The purpose of the
creation of man, according to Islam, is that he should worship Allah.
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
I have not created
the jinn and the men but that they may worship Me. (51:57)
Worship means total
obedience to the commands of Allah. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him, brought the message of God and explained
all the commandments concerning the religion of Islam.
Islam has five basic
duties which a Muslim has to perform. They are known as the Five Fundamentals
of Islam or the Five Pillars of Islam.
The first pillar is
called Kalima Shahadah, the declaration of Islamic faith, i.e;
to bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and
that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. The oneness of God is the basis
of our belief in Islam.
The second pillar
is called Salat, i.e; to perform Prayer in a prescribed form.
The third pillar is
called Zakat, a form of levy which Muslims of means pay annually in cash
or kind, and is spent for good causes mentioned in the Holy Quran.
The fourth pillar
is called Saum, i.e; to keep fasts in the month of Ramadhan.
The fifth pillar is
called Hajj, i.e; to perform pilgrimage to the Kaaba in
Makkah at least once in the lifetime of a Muslim.
Of all religious obligations,
Islam has laid greatest emphasis on the institution of Salat. It
is enjoined upon every Muslim to pray five times a day. Besides the five
obligatory Prayers, there are other types of Prayers which are optional.
A Muslim takes the
spiritual side of life as seriously as a worldly person takes the material
side of it. As air and food are essential for our physical life, likewise,
we cannot survive spiritually without offering Salat or Prayer
regularly in different parts of the day.
Salat or Prayer,
consists of various postures, i.e; Standing called Qiyam, Bowing
down called Ruku, Prostration called Sajdah and Sitting
called Qa'dah. During each posture prescribed, phrases are to be
recited. As these phrases are in Arabic, every Muslim is required not
only to memorise these verses but also to know their meaning so that the
worshipper knows what he is saying to his Lord during the Prayer.
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