The basic tenets of Islam’s five Pillars are not arbitrary religious rights individually collected by Islamic tradition. Believers accept that they are a perfect. Believers accept they are holistic interlocking of spiritual practices divinely designed to engage human beings; in all that they are, all that they should be and can once again be. Sort of sounds like an Army commercial, doesn’t it?
So, what are the 5 Pillars of Islam? They are the 1. Shahadatayn, 2. Salat, 3. Zakat, 4. Siyam and 5. Hajj. Alright, so you don’t speak Arabic and you probably wish you knew what the terms mean. Today is your lucky day. The Shahadatayn or most commonly the Shahada is a statement of belief, Specifically There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of God. Salat is the five canonical daily prayers. Zakat is the giving of tithe. Siyam is fasting of the Holy month of Ramadan annually. Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Shahadatayn is most commonly referred to as the Shahada. It is a recitation in which there are two testimonies of faith. The Shahadatayn consists of bearing witness that there is no God but Allah. Then there is profession that, Muhammad is God’s messenger. In Islam the Shahadatayn is considered to be an act of will. It is an act of will in that in Arabic Islam means surrender of the will.
It is also considered an act of intelligence. The Shahada is an act of intelligence in that Islam objectively means acknowledging the reality of the One God and the truth of his messenger. This is not at first necessarily the same as complete faith.
It does however involve the soul consciously fully acknowledging God, and that is why it is in principle sufficient for salvation. It necessarily involves the breast. The breast is one of the four realities between or connecting the spirit and the soul. But we are jumping ahead in the explanation.
Siyam is fasting the Holy Month of Ramadan. The fast consists of abstaining from food, drink, smoking, and sex from sunrise to sunset. Muslims must also refrain from sin, gossip, slander, and anger. These things serve to detach people from their bodies and their egos.
In deeds including charity and prayer the ego can try to lay claim to the deed in order to puff itself up. This gives rise to spiritual pride. Fasting deprives body and ego of sustenance. Their hold on the soul is thus weakened for a period of time. This gives the soul a change to grow spiritually.
Tomorrow we’ll discuss the daily prayers. Islam is about submission not peace. It is about commitment of the body, soul and spirit. Each of the tenets has a place in the dogma of the religion and in construction of the rituals. Remember the basic tenets of Islam’s five Pillars are not arbitrary religious rights individually collected by Islamic tradition. They form a more complete whole and we are going to try to see the larger picture.