Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ created the mankind for His worship and worship done by human being is a relationship between Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and mankind. There are two aspects of worship, one involves the special acts which are sources for the direct relationship between Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and His bondsman, the other is the obedience of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in affairs of life such as respecting the parents, avoiding RIBA etc. In this blog we will discuss the first aspect which basically involves the five Arkan e Islam.
The Beloved Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ said:
بُنِيَ الإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ
Translation: Islam is structured on five pillars: Testifying that there is none worthy of worship but Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ , that Muhammad صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ is His bondsman and Messenger, the establishment of prayer, payment of Zakah, Pilgrimage to the House (Ka’ba) and the fast of Ramadan.
In the light of this blessed Hadith we come to know that there are five basic obligations in Islam. These five basic obligations are called Arkan e Islam or five pillars of Islam. These five include the utterance of the testimony that there is no worthy of worship but Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and that Muhammad صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ is the Rasool of Allah. Secondly, the establishment of the prayer by the individual and the community with all of its rules and prerequisites. Thirdly, the payment of Zakat, an annual financial obligation paid by Muslims on specific wealth or capital they possess, exceeding a specific limit, to categories explained in the Quran. Fourthly, fasting during the month of Ramadan and fifthly, the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) once in a lifetime for those who have means to do so. Here is a brief detail of all these pillars of Islam:
- Shahadah (Testimony of Faith)
The first is testifying that there is no God except Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and Muhammad صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ is His Prophet. In fact this is the basis of once belief. If someone does not testify this reality then he is not entered in Islam and this utterance creates zeal to act upon Islamic teachings, to follow Holy Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ and to follow Holy Quran. This utterance enables one to avoid from sins and to do good deeds. This utterance creates a sense of love of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ .
- Namaz (Obligatory Prayers)
The second rukan of Islam is “Namaz”. Namaz or prayer is the act done by Muslims by bowing their heads in the court of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ . Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ obligated Namaz five times a day. It is a gift of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ to Muslims which he gave on the night of Mairaaj when the Beloved Prophet صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ went to the skies and higher than skies. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ orders the Muslims to offer Namaz in Holy Quran in these words:
وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَارْكَعُوا مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ
“And keep the prayer established, and pay the zakah, and bow your heads with those who bow (in prayer).”
The importance of Namaz or prayer can be easily realized by the fact that Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ commands approximately seven hundred times in the Holy Quran to establish prayer. The five prayers are named as Fajar, Zohr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha. Offering Namaz keeps the Muslims close to Allahعَزَّوَجَلَّ throughout the day. As they start their day by offering Namaz (Fajar) and also end the day with Namaz (Isha). Not only the start and end of day but also during the day Muslims offer Namaz which strengthens our relationship to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ . Offering Namaz in the Masjid with jamaat creates a sense of equality and brotherhood among the Muslims. Offering Namaz regularly also makes a man punctual and his life becomes regular and neat.
- Zakat (Compulsory Charity)
The third rukan among Arkan e Islam is paying Zakah. Zakah is the donation of 2.5% of one’s belongings when these approach to a specific limit. As Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ permitted his bondsman to earn money by Halal sources and spend it to fulfill their needs but along with this permission Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ orders hid bondsman to donate their money to poor and needy people. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ ordered thirty two times in the Holy Quran to pay Zakah. Zakah in fact shows the beauty of the Islamic social system that money circulates among the rich and poor and it is not only bounded in the hands of rich people. It does not mean that the rich people give money to poor by sacrificing their needs but it’s the rule that they have to pay Zakah after fulfilling their basic needs.
- Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)
The fourth rukan of Islam is Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah in the last month of Islamic year. Hajj is obligatory upon Muslims to do once in their life if they are fulfilling the conditions required. The occasion of Hajj is a symbol of unity and brotherhood of Muslims. They gather at the same day by uttering same words, wearing same dresses and all of them having belief at one God, the creator of all of them, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ . This example of faith, unity and brotherhood can not be found anywhere in the world.
- Sawm (Fasting in Ramadan)
The fifth rukan of Islam is fasting in the month of Ramadan. It is obligatory upon Muslims to fast in this month and fast means not to eat, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset. The main objective of fast is to attain pleasure of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and to attain piety in our hearts. The fast of the holy month improves our connection with Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ . A person who controls his wish and physical need of prohibited acts during fast realizes the plight of those people who remain deprived without choice and it creates a sense of piety and zeal to help those people. These Arkan e Islam are simple and easy way to worship Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ the main benefit of these five Arkan e Islam is that Muslims attain the pleasure of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ through these which is the supreme goal of every Muslim.
May Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ enable us to act upon these pillars of Islam! Ameen.