Islam, as a system, is an undividable whole, and it is founded on five principles of which an absence of any renders Islam obsolete. Only in the greater part of the Meccan Period, which was rather a time of transition, were the followers exempt from performing certain deeds; however, one must recall the pervasive characteristic of this period where believers were granted time for the pillars of faith to profoundly sink in their hearts. In other words, there was a psychological training in preparation for the major tasks to come. Nevertheless, after a firmly ensconced belief in God was successfully achieved, true adherents—whose numbers grew steadily at an astounding rate—considered not even a trivial compromise with regards to upholding and observing all of these pillars.
These five cornerstones of Islam are enunciated by the Prophet (upon whom be peace) in the following manner:
Islam is constructed on five foundations: “Bearing witness that there is no deity but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God, establishing salat, giving zakat, hajj and the fasting of Ramadan.79
In another Hadith, the Messenger of God unequivocally declares:
I have been commanded to strive against humankind until they concede that there is no deity but God and Muhammad is His Messenger, establish salat, pay zakat. Once they perform accordingly, they will have salvaged, from me, their lives and properties, excluding the rights of Islam, and their judgment is with God.80
A sharp contrast emerges when the precepts of this hadith are compared with the events that took place during the era of Abu Bakr—hence the source of inspiration for Abu Bakr’s uncompromising attitude against those who denied zakat as their obligation even so soon after the death of the Prophet (upon whom be peace).
All of these five pillars are inextricably intertwined with one another and the full, intended benefits of Islam are only received upon the application, if strength permits, of all of them. Once they are known and understood, the denial of one or more of these essential principles divulges, in fact, a problem in faith.
Senturk, Omer Faruk. “Charity in Islam” Tughra Books Press. January 2007.
- December 11, 2013
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