As we all know, Islam is a global religion, with more than 1.5 billion adherents. It stretches from the Maghreb to Indonesia, passing by the Middle East, and the Muslim Diaspora in the Western World. It is a global religion. The Prophecy of Muhammad (SWS) and the Unity of God are the roots of these traditions. It completes the message of Îssa: the last message of Allah. These traditions include mainly the five pillars of Islam, but also symbols and nations. Read this article on Miskshops
Five pillars of Islam
The five pillars of Islam form the foundation of the Islamic way of life. These pillars are the profession of faith, prayer, zakat (financial support for the poor), the fast of the month of Ramadan, and the once-in-life pilgrimage to Mecca for those who can afford it.
The first pillar of Islam: Shahada
Image source: PX
Shahada, the main profession of faith in Islam, is divided into two parts. The first (“I attest that there is no deity except God”) implicitly refers to the concept of tawhid. Muslim principles affirm the existence and uniqueness of Allah: Allah is unique, in opposition to polytheism, and one, in opposition to Christian Trinitarianism. The second (“and that Muhammad (SWS) is his Envoy”) refers to the prophetic mission of Muhammad(SWS).
As the first pillar of Islam, a Muslim can say it 4 times during his lifetime: during his adoption of Islam, during prayer, during expression of his faith or a call to Allah, and finally, during accompanying a dying person in death.
To emphasize this notion of the oneness of Allah, we sometimes accompany the profession of faith with a gesture of the index that we point to the sky, as it is the first of the five pillars of Islam.
The second pillar of Islam: Salat
Image source: PX
Salat is the Islamic prayer, the second of the five pillars of Islam. This term covers however a large set of prayers in Islam, but people specifically use it for the five daily ritual prayers, obligatory for the faithful. These are prayers that can be called canonical, as opposed to supererogatory prayers.
They take place at dawn (Fajr), in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its zenith (Dhohr), in the middle of the afternoon (‘Asr), at dusk (Maghreb) and in the evening ( ‘Ichâ’). Each of them is made up of a variable number of RAK’A, which can be called prayer units.
According to the tradition of Islam, salat did not become a worship obligation until after the Prophet’s Ascension from Islam beyond the seven heavens (Mi’raj), which tradition places in the year 2 before the Hegira, or around 620 AD. It was indeed on this occasion that God prescribed Muhammad (SWS) the five ritual prayers. According to tradition, a solicitation from Muhammad (SWS) has done this, following which he obtained from God that he reduce to five the fifty daily prayers that He had originally required.
Each of the five prayers includes 2, 3, or 4 cycles/units called Rak’A. Each of these cycles consists at least of the recitation of Surat Al-Fatiha, of divine praise, of invocations, all in a specific series of postures: standing, inclined, prostrate, kneeling.
The third pillar of Islam: Zakat
Zakât, literally translated to “legal alms” is the third pillar of Islam after the attestation of faith and prayer.
The Muslim is required to calculate each lunar year (hegira) this amount and to give it “to the poor, the poor, those who work in the service of zakât, to new converts whose hearts are to be strengthened, to slaves [who need to fulfill their postage contract], indebted people [who cannot pay their debts] to volunteer fighters and to the traveler [who does not have what allows him to reach his destination ”[At sôurat -Tawbah / 60].
Zakat and its very essence reveal the importance of social participation in the Muslim world. Zakât is a tax on assets and property which is, first of all, as an obligation before God. This levy purifies on the religious, sacred, and moral level the good of the one who possesses it.
The goals of zakat are to purify the believer of his possible unhealthy attraction to goods, to limit greed and lust. Likewise, it favors the investment of goods, since investments are exempt from taxes; to allow the poorest to support themselves, which was a right within the framework of collective responsibility, as Islam advocates; and rally the hearts of men to God.
The fourth pillar: sawm
Fasting in Islam, called sawm, designates a Muslim practice of abstaining from eating, drinking, having sex and smoking, from dawn until ‘at sunset. Muslims do it generally during the month of Ramadan, as an obligation. Nonetheless, they can do it as well on particular dates in the Muslim calendar or voluntarily.
Ramadan, which designates a month in the Muslim calendar, is an important period of worship in Islam. Muslims emphasizes particularly meditation, charity, and the celebration of religion, fasting being an important part of the traditions surrounding this month.
The fifth pillar: Hajj
The hajj is the pilgrimage that Muslims make to the holy places in the city of Mecca. It is between the 8th and 13th of the lunar month of DHOU al-HIJJA, that it takes place.
The pilgrimage allows the expiation and the remission of the great sins and small sins. As it is by the word of Muhammad (SWS). As reported by Bukhari: “Whoever will make the pilgrimage without having sexual intercourse and without committing any great sin is released from his sins and becomes like the day his mother gave birth to him ”; this provided that his intention is sincere towards God, that the money used to make his pilgrimage is lawful and that he preserves himself from the “great sin” (FISQ = perversion, disobedience to Allah). Besides, the pilgrim benefits upon his return from great prestige within the community of believers.
The pilgrimage constitutes a series of efforts and sacrifices, united, which are a way of “calming one’s soul”, that is to say, of mastering it. Indeed, it constitutes an important financial expense for many pilgrims, an effort against his passions by hunger, thirst, the fact of watching long, to undergo tests, the distance from his place of residence, the separation of with family and friends.
Concerning Islam’s symbols, the most known are the star and the crescent. Nonetheless, they are more related to the Ottoman Empire than to Islam itself. The Turks governed over the Southern Mediterranean for a long time. It influenced most of these countries, who took those symbols as flags for their own. Examples are numerous: Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Uzbekistan, Egypt before Nasser’s revolution… Recently, people started using the star more often, because it refers to the five pillars of Islam. Also, white, red, or green and frequently used by Muslims as “colors of Islam”.
Other symbols include flags with the shahada written on them, like Saudi Arabia. The Berber empires of North Africa used to pull it up when fighting the Christians in Andalusia.
Nation of Islam
Black American Muslims are a group of religious groups from the African-American community. They claim to be of Sunni Orthodox Islam, the Nation of Islam, or various smaller groups.
As for rules, no eating of pork meat, following the teachings of Islam. The Nation of Islam also insists on the respect of the five pillars of Islam. The consumption of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol does not fit in either, following the traditional Muslim vision.
“Religion, especially Christianity, has taught everywhere the lie that we were the descendants of Kham [one of Noah’s sons] condemned, he and his descendants, to be slaves of the whites.»
Ultimately, the Nation of Islam reinterprets Islam in a very heterodox sense. The group appears to carry a political, social, and religious message. Nonetheless, Orthodox Muslim groups in the 1930s did not recognize this group as Muslim. The main reason is that it was too different from the traditions of the land of Islam.
Featured image: Photo by Rumman Amin