The types of worship which are performed physically and verbally are called the Pillars of Islam. They are the foundations upon which the Religion is built and by which a person is regarded a Muslim. These pillars are as follows:
- The two Testimonies of Faith, which is a verbal pillar of Islam.
- The second and fourth pillars of Islam are prayer and fasting, which are both physical pillars of Islam.
- The third is Zakaah (compulsory charity), which is a physical act of worship wherein one gives out the obligatory charity.
- The fifth pillar of Islam is Hajj (the Pilgrimage to Mecca), which combines, physical, verbal and calls upon one to expend from his wealth.
Islam does not call upon the Muslims to merely perform these acts of worship; rather; it wants of them to purify their souls. Allah (SWT) says regarding Prayer:
Indeed the prayer prevents from licentiousness and [other] sins. [29:45]
Allah (SWT) says about the Obligatory Charity (Zakaah):
Take alms from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it.[9:103
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Allah (SWT) says about fasting:
O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become of the pious. [2:183]
Fasting teaches and trains the individual self-restrain and discipline, and not to indulge in one’s wants and desires. This is what the Prophet (ﷺ) meant when he said:
“Whoever does not refrain from false speech and deeds, Allah has no need for him to leave his food and drink.” [al-Bukhari]
Allah (SWT) says about Hajj Pilgrimage:
The Hajj is (in) the well-known months. So whosoever intends to perform Hajj, then he should not have sexual relations, nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly During the Hajj. [2:197]
In Islam, worship plays a great role in developing and refining praiseworthy manners, as well as safeguarding the unity of Muslims. The Pillars of Islam are as follows:
The First Pillar: The Two Testimonies of Faith
These are the testimonies that no one has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and messenger. This is a verbal pillar of Islam, but one must also follow it with belief and action. This is the key to enter Islam.
The Meaning of the First Testimony:
This is the phrase of Tawheed. For this concept, Allah brought the creation into being, and for this concept He created Paradise and Hellfire. Allah (SWT) says:
And I have created neither the Jinn nor mankind except to worship Me. [51:56]
This is the belief to which all Prophets and Messengers called their peoples from Adam to the last of them, Muhammad, may Allah praise them and keep them safe from all evil. Allah (SWT) says:
And we have not sent before you any messenger except that We have revealed to him that there is no god that is worshipped in truth except Me, so worship and obey Me. [10:25]
The first testimony, that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, includes the following meanings:
- Allah is the Creator of all that exists. Allah (SWT) says:
Such is Allah, your Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Creator of all things. So worship and obey Him (Alone), and He is the Guardian over all things. [6:102]
- Allah is the Proprietor of all that exists, and the Disposer of all affairs. Allah (SWT) says:
Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of all that exists]! [7:54]
- Allah is the One Who deserves to be worshipped. Allah says:
No doubt! Verily, to Allah belongs whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth. And those who worship and invoke others besides Allah, in fact they follow not the partners, they follow only a conjecture and they only invent lies. [10:66]
- To Him belong the beautiful names and perfect attributes. Far removed is He from every imperfection.
Allah (SWT) says:
And all the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny his Names. They will be requited for what they used to do. [7:180]
The Conditions of the Testimony:
It is not enough to merely utter this testimony for it to be accepted by Allah. It is a key to the gates of Paradise, but in order for the key to work, it needs to have the right ridges. This Testimony must meet the following conditions for it to be accepted by Allah:
- Knowledge: This comprises knowing that all things worshipped besides Allah are false. There is no god worshipped in truth except Allah, even if it be a prophet, a messenger or an angel. Allah is the only One Who deserves all types of worship, such as prayer, supplication, hope, sacrificial slaughtering, making oaths, etc.
Whoever assigns any act of worship to other than Allah while that person intends to worship or aggrandise the one who he assigned it to, has committed an act of disbelief, even if he uttered the two testimonies.
- Certainty: The heart must be firmly certain of the meaning of the two testimonies. Certainty is the opposite of doubt, so there is no room for a person to doubt or hesitate in his belief. Allah(SWT) says:
The believers are only those who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not, and strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allah. Those are the truthful. [49:15]
- Acceptance: One should accept the testimony fully, and not reject it. Allah (SWT) says:
Truly, when it was said to them, “There is no true deity worshipped except Allah,” they puff themselves up with pride (i.e. deny it). [37:35]
- Submission, obedience and acting upon all what the testimonies necessitate.” A person must do what Allah ordered and abstain from what He prohibited. Allah (SWT) says:
And whosoever submits his face to Allah, while he is a Muhsin (doer of good) then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold. And to Allah return all matters for decision. [37:35]
- Truthfulness: One must be truthful in professing the testimonies. Allah says:
They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. [48:11]
- Sincerity of worship: One must sincerely dedicate all acts of worship to Allah alone. Allah says:
And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, following the religion purely and sincerely for Him, turning away from other religions. [98:5]
- Love: One must love the testimonies and all that they necessitates. He must love Allah, His Messenger, and His righteous slaves. He must hate and show enmity towards all who show enmity to Allah and His Messenger. He must prefer what Allah and His Messenger love, even if it is differs from his desires. Allah (SWT) says:
Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah guides not the people who are rebellious and disobedient to Allah. [9:24]
These testimonies also necessitate that Allah is the only One Who has the right to legislate, whether it be in matters concerning worship or those concerning human relations, in both individual and public matters.
The act of making something prohibited or lawful is for Allah alone. His Messenger(ﷺ) merely explained and clarified Allah’s commandments. Allah (SWT) says:
And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, refrain (from it).[59:7]
The Meaning of the second Testimony, that ‘Muhammad is His Messenger’
To bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah necessitates the following:
- To believe that he is a Messenger, and that he is the best and last of the Messengers; no Messenger will come after him. Allah (SWT) says:
Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last of the Prophets. [33:40]
- To believe that he is infallible in the teachings he conveyed from Allah. O Allah, the Exalted, says:
Nor does he speak of [his own] desire. It is only an Inspiration that is inspired. [53:3-4]
As for the affairs of this world, he was a human, and he had his own opinions. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“Indeed I am only a human. It may be that a claimant comes to me with a dispute, and due to one of them being more coercive in speech than the other, I may rule in his favor. Whoever was ruled in his favor while he is wrong, [what he is receiving without right] is only a portion of the Hellfire, so let him take it or leave it.” [Muslim]
- To believe that he is a Messenger to all creation; to Jinn and to humans until the Final Hour. Allah (SWT) says:
And We have not sent you [O Muhammad (ﷺ)except to all of mankind, as a giver of glad tidings and a warner, but most people know not. [34:28]
- To obey the Prophet (ﷺ) in what he ordered, to believe in everything he said, and to refrain from what he forbade and warned against. Allah says:
And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). [59:7]
- To follow and adhere to the Prophet’s (ﷺ) Sunnah, without innovating matters in it. Allah, the Exalted, says:
Say [O Muhammad (ﷺ) to mankind]: If you truly love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.[3:31]
To Be Continued….