for the majority of
Muslims is “There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is His
Messenger”. The Prophet’s name directly follows God’s
name. As the above Quranic verse states, this is for those who do
not believe in the Hereafter.
Contact Prayers (Salat)
After one accepts the Shahada, one must learn and perform the contact
prayers. The Quran mentions Salat more than any other commandment.
A Muslim is required to pray 5 times a day and a congregational
prayer on Friday.
The Contact Prayers are food for the soul. The prayers are for
our own benefit, and not for God. God is in no need of our praise.
In addition, by performing the five daily prayers, it allows us
to be more conscious of God in our lives.
The required times for Contact prayers are:
Dawn: This is defined when the white
thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of
night (2:187) before sunrise. The dawn prayer is mentioned in the
Quran twice (11:114, 24:58). The Quran mentions the recitation of
the Holy Quran at dawn in 17:78. This prayer consists of two units.
Noon: This is defined as when the sun declines from its highest
point at noon as it moves towards sunset (17:78). This prayer consists
of four units.
Afternoon: This is in the middle of the afternoon, about 3-4 hours
after the noon prayer (2:238). This prayer consists of four units.
Sunset/Evening: This prayer is just after sunset (11:114). This
prayer consists of three units.
Night: This prayer should be performed about two hours after the
sunset prayer (11:114, 24:58). This prayer consists of four units.
There is also the Friday congregational prayer (Salat al-Jumu’ah)
(62:9). This prayer consists of two units and a two-part sermon.
This prayer is important. We should stop what we are doing and attend
the prayers. This is not a Sabbath day like the Christians or Jews
observe, for after the prayer, we can continue our work. This Friday
prayer replaces the regular noon prayer on that day.
Obligatory Charity (Zakat)
This is to be given anytime you earn income. This is to be calculated
from the net income you receive. For example, if your paycheck is
$1000, then $25 of it should be given to the following people in
the following order:
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