Praise be to Allaah.
Islam is based on five pillars which the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has explained for us, when he said: “Islam is built upon five [pillars]: the testimony that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; establishing regular prayer (salaah); paying the zakaah; Hajj (pilgrimage) and fasting Ramadaan.” (Agreed upon; narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 8)
Islam is both belief and laws, in which Allaah and His Messenger have told us what is halaal and what is haraam, morals and good manners, acts of worship and how to interact with people, rights and duties, and scenes of the resurrection. When Allaah completed this religion, He chose it to be the way of life for all of mankind until the Hour begins:
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion
[al-Maa’idah 5:3 – interpretation of the meaning]
These are the pillars of Islam and the principles upon which it is based:
The first pillar: al-Shahaadatayn (the twin testimony of faith)
This means that a person believes that Allaah alone is the Lord, Sovereign and Controller, the Creator and Provider. He affirms all His most beautiful names and the sublime attributes that Allaah has affirmed for Himself or that His Prophet affirmed for Him. He believes that Allaah alone, and no one else, is the Only One Who is deserving of worship, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife? He created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything.
Such is Allaah, your Lord! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Creator of all things. So worship Him (Alone), and He is the Wakeel (Trustee, Disposer of affairs or Guardian) over all things”[al-An’aam 6:101-102]
And he believes that Allaah sent His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and revealed to him the Qur’aan, and commanded him to convey this religion to all of mankind. He believes that loving Allaah and His Messenger and obeying them are duties which are obligatory upon all of mankind, and that love of Allaah can only be realized by following His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): ‘If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’aan and the Sunnah), Allaah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”
The second pillar: salaah (prayer)
The Muslim believes that Allaah has enjoined upon every sane adult Muslim five prayers each day and night, which he does in a state of purity, standing before his Lord, every day in a state of purity and humility, thanking his Lord for His blessings, asking Him of His bounty, seeking His forgiveness for his sins, asking Him for Paradise and seeking refuge in Him from Hell.
The five obligatory prayers which are required day and night are Fajr (early morning, before dawn), Zuhr (mid-day, just after noon), ‘Asr (mid afternoon), Maghrib (just after sunset) and ‘Ishaa’ (at night, after dark has fallen). There are also Sunnah prayers such as Qiyaam al-Layl (prayer at night), Taraweeh prayers, two rak’ahs of Duha prayer, etc.
Prayer, whether it is fard or naafil, represents a sincere turning towards Allaah alone in all one’s affairs. Allaah has commanded all the believers to guard strictly the observance of the prayers, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Guard strictly (five obligatory) As Salawaat (the prayers) especially the middle Salaah (i.e. the best prayer ‘Asr). And stand before Allaah with obedience [and do not speak to others during the Salaah (prayers)]”[al-Baqarah 2:238]
The five daily prayers are obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman, night and day:
“Verily, As Salaah (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours”[al-Nisaa’ 4:103 – interpretation of the meaning]
The one who abandons prayer has no share in Islam. Whoever neglects it deliberately is a kaafir, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“(And remain always) turning in repentance to Him (only), and be afraid and dutiful to Him; and perform As Salaah (Iqaamat as Salaah) and be not of Al Mushrikoon (the polytheists, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah)[al-Room 30:31]
Islam is based on co-operation, brotherhood and love, and Allaah has prescribed coming together for these prayers and others, in order to attain these virtues. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times better than prayer offered alone.” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 650)
Prayer helps the believer at times of hardship and calamity. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And seek help in patience and As-Salaah (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khaashi‘oon [i.e. the true believers in Allaah — those who obey Allaah with full submission, fear much from His punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise) and in His Warnings (Hell)].[al-Baqarah 2:45]
The five daily prayers wipe out sins, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do you not think that if there was a river at the door of any one of you, and he were to bathe in it five times each day, would there by any dirt left on him?” They said, “No dirt would be left on him at all.” He said, “That is the likeness of the five daily prayers, by means of which Allaah erases sin.”
Prayer in the mosque is a means of entering Paradise. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever comes and goes to the mosque, Allaah will prepare for him a house in Paradise for each time he comes and goes.” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 669)
Prayer brings the slave and his Creator together. It was the delight of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Whenever any matter grieved him, he would turn to prayer and converse with his Lord and call upon Him, seeking His forgiveness and asking Him of His bounty.
Prayer done with proper humility and fear of Allaah brings the Muslim closer to his Lord, and keeps him from doing evil, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Recite (O Muhammad) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur’aan), and perform As Salaah (Iqaamat as Salaah). Verily, As Salaah (the prayer) prevents from Al Fahsha’ (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed)”[al-‘Ankaboot 29:45]
The third pillar: zakaah (poor due, charity tax)
Just asAllaah has created people with different colours, attitudes and levels of knowledge, so too their deeds and provision vary. He has made some of them rich and some poor, to test the rich as to whether they show gratitude, and to test the poor as to whether they are patient. Because the believers are a brotherhood, and brotherhood is based on compassion, kindness, love and mercy, Allaah has enjoined upon the Muslims zakaah which is taken from the rich and given to the poor. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allaah for them. Verily, your invocations are a source of security for them”[al-Tawbah 9:103]
Zakaah purifies and cleanses wealth, and purifies the soul from stinginess and miserliness. It strengthens the love between the rich and poor, takes away hatred, makes security prevail and brings happiness to the ummah happy.
Allaah has made the payment of zakaah obligatory upon everyone who owns the nisaab (minimum amount) for one year. The rate of zakaah on gold, silver, other metals and trade goods is one quarter of ten percent. On agricultural produce and fruits the amount is one-tenth if it is irrigated (by artificial means), and one-half of one-tenth if it is not irrigated (by artificial means, i.e., it is watered by rainfall or other natural means). Concerning an’aam animals (i.e., sheep, goats, cattle and camels) the details are explained in the books of fiqh… Whoever pays zakaah, Allaah expiates his sins thereby, and blesses his wealth, and stores up for him a great reward. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah, and whatever of good (deeds that Allaah loves) you send forth for yourselves before you, you shall find it with Allaah. Certainly, Allaah is All-Seer of what you do”[al-Baqarah 2:110]
Withholding zakaah brings disasters and evils upon the ummah. Allaah has threatened those who withhold it with a painful torment on the Day of Resurrection. He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Verily, there are many of the (Jewish) rabbis and the (Christian) monks who devour the wealth of mankind in falsehood, and hinder (them) from the way of Allaah (i.e. Allaah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism). And those who hoard up gold and silver (Al Kanz: the money, the Zakaah of which has not been paid) and spend them not in the way of Allaah, announce unto them a painful torment.
On the Day when that (Al Kanz: money, gold and silver, the Zakaah of which has not been paid) will be heated in the fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them:) ‘This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard’”
Concealing one’s zakaah is better than paying it openly in front of people, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“If you disclose your Sadaqaat (almsgiving), it is well; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, that is better for you. (Allaah) will expiate you some of your sins. And Allaah is Well-Acquainted with what you do [al-Baqarah 2:271]
When a Muslim pays his zakaah, it is not permissible for him to give it to anyone except those whom Allaah mentions in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“As-Sadaqaat (here it means Zakaah) are only for the Fuqaraa’ (poor), and Al Masaakeen (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allaah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujahidoon — those fighting in a holy battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allaah. And Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise”[al-Tawbah 9:60]
The fourth pillar: sawm (fasting) in Ramadaan
Fasting means abstaining from things which break the fast, such as food, drink and intercourse, from sunrise until sunset, with the intention of fasting.
The relationship of patience to faith is like that of the head to the body. Allaah has enjoined upon this ummah fasting for one month of the year, in order to draw closer to Allaah, to avoid that which Allaah has forbidden, to get used to being patient, to bring the nafs (self) under control, to compete in generosity and to demonstrate co-operation and mutual compassion. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”[al-Baqarah 2:183]
The month of Ramadaan is a great month, in which Allaah revealed the Qur’aan. The reward for good deeds, acts of charity and acts of worship are multiplied in this month. In it is Laylat al-Qadr, which is better than a thousand months. The gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the shayaateen (devils) are tied up.
Allaah has made fasting the month of Ramadaan obligatory upon every sane, adult Muslim, male and female alike, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The month of Ramadaan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allaah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him” [al-Baqarah 2:185]
There is a great reward with Allaah for fasting. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every action of the son of Adam is multiplied, each good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundredfold reward. Allaah said, ‘Except for fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it, for he gives up his desire and food for My sake.’” (Narrated by Muslim, al-Siyaam)
The fifth pillar: Hajj (pilgrimage)
Allaah has given the Muslims a Qiblah (direction of prayer) which they face when they pray (salaah) and offer supplications (du’aa’), wherever they may be. This qiblah is the Ancient House (the Ka’bah) in Makkah al-Mukarramah:
“so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haraam (at Makkah). And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction [al-Baqarah 2:144 – interpretation of the meaning]
Because the Muslims scattered all over the world, and Islam calls people to be united and get to know one another, just as it calls them to co-operate in righteousness and piety, to recommend one another to the truth, to call people to Allaah and to venerate the rituals of Allaah – hence Allaah has made it obligatory for every sane, adult Muslim who has the means, to visit His Ancient House, to circumambulate it and to perform all the rituals of Hajj as explained by Allaah and His Messenger. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allaah], then Allaah stands not in need of any of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)” [Aal Imraan 3:97]
Hajj is an occasion on which the unity of the Muslims, their strength and pride, are made manifest. For the Lord is One, the Book is one, the Messenger is one, the ummah is one, their worship is one and their clothing is one.
Hajj has its own etiquette and conditions which the Muslims must observe, such as restraining their tongues, hearing and sight from all that Allaah has forbidden, being sincere in their intentions, using money from good sources (for Hajj), fostering the best attitude, and avoiding everything that could invalidate the Hajj, such as sexual relations, sin or arguing unjustly, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e. the 10th month, the 11th month and the first ten days of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, i.e. two months and ten days). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein (by assuming Ihraam), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj. And whatever good you do, (be sure) Allaah knows it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness). So fear Me, O men of understanding!”[al-Baqarah 3:197]
If the Muslim does Hajj correctly, in the manner prescribed and sincerely for the sake of Allaah, it will be an expiation for his sins. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does Hajj for the sake of Allaah, and does not have sexual relations or commit sins, will come back like the day his mother bore him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 15210)
From Usool al-Deen al-Islami, by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem al-Tuawyjri
Praise be to Allaah.
One of the greatest attributes of Allaah is wisdom, and one of His greatest names is al-Hakeem (the most Wise). It should be noted that He has not created anything in vain; exalted be Allaah far above such a thing. Rather He creates things for great and wise reasons, and for sublime purposes. Those who know them know them and those who do not know them do not know them. Allaah has stated that in His Holy Book, where He says that He has not created mankind in vain, and He has not created the heavens and the earth in vain. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?”
116. So Exalted be Allaah, the True King: Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Lord of the Supreme Throne!”
[al-Mu’minoon 23:115, 116]
“We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them for a (mere) play”
“And We created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, for mere play.
39. We created them not except with truth (i.e. to examine and test those who are obedient and those who are disobedient and then reward the obedient ones and punish the disobedient ones), but most of them know not”
[These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’aan, and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings.]
2. The revelation of the Book (this Qur’aan) is from Allaah, the All Mighty, the All Wise.
3. We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with truth, and for an appointed term. But those who disbelieve, turn away from that whereof they are warned”
Just as it is proven that there is wisdom behind the creation of man from the standpoint of sharee’ah, it is also proven from the standpoint of reason. The wise man cannot but accept that things have been created for a reason, and the wise man regards himself as being above doing things in his own life for no reason, so how about Allaah, the Wisest of the wise?
Hence the wise believers affirm that there is wisdom in Allaah’s creation, and the kuffaar deny that. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.
191. Those who remember Allaah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted are You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:190, 191]
And Allaah says, describing the attitude of the kuffaar towards the wisdom of His creation (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve (in Islamic Monotheism) from the Fire!”
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Allaah tells us of His perfect wisdom in creating the heavens and the earth, and that He has not created them in vain, i.e., in play with no beneficial purpose.
“That is the consideration of those who disbelieve” in their Lord, because they think that which does not befit His Majesty.
“Then woe to those who disbelieve (in Islamic Monotheism) from the Fire!” Allaah created the heavens and earth in truth for truth. He created them so that His slaves might understand the completeness of His knowledge and power and the extent of His might, and that He alone is the One to be worshipped, and not those who have not created even an atom in the heavens or on earth. And that they might know that the Resurrection is true and that Allaah will judge between the people of good and evil. The one who is ignorant of the wisdom of Allaah should not think that Allaah will treat them equally when judging them. Hence Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Shall We treat those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds as Mufsidoon (those who associate partners in worship with Allaah and commit crimes) on earth? Or shall We treat the Muttaqoon (the pious) as the Fujjaar (criminals, disbelievers, the wicked)?”
This does not befit Our wisdom and Our judgement. End quote.
Tafseer al-Sa’di, p. 712
Allaah has not created man to eat, drink and multiply, in which case he would be like the animals. Allaah has honoured man and favoured him far above many of those whom He has created, but many people insist on kufr, so they are ignorant of or deny the true wisdom behind their creation, and all they care about is enjoying the pleasures of this world. The life of such people is like that of animals, and indeed they are even more astray. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“while those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as cattle eat; and the Fire will be their abode”
“Leave them to eat and enjoy, and let them be preoccupied with (false) hope. They will come to know!”
“And surely, We have created many of the jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones”
It is well known to wise people that the one who does a thing knows more about the wisdom behind it than anyone else and for Allaah is the highest description (cf. al-Nahl 16:60); He is the One Who has created mankind and He knows best the wisdom behind the creation of mankind. No one would dispute this with regard to worldly matters. All people are certain that their physical faculties have been created for a reason. The eye is for seeing, the ear is for hearing, and so on. Does it make sense for his physical faculties to have been created for a reason but for himself to have been created in vain? Or does he not agree to respond to the One Who created him when He tells him of the reason behind his creation?
Allaah has told us that the creation of the heavens and the earth, and of life and death, is for the purpose of testing, so as to test man. Whoever obeys Him, He will reward him, and whoever disobeys Him, He will punish him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And He it is Who has created the heavens and the earth in six Days and His Throne was on the water, that He might try you, which of you is the best in deeds. But if you were to say to them: “You shall indeed be raised up after death,” those who disbelieve would be sure to say, “This is nothing but obvious magic”
“Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All Mighty, the Oft Forgiving”
From this test results a manifestation of the names and attributes of Allaah, such as Allaah’s names al-Rahmaan (the Most Gracious), al-Ghafoor (the Oft Forgiving), al-Hakeem (the Most Wise), al-Tawwaab (the Accepter of Repentance), al-Raheem (the Most Merciful), and other names of Allaah.
One of the greatest reasons for which Allaah has created mankind – which is one of the greatest tests – is the command to affirm His Oneness (Tawheed) and to worship Him alone with no partner or associate. Allaah has stated this reason for the creation of mankind, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And I (Allaah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)”
Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
i.e., I have created them so that I may command them to worship Me, not because I have any need of them. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah said, narrating from Ibn ‘Abbaas: “except that they should worship Me (alone)” willingly or unwillingly. This is the view favoured by Ibn Jareer. Ibn Jurayj said: i.e., except that they should know Me. Al-Rabee’ ibn Anas said: “Except that they should worship Me”, i.e., for the purpose of worship. End quote.
Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/239
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Allaah, may He be exalted, created mankind to worship Him and to know Him by His names and attributes, and to enjoin that upon them. Whoever submits to Him and does what is enjoined upon him will be one of those who are successful, but whoever turns away from that, they are the losers. He will inevitably gather them together in the Hereafter where He will reward or punish them for what He commanded and forbade them to do. Hence Allaah mentions how the mushrikeen denied the reward or punishment, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But if you were to say to them: ‘You shall indeed be raised up after death,’ those who disbelieve would be sure to say, ‘This is nothing but obvious magic’”
i.e., if you were to speak to these people and tell them about the Resurrection after death, they would not believe you, rather they would reject your words vehemently and deny the message you brought, and they would say, ‘This is nothing but obvious magic,’ but in fact it is obvious truth. End quote.
Tafseer al-Sa’di, p. 333
And Allaah knows best.