The foundation of Islam are five:
Bearing witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,
observance of Prayer,
fasting during Ramadhan,
and Pilgrimage to the house of Allah.
The Foundations of Islam
Q What are the fundamental principles of Islam?
A There are five principles of Islam:
Affirmation of the creed:
There is none worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is His Apostle.
Observance of Salat (obligatory Prayers).
Paying of Zakat (poor rate).
Observance of Saum (Past) during Ramadhan.
Performance of Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca.
Q What is the first principle of Islam?
A The first principle of Islam is to declare that there is none worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is His Apostle.
Q What is the second principle of Islam?
A The second principle of Islam is to offer the Obligatory Prayers.
Q How many Obligatory prayers are there in Islam?
A There are five obligatory prayers. These are called: Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha.
Q What are the timings of these prayers?
A Fajr or morning prayer is said an hour before sunrise.
Zuhr or noon prayer is said at the decline of the sun.
Asr or afternoon prayer is said two hours before sunset.
Maghrib or sunset prayer is said immediately after sunset.
Isha or evening prayer is offered affer dark.
The timings are approximate.
Q What do you mean by Nafl prayers?
A These are optional prayers which could be offered whenever one likes except at forbidden times which are as follows:
During the rising of the sun.
When the sun is at its zenith.
During the setting of the sun.
After Asr prayer till the Azan of Maghrib prayer and after Fajr prayer till after the rising of the sun.
Q What is the person who leads the prayer in congregation called?
A He is called Imam which literally means leader.
Q How many kinds of prayers are there in Islam?
A There are three kinds of prayers:
Farz. This has been enjoined by Allah.
Sunnat. These were offered in addition to the Farz prayer regularly by the Holy Prophet.
Nafl. These are optional prayers such as Tahajjud etc.
Q What benefits could we derive from offering Prayer regularly?
A The Holy Quran says that regular Prayer wards off evil and indecency. It is the best means of self purification. It brings us nearer to our Creator and makes us obedient to Him. Prayer brings peace of mind and removes worries from our minds. It makes us punctual and regular in life.
Zakat (Poor Rate)
Q What is Zakat (poor rate)?
A It is a cess paid in cash or kind by Muslims of means who posses for one complete year, money, gold, silver, or cattle beyond a minimum. The proceeds of Zakat are distributed among the poorer sections of the community.
Q What is the annual rate of Zakat on money, gold, and silver?
A The annual rate is two and a half percent
Q What is a fast?
A Fast means abstention from food, and drink from dawn to sunset for the pleasure of God.
Q Should everybody observe the fast?
A Yes, except invalids, insane, infants or those on a journey. But those who do not observe the fast due to illness or incapacity of any sort or because of being on a journey should observe the fast on an equal number of other days. Those who cannot observe the fast at all should arrange to feed a poor and needy person during the period of the fast.
Q What is the month of obligatory fasting called?
A It is called the month of Ramadhan.
Q Should we fast during this month only?
A We can fast whenever we like during the year. The month of Ramadhan is the month of obligatory fasting.
Q What are the benefits of fasting?
A Pasting is good both for our physical as well as spiritual health. It promotes self discipline, physical, and moral strength. It reinforces the bonds of human sympathy. It is a great virtue to endure hunger and thirst for winning the pleasure of Allah.
Q What was the practice of the Holy Prophet in respect of voluntary fasts?
A The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) used to observe voluntary fast as follows:
Six in the beginning of the month of Shawwal (the lunar month after Ramadhan).
Three in the middle of every lunar month.
On the ninth of Zul-Hajj.
On the ninth or/and tenth of Muharram.
Q What is the congregational voluntary Prayer offered during the month of Ramadhan called?
A It is called Taraweeh. It consists of eight Raka’ats. It is offered immediately after the Isha prayers, but can also be offered in the latter part of the night.
Q What is Itikaf?
A One who can afford to spend the last ten days and nights of the month of Ramadhan in the mosque is called Mu’takif. To remain in the mosque for this period and to devote one’s time wholly to the worship and remembrance of ‘Allah is called Itikaf.
Q What is Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca.
A It is obligatory upon all Muslims who can afford the journey to perform Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life time.
Q What is Umra?
A Umra is a visit to Mecca at any time during the year in the state of Ihram to perform the Tawaf (circuits) of K’abah and the Saee (Running between the hillocks Safa & Marwa).
Q What are the ceremonies of Hajj?
A To be in the state of Ihram and to recite Talbiyyah. The stay at Arafat from the afternoon of 9th Zulhajj to sunset. To perform Tawaf(circuits) from 10th to the 12th Zulhajj. To offer sacrifice of an animal on 10th Zulhajj.
Q What is Ihram?
A The state of Ihram means to be clothed only in two seamless sheets. Hajj or Umra can only be performed in the state of Ihram.
Women are not required to be in Ihram.
Q What is Talbiyyah?
A The frequent repetition of the response:
Here am I, O Allah, here am I;
Here am I, Thou hast no associate, here am I;
All praise and bounty are Thine, and Thine the Kingdom;
Thou hast no associate.
Q What is Tawaf and how is it performed?
A Tawaf means performing seven circuits of the Ka’abah, starting from the position in which the Black Stone is on one’s right. At the end of each circuit the Black Stone should be kissed, if possible, and if not, then symbolically.
Q What is the Ka’abah?
A The Ka’abah is the first place set up for the worship of God in the world in pre-historic times. It was restored by Prophets Ibrahim and Ismaeel (may Allah’s peace be on them both) some four thousand years ago. Muslims all over the world face towards the Ka’abah when they offer their Prayers.