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A guide to Islam

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Islam is the religion of over 1.5 billion people and growing and is one of the main world religions of our times.

So what is Islam? In this article we want to basically write an informative and simple guide for non-Muslims explaining to them the central tenants of Islam.

The religion of Islam has 5 pillars that it stands on, these 5 pillars are essential for every Muslim to follow and believe in. The 5 pillars of Islam are as follows:

1-The belief that there is no God but God and that Muhammad is his last and final messenger

2-The prayer (Salat)

3-The charity tax (Zakat)

4-The fasting in the holy month of Ramadan

5-The pilgrimage

A Muslim must believe and follow in these 5 essential pillars of Islam. Now let’s go through each pillar and explain what each one entails.

The first pillar of Islam, which is the most important pillar of Islam, and what Islam is all essentially about is the pure monotheism of God. The first pillar of Islam is that there is no God but the one and only true God, meaning there is only 1 God, not 2 gods, or 500 gods. The first pillar of Islam also entails that it is this one and only true God deserving of worship, so when we see there is no God but God, it means that nobody else is deserving of any worship but the one and true God.

The second part of the first pillar is to also affirm Muhammad (pbuh) as the last and final messenger. This means that Muhammad (pbuh) is the seal of prophets and messengers, that after him there will be no messengers or prophets, and that the revelation given to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the final revelation and final book.

The second pillar of Islam is the prayer; this is the act of the 5 daily prayers Muslims partake in. The prayer is a very simple rite that is done by Muslims, which can either be done in the Muslim house of worship, the mosque, or can be done at home if there is no mosque nearby. The 5 daily prayers are an obligation on all Muslims, so they must be done, however so Muslims are still allowed to perform voluntary prayers as well.

The third pillar of Islam is the charity tax, or the zakat. The zakat is an obligation for all Muslims to give 2.5% of their income to the poor and needy every year, hence why it’s a charity tax. The purpose of the zakat is to help the poor, and it is to install a very strong social system in which the less fortunate are looked after, and that the community as a whole are there for them to look after them, rather than simply negating them. While Muslims are obligated to give the zakat, which is 2.5% of their income, they are still allowed to give as much charity as they want, known as sadaqa, but the zakat is an obligation with a fixed amount that must be given.

The fourth pillar of Islam is the fasting during the month of Ramadan. For a whole month Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from food and water. The purpose of Ramadan is to make Muslims aware and appreciate what they have, and to make them feel what it’s like to be poor and unable to eat or drink.

The fifth pillar of Islam is the pilgrimage, or the hajj. Muslims make the pilgrimage to the Kaaba site, located in the holy city of Mecca. The hajj is one of the most important acts of worship a Muslim does, a Muslim has all of their past sins forgiven when they take part in this pilgrimage, and they come out of it like a new person. Muslims believe the Kaaba was the first site of worship to the true God, and was a rite that was followed and practiced by the prophets, such as Abraham etc.

So these are the 5 pillars of Islam, if a Muslim believes in them, and does them accordingly, then he or she will be guaranteed their salvation according to Islamic theology. They are very simple acts, very easy to understand, and very easy to carry out. In fact this is what we would expect if Islam was from God.

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