The five pillars of Islam are five basic acts considered mandatory by Muslims. These five pillars are found in the hadith. Today we will look at the first two pillars. A list of the pillars are found in Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 8:
Allah’s Messenger said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):
- To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger.
- To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
- To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) .
- To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
- To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
The first pillar is a confession of faith called the shahada. The confession, “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah” is to be declared in Arabic, and must be said with conviction and an understanding of its meaning. The first part, “there is no god but Allah” is declaring that only Allah can be worshipped and that Allah has no partner or son. The second part declares the Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. It should be noted that you do not become a Muslim by simply pronouncing the words. The oral declaration is a reflection of belief that is held in one’s heart.
The complete shahada does not appear in the Qur’an. It is actually found in Sura 9:31, and in Sura 33:40. As soon as a baby is born into a Muslim family, these words are whispered into his ears, and if possible a Muslims is encouraged to repeat the words as he is dying.
The second pillar is salat. Salat consists of five daily ritualistic prayers. Personal prayer or supplication by Muslims is called dua. The salat prayers are named according to the prayer times: Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), ‘Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening) and Isha (night). The prayers are recited while facing the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.
Salat has a set of positions while reciting certain verses, phrases or prayers. The worshiper begins by standing, but as he repeats the prayers he bows, prostates and concludes while sitting on the ground.
Before prayer, Muslims must perform wudu or abulution to make sure they are clean from any physical impurities. These steps include washing your hands, inhaling water into the nose, washing the face, lower arms, head, ears, and feet.
As Christians, we know that God is our Father who desires to fellowship with His children just as they are. Because of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross we can each approach God without rituals. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Much of the worship of Allah by Muslims is ritualistic. Pray they will have a revelation of the love of our Heavenly Father who desires a personal relationship rather than rituals.
The political side of Islam seeks to control kafirs (non-Muslims). 51% of the trilogy of Islamic texts (Qur’an, Sira, and Hadith) deal with the kafir making the system of Islam more political than religious. Jihad is the technique Islam uses for accomplishing its political goals.
Jihad can mean, “an individual’s striving for spiritual self-perfection or a Muslim holy war or spiritual struggle against infidels.” Islam recognizes two types of jihad – the lesser and greater jihads. The greater jihad is the soul’s struggle with evil – basically striving to become a better person. The lesser jihad is about holy war. Interestingly only about 3% of the Bukhari Hadith is about the greater jihad, the remaining 97% is about the lesser jihad or holy war. In fact, jihad is mentioned over 200 times in this particular hadith.
Bat Ye’or, author of Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, said, “[the jihad] is the normal and permanent state of war between the Muslims and the [infidels], a war that can only end with the final domination over unbelievers and the absolute supremacy of Islam throughout the world.”
The Qur’an and other texts teach that Islam is the perfect political system and is destined to rule the entire world. All other governments and systems must submit to Islam. If they do not submit then jihad can be used. Since Muslims consider refusing to submit to Islam an offense against Allah, all jihad is defensive, allowing Islam to portray itself as a victim.
Although many westerners may think of terror attacks when they think of jihad, jihad actually takes various and less identifiable forms such as jihad through the pen, jihad through the mouth, jihad through charity, jihad through marriage, jihad through immigration and even jihad through interfaith meetings. Jihad uses every aspect of civilization as a war machine. Military force and terror are actually are the smallest components in jihad.
Violent jihad has brought about the deaths of roughly 270 million of people in Islam’s 1400-year history. It is estimated that through Jihad – Islam has killed 120 million Africans, 60 million Christians, 80 million Hindus, and 10 million Buddhists.
Pray for the leaders of your nation (government, church, education, media, etc.) – that they will have a more clear and truthful understanding of Islamic jihad and have God’s wisdom to recognize it in their midst, and take a godly stand for truth.
Pray that Muslims will begin to question why their religion must use jihad in order to advance, and pray God will soften their hearts and give the opportunity to hear the message of the gospel of Christ.
Religion is defined as “belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine.” Politics, however, can be defined as “the use of strategy or intrigue in obtaining power, control or status.” Religion is between a follower and their god. Politics is between men.
Once Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina, his message evolved from primarily a religious one to a political and militaristic one. In the first 13 years of Islam (the Mecca period) Islam averaged 11 to 12 converts per year, however in the Medina period Islam averaged around 10,000 new Muslims per year. Dr. Bill Warner from PoliticalIslam.com estimates based on the number of followers during the Mecca period as opposed to the Medina period of Muhammad’s life Islam’s success as a religion during Muhammad’s lifetime was about 0.3%, but its success as a political system was 99.7%. If Islam had remained only a religion, it would not exist today.
The difference between the religion of Islam and the politics of Islam is found in its treatment of the “kafirs.” Kafir is translated from the Arabic as “unbeliever,” however the translation does not accurately confer the meaning. Kafir refers to “people who reject Allah or deny or hide the truth revealed by Him. One who knowing what is true, decides to forget the evidence decides to sidetrack, deceive himself.” Kafir refers to all non-Muslims – Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, pagans, atheists, etc., and political Islam seeks to control non-Muslims.
There are some positive verses in the Qur’an about the kafirs such as Sura 109:6 “you to your religion and me to my religion,” but the overwhelming majority of verses (around 97%) about kafirs are quite negative. According to Islam kafirs are ignorant (Sura 6:111), disgraced (Sura 37:18), cursed (Sura 33:60-61), can be killed (Sura 4:91), raped (Ishaq 759), stolen from (Bukhari 5, 59, 537), crucified (Sura 5:33), made war on (Sura 9:29) and annihilated (Sura 6:45).
PoliticaIIslam.com has done a statistical study of the texts of Islam. The study reveals 64% of the Qur’an, 81% of the Sira, and 32% of the Hadith is about the kafir. Overall 51% of the Islamic texts deal with the kafir, which means the majority of Islam is political rather than religious.
Pray that western Christians will wake up to the realization that they are not infringing upon a Muslim’s religious rights when they question the aggression of the politics of Islam in western society.
The majority of Christians who subscribe to this blog would most likely identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. The National Association of Evangelicals have four statements with which respondents must strongly agree in order to be categorized as an evangelical. These statements are:
- The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
- It is very important for me to personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
- Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
- Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.
The criteria to be considered evangelical seems clear, however a 2014 Religious Landscape Study by the Pew Research Center surprisingly revealed that 52% of those surveyed identifying themselves as evangelicals believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. Expanding the criteria to all Christians 66% believe many religions can lead to eternal life.
This means statistically if you were to conduct a general survey of those self-identifying as Christians, two thirds of those surveyed would not have an understanding of Jesus’ words in John 14:6 where He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The Bible teaches that it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that man can be reconciled to God and receive eternal life. Obviously many people who identify as Christians do not understand an essential doctrine of Christianity. If we want to objectively understand the basic teachings of Christianity, we must examine Christianity’s foundational text – the Bible.
Likewise in order to understand Islam, we must examine Islam’s foundational texts. Yesterday we discussed some sects and branches of Islam. It is clear that all Muslims do not believe exactly the same things, however all Muslims do base their beliefs on the Qur’an.
Muslims believe the Qur’an contains the actual words of Allah to Muhammad without any alterations or changes. Muhammad received the revelations over a period of 23 years. After he received a revelation he would recite it to his companions who also memorized it or wrote it down.
The Qur’an contains 114 suras or chapters, which are not in chronological order but roughly arranged from the longest to the shortest. The Qur’an says around 90 times that Muhammad is the perfect Muslim, so in order to properly practice Islam, a Muslim worships Allah as Muhammad worshipped Allah.
The Sunna is defined as “the body of Islamic custom and practice based on Muhammad’s words or deeds.” The Sunna is made up of the Sira (Muhammad’s biography) and the Hadith, a collection of stories and traditions of Muhammad’s life. It is actually the “Sunna” that governs a Muslim’s life more than the Qur’an since Muhammad is the perfect example for Muslims.
Throughout this series we will examine the foundational texts of Islam in order to objectively determine what Islam teaches.
Pray that both Christians and Muslims will read the foundational texts of their religions and seek to know the truth about their religious beliefs.
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