The word Islam is derived from the term “al-silm” and the root verb “istaslama” (استسلاما) and literally translates in English to “surrender” or “submission (to Allah)”.
The Five Pillars of Islam
In contrast to other religions, the basic practice of Islam is simplicity itself. The believer worships God directly without the intercession of priests, clergy or saints. The believer’s duties are summed up in five simple rules, the so-called Five Pillars of Islam:
- Shahada (Belief)
- Salah (Worship)
- Zakat (Almsgiving)
- Sawm (Fasting)
- Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)
The first Pillar of Islam is for the believer to testify, in Arabic:
(ašhadu an) lā ilāha illá l-Lāhi wa (ashhadu ‘anna) Muḥammadan rasūlu l-Lāhi, that “There is no god but God and that Muhammad is His messenger.”
This phrase, known as the shahada, (sha-HEH-da) or Profession of Faith, is central to Islam, for it affirms both God’s oneness and the central role of the Prophet. The shahada appears in daily life in many different ways, from being proclaimed in the call to prayer to being inscribed on flags and coins. Muslims constantly call on God by name in all sorts of situations. For example, when beginning any activity, one might say bismillah (“in the name of God”) or when admiring something, one might say al-hamdu lillah (“praise be to God”).
The second Pillar of Islam is to perform daily prayers (a form of worship) to God five times a day — at dawn (Fajr), noon (Dhur), mid-afternoon (Asr), sunset (Maghrib), and nightfall (Isha).
To do so, the believer washes (ablution) according to a particular ritual and prostrates himself or herself on the ground in the direction of Mecca, while reciting certain phrases. This rite takes only a few minutes to perform and can be done anywhere.
Worshippers are summoned to prayer by a muezzin, who calls the faithful together by saying:
God is Great (four times)
I testify that there is no god but God (twice)
I testify that Muhammad is God’s messenger (twice)
Come to prayer (twice),
Come to salvation (twice)
God is Great (twice)
There is no god but God.
For the dawn prayer, the muezzin adds, after the second “Come to salvation,” the phrase “Prayer is better than sleep” twice.
In addition to the five daily prayers, all male believers are enjoined to gather together on Friday for the noon prayer and listen to a sermon, called a khutba in Arabic, by the imam. The rules for women’s attendance at Friday worship have varied over time and place. In many places today, women also attend Friday worship, although they are segregated from the men and pray behind, beside or above them.
The third Pillar of Islam is to give alms to the poor. Zakāt or alms-giving is the practice of charitable giving by Muslims based on accumulated wealth, and is obligatory for all who are able to do so. It is considered to be a personal responsibility for Muslims to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality.
Zakat consists of spending 2.5% of one’s wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy, including slaves, debtors and travelers. A Muslim may also donate more as an act of voluntary charity (sadaqah), rather than to achieve additional divine reward.
There are two main types of Zakah. First, there is the kajj, which is a fixed amount based on the cost of food that is paid during the month of Ramadan by the head of a family for himself and his dependents. Second, there is the Zakat on wealth, which covers money made in business, savings, income, and so on. In current usage Zakat is treated as a 2.5% collection on most valuables and savings held for a full lunar year, as long as the total value is more than a basic minimum known as nisab (3 ounces (85.05 g)).
4.Sawm (Fasting Ramadan)
The fourth Pillar of Islam is to abstain from eating and drinking, as well as smoking and sex, between sunrise and sunset during the month of Ramada, the ninth month in the Muslim calendar. Abstinence during Ramadan brings Muslims to greater awareness of God’s presence and helps them acknowledge their gratitude for God’s provisions in their lives. It serves to heighten a sense of community among believers as Muslims around the world join together in the performance of this ritual. The Arabic word ramadan comes from a root meaning “to be hot” and suggests that the month originally fell in the summer. But following the Islamic lunar calendar, the month of fasting can come at any time during the year.
The Ramadan fast starts at dawn, defined as the moment when the human eye can distinguish a white thread from a black one, and ends at dusk, when the eye is again no longer able to distinguish the difference. The end of the month of Ramadan is always marked by a feast, known as the Eid-ul-Fitr, or break-fast feast.
Many Muslims traditionally break their fasts in Ramadan with dates, as was the recorded practice (Sunnah) of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam). Three types of fasting (Sawm) are recognized by the Qur’an: Ritual fasting, fasting as compensation for repentance (both from sura Al-Baqara), and ascetic fasting (from Al-Ahzab).
Ritual fasting is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan. Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn to dusk during this month, and are to be especially mindful of other sins. Fasting is necessary for every Muslim over the age of 11.
The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness to God, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy. During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, profane language, gossip and to try to get along with fellow Muslims better. In addition, all obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided.
Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory, but is forbidden for several groups for whom it would be very dangerous and excessively problematic. These include pre-pubescent children, those with a medical condition such as diabetes, elderly people, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Observing fasts is not permitted for menstruating women. Other individuals for whom it is considered acceptable not to fast are those who are ill or traveling. Missing fasts usually must be made up for soon afterward, although the exact requirements vary according to circumstance.
The month of Ramadhan has been singled out for special worship (`Ibadat) and exclusive favours. It is a month unlike other months. One reason for this, as defined by the Qur’an, is because the Holy Qur’an was revealed in this month. Says Allah in Sura al Baqarah:
The month of Ramadhan, that in which the Qur’an was sent down; a guidance for mankind, and clear signs of guidance and distinction (2:185).
Each year, Muslims spend the ninth month of the Islamic calendar observing a community-wide fast. The annual fast of Ramadan is considered one of the five “pillars” of Islam. Muslims who are physically able are required to fast each day of the entire month, from sunrise to sunset. The evenings are spent enjoying family and community meals, engaging in prayer and spiritual reflection, and reading from the Qu’ran.
During the blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking.
We announce the starting date of Ramadan , Taraweeh prayers & Ramadan Time table days prior to the commencement of the month.
When the month of Ramadan begins, Muslims enter into a period of discipline and worship: fasting during the day, and praying throughout the day and night. During Ramadan, special evening prayers are conducted during which long portions of the Qur’an are recited. These special prayers are known as taraweeh.
The Qur’an is divided into equal parts (called juz) for the purpose of reading sections of equal length during each of the Ramadan nights. Thus, 1/30 of the Qur’an is read on successive evenings, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur’an has been completed.
It is recommended that Muslims attend the taraweeh prayers in the mosque (after ‘isha, the last evening prayer), to pray in congregation. This is true for both men and women. However, one may also perform the prayers individually at home. These prayers are voluntary, but are strongly recommended and widely practiced.
Laylatul Qadr – the Night of Power
“We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the night of power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand: Peace!…This until the rise of morn!” (97:1-5)
Good deeds performed on that single night are equal to those performed over a thousand months. It is the Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr), when the Qur’an was revealed.
Laylatul Qadr is a celebration to commemorate the arrival of the final guidance for humans. It is a tribute to the commencement of the message revealed to mankind by their Creator, a message which shows them the way to achieve happiness in both the worlds.
Some Ahadith indicate that the fate of every believer for the coming year is decreed on this night. That is why the Du`as for this night ask for special favours in the decree for the year. Believers are encouraged to stay awake the entire night, and pray for blessings and forgiveness. It is the holiest night of the year, and it would be unwise to be heedless of the tremendous benefits of this night. There is no history in the Qur’an as to when the specific date is.
Hazrat Aisha Radiallah Anha stated that Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said, “Look for Lailat-Ul-Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadhan.” (Bukhari)
Laylatul Qadr is to be found in the last ten odd nights of Ramadan. Therefore in all the Islamic countries, the Laylatul Qadar is found to be on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th night of Ramadan.
Take advantage of this night, from sunset till sunrise. Offer nawafil (prayers), recite QUR’AAN, do repent (Istaghfar), and Pray for pardon, recite many many Salawat (Darood Sharif & Salaam) and make benediction (Dua’as).
In Arabic عيد الفطر, also called “festival of breaking of the fast” and the Smaller Eid, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of holy month of Ramadan. The religious Eid is a single day during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month.
The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality. However, in most countries, it is generally celebrated on the same day as Saudi Arabia.
Eid al-Fitr has a particular Islamic prayer and generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may be performed only in congregation (Jama’at).
5.Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)
The fifth Pillar of Islam is to undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in one’s lifetime. The hajj to the Kaaba, in Mecca, is an important practice in Islam that occurs during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah to the holy city of Mecca, and derives from an ancient Arab practice.
Every able-bodied Muslim is obliged to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime if he or she can afford it. When the pilgrim is around 10 km (6.2 mi) from Mecca, he must dress in Ihram clothing, which consists of two white sheets. Both men and women are required to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The main rituals of the Hajj include walking seven times around the Kaaba, touching the Black Stone, traveling seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah, and symbolically stoning the Devil in Mina. Livestock is sacrificed in commemoration of Abraham’s readiness to offer his son Ismail.
A pilgrimage made at any time other than the Hajj season is called an Umrah.
In contrast to the spontaneous cheer with which people celebrate the end of Ramadan, the celebration of the Great Feast is a more solemn holiday and is known as Eid-ul-adha.
Hajj – Arafat
Stay tuned, exact date will be announced, In’shah’Allah in September, 2016.
Please stay tuned, exact date will be announced, In’shah’Allah in September, 2016.
Recite the Takbeeraat-e-Tashreeq audibly after every fardh Salah from the Fajr of 9th Zil-Hijjah to the Asr of 13th Zil-Hijjah.