The ‘articles of faith’ are orally confessed by the Muslims (believers), which should be deep rooted in the heart. The pillars of faith are the physical manifestation of combination of faith and practices. Islam is based on the five obligatory pillars (principles), which are also the forms of worship (Qur’an;2:21, 43:64, 69:52); the first two (Shahada & Salah) are daily, next two (Zakat & Saum) are annual and the last (Hajj) is once in life :-
The First Pillar:Confession:
The Muslims believe in One God- Allah, the Unique, Single God of the universe, worshiped by all the Prophets and their followers Adam — Noah — Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob — Moses — Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). The Islamic Creed of Confession (Shahada) is the verbal commitment and pledge to testify: “La ilaha Illallah , Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah” [None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah]. Belief in One God is repeatedly mentioned in Bible at: Deutronomy;6:4; Isaiah;44:6, 45:21-22, Hosea; 13:4, 1Timothy,2:5 and in Qur’an;7:158. The second part of Islamic Confession about the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) was also revealed in the Bible: Deuteronomy; 18:18,19, Song of Solomon5:16, John; 16:7, 12-14, 14:16 & 15:26. This is the basic step towards the spiritual form of worship repeated in every prayer. The Jewish creed is embodied in a single prayer recited at every prayer service: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”, also translated as “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is unique, alone.”In Hebrew this is pronounced phonetically: “ Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.” (Deuteronomy; 6:4, & Mark 12:29-30 also Deuteronomy; 5:7-9 and 6:13-15, John;5:30).
The ‘Nicene Creed’, which was promulgated at the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E is widely used by most of the Christians. This is a Christian statement of faith that is the only ecumenical creed because it is accepted as authoritative by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and major Protestant churches. The Nicene Creed was originally written in Greek, the modern English version of the text states: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.” It is obvious that this creed is far from the monotheism preached by Prophet Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and other prophets including Jesus Christ (peace be upon them all).
The Second Pillar: Prayer –Salah :
Muslims are required to offer prayers (salah) to Allah (Qura’n;6:72) daily five times. Prayer is the physical, spiritual and social form of worship in congregation. It is general misconception that the daily prayers are only practiced in the present day Islam which is the revived faith of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). Prayers (salah) have been part of faith right from the beginning, Qur’an refers them at: 2:83, 14:37, 14:40, 11:87, 3:39, 19:31, 3:113. The Prayer (salah) of a Muslim is not complete without recitation of The Opening Chapter (Surah Fateha) of (Qur’an;1:1-7). The Bible mentions about prayer at Exodus; 34:6-7, Mathew;6:9-13, also in Psalms; 7:1-17 and 8:1-9. Abraham offered prayer: “And Abram fell on his face:”(Genesis; 17:3-5), offering of prayer is also mentioned at Genesis; 18:22, 22:5, 26:25, 12:8, Exodus; 4:31, 5:3, 5:7, 5:8 & 34:8-9, Psalms;86:9, 95:5, 5:7, 55:16, 55:17, 95:6, 138:2, 1 Kings; 8:33, 34, Jeremiah;7:2, Daniel; 6:10, 9:3, Joshua;7:6, Mathew;14:23 & 17:21. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) also offered prayers: “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and said unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder”.(Mathew;26:36, 26:39). The disciples of Jesus also offered prayers: “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour”.(Acts; 3:1, 10:9, 12:12, 16:13, 16:25, 20:36, Luke; 22: 44-46, Mark; 1:35 & 9:29). Cleanliness and purity is liked by Allah “…Allah loves those who purify themselves.”(Qur’an;9:108). Ablution is obligatory for the (Salah) prayer (Qur’an;5:6). Ablution before prayer is also mentioned in Bible: “And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet there at:”(Exodus;40:31); “Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them”.(Acts;21:26).
The Third Pillar:Obligatory Alms -Zakat :
Obligatory Charity (Zakat) involves annual payment of a certain percentage of assets which is distributed among the poor or other rightful beneficiaries. This is a financial, social and spiritual form of obligatory worship (Qur’an;98.5, 24:56, 2:43). Charity has also been prescribed in the previous scriptures (Numbers;18:25-26, Leviticus;27:30-32, Deuteronomy;14:22, 14:28-29, 26:12, 1 Peter;4:8, Mathew;23:23-24). The massagers of God had always been emphasizing charity, which is mentioned in Qur’an at 2:83, 70:24, 5:121, 9:55, 19:31 & 21;73.
The Fourth Pillar:Fasting (Saum):
The physical and spiritual forms of worship are combined in Saum (Fasting). This is very old form of worship which is obligatory for the Muslims as it was to the previous believers: “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may learn self-restraint.”(Qur’an;2:183); “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, (Jonah;3:5-8). Fasting is mentioned in Bible: “And he (Jesus) said unto them (disciples), This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting”(Mark;9:29) also at Exodus; 34:27-28, Leviticus;16:29-30, 2 Samuel; 1:12, 2 Samuel;12:16, Numbers; 9:1-3, Psalms;35:13, Jeremiah; 36:6, Joel; 2:12-13, Zechariah;8:18, Acts;13:2-3, Mark;9:29 & Mathew; 17:21. Every year in the lunar month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from early morning till sunset, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations with wife. Apart from spiritual benefits, fasting also has medical advantages.
The Fifth Pillar:The Pilgrimage -Hajj:
Performance of Hajj is the special form of worship, in which the physical, financial, social and spiritual aspects are combined. The Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makka) is obligatory for every Muslim once in life time if one can afford financially and physically. Allah says: “And complete the Hajj or `Umra in the service of Allah.”(Qur’an;2:196); “In it are Signs Manifest; (for example), the station of Abraham; Whoever enters it attains security; Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah,- those who can afford the journey; but if any deny Faith, Allah stands not In need of any of His creatures.”(Qur’an;3:97). Hajj revive the memory of pronouncement of Islamic monotheism (Tawheed) by Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and his first born Ishmael while building Ka’ba at Makka and reminder of the sacrifice of his only son Ishmael (Genisis;16:3,16:15), offered by Abraham in obedience to the command of God. Allah says: “Verily, the first house (of worship) appointed for mankind was that in Baca (Mecca), full of blessing, and guidance for all people.”(Qur’an;3:96). The Bible also mentions about Baca: “As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.”(Psalms;84:6). Baca; in the ancient dialect, is synonymous with Makkah. The spring is known as the Zamzam. Some of the Hajj rituals (Qur’an;5:27 & Fiqh-us-Sunnah: 5.85) , are identical as mentioned at Genesis; 22:2, 22:4-5, Exodus;29:26, Genesis;4:1-5, Numbers; 8:10-16, Numbers; 6:5, 6:13, & 6:18).