Basic Beliefs of Al-Islam
The word ISLAM means voluntary “Submission” or “Surrender” to the Will of G-d. It derives from the root word “SALAM,” meaning peace. In the Qur'an, G-d defines that the only purpose for which He created humankind is to Worship Him. Al-Islam (commonly referred to as just Islam), recognizes that humankind has free choice in whether to obey or disobey G-d, but ultimately we will be held accountable to G-d in the next life for the choices that we make in this life.
G-d sent Prophets to teach humankind how to worship Him; starting with Adam, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the last of the messengers, Muhammad (peace be upon them all). The Islamic position is that all of these prophets came with the same message, that there is no deity worthy of worship except the One True G-d, known in Arabic as Allah.
The One True G-d
Muslims believe that Allah – the One True G-d – alone has control over life and death, that He alone sends the rain and bestows sustenance, that He alone can save people when in distress and in trouble, that He alone controls and owns whatever is upon the Earth and in the Universe and may direct it in whichever way He wills. And hence, for true satisfaction and peace or ease of mind, He alone should be made the object of people’s yearning and desire, and He alone, turned to for the things that people seek and need. From this perspective the worship of other things besides Allah, can be seen to be futile and useless and this is why the worshipping of saints, prophets, angels, idols and other created, material things is considered the worst evil a human can commit.
This, then is the meaning of: “None has the right to be worshipped except Allaah (alone)”, the first part of a Muslim’s declaration of his faith – that no created thing is deserving of, or has the right to subservience and worship. Rather, Allah alone, by virtue of His being the Originator, Owner and Controller of the Universe has this sole right.
The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His messengers." And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination."Holy Qur'an 2:285
- The Basic Beliefs of Al-Islam are the following:
- Belief in Allah (the G-d)
- Belief in the angels of Allah (G-d)
- Belief in the Prophets of Allah (G-d)
- Belief in the Day of Judgement
- Belief in the Supremacy of Allah’s Divine Power
- Belief in Life After Death (Heaven and Hell)
- Al-Islam has five basic duties which Muslims must do. They are known as the 5 basic pillars of Al-Islam. These pillars are mentioned in the following hadith ( a saying of the prophet PBUH): ”Islam is based upon five things declaring that there is no g-d except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, the establishment of salah, the payment of zakah, the hajj and sawm in the month ramadan.” (al-bukhari)
The five pillars as mentioned by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are:
- Shahadah- declaration of faith
- Salah- five compulsory daily prayers
- Zakah- to give in charity
- Sawm- To fast for the month of Ramadan
- Hajj – To complete the pilgrimage to Mecca once in ones lifetime
- The declaration of faith consists of two distinct parts, the absolute belief in the Oneness of Allah (G-d) and the belief that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a mortal human being was the last Messenger of Allah (G-d).
A Muslim declares their faith by reciting: La Ilaha Illal Lah Muhammadur Rasulul Lah. Which means “There is no G-d but Allah (The G-d), Muhammad is the messenger of Allah (The G-d).
- Salah is the daily ritual prayer enjoined upon all Muslims as one of the five Pillars of Al-Islam. It is performed five times a day by all Muslims. Salah is a precise worship, different from praying on the inspiration of the moment. Muslims pray or, perhaps more correctly, worship five times throughout the day:
- Between first light and sunrise
- After the sun has passed the middle of the sky
- Between mid-afternoon and sunset.
- Between sunset and the last light of the day
- Between darkness and midnight
- One of the most important principles of Al-Islam is that all things belong to G-d, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually. For most purposes, this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one’s capital.
A pious person may also give as much as he or she pleases as “SADAQA” another form of charity, and does so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as ‘voluntary charity’ it has a wider meaning. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Even greeting your brother with a smile and cheerful face is charity.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Charity is a necessity for every Muslim.” He was asked: ‘What if a person has nothing?’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.” The Companions asked: “What if he is not able to work?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “He should help the poor and needy.” The Companions further asked: “What if he cannot do even that?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He should urge others to do good.” The Companions said ‘What if he lacks that also?’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “He should restrain himself from doing evil, that is also charity.”
- SIYAM (FASTING THE HOLY MONTH OF RAMADAN)
Along with SALAT, another important form of worship is fasting. It is obligatory for each Muslim, who is an adult of sane mind and physically able, to fast the holy month of Ramadan. The Holy Qur'an states, “O you who believe, observing the fast is prescribed to you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may become pious.” (2:183)
Ramadan is the month of mercy, repentance, and purification, and lasts for a period of 29 or 30 days. During the hours of fasting, which is from dawn until sunset, food and drink and conjugal relations between husband and wife are forbidden. Human life is dependent on food and drink, and the continuation of the human race depends on the marital relationship. While fasting, one refrains from them both, as if bearing witness to G-d that for His pleasure man gives up the factors (temporarily) upon which his very existence depends. There are many lessons to be learned from fasting. We sacrifice physical comfort to endure hunger and thirst. Fasting creates a sense of equality between the rich and the poor. By developing an empathic attitude toward hunger and thirst, fasting makes the wealthy remember the needs of the poor, and impresses a feeling of compassion in their hearts.
- The annual pilgrimage to MAKKAH – the Hajj – is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people go to MAKKAH each year from every corner of the globe, providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. Although MAKKAH is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not solar, meaning that Hajj and Ramadan rotate throughout every season). Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before G-d.
The rites of the Hajj, which are of Abrahamic origin, include circling the KA’BA seven times, and going seven times between the mountains of SAFA and MARWA as Hagar did during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of Arafat and join in prayers for God’s forgiveness.
FajrDawn Prayer 5:07 AM
SunriseSunrise Time 6:24 AM
DhuhrNoon Prayer 1:13 PM
AsarAfternoon Prayer 4:58 PM
MagribSunset Prayer 8:02 PM
IshaEvening Prayer 9:20 PM