Pillars of Islam
The Five Pillars of Islam
There are five mandatory principles and acts practiced by religious persons inclined to Islam. The five pillars of Islam lay a foundation for believers to lead a valuable and quality Muslim life. They include Salat, Zakat, Shahadan, Sawn, and Hajj. They represent daily ritualistic prayers, being concerned and caring for the less advantaged persons in the society, Muslim life under the leader of Muhammad, self-control,purification, and pilgrimage respectively. Thus, the five pillars describe different principles, expectations, and purposes among persons practicing Islam aligned to the Islamic religion and culture (CCA, 2011).
I was born and raised as a Christian (Catholic) in an island located in Philippines. Although I was able to witness Muslims in my neighborhood and the large cities in Philippines, I learnt very little on Islamic cultures and traditions. However, my interest in learning and understanding Islam developed after my family migrated to the United States. The interest was attributed by my close friendship and interactive periods with a Muslim man from Syria residing in United States. However, our friendship did not last long due to diverse cultural differences aligned to the Christina and Islam religions. Although, I tried to fit in his religious and cultural beliefs, the experience was too overwhelming. For example, I wore a Hijab covering my chest and hair as a sign of respect before entering the mosque for prayers every Friday. I learnt it was compulsory piece of clothing for Muslim women under Muslim or Sharia law (Hooker, 1999). It was however very uncomfortable as I could hardly breathe or access fresh air amidst profusion sweating. Although the experience was exciting, I could neither continue wearing the Hijab nor attend prayers at the Mosque. I made this decision after I compared the five pillars of Islam against the Christian teachings and believes I have learned under the Catholic Church.
The five pillars represent similar believes and values as Christian teachings. For example, Islam under the Shahadan pillar asserts that Muhammad is the God’s messenger. In Christianity, we believe God is the immortal superpower. The second pillar Salat asserts that believers ought to conduct ritualistic prayers five times in a day. Although Christians believe and practice prayers, the bible does not ascertain the actual number of times a believer ought to pray in a day. The third pillar Zakat is aimed at showing concern and caring for the needy, poor, and less advantaged members of the society. In Christianity, we believe in giving a tithe comprising of ten percent. In Islam, Zakat asserts believers ought to give 2.5 percent of a person’s total savings towards meeting and fulfilling this promise (Hooker, 1999).
The fourth pillar advises Islam believers to fast and pray during the blessed month of Ramadhan to achieve self-control. Conversely, Christians aligned to Catholic teachings practice lent to mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for a period of six weeks. Thus, this period is also utilized to teach Christians self-control and purification. Finally, the last pillar in Islam is pilgrimage known as Hajj. It is a pilgrimage to Mecca occurring during the Islamic month of Dhu al Hijjah. All Muslims are required to make to the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime (CCA, 2011). It is difficult to compare and contrast this pillar in relation to Christian teachings and believes. This is because Christians do not have a pilgrimage they are obliged to make a visit to before they pass on. I therefore concluded that before I am committed to a relationship with another person practicing different religious and cultural beliefs, I should learn and understand their practices, principles, values, and beliefs.
Creative Commons Attribution (CCA). (2011). Five Pillars of Islam, The Creative Commons Attribution Organization Report.
Hooker, R. (1999). Arkan Ad-Din: The Five Pillars of Religion, Washington State University.