Basic Practices

Their basic practices consist of what they call the Five Pillars and the Jihad. The Five Pillars of Islam are: Beliefs and witness; Daily prayers; Zakat; Fasting; and Hajj. Beliefs and witness Every Muslim, without resorting to the use of force or intimidation, are obliged to spread the words of Islam so that other people may know about it, understand it, and use the knowledge to guide them in choosing their faith. They are convinced that once non-Muslims acquire enough knowledge, they would voluntarily embrace Islam (Fisher, 2005). Daily Prayers

Prayers should be recited five times a day while facing the direction of Mecca. It is believed that requiring every Muslim to face Mecca symbolizes unity among the devotees of Islam around the world, while the daily prayer emphasizes Islam’s teaching that every Muslim should remember God everyday of his or her life (Fisher, 2005). Their daily prayer is called salat and consists of the Fajr, or the morning prayer; the Zuhr, or the noon prayer; the ‘Asr, or the afternoon prayer; the Maghrib which is the sunset prayer; and the Isha, or the night prayer which is said at night just before going to bed (Robinson, 2007).

Zakat Zakat, the third pillar, means “spiritual tithing and almsgiving. ” Muslims are enjoined to help the poor by donating part of their annual income to charities of their choice at the end of each year. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for example, channels its contribution through the Islamic Relief Organization which aids people around the world regardless of their religion. Other Muslims could give their contribution to their local mosques (Fisher, 2005). Fasting Every year, the first Qur’anic revelation is celebrated with a month-long fasting called Ramadan.

All able Muslims are required to abstain from “food, drink, sexual intercourse, and smoking” from dawn to dusk. Although fasting during Ramadan is an obligation, fasting, per se, is advised from time to time because it provides an individual with “a Transparent Soul to Transcend, a Clear Mind to think and a Light Body to move and act” (Fisher, 2005). Ramadan is considered as their holiest period which every Muslim who is over 12 years old is expected to observe. However, a Muslim could be excused from observing Ramadan because of reasons of health.

This was expressly provided for in chapter 2, verses 183 and 185 of the Qur’an, viz: O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint… Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting … (Robinson, 2007). Hajj The last Pillar – the Hajj – is a pilgrimage which every Muslim is expected make provided that he or she is financially and physically capable.

It should be done even only once during his or her lifetime to honor Allah. Their pilgrimage destination is Mecca, where their holiest sanctuary, the Ka’bah, was built by Abraham with the help of his son Isaiah (Fisher, 2005). The Hajj was described by the Council of Islamic Education as consisting of several ceremonies, meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of prophet Abraham and his family… Prophet Muhammad had said that a person who performs Hajj properly ‘will return as a newly born baby [free of all sins].

‘ The pilgrimage also enables Muslims from all around the world, of different colors, languages, races, and ethnicities, to come together in a spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood to worship the One God together (Robinson, 2007). Jihad Jihad means struggle. It is often misinterpreted by non-Muslims because it has often been portrayed by the media in the west as another term for a “holy war” which is waged by Muslims against non-Muslims. However, for Muslims, Jihad is actually a personal struggle to excel in one’s work or achieve a noble objective. It also means a Muslim’s struggle for “self-purification” (Robinson, 2007).