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Five Pillars of Islam, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1003

Essay

Islam is one of the major religions of the world. With over one billion followers, it is second only to Christianity in size. Similar to Christianity, it is a monotheistic religion with the same Abrahamic God as Christianity and Judaism. In fact, it recognizes the prophets from each of those religions although it feels that their holy books have been corrupted by later human beings. The most quoted prophet of Islam is Jesus, the divine basis of Christianity. His divinity is rejected by Islam, but his importance is not. To Islam, the Quran, the holy book dictated by the final prophet Muhammad, is the only completely pure version of God’s revelation. Muhammad was a sixth century merchant before a visit from the Archangel Gabriel set him on a life of God’s work in which he would found this religion. The religion spread through empires and immigration and now reaches all corners of the Earth.

The basic tenets of the Islam are referred to as the Five Doctrines of Islamic Faith. They are the core beliefs that Islam is built on. To satisfy these tenets, a Muslim must believe Allah is the one single God, that there are angels who serve to advance God’s mission, that there are prophets who God uses to communicate with humanity, that the Quran is the one completely true scripture of His revelation, and that all will be judged by God someday. These beliefs are ultimately reflected in the practices of Islam.

The Five Pillars of Islam are not a list of beliefs, but practices that are to be followed by Muslims. Of course, beliefs inform and influence practices so the Five Doctrines are well reflected in the Five Pillars. These pillars are statement of faith, prayer, concern for the disadvantaged, fasting during Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca, also known as the Hajj. Following these practices is of the utmost importance for a Muslim wishing to be judged favorable.

The connections between the pillars and doctrines of the religion are rather straightforward in some cases. The statement of faith, or Shahada, is where one must state their belief in one single God and that Muhammad is His prophet. There is obviously a connection between this practice and the beliefs in Allah as a monotheistic God and his use of prophets. Prayer is to be used as a means to communicate with God and have him guide them along a path that will lead to a favorable judgment, which connects it to the tenet of judgment.

In a way almost all of the tenets of Islam show the importance of the spiritual world over the material world. Most prominently a belief in God and angels is rooted primarily in the spiritual world. Also, judgment is not a part of the physical world in anyway. Some of the pillars of Islam are there to emphasize the importance of the spiritual world. Both fasting and concern for the poor ask Muslims to abstain from physical world goods which should help them realize the importance of the non physical world. Prayer is also important in this aspect, as it is how humans may communicate with a being that lives in the spiritual world.

Since each of the Five Pillars is believed to be sent from God through humans, practicing them shows belief in the prophets and the truth of revelation in the Quran. This is because these are the methods God is to have used to communicate his wish for these practices to be done. Another tenet that is shown in each Pillar would be the belief in final judgment. If humans are to be judged on their actions and the strength of their belief in God, then fulfilling five acts that are given to them from God is a way to help their chances for this final judgment. Prayer is especially important in this regard, since it is supposed to help God communicate with the follower about how he is to secure this favorable judgment.

The most challenging of the Five Pillars in my opinion would be the required fasting during the daylight hours of Ramadan. It is the one that requires the largest physical sacrifice and must be done annually, unlike the Hajj, which while a great undertaking especially for those who live in areas of the world outside of Saudi Arabia, is only required once in a lifetime for each Muslim. However, there is certainly a great challenge involved in having absolute belief in a being that cannot be directly seen. It would be quite natural to have doubts, but in Islam a believer must believe fully in Allah. The least challenging would depend on the context. In fact, each pillar presents some difficulty in it. Living in a Muslim society that adheres to a prayer schedule would make it easy for one to pray every day. In a society that does not follow the Islamic faith or even looks at it distrustfully, finding the time to pray and feeling the courage to do it amongst people who may view you negatively for it would be considerably more difficult. In this case I feel that concern for the disadvantaged, an almost universally accepted premise would be the easiest to adhere to. Although, it is certainly easier to feel this way for Muslims than it is for them to truly practice in a way that shows the depth of their concern for the less fortunate of the world.

In conclusion, each of the Five Pillars of Islam is connected in some ways to at least one of the Five Doctrines of the Islamic Faith. They may remind a Muslim of the importance of the spiritual world, which is in line with tents of Angels, God himself, and final judgment. Ultimately in some way they all show the importance of God’s prophets and the Quran as his revelation as well as helping to guide all followers of Islam towards a favorable judgment. There is some difficulty in fulfilling each pillar, but some are considerably more challenging than others.

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