Fundamentalism

The term Fundamentalist has been extensively misused by the media to refer to terrorists who happen to be Muslim, or who are anti-American Muslims. This is not accurate. Fundamentalist Islam is simply the conservative wing of Islam, just as fundamentalist Christianity is the conservative wing of Christianity. The vast majority of Muslim fundamentalists are pious individuals who strictly follow the teachings of Mohammed, promote regular attendance at mosques, and promote the reading of the Qur’an.

The Five Pillars of Islam

1. Faith

The literal meaning of Iman is to believe in or to have faith in something. This deep faith is attainable through realization alone. Hence it would be proper to say that faith is a discovery and that there is no discovery greater than the discovery of God.

2. Prayer

It forms the most important part of Islamic worship. It is obligatory or Farz for a Muslim to offer prayer five times a day – at daybreak (Fajr), noon (Zohr), mid-afternoon (Asr), sunset (Maghrib), and evening (Isha). 

3. Zakah

Zakah means purity. This means that a man purifies his earnings by giving away one part of them in the path of God. In this way, zakah awakens the sense in man not to consider his earnings as his own possession, but a gift of God. Zakah is, in essence, a practical acknowledgement of God’s bounties. It is this admission, which is no doubt the greatest form of worship. Thus the spirit of Zakah is the service of mankind. It requires an annual contribution of 2.5 percent of an individual’s wealth and assets. Therefore Zakah, far from being viewed as “charity,” is an obligation—for those who have received their wealth from God—to help the less weaker members of the community: “…the poor, orphans, and widows, to free slaves and debtors, and to support those working for the cause of God.” (9:60).

4. Hajj (Pilgrimage)

The root meaning of the word, “Hajj” is to set out or to make a pilgrimage. Hajj means visiting sacred places in Hijaz in the month of Dhul Hijjah in order to perform the annual worship required of a believer once in his lifetime. Hajj is a symbol of Islamic unity and it is through Hajj that interaction takes place between Muslims on an international scale.

5. Sawm (Fasting)

The Arabic term for fasting is, ‘Sawm’ which means to abstain. It is a form of worship, which has to be observed annually, in the month of Ramadan. The outward form of sawm is abstinence from eating and drinking from morning till sunset. The inner state of sawm is renunciation of all things that God has forbidden, directly or indirectly. It aims at weakening the material aspect of man and strengthening the spirituality in him. When a man fasts, observing all these aspects of fasting then he comes to experience closeness with God.

The Six Pillars Of Iman

Belief in Allah;
Belief in the angels;
Belief in the revealed books;
Belief in the commissioned Messengers (peace be upon them).
Belief in the resurrection and the events of Qiyamah.
Belief in the predestination by Allah of all things, both the (seemingly) good and the (seemingly) bad.