The Tenets of Islam

Every religion or system has a set of terminology, which is necessary to understand in order to have a proper appreciation of that particular religion or system. These are called the tenets of the religion. The religion of Islam too has its set of terminology or tenets. Besides the five pillars of Islam there are certain other terms and concepts that need to be understood to have a clear understanding of Islam. They are as follows:

1. Islam (Surrender to God)

Islam means to submit or to surrender with a full realization of God. Man abandons his ego, his freedom, and surrenders himself before God completely. In all matters of life he obeys God’s commandments. He begins to lead a restrained life instead of an indulgent one.

2. Dhikr (Remembrance)

Dhikr means to remember—in Islamic terminology it means to remember God. When man discovers God, the Creator, the Almighty, Who will reward as well as punish us for our good and bad deeds, God becomes the focus of his life. His thoughts, feelings and actions all become God-oriented. When a person has reached this stage, this is a sure indication that he has found God with all His attributes.

3. Dawah (Invocation)

Dawah means to call, to invite. A Muslim who has received the message of God must do his utmost to communicate this message to other human beings. This dawah work in its nature is a prophetic task. The more one follows the way of the Prophet in the performance of this task, the greater the reward one will receive for it.

4. Jihad (Struggle)

The literal meaning of jihad is to strive or to struggle. It involves struggling with one’s own self. Struggling to communicate the word of God to others is also jihad. In a similar way when any power commits aggression against Islam then, at that moment, rising in defence against that power too is jihad. For details, please see the section on Clearing Certain misconceptions about Islam.

5. Sabr (Patience)

Sabr means patience, for example, restraining oneself from any adverse reaction when faced with an unpleasant situation. On all such occasions, one must be able to offer a positive response instead of a negative one. This is essential. For, in this present world, unpleasant events set in motion by others have to be faced time and again. If one is invariably provoked on such occasions and reacts negatively, the desired personality will not develop in one. All the teachings of religion require a positive psychology. Therefore, one who loses patience will be able neither to imbibe religious instruction nor to pass it on to others.