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The Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, I greet you with the greetings of all of the profits from Abraham to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them. The greetings of peace Assalamu alaikum, which means peace beyond you. I'm your host, Ahmed Rashid. Today we begin our fifth series. In today's program, we'll be talking about the five pillars of Islam. I have with me on today's program, Dr. Jamal betawi, of St. Mary's University. Welcome to the program, brother Jamal.
In many of the books and films that we see about Islam in this country, there's frequent use of the term, the five pillars of Islam. I wonder if perhaps you could give us an idea of what those five pillars are? And what is the origin of this expression, five pillars of Islam, even the term itself the term itself, right? What it actually comes in terms of the specification of the numbers. And the nature of those pillars appears in more than one saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. One of those most famous sayings, is narrated in a book, or collection by a Muslim.
And it says that Islam is based upon or the superstructure of Islam or infrastructure. Islam is based upon the
oneness of Allah or oneness of God, the performance of regular prayers,
the payment of poor do or die, aka
the fasting and pilgrimage. So apparently, the term was essentially based on this mentioned in the in the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Actually, there's more than one saying, but more or less, they point out to the same thing, but more specifically,
the first pillar, the oneness
of God, or oneness of Allah means that the person in order to be Muslim would have to acknowledge or confess with conviction of the heart and mind that there is no deity there is no God, but one gods. That's a law, which means the one and only the universal God of all. And that's required to be mentioned at least once in a lifetime, minimum, in order for the person to be a Muslim.
The second pillar is the performance of regular prayers. And these also are specified as five specific prayers which follow certain format. During the day or night is not prayer in the sense of supplication, I use the term prayer in English because that's the closest, but it's actually it's not in a sense just of sitting down and making supplication. It requires lots of preparation. And maybe this is an issue or an issue that you can address later on. The third pillar is the payment of poor do. It's called soccer. In Arabic, the fourth is fasting. And that refers to observing the fast from dawn to sunset,
during the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth lunar month in the Atlantic, Canada, and finally, pilgrimage to the holy places in Makkah, at least once in a lifetime if the person is able to. So this, this where the term came from, when non Muslims are right about Islam and mention these five pillars. Quite often one is left with the impression that these five pillars represent all of what Islam is about, is that a correct impression? for one to have? No, unfortunately, it's not. You see, the problem with many non Muslim authors, writers, film producers or narrators
is that they try to interpret Islam from the point of view of their own particular background, which is like placing Islam in an alien and different framework. This is where the mistake occurs.
Most of those sites as in Selma, narrator's and so on, and many also who oppose usually as experts on everything, including Islam and everything. They come from a kind of background, which view is religion, quote, unquote
as some kind of a largely set of dogmas, or rituals, something that focus on the spiritual or moral aspect of life, with some kind of separation from the secular or mundane, other activities.
Where, in fact, the truth of the matter about Islam, is that true Islam
is an all embracing comprehensive way of life,
a way of looking at life and taking it as a totality, not making this artificial separation between the various aspects of so called religious and secular, you see the lack of understanding of this particular point?
make many people view Islam are the pillars of Islam, in that sense that that's all that it's all about, you know, just you do these five things, and you, you've got everything there.
In fact, when you take the term pillars,
what comes to your mind?
It's been supporting something called pillars in a building. Yes, that's a beautiful analogy. And maybe you can approach it from that point of view to show again, the comprehensiveness of Islam
in any particular structure. pillars are not everything are the pillars are essential, but not enough to have a building.
Because in addition to the pillars, you need, roof,
you need walls, you need protection. Of course, you need insulation for the price of oil.
You need a heating system? Yes. You need furnishing, and all that.
That's when we talk about structure. The same thing applies to Islam. Many people think that once you talk about the five pillars of Islam, you've got everything. No, you haven't. If we look at Islam, also the same way we look at the structure, as a functioning religion, as a face, which is not limited to moral spiritual aspect, but a complete way of life, then you haven't got the functional building, just with the finish. You got to have all the other things also, alongside with the pillar, so the pillars are essential. Yes, they are the basis, but they're not everything. There's a difference between saying, the pillars are everything. And between saying the five pillars
are the basis of everything. See, these are two different things.
So this is the way Muslim looks at the Pillars of Islam as just the beginning. That, in fact, Islam addresses spiritual, moral, social, economic, and even political aspects of human human life. Maybe I may add just one more remark here, that even when those writers refer to the Pillars of Islam, they do not even detect it, or presented in sufficient depth.
Like I said earlier, it's depicted even as just the kind of formal rituals, that's it. Whereas if you really look very closely, in some depth, at the nature of those pillars, you find that they give lots of lessons which regulate social, moral, economic, and even political life. You might wonder how acts of worship, teach even political lessons or economic lessons, but we will be seeing that as as we go on. So in a way, it goes far beyond the simple notion of rituals or formalisms. There's a lot more than that, even if you take it as everything, which is not
just the basis. Before we go on and begin our examination of these pillars. I wonder if if there's any significance
to the order in which these pillars appear? Which comes first? For example, is there a hierarchy so to speak? Yes, my understanding is that yes, there is a hierarchy. For example, in the first pillars that we mentioned, which is the cornerstone of Islam really, is the belief in the one universal God of all humanity.
belief in God and faith in him and acceptance of his prophets represents the very foundation
upon which any good deeds can be accepted by God. So, this is the source of all virtue, as the Muslim believes. You notice that the second pillar for example is the keeping of the regular five daily prayers, which is the most noble act of communicating directly with God without,
you know, intermediary of priests or anybody else, which again, is a reflection of how Muslim after accepting God tries to inculcate in himself and nourish this personal and direct relationship with his creator, then it follows with the poor view, which is a an instrumental pillar in building social equity and some kind of justice in society. It's
Followed by the fourth, which is fasting. And that's it for training ourselves to discipline ourselves to control our desires and as such, lead a virtuous life and then finally, pilgrimage for those who are able to. So at least the way I understand it is there's this seem to be some kind of hierarchy of relative importance of the spinners. Okay, can we now move on to perhaps a little more detailed discussion of the other pillars? Starting with the first one, could you perhaps explain it for us and what is its meaning and its significance? Okay, the first pillar means that in order for the person to be a Muslim, he would have to confess with full conviction without any compulsion or
pressure with full commitment and conviction of the mind and heart forth.
The acknowledgement that there is no deity, but the one God, Allah, Allah is the one and only universal God, and that Muhammad is His Messenger. More specifically, the formula goes like this, I bear witness that there is no deity, but Allah or God, and that Muhammad or I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant, and messenger.
Now, by mere utterance of this formula with conviction, a person is automatically entered into the folds of Islam
without any need for any specific ritual, without any need for any pronouncement, priestly pronouncement, or otherwise, there's no need for that. Indeed, if the person with conviction accepts God as his masters, his friend, his companion, his guide, this is a matter that a Muslim regard as a universal right, for every human being, right, which does not require or wait for any approval, or acceptance of anyone. Because it's a matter that essentially, is between the creatures, and his creator, nobody can prevent you prevent anyone else for that matter, from accepting really faith. So this is,
at least in a very brief way,
the what the first pillar stands for what many Scriptures speak about God. And they attempt to convey some understanding about God about us nature and saw. What does the I know? It's a very broad question, but what can you give us some indication of what the Quran says about God about the nature of God? So for example, okay, maybe it might be useful if I start first by giving some background so that we don't just go through quotations without actually getting the background behind it.
As you notice, the the creedal formula that I mentioned that admits the person to Islam, you notice that it starts with negation, it says there is no deity, but the one God, not Allah. And this has some significance, because
the fact that starts with negation rather than affirmation shows that for a Muslim, it's not enough to say that there is a God or there is the God even, that it is important to negate that any creature
shares any of the divine attributes with the with the creators.
In that sense, then we can say that, if we summarize it in a very brief way, that God first is the universal
creator, and Sustainer of this universe, that the whole universe is created only by, by him by one God, that God is the sole and absolute sovereign, or power in this universe, it has no partners, has no helpers, he doesn't need the help of anyone.
to realize also that the nature of God and that, like I said before, would be a kind of prelude to quoting from the Quran, just to show the nature of it, that the nature of God or his reality is definitely far beyond our limited human imagination and human perception.
Because God is not limited to material or space or time.
This is why the Muslim regarded as erroneous to take any images for God material or human or otherwise, definitely, God is much beyond and above this limited material images.
It follows from that also that this does not mean that the transcendence of God
is contradictory or something different, for example, from his closeness to mankind. In fact, as the Quran indicates that God is clear
To us, He guides us and whenever we choose his path, he hates us and help us to continue on the
right path and he reciprocate
our love of him and values, this love. With this in mind, perhaps if you're interested in a specific quotations, I can just refer to a couple of them.
In chapter two and verse 255, it says, Allah or God, there is no God, but he, the living, the self sustaining the eternal. No slumber sees him, nor sleep, his are all things in the heavens and on earth, who can intercede in his presence, except, as he permits, he knows what is ahead of them, and what is behind them, nor shall they campus out of his knowledge, except as he wets his throne does extend over the heavens and earth, and he feels no fatigue, in guarding them, and preserving them, for He is the Most High, the Supreme employee.
This is one of the most beautiful verses called as, of course, one of the frequently quoted ones.
A few more days in chapter 42, for example, verse 11, there is nothing whatever like unto him, and he is the one that hears and sees all things, no vision, and another verse 610, see, your vision can grasp him, but his grasp his overall vision, for he is above all, comprehension. Yet he is acquainted with all things. And one of the shortest chapters in the Quran Chapter 112. It says, say, He is Allah, or God, the one and only Allah, the eternal, the absolute, he gets not, nor is he begotten, and there is none like unto Him. And on this last point that I mentioned earlier that his closeness to mankind is not necessarily contradictory, with his transcendence. with it. For example,
in chapter 15, verse 16, God says they're very, we created the human, and we know what his soul whispers to him, and we are closer to him than his or her juggler.
So this are just a few
sample of what the Quran states about some of the attributes of God. And you might recall that we spent a whole series The first season in this program on monotheism, where there were more detailed quotations and I hope that at least, let's move on. Now for the second part of the second portion of the of the testimony, I bear witness that Muhammad is the servant in the Messenger of Allah. Can you explain that for us? What this is a logical follow up of believing in God? Because, as we mentioned before, if we believe that God cares for us, He guides us He wants us to follow his path to achieve Felicity and happiness in this life in the hereafter. It follows then that
there must be some way that he communicate
this kind of guidance to us. And for sure, the most effective and most important source of communicating this guidance is through prophets, or messengers, that he sends valid history. The Muslim believes that God has chosen some modern human beings throughout history, send them as prophets. And this process started all the way from Adam, peace be upon him was regarded as the first Prophet, all the way down to Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, Jesus, and finally Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. So the fact here is that Muslim in the in this first pillar of Islam, confesses that Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of God is simply an expression that Prophet
Muhammad was the last and the catalyst if you will, of all of those prophets. That is to say that God has completed his message his message to mankind perfected it, and made it more comprehensive in terms of providing further guidance for life through
this last prophet, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. So in a sense, then, the Muslims acceptance in the second half, like you said, of the testimony of Prophet Mohammed, as the Messenger of God really implies acceptance and belief in old prophets, who preceded that last prophet
I think it's important to underline that and emphasize that you're saying then that if Muslims believe in Muhammad peace, be upon them as the Messenger of God does not mean the rejection of any of the previous prophets that came before me. No, no, not that's what I think you're absolutely right. In fact, one of the series and that's broken, which was the second series, the series on Prophethood.
More details were discussed there.
In fact, according to the Quran,
the Muslim is obliged, as an article of faith, to believe in all the prophets. In fact, the Quran mentioned believing in all prophets as one of the acts of righteousness.
Not only this, we find that even though the Quran mentioned that some prophets perhaps had more role than others, but in terms of brotherhood among those prophets, and emphasizes very much that we should not make distinction between those prophets as it appears in chapter two, for example, nanoparticle by not having University that's Muslim should say we make no distinction, an ethical distinction or superiority between any of his messengers and they all said, We listen and obey Forgive us, our Lord, unto you is the ultimate destiny. So in that sense, it's a requirement actually, in a way, you would say that believing in Prophet Mohammed implies and necessitates the
belief in this previous prophets. The Quran is full of praise
of the moral characters, the struggle, and the nature of those prophets. Throughout history, I should say even quite frankly, that the Quran makes it clear that none of the shameful or mortal sins is attributed anywhere in the Quran, or in the saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him to any of those prophets, for the Muslim to accuse those prophets of any mortal sins that blemish their character. And their role, as the best models for humanity would be really quite contrary to the mission. They're carrying and contrast to the text of the Quran itself. Of course, nobody's saying that this were other than humans, but they were, of course, the best models for for humanity. And
that praise in particular, is emphasized in the Quran with respect to the five greatest and measured prophets that the Quran talks about, among others. But the five greatest or greatest prophets include
Abraham, nowhere first, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon them on so this is an attitude that the Muslim would have to accept by virtue of his face, not just the kind of PR statement, that's a part of the Scripture itself.
the not only do we find this connection through the Quran, but you might recall, we spent the whole series The third series titled Hamlet in the Bible. It's trying to point out that the advent of that last prophet, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has already been prophesied by many prophets, throughout history, and particularly by the Israelite prophets, including Moses, Jesus, and Abraham May peace be upon them. And if you
might recall, also we went into greater detail showing that in the Bible, even in its present form, there are talking about the great nation that will come from the descendants of Ishmael was the grandfather of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and the son of Prophet Abraham. We discussed how the Bible mentioned, the place where this prophet is going to come from dimension in the Bible of Arabia, and Baca, like in the Psalms of David, which is the equivalent of Makkah, same word,
description of the nature of the revelation that is going to come to him the Quran and how the Quran would be revealed in piecemeal
description, even that applies very clearly to the Kaaba, the holy shrines, which is in Makkah.
We discussed the prophecies made by Prophet Jesus peace be upon him was again highly regarded and respected by Muslims as one of the greatest five prophets
talking about the parent lead, who is going to come after him and we have shown again, the difficulty of interpreting that as other than Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him that he's going to complete the throat and guide you and to all things. So in a way we can say also that all prophets in the past has prophesied the Advent and the coming of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him actually
asked their followers are they intend to follow him because again, he's receiving the same essential message in a more complete form.
from God. So in that sense, I would say that if we take scriptures, in proper perspective, whether it's the Koran or previous scriptures, we would find that the prophets are presented there as prophets as brothers,
carrying essentially the same message coming from God, that they are like links in the same chain throughout history which has been completed and
protected through the advent of the last prophet Muhammad peace be upon. So in that sense, then it is an integral part of the Muslim belief to believe and accept all prophets.
In the final seconds that we have left in today's program, I'm wonder if you could clarify if there are other beliefs related to this first pillar over and above the belief in my life, belief in God, and belief in Prophet Muhammad. Okay, well, in addition to the five pillars, or maybe as a result of the five pillars, especially the first one, believing in God, and the prophets of God,
there are four additional, what you might call articles of faith. So the total would be six articles of faith that the Muslim must believe in. And these are the essential ones, of course, there are other aspects of belief. But this includes, number one, belief in God, we have mentioned that the oneness of God, oneness and uniqueness of God. Secondly, the belief in the angels of God,
the belief in the books or scriptures, sent down or revealed by God, the belief in the prophets of God. Number five, the belief in the Day of Judgment, or life, after death, and finally, the belief in measures other, which means that God created everything in proportion, and that there is some kind of destinies that we are giving the free will to choose from. So these are six basic articles of faith. And that was, again the subject of some greater detail,
treatment, and the series that we just finished the fourth series that dealt with the Muslim beliefs, 14 sessions, which then all the way from the question of engines, you saw what happens to the soil and other allied subjects relating to views about magic, pessimism, bad omen, good almond, and all this related subject. So you're quite right, in that sense, yes, the the, the belief in the first pillar of Islam, the oneness of God implies all of these logically, because if you believe in God, you believe that he cares for you. And if you believe that he cares for you, then why isn't prophets? And if you believe in prophets, then you have to accept the scriptures, that are exactly
what the prophets received, right? And if you believe in Revelation, you have to believe in angels, because the Archangel Gabrielle was the angel who carried this revelation to to those prophets. And then you have to believe Of course, in the Day of Judgment, so they all relate to each other.
Is there any text in the Quran or any saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him? which require,
mentioned these these beliefs in which we require the
Muslim to accept them? Yes, in fact, there's one famous Hadith known as Hadith jabril, or Gabrielle,
where Gabrielle came in a form of a human being to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him while you're sitting in front of people. And he asked me a question that covered many things, including both the Pillars of Islam, the five, and the six articles of faith. He asked me in tendo, Mohammed, what is Islam? So Prophet Muhammad answered the five pillars to believe in Allah and His mission and to believe in and the oneness of Allah, prayer, fasting, you know, poured you untergrund and then you ask him, what is faith? So the Prophet answered, faith is to believe in God, His angels, his books, his prophets, in the Day of Judgment, and, and measures.
Then the Prophet then he asked him a third question, what is excellence? He said, excellence is to worship God as if you see him, but if you don't see him, you should feel that he sees you.
As a Jamal, I want to thank you. we've exhausted our time for today. I want to invite all of you back next week when we'll look at the second pillar of Islam which is prayer or Salaam to use the proper Arabic term. Thank you for watching Islam and focus Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you