Aastha/Faith and Belief – Islam.
Islam is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Allah), An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.
Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable. Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through Abraham, Moses and Jesus, whom they consider prophets .
The basic beliefs of Muslims fall into six main categories, which are known as the “Articles of Faith”:
- Faith in the unity of God
- Faith in angels
- Faith in prophets
- Faith in books of revelation
- Faith in an afterlife
5 Pillars of Islam:
The Five Pillars of Islam (arkān-al-Islām أركان الإسلام; also arkān ad-dīn أركان الدين “pillars of the religion”) are five basic acts in Islam, considered obligatory by Sunni Muslims. These are summarized in the famous Hadith of Gabriel.
The Qur’an presents them as a framework for worship and a sign of commitment to the faith. They are (1) the shahada (creed), (2) daily prayers (salat), (3) fasting during Ramadan (sawm), (4) almsgiving (zakāt), and (5) the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in a lifetime.
2 Salat (Namaz)
3 Sawm (Rozah)
4 Zakāt (Donation)
“Rozah” which is called “Saum” in Arabic, means to restrain and keep silence. The Holy Qur-aan defines “Saum” as “patience” too which means “self-control, perseverance and determination”. Thus Rozah (Saum) stands, according to Islaam, for guarding oneself against selfishness, sensual and carnal desires and protecting one’s instinctive restraint and perseverance. Food, drink and sexual relation between man and woman play very important role in human life that usually destroy human values and merits if not checked. Regulating and keeping oneself away from such human needs for a certain period is Rozah (Saum). But according to Shar’ee terminology “Saum” means conscious abstinence (of a Muslim) from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk with the sole intention of worship. It is conditional for woman to be free from “Haiz-o-Nifaas” (menstruation and discharge of blood of the child-birth) for the observance of fast.
Zakat means purity and cleanliness. A portion set apart from your wealth for the needy and the poor is called Zakat. because in this manner a man’s wealth and along with it his own Nafs ?(self) becomes purified. The wealth of that person is impure who does not take out from the God-given wealth what is due to the poor and the needy. And along with his wealth his Nafs too is impure because it is filled with ungratefulness. His heart is so narrow, he is selfish and so much a worshipper of wealth that it pains him to render what is due in return for the Divine favour of bestowing on him wealth in excess of his real requirements. Can it be expected from such a person that he will ever do any good deed to please God and will make any sacrifice for the sake of his religion and faith ? This is why the heart of such a person is impure as also his wealth which he amasses in this manner.
The book Zadul-muqwin writes, “It was written by the early savants that he who does not do five things will be deprived of five other things:
1 – He who does not give the zakat of his property will not benefit from his property.
2 – He who does not give the ‘ushr (a kind of zakat) will not get barakat, use from his field, from his earnings.
3 – He who does not give alms will not be healthy.
4 – He who does not pray will not get what he wishes.
5 – He who does not want to perform namaz when the time for namaz comes will not be able to say the kalima-i shahadat as he dies. He who does not perform namaz because of indolence, although he believes that to perform it is the first duty, is a fasiq. He is not kufw for a pious girl. In other words, he is not worthy of or suitable for (marrying) the girl.”
Allah (SWT) has said in the Noble Qur’an: “I have not created the jinn and humankind for any other purpose except that they should worship Me.” (Noble Qur’an 51:56)
It is clear from the above verse of Noble Qur’an that the purpose of our birth and of our life is no other than that of the worship of Allah (SWT). There are many acts of worship (Ibadah, Ibadat) in Islam, and Salah is one of the most important obligatory acts.
Salah (Salat, Namaz) is the ritual prayer practiced by Muslims in supplication to Allah (SWT). The term is commonly used to refer to the five daily prayers, which are compulsory upon all mature Muslims. Salah (Salat, Namaz) is considered the most important act of worship (Ibadah, Ibadat) in Islam and its importance is such that under very few circumstances it can be omitted.
Salah (Salat, Namaz) strengthens the foundations of our faith. It prepares a person to live the life of goodness and obedience to Allah (SWT), and it builds courage and determination. Every time we perform Salah, we renew our commitments to Allah (SWT) and we rid ourselves from worldly pressures five times a day.
According to a Hadith a companion of Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) came to him one day and asked him “What is the thing that Allah (SWT) loves most?” Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) replied “The thing that Allah (SWT) loves most is when his people pray Salah on time.”
( Source: http://www.ezsoftech.com/stories/mis44.asp)
All males and females are supposed to perform Namaz 5 times a day depending upon the time and convenience.
The five daily prayers
Muslims are commanded to perform prayers five times a day. These prayers are obligatory on every Muslim who have reached the age of puberty, with the exception being those who are mentally ill, too physically ill for it to be possible, menstruating, or experiencing post-partum bleeding. Those who are ill or otherwise physically unable to offer their prayers in the traditional form are permitted to offer their prayers while sitting or lying, as they are able. The five prayers are each assigned to certain prescribed times (al waqt) at which they must be performed, unless there is a compelling reason for not being able to perform them on time.
|Name Prescribed||Time period (waqt)|
|Fajr (فجر)||Dawn to sunrise,|
|Dhuhr (ظهر)||After true noon until Asr|
|Maghrib (مغرب)||After sunset until dusk|
|Isha’a (عشاء)(it is makrooh to read Isha after midnight)||Dusk until dawn|
The compulsory prayer is obligatory for those who meet these three conditions:
- are Muslim
- are of sound mind
- are ten years of age or older (beginning at age seven is recommended).
There are five elements that make a prayer valid:
- Confidence of the time of prayer. Being unsure invalidates even if the time turns out correct.
- Facing the qibla, with the chest facing the direction of the Ka’ba. The ill and the old are allowed leniency with posture.
- Covering the awrah
- Clean clothes, body, place of prostration.
- Pure from hadath (wudu, tayammum, ghusl)
- Praying in front of a sutrah.
Prayer in congregation
Prayer in congregation (jama’ah) is considered to have more social and spiritual benefit than praying by oneself. When praying in congregation, the people stand in straight parallel rows behind the chosen imam, facing qibla. The imam, who leads the congregation in salat, is usually chosen to be a scholar or the one who has the best knowledge of the Qur’an, preferably someone who has memorised it (a hafiz) . In the first row behind the imam, if available, would be another hafiz to correct the imam in case a mistake is made during the performance of the salat. The prayer is performed as normal, with the congregation following the actions and movements of the imam as he performs the salat.
Upon entering the mosque, “Tahiyyatul masjid” must be performed; this is one of the rites of the mosque. Every Muslim entering the mosque is encouraged to perform these two rakats.
When the worshippers consist of men and women combined, a man is chosen as the imam. In this situation, women are typically forbidden from performing this role. This point, though unanimously agreed on by the major schools of Islam, is disputed by some groups, based partly on a hadith whose interpretation is controversial. When the congregation consists entirely of women and pre-pubescent children, one woman is chosen as imam.
When men, women, and children are praying, the children’s rows are usually between the men’s and women’s rows, with the men at the front and women at the back. Another configuration is where the men’s and women’s rows are side by side, separated by a curtain or other barrier, with the primary intention being for there to be no direct line of sight between male and female worshippers, following a Qur’anic injunction toward men and women each lowering their gazes (Qur’an 24:30-31).
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© Mukesh Srivastava 2011.