There are five basic tenets or pillars of Islam. Out of the three established religions of the world, the other two being Judaism and Christianity, Islam is the least complicated. It is a very simple faith. The clerics have made it into a complicated religion which in reality it was never intended to be nor is. The true spirit of Islam can best be summed up in this simple phrase; live and let live.
The first pillar of Islam is “Qalma Tuyaba”. A simple statement in Arabic. There is no god except Allah and Muhammad is the last prophet of Allah. Making this statement in the presence of at least two Muslims makes you a Muslim as well. Simple as that.
The second tenet of Islam is “Salah”. The mandatory five times a day prayers. The first one is “Fijr”, performed before sun rise. The second is “Zuhr”, the afternoon prayer. The third is “Asar”, performed before sun set. The fourth is “Magrib” or evening and time prayer and the fifth “Isha” or the night-time prayer. It is preferred that these prayers are performed in the mosque. Though one can perform them at home as well. Before all these prayers ablution is a must. Muslims all over the world turn towards the “Kibla”, that is in the direction of the “Kabaa” in Mecca to perform these prayers. “Kabaa” was first built by prophet Abraham.
The third pillar of Islam is “Roza” or fast. The month of Ramadan according to the Islamic lunar calendar is specified for fasting. During Ramadan the Muslims fast from the time of call for “Fajr” prayer till the call for “Magrib” prayer. During the day a Muslim is not only to abstain from food and drink but also from any sort of activity that might spoil the fast like lying, cheating, abusing, fighting, stealing and any other lewd behavior.
The fourth pillar of Islam is “Zakat”. Zakat is the tax that the Islamic state levies from rich Muslims. The proceeds of this tax are collected in the state treasury and later used for public welfare. The rich non-Muslims in an Islamic state also pay a tax called”Jazia”. The rich pay this tax in cash or kind while the poor can pay through offering different services like teaching.
The fifth tenet of Islam is Hajj. Like Ramadan a month called “Zil-Hajj” is specified for the performance of this religious obligation. Hajj is only mandatory on Muslims who can afford the the pilgrimage to Mecca. The poor Muslims are exempt, so are the sick, elderly and the minors. The main feature of Hajj is the circumvallation of the “Kabaa” and the sacrifice of animals on the final day in the memory of the sacrifice of Issac in the Judeo-Christian tradition and of Ishmael in the Islamic lore by prophet Abraham.
It is also mandatory for all Muslims to pay homage to all the prophets from Adam to Muhammad (PBUH), the last prophet of Allah. The three holy books are also to be respected, namely Torah of the Jews, Bible of the Christians and Quran of the Muslims. Besides the above noted five pillars of Islam there are no other mandatory religious obligations in order to be a Muslim, jihad least of all.
By Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada