Pillars of Islam

On the Occasion of Differences

Differences are a part of life. A divergence of views and behaviour arises between people for a variety of reasons. Just as differences occur among unbelievers and apostates. Similarly differences occur between sincere and pious people. But even if differences cannot be prevented, that is no reason for any individual to indulge in negative behaviour. It should be borne in mind that despite differences, positive behaviour is both a possibility and a necessity.

Observing Silence

The Prophet of Islam once observed, “One who believes in God and the Last Day should either speak words of goodness or keep quiet.” It is true that failure to speak up and tell the truth when the occasion calls for it can (according to a hadith) earn one the name of ‘dumb Satan.’ But, there are many occasions when observing silence is more proper and more important. One example of how essential it is to observe silence is provided by an incident at the battle of Uhud in which the Prophet having been injured in battle had fallen down in a cave, away from the eyes of the people.

Non-Violence

Islam is a religion, which teaches non-violence. According to the Qur’an, God does not love fasad, violence. What is meant here by fasad is clearly expressed in verse 205 of the second surah. Basically, fasad is that action which results in disruption of the social system, causing huge losses in terms of lives and property.

Neighbours

Neighbours are our nearest companions. After family members, it is neighbours one comes in contact with. Developing good relations with neighbours is therefore an important aspect of a God-oriented life. A neighbour, be he a co-religionist or an adherent of another religion, be he of one’s own community or of another, must always to be taken good care of. He must be given his dues at all events, according to the demands of the Shariah and of humanity.

The Mosque

What is the role of the mosque in Islam? ‘Masjid’, or mosque, literally means ‘a place for self-prostration’, that is, a place formally designated for saying the prayers. According to a hadith, the Prophet of Islam observed: “The masjid is a house of God-fearing people. This means, in effect, that it is a center for the inculcation of reverence, where individuals learn what is meant piety and are thus prepared for a life of devotion to the Almighty.

Monotheism (Tawheed)

Fundamental to the religious structure of Islam is the concept of tawheed, or monotheism. As the seed is to tree, so is tawheed to Islam. Just as the tree is a wonderfully developed extension of the seed, so is the religious system of Islam a multi-facetted expression of a single basic concept. For monotheism in Islam does not mean simply belief in one God, but in God’s oneness in all respects. No one shares in this oneness of God. Anthropologists would have us believe that the concept of God in religion began with polytheism; that polytheism gradually developed with monotheism.

Mornings and Evenings

Islam is a complete programme for life covering the individual’s entire existence. From morning till evening not a single moment of the believer’s life excludes the sphere of Islam. It is only after saying his prayers that he goes to bed at night and when he wakes up early in the morning, he first of all purifies his body. After performing his ablutions he says his fajr (dawn) prayer. This is the beginning of the God-oriented life, which starts with purity and worship. The ensuing hours between morning and noon are meant for economic activities.

Mercy of God

The Qur’an tells us that the prophets were sent to the world to teach the ways of mercy and compassion. According to one of the Prophet’s sayings, related in the Sahih (authentic traditions) of Imam Muslim, “God has a hundred mercies, one of which He has sent down amongst jinn and men and cattle and beasts of prey. With this they are kind and merciful to one another and the wild creature inclines to tenderness to her offspring.

Marriage

The Qur’an states: ‘They (women) are your garments. And you (men) are their garments.’ (Qur’an, 2:187). These words from the Holy Scriptures define how men and women relate to each other -like body and its garments. Without garments a body is meaningless, and without a body garments are meaningless. The two must go together, for, apart, they have little reason to exist. This symbolizes the closeness of the two sexes in the material and spiritual senses.