Five basic tenets of Islam that set the foundation of Muslim life are called five pillars of Islam. They are called five pillars because these basic principles of Muslim encapsulate Muslim people of different language and different countries comprising the Umma into a holy union of brotherhood based on religious devotion. A Muslim is not a Muslim unless he observes these five pillars of faith. The five pillars include Shahadah, Salah, Zakat, Sawm and Hajj. Similarly, in Christianity too, there are five basic pillars of faith followed in order to provide an ethical framework for all the true Christians to follow.
The first pillar is 'La ilaha ila Allah; Muhammadur-rasul Allah' which translated into English means there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. This utterance with profound conviction is what referred as 'Shahadah' meaning faith. This declaration manifests one's absolute trust and commitment to Islam.
Salat alias Namaz meaning prayer is the second pillar that involves the obligation of offering five prayers every day to God. These five prayers offered at the crack of dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening though preferred in mosque can be made anywhere including in the confines of home, office, college, factory and even airports. Islam believes that there is no mediator between the God and the worshipper and hence this five times supplication a day is important to connect with God.
Zakat meaning purification is a way of salvation by sharing 2.5% of one's wealth to people in poverty. It doesn't involve the charitable allocation of property given out of kindness. This specified 2.5% proportion of one's wealth involves the offering of cash, gold and silver ornaments and commercial merchandise.
The ninth and the holy month of Islamic calendar is Ramadan during which all the Muslims are required to fast from dawn until sunset. Sawm meaning fasting is an important pillar of Islam when Muslims ought to give up any activity involving carnal intimacy, smoking, both active and passive and the desire for food. This pillar helps people empathize with poor people deprived of simple pleasures of life. However, elderly, sick, those in travelling, women in pregnancy, menstruation and children below 12 years are exempt from this custom.
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah is obligatory for Muslims who are financially and physically sound. A huge gathering is held in Makkah each year with innumerable people coming from all across the world to take part in this religious ceremony. In order to remove every marking of class and social status, all the Muslims attire in Hajj special clothes. They need to perform few mandatory rites crucial to offer prayer of deliverance from all sins. The end of Hajj is celebrated with a festival called Eid Al-Adha.
Five Pillars of Christianity
Christianity is too based on five basic principles which provide an ethical framework for all the Christians to follow. These five principles are Bible is the word of God, Jesus Christ is god, Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for our sins, resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope for the eternal savior returning someday.
In order to unify the Muslims of different language and nations under Umma, there are five fundamental principles made obligatory for all the Muslims, rich and poor. These five pillars of faith include Shahadah, Salah, Zakat, Sawm and Hajj. Similarly Christianity too has five basic tenets upon which the foundation of Christianity is laid. These basic principles help Christian people to come together into a harmony.
- The Five Pillars Of Islam, http://www.saudiembassy.net/about/country-information/Islam/five_pillars_of_Islam.aspx (17th April 2013)
- The Five Pillars of Islam, http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/pillars.shtml (17th April 2013)
- Zakat: charity, http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/practices/zakat.shtml (17th April 2013)
- The Foundational Principles of Christianity, http://www.tobinstrong.com/intro/basics.php (17th April 2013)