A Study of Islam: Lesson 4 – The Five Pillars of Islam
Written by 9th Avenue Church of Christ on Apr 06, 2016 in
- No Comments
Muhammad’s “Trip” to Heaven
In a night of sleep at the Kabah, Muhammad claims that he was awakened by the angel Gabriel and transported to Jerusalem.
Muhammad was then told that Muslims should pray 50 prayers per day (which was reduced over and over until it was five per day).
The year after the death of his wife, Muhammad was told in a dream to marry the daughter of his best friend. The girl, A’ishah, was just six-years-old at the time, but the marriage was arranged in such a way that she did not even know she was married.
While the arrangements were being made, Muhammad also married a 30-year-old widow named Sawdah. This led to the allowance of polygamy, though it is limited to four wives (other than in Muhammad’s case).
The Flight to Medina
In 620, a small group of converts tried to convince Muhammad to come to Medina (then called Yathrib) to lead them. By 622, the group was about 75 members strong, and they were convinced the Muhammad was “the prophet.”
Due to persecution, Muhammad began telling followers to sell their property and move to Medina. He would soon follow. This event, the Hajira, serves as the start of the Muslim calendar.
The Five Pillars of Islam
There are five acts (or “rites”) that every Muslim must observe to be considered faithful. All other Islamic teachings rest on these five “pillars.”
Pillar #1: Ritual Prayers
Five times every day (between first light and sunrise, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening but before midnight), prayers must be said. The prayers must follow cleansing and the Muslim must face Mecca when praying.
Pillar #2: Fasting
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from food and drink from dawn until sunset. Also, sexual activity is forbidden for the entire month, so married Muslims spend more time in prayer and study.
Pillar #3: Pilgrimage
All Muslims (who have the financial means) are required to travel to the Kabah in Mecca at least once during their lifetime.
Also, at any time during the year, they may make a “Lesser Pilgrimage” to any of the holy places of Islam (Mecca, Medina, and/or Jerusalem).
Pillar #4: Alms/Religious Tax
For those wealthy enough to do so, a tithe (10%) is to be given to a common treasury to help the poor. To the Muslim, this gift is seen as a way to purify wealth in the eyes of Allah.
There are two views as to what the fifth pillar is, even among Muslim scholars.
Some suggest it is shahadas, which are statements of faith in Allah and Muhammad.
Others suggest it is jihad, which is a word meaning “exertion,” and stands for the entirety of the effort to both live the Islam life and also protect it from infidels.