Learn the fundamentals of Islam

Islam is the name of the religion that Muslims follow. People who practice Islam are called Muslims. The literal and lexical meaning of Islam means submission. Islam comes from the root Arabic letters s-l-m which are the same root letters the word peace (salam) comes from. The term Islam itself does not mean peace, but it implies that one finds peace (salam) through submission (Islam). The term Arab is often used interchangeably with Muslim, but this is incorrect. Arab is a race while Islam is a religion. Not all Arabs are Muslim and most Muslims are actually not Arab. Arabs make up only about 13% of the Muslim population.


The Five Pillars of Islam

There are five pillars that are the main requirements of Islam.

1.Shahada The declaration of faith: To be Muslim one must believe and pronounce words which mean, 'I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah alone and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.'

2. Prayer The Performance of regular prayer five times a day.

3. Zakah (Obligatory annual charity). It acts as a purification of one's wealth.

4. Fasting the month of Ramadan

5. Hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah once in a lifetime.

The Six Pillars Of Faith

The pillars of Faith are those things that are believed in, in Islam. There are six (6) pillars of faith. These pillars consist of:

1. Belief in Allah
The belief in the All-Powerful, Most Beneficent. Believing in Allah above all else is the first and most important. It is not only believed in Allah alone but in the way, He is described through the Qu’ran and the Ahadith (Sayings) of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him). This also includes all 99 names of Allah the mighty.

2. Belief in His Angels
The second pillar of faith is the belief in Allah’s angels. The angels are messengers of Allah. They are not his children as some may think. They were created from light and were created, before human, for the purpose of worshipping Allah. They can also appear in the shape of a man if so ordered to do so. Some of the angels’ names, that we know of, are Jibra’il, Mika’il, Israfil, and Malik. They have many jobs such as guardians, gatekeepers, and Trumpeters.

3. Belief in His Messengers
The third pillar is the belief in Allah’s Messengers. I know of twenty-five (25) Prophets mentioned in the Qur’an. These Prophets are: Elishia, Job, David, Dhul-Kifl, Aron, Hud, Abraham, Enoch, Elias, Jesus, Isac, Ishmael, Lot, Moses, Noah, Salih, Shuaib, Solomon, Ezra, Jacob, John, Jonah, Joseph, Zachariya, and Muhammad Peace be upon all of them. It is said that there are numerous others leading up to 313.  Muhammad Peace be Upon him is the last and final Prophet and there will be none after him. 

4. Belief in His Books
The fourth pillar of faith is the belief in the books of Allah. Here it is the belief that at the time when these books were sent down they truly were a message from Allah. The only book left is the Qur’an in its entirety, because it is the last revelation Allah will send to us. There are four books known to man: The  Torah (Torah) sent with the Prophet Musa (Moses), the Psalms (Zaboor) sent with the Prophet Dawud (David), the Gospel (Injeel) sent with Prophet Isa (Jesus) and the Qur’an sent with Prophet Muhammad. Muslims are to believe in all of these books and not just the Qur’an.

5. Belief in the Last Day
The fifth pillar of faith in the belief in the Last Day. This is the Day of accounting for all deeds; evil or good, big or small. In our lives, we need to believe that all we do will have bearing on the Last Day. No one but Allah knows when this day will come, so it is up to us to live each day as if it was our last.

6. Belief in Al-Qadar (Pre-Ordainment)
The last pillar of faith is the belief in pre-ordainment. What this means is that everything in our lives is already written. It is our duty to know that whatever Allah wills will occur. Also, He is the creator of everything including our deeds. Allah knows our past, resent, and future. Our lives are set, but that does not mean that we strive any less toward perfection.