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Muslim Students

By: Usman Munawwar

The five pillars of Islam are the Shahadah, Salah, Zakah, Sawm and Hajj. We as Muslims have to perform these pillars because Allah (Subhanahu was Ta‘ala) has commanded us to perform them. Shahadah means Declaration of Faith, Salah is the Prayer to worship Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala) , Zakah means poor-due, Sawm means fasting in the month of Ramadan and Hajj is the Muslim Pilgrimage to Makkah.

The first pillar of Islam, Shahadah means Declaration of Faith. The Shahadah is Laa Ilaaha Illallah Muhammad ur Rasulullah. These words mean that “None is worthy of worship but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”. This declaration is called Kalimah Tayyibah. It summarizes the whole of Islamic belief. The other four pillars make up Ibadah (worship of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala) which is done to gain Allah’s favor. Shahadah concerns belief in Tawhid (Oneness of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala) and Risalah (Messengership) of the Prophet Muhammad, (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam).

The second pillar of Islam is Salah. When the Prophet Muhammad, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), went on Mi‘raaj he was given the five daily Salah. First we pray Fajr. Its time is from dawn until just before sunrise. Second is Zuhr. Its time is after mid-day until the afternoon. Third is Asr. Its time is from late afternoon until just before sunset. Fourth is Maghrib. Its time is after sunset until darkness sets in. Fifth is Isha. It’s at night time until just before dawn. We should start praying Salah at seven years of age, at ten we should get hit if we don’t pray.

The third pillar of Islam is Zakah which means poor-due. Zakah is payable on wealth such as agricultural produce, gold and silver ornaments, cash in one’s possession, trading goods, cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep and camels and, produce of mines. There is a minimum amount on which Zakah is not payable. This minimum amount is called nisab. Those who have more than this minimum amount have to pay Zakah. The nisab of agricultural produce is 653 kg per harvest. The nisab for gold and silver ornaments is 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver. The nisab for cash in one’s possession is value of 595 grams of silver. The nisab for trading goods is value of 595 grams of silver. The nisab for goats and sheep is 40 in number.

Zakah is paid every year. The rate of Zakah for agricultural produce is 5 percent of produce in case of irrigated land or 10 percent of produce from rain-fed land. The rate of Zakah for gold and silver ornaments is 2.5 percent of value. The rate of Zakah for cash in one’s possession is 2.5 percent of the amount. The rate of Zakah for trading goods is 2.5 percent value of goods. The rate of Zakah for produce of mines is 20 percent of value of produce. If we pay Zakah, we keep our wealth clear of greed and selfishness.

The fourth pillar of Islam is Sawm which means fasting in the month of Ramadan. This means abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and conjugal relations during the time of fasting. Travelers and sick people may not fast in the month of Ramadan and they can make up for the fasts later. The duty of fasting is only for Allah’s sake and Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala) Himself will reward for it. A Muslim is expected to keep away from all bad actions during his/her fast. He shouldn’t lie, break a promise or do any deceitful act. The main thing of fasting is to make a Muslim able to control his/her passions, so that he/she becomes a person of good deeds and intentions. In addition to the compulsory fasting in Ramadan, a Muslim may fast during other times of the year.

The fifth pillar of Islam is Hajj which is the Pilgrimage to Makkah. It is a visit to Al-Ka‘bah, the House of Allah in Makkah, once in a lifetime by those who can afford to make the journey. It is performed during the period of the 8th to the 13th of Dhul Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calender. Al-Ka‘bah was first built by Prophet Adam (‘Alayhissalam), and later rebuild by Prophet Ibrahim (‘Alayhissalam), and his son Prophet Ismail (‘Alayhissalam). When the Muslims perform Hajj, they also visit the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) in Madina al-Munawwarah.

We should act according to the five pillars of Islam to please Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala), and Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam).

Rabi‘ Awwal 1422, June 2001

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