Monday, October 24, 2011

The Five Pillars of Islam

Pillar #1: Shahadah

·         What is the meaning of the declaration of faith? 

The declaration of faith means that the person giving it believes in one God (Allah) only and that Muhammad was his messenger. It shows that they are committing to being a Muslim.

  • Why do you think that this statement is a significant part of being a Muslim?

It establishes a Muslim’s beliefs which is a big part of who they are and how they live there lives.

Video –

Pillar #2: Salat

  • Describe the process that Muslims go through to prepare to pray.

They wash (wudu) to cleanse before they pray.

  • Describe the process of praying in Islam. How many times each day, and when, do Muslims pray?

Muslim prays five times a day: Dawn, sunrise, noon, mid-afternoon and at nightfall. They use a prayer rug so they are on cleaner ground.

  • What do the prayers sound like?  What do the movements look like? 

The prayers sound like singing. They hold their hands out and lie on the ground with their knees bent, hands forward and forehead touching the ground. They also fold their hands in front of them in reverence and stand still.

  • In which direction do Muslims pray? Why do they face this way?

They pray facing in the direction of Mekkah because it is where the holy shrine is.

  • What are some of the things Muslims say during prayer? 
They say “God is Greater”

  • Why do Muslims pray?

Muslims pray because they wish to acknowledge the power of the God they believe created everything. It also leaves them spiritually filled.

Video –

Pillar #3: Zakat

  • What is Zakaat?  What is emphasized in Zakaat?

Zakaat is obligatory to Muslims; it is a donation to those in need (2.5% of annual wealth). The concept that is emphasised in Zakaat is that God decides whether you are rich or poor, but it brings you closer to God if you let go of greed and wealth and help others. It is important to feed, clothe and support those who are poor because it makes you a better person, and helps you realise that you leave your possessions after this life and that they ultimately mean nothing to your spiritual well being. It is said that the more you give to others, the more God will give you.

  • Why do Muslims make donations?  How much money is a person expected to give to charitable causes? 

Muslims make donations to support the poor by feeding and clothing them and giving them shelter. They are expected to give 2.5% of their wealth.

  • What is the relationship between prayer and money?

All money belongs to God so they feel purified by giving out the money as they are distributing God’s wealth and they can feel better that they have touched someone’s life and helped them.

  • How is Zakaat different from ordinary charity that Muslims might give?

It is different because it is compulsory and they only give up two and a half percent of what they earn, and they can give as much as they want to other charities.

Video -

Pillar #4: Ramadan

·         As part of the Muslim religion, what does it mean to fast? 

In the Muslims religion, to fast means to fast from food, smoking, sex and other physical activity from sunset to sundown.

  • Why do Muslims fast? 

It is said that if you do not fast, you are not a complete Muslim. They believe it spiritually benefits you and helps to purify your soul.

  • What and when is Ramadan?   What is Eid al-Fitr? 

Ramadan is the time when Muslims observe strict fasting from sunrise to sunset and takes place during the ninth month of the Muslim calender. Eid al- Fitr is the ending of Ramadan where feasting and gift giving takes place.

Videos – Islam_vid_hajj (part 1 & 3)

Pillar #5: Hajj

·         How often must Muslims participate in Hajj? 

Muslims participate in Hajj once in their lifetime.

  • Where do Muslims go during Hajj?

They go to Mecca, Saudi Arabia in a pilgrimage. They surround the Kaaba. They then journey to the mountain where Muhammad is said to have preached his last sermon.

  • What and where is the Kaaba?  Describe this place. 

The Kaaba is in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a square box building, said in the Ku’ran to be made by God. All Muslims face in the direction of the Kaaba when they pray.

  • How many Muslims participate in Hajj?

Around 2 million each year.

  • What is the goal of Hajj? 

They Hajj’s purpose is to cleanse Muslims of their earthly attributes and bring them back to their true spiritual nature. The goal is the worship of God.

  • What does it mean to enter spiritual purity? What is the purpose of the special garments?

To enter spiritual purity means to enter consciousness or an intention to pray to God and focus your full concentration upon him. The purpose of special garments is to stop you from arguing to conversing with anyone else except God. It puts everyone on an equal basis because you are all wearing the same clothes; in the eyes of God everyone is equal.

  • How does Mubarak describe his experiences as a pilgrim?

He describes the column making him feel dwarfed, but that he is still focused even though he feels like an ant but he also feels enlightened when he reaches the Kaaba as he knows what he is praying to finally.

  • What is the significance of Abraham to pilgrims?

He made the first pilgrimage and led his people to freedom and is also credited with rasiging the foundations of the site where Muslims now pilgrimage to.

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