As salam alekum wa rehmatillahi wa barkatahu
(May peace, blessings, and mercy of Allah (swt) be upon all of you)
In Islam, Muslims have to take shahada, pray 5 times a day, give zakat (giving charity to the poor and needy), Sawm (Fasting in the month of Ramadan), and pilgrimage to Mecca.
- Shahada- Faith
When a Muslim is declaring his faith, it is called Shahada. “There is no god, but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger.” In Arabic we say “La illaha illallah Muhammad dun Rasullallah” We recite this Shahada in public. When a Muslim says these words, he is rejecting to worship any other god except Allah. In addition, Mohammad (PBUH) was sent amongst us as a prophet to deliver his message of Islam and to guide us to the straight path. It is a path towards the light where surely Allah (swt) has promise to reward his believers. Allah (swt) says: “Whoever obeys the Prophet obeys God” Quran chapter 4 verse 80. The declaration of faith provides the base for a complete system of life for a Muslim. Therefore, a Muslim must practically perform the understanding of the declaration of faith and all its characteristics; and a Muslim who does not translate this declaration into practice is not a true Muslim. Without securing this base first, this way of life can’t come into being. If the system of life is build upon some other base, or other sources are mixed with this base, then that person can not be considered as a Muslim. Allah (swt) says; “The command belongs to God alone. He commands you not to worship anyone except Him. This is the right way of life” Quran chapter 12 verse 40.
- Prayer – Salat
Performing Salat 5 times a day is mandatory for every Muslim. Accompanying compulsory prayers include the Friday congregational prayer, Eid prayers and the funeral prayer. Women are exempt from offering salat in their menstruation and child birth. However, women have to make it up later when they are able to.
In order to perform salat one has to first make wudu: cleaning the body clothes and ground used for prayer. Second, one has to cover in a certain way according to their gender. For men they wear a turban and usually wear white clothing. For women they have to wear clothes that cover their full hands and body. The hijab must be long enough to cover them until their ribs and should cover their hair completely. Thirdly one should face towards the Kiblah (Kabba). Fourthly, one has to make an intention that he is attempting to pray in front of Allah almighty, and imagine that Allah swt is watching us pray and He knows what is in our hearts and in our minds. In addition, we have to imagine our death, and think how many good and bad deeds we have done in our life. Moreover, imagine that this is our last prayer. Therefore, when praying, we will never be distracted. The timings for the prayers are:
1. Fajr-Before sunrise.
2. Duhr-After the sun begins to decline from its zenith.
4. Magrib-Just after sunset.
- Zakat – Charity
Giving charity to poor and needy is also an act of worship in front of Allah (swt). We might think why we give (2.5%) 1/40 of our wealth to poor and needy people; we do this because we are investing that money. You might say how? When Allah swt gives his believers wealth and that believer spends it on other people who are in need Allah swt will again give that believer back what he had return to Him. Ask yourself a question? Who is the one provides us with sunlight, grows herbs and shrubs, who created everything and destroy it? Do you have the answer? Yes! It is Allah (swt) when He gives us so many things without even asking, why do we hesitate to give back what belongs to Him. Zakat does not only help in increasing ones wealth, but also it helps the believer cleanse his heart with greed. Zakat not only helps the person who is giving the zakat, but it also helps the person who is receiving it. The believer who is receiving the zakat, his heart will cleanse from jealousy, loathing and uneasiness. Instead, the receiver’s heart will be filled with good wishes and prayers for the contributor. Zakat also help the society from economy crisis and corruption. Zakat is paid after we have taken care of our personal and family expenses, debts, taxes and etc. In addition paying taxes CANNOT be substituted with zakat.
People who are eligible to receive the zakat are:
1. The poor, the needy,
2. Muslims reverts,
3. Muslims who became prisoners in the war (give Zakat to release them)
4. Muslims in debt,
5. Employees appointed to collect Zakat,
6. Muslims in service of research or study or propagation of Islam,
7. Wayfarers who are foreigners in need of help.
· Sawn – Fasting in the month of Ramadan
Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan to cleanse their souls. Annually in the month of Ramadan, we Muslims fast from the break of dawn till the sunset. In addition, all Muslims refrain from food, drinks, and physical relations. Muslims, who are ill, aged, or traveling and women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If for a health reason or not physical capable of keeping fast, then one has to feed poor and needy person for every day they have missed. Did you know fasting is very beneficial to health and it also help in self purification. Fasting help us grow in our spiritual life which is much peaceful and comforting. By fasting a person realize how others are surviving with no food to eat and water to drink. Therefore, we Muslims thank Allah (swt), for all the Naimath (Allah’s Blessings) that He had showered us with.
It is mentioned in a Hadith that on the Day of Judgment, three persons will not have to give an account of the food that they ate, immaterial of what they ate as long as it is halal. They are: the fasting person, the person who makes sehri (Food we eat before we start the fast), and the person who is stationed on the borders of the Islamic state safeguarding it from being invaded by the kuffaar (Non-Believer). This is a great concession for these three persons that they have been absolved from giving an account of their eating. It should be borne in mind that despite this concession, one should not spend a lot of money and time in preparing very exquisite meals. Spending a lot of time in preparing delicacies turns one away from the remembrance of Allah (swt) and gives impetus to one’s power of committing sins. This should always be borne in mind. One should value the bounties that Allah (swt) has blessed one with. The best way of showing gratitude to Allah (swt) is that one should obey all His commands and orders.
2. It is mentioned in a Hadith that the person who feeds a fasting person at the time of opening fast will receive the same reward as that of the fasting person without there being any decrease in the reward of the fasting person. In other words, through the mercy and generosity of Allah (swt), both of them will receive the same reward. This will apply even if the person feeds him with a very simple or insignificant meal. Even if he merely gives him some water to drink.
3. It is mentioned in a Hadith that Allah (swt) multiplies the rewards of His pious servants by ten times up to 700 times except for the reward of fasting. In other words, there is no limit for the reward of fasting. As regards to fasting, Allah (swt) says: “It is for Me alone and I will give the reward for it.” From this we can gauge how great the reward of fasting is that there is no limit to the rewards. In addition to this, Allah (swt) will give the reward for fasting Himself and will not delegate this task to the angels. Glory be to Allah (swt) for attaching such importance to this little effort on our part. However, it should be borne in mind that all these virtues and benefits of fasting will only come into effect when we fulfill this duty as it ought to be fulfilled, and only when we abstain from speaking lies, backbiting, and all other sins. In the month of Ramadan, some people leave out their Salat completely while others miss out the fajr Salat. In doing so, they are depriving themselves of the numerous blessings and rewards of fasting. Furthermore, by reading this Hadith, one should not have this misconception that fasting is more virtuous than Salat because Salat is the most virtuous of all the different acts of ibaadah. The meaning of this Hadith is that there is a very great reward for fasting and it does not mean that fasting is the most virtuous act of ibaadah. The above-mentioned Hadith continues that there are two times of extreme happiness for the fasting person. The first time of happiness is when he opens his fast and the second time is on the Day of Judgment. That is, when he meets Allah (swt), as mentioned in other Ahaadith.
· Pilgrimage to Mecca
Pilgrimage to Mecca, we Muslims call it a “Hajj”. It is essential for those who are physically and financially are capable to perform. Every year Millions of people go to Mecca from all over the world where Muslims from different background get an opportunity to meet one another and pray together. Annual Hajj takes place in the 12th month of lunar Islamic calendar. Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments: for men it is one large cloth which they rap it around them in a certain way. Everyone looks alike in Hajj and this clothing strips away the difference of class and culture, so that all stand equal before Allah almighty. The rites of the Hajj, which are of Abrahamic origin, include circling the Kabba seven times, and going seven times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa as did by Bibi Hajera (May Allah bless her) during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of Arafa and join in prayers for Allah (swt) forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Last Judgment. The close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. This, and the Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are the main festivals of the Muslim calendar.