Pillars of Islam

Importance of Education in Islam

The field of education, covering ethics, religion, skills and general knowledge, is a very broad and very vital one. The importance of learning in enabling the individual to put his potential to optimal use is self-evident. Without education, the training of the human mind is incomplete. No individual is a human being in the proper sense until he has been educated.

Islamic Culture

The Qur’an addresses God as “Lord of the Universe.” It does not mention Him as “Lord of the nation.” This shows that Islam believes in unbounded universality and not in limitation. It is the same Qur’an which hails the Prophet as a “Blessing for the World” and not as “trouble for the world.” This demonstrates that Islam is the religion not of hatred but of love. Again the Qur’an proclaims: “Peace is good.” It does not say, “War is good.” This means that Islam wishes to create an atmosphere of peace and conciliation and does not condone war and confrontation.

Woman’s Role in Islam

The Qur’an calls Islam a religion of nature. This is because Islam is, in actual fact, based on the laws of nature. The commands of the Qur’an are a direct expression of those laws which have operated in the world of nature since its creation.

Prayer in Islam

Du’a (prayer) literally means to call. In Islamic terminology du'a means calling God, whether for worldly assistance or for salvation in the Hereafter.

Prayer has great significance in Islam. According to one of the hadith, the Prophet Muhammad said, 'It is prayer (du'a) which is worship,' and 'Prayer is the essence of 'ibadah’1. The reason prayer has such importance is that it is the ultimate expression of God's greatness and power and of man's helplessness. That is why a sincere prayer is the most precious of all deeds in the eyes of God.

The Spiritual Goal of Islam

What is the spiritual goal of Islam? That is, what is that spiritual target which Islam sets before man? The answer in the words of the Qur'an is: 'A soul at rest' (89:27). Thus the spiritual goal of Islam is to attain this state of peace in the soul.

The Spirit of Islam

Islam is the answer to the demands of nature. It is in fact a counterpart of human nature. This is why Islam has been called a religion of nature in the Qur'an and Hadith.

A man once came to the Prophet Muhammad and asked him what he should do in a certain matter. The Prophet replied, 'Consult your heart about it.' By the heart the Prophet meant common sense. That is, what one's commons sense tells one would likewise be the demand of Islam.

Rituals must arise from the spirit

All religions, through rituals and ceremonies, give a definite form to the act of worship. Islam, too, has specific rites but emphasises the spirit in which these are carried out. It does not conceive of divine worship as a dichotomous proposition divided into two equal parts, of form and spirit. Form is an external manifestation of the spirit — the vital and indispensable element of every sincere religious act, of which the former is a mere ancillary.

Hajj in Islam

It is incumbent upon Muslims to perform Haj, at least once in a lifetime, as long as they possess the means. As is clear from the following excerpts from the Quran and Hadiths, Haj is one important pillar among the five foundation pillars of Islam.

“Pilgrimage to the House is a duty to God for all who can make the Journey.” (3:97).

“The first House ever to be built for men was that at Mecca, a blessed place, a beacon for the nation.” (3:96)

Zakat or Alms-giving in Islam

Zakat, or the alms-tax, is one of the five basic tenets of Islam. Its payment is obligatory, at the rate of 2.5%, on all wealth that is subject to growth. Eight categories of people, eligible to receive Zakat, have been specified in this verse of the Qur’an: