The Five Pillars of Islam are the five basic principles, guidelines or commandments a Muslim must do his best to fulfill because they are considered God’s commandments. Similar to the the ten commandments in the bible true, Muslims just same as Christians should do their best without concern as to what other Christians or Muslims are involved with. And in my opinion Muslims have a greater chance at fulfilling the five pillars because followers of Islam seems to be more focused and committed to their religion than to appeasing their leadership. Learning from their leadership’s teaching and using their lives as examples to fulfill these commandments seems to be the basis of five pillars and drawing other followers in.
These duties are Shahadah (profession of faith), Salah (prayers), Zakat (giving of alms), Sawm (fasting, specifically during Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) (Wikipedia, 2009). Shahadah the profession of faith means that one accepts and recognizes “there is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God” (Fisher, Mary P. 2005) . And one must not be afraid to witness and share this with other not with the intent to draw them but to inform them. Same as in Christianity if you just accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and draws other unto him because he is the Son of God you are considered “saved”. However modern Christians in the United States have taken the Jesus out of the picture and are using Christians to draw other Christians unto man.
Salah or prayers is the most important in my opinion it time spend talking and meditating with God. Prayers are to be done five times a day (facing mecca). “In a mosque, women and men usually pray separately, with the women in rows behind the men, to avoid sexually distracting the men” (Fisher, Mary P. 2005). Christians pray in church under the leadership of the minister (standing between the worshipper and God), men and women pray together and the women dress in a way to intentional sexually distract the men. Some Christians attend church in hopes of finding a husband.
The third pillar is zakat, or spiritual tithing and almsgiving. At the end of the year, all Muslims must donate at least two and a half percent of their accumulated wealth to needy Muslims. This provision is designed to help decrease inequalities in wealth and to prevent personal greed (Fisher, Mary P. 2005). This is again the opposite of Christian- faith based religions here in the United States, in modern churches Christians are to tithe 10 percent of their earnings to the Church and then many Churches have the friendship, building funds and I have seen in churches after collecting two of three “offerings” many people put money at the alter or pulpit while the preacher is minister is presenting his sermon. And for those who are not who are in need of financial assistance good luck and trying to get a Christians church to help with out the minister and his staff controlling your life from that point on.
The fourth Pillar is fasting. Fasting is expected to allow the body to burn up impurities and provide one with “a Transparent Soul to transcend, a Clear Mind to think and a Light Body to move and act” (Fisher, Mary P. 2005). For all who are beyond puberty, but not infirm or sick or menstruating or nursing children, a dawn-to-sunset abstention from food, drink, sexual intercourse, and smoking is required for the whole month of Ramadan. Fasting does exist in Christian- faith based religions in the United States it’s just the meaning behind isn’t as serious in my opinion. It’s seems as if ministers pick a week or two from out of the month and instructs his follows on what to eat and not to eat as a for of control it has nothing to do with God or the religions true practices.
The last pillar is hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca, a time where the profession of faith is constantly repeated. Hajj is the time where the follower is most connected and closest to God. He dresses in unsewn cloths to look like all the other followers during this pilgrimage he buries his earthly life and totally focuses on God. This pilgrimage should be done at least once in every Muslims life. After learning about the five pillars I now understand why the Muslims I have come in contact with are very disciplined. In order to fulfill this commandments it takes a disciplined and committed individual. The easiest of each pillar in my opinion would be praying and meditating. I also think the profession of faith is easy once a person had learned and understands his purpose as a Muslim. In today’s society the hardest pillar to fulfill would be Hajj to many people are selfish with their earnings because they are needing material and physical status to be accepted by the majority.
Fisher, Mary Pat. (2005). Living Religions. Retrieved from Fisher, Mary Pat, HUM130 Online Course Material.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2009). Five Pillar of Islam. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Pillars_of_Islam