Islam at a glance

Article Links:
   -Universal Message
     -The Five Pillars of Islam:
i) Kalimah (Declaration of Faith)
           ii) Salah (Daily prayer)
          iii) Zakah (Charity)
          iv) Sawm (Fasting)
           v) Hajj (Pilgrimage)

-Social Conduct
-Good manners & noble qualities
-Life after death

Islam, is not the name of a caste or community. Islam, is the name of the faith and the way of life which was brought into the world from Allah (SWT) by his beloved and last Prophet, the Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him), and is preserved to this day in its purity in the Holy Quran and the Prophetic teachings (ahadeeth) of his last Prophet (Peace be upon him).

A Muslim strives to acquire proper Knowledge of the teachings of Islam, or, at least, of its basic and fundamental doctrines. Further, he/her also truly believes in these teachings and strives to implement these in to his/her life.

Universal Message

Islam is not a new Message. It is the same message that was conveyed to mankind firstly by Adam (AS) and by a subsequent number of Prophets (AS) after him which included great Prophets like Nuh (AS) , Ibrahim (AS), Musa (AS), and Isa (AS). The message which was revealed to the Prophet (SAW) is the complete, comprehensive and final word of Allah (SWT) in the form of the Holy Quran.

"And, (we have sent down) some Messengers we have already told you about, and some other Messengers that We did not tell you about and Allah has spoken to Musa (AS) verbally." (Q 4: 164)

"Messengers giving good tidings and warning so that people may have no plea against Allah after the Messengers (have come). And Allah is Almighty, all Wise." (Q. 4: 165)

Five Pillars of Islam

Islam contains many actions that constitute acts of worship, however the following five pillars of Islam provide the structure and frame work for the life of a Muslim.

(1) Kalimah - The declaration of Faith

Laa ilaaha illal-laahu Muhammadur rasu-lullah. There is no deity (who is worthy of worship and obedience) save One Allah, and Muhammad is His Apostle.

This confession is the gateway to Islam, by affirming it and reciting it with sincerity and conviction, even a life long polytheist can become a Muslim, a man of faith and earn his salvation. The statement should be accepted with the full understanding of the declaration of Oneness of God and the Apostleship of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) contained in it.

Oneness of Allah (SWT)

La ilaaha illal-laahu – There is no deity save one Allah.

Worship and obedience should be offered to no-one but Allah (SWT). He is the Sustainer, Nourisher, Dispenser of life and Death, sickness and Health, poverty and riches. Apart from Him, whatever living thing exists on the earth, or in the heavens, be they men or angels, are all His creatures and slaves. He is partnered by no one, no one has a share in His Divinity nor can anyone amend or alter His Will or interfere with His function. He alone is the Supreme Being, the Glorious One, to whom all our prayers and supplications should be addressed.

Prophethood of Mohammad (peace be upon him)

That the Prophet Mohammad (SAW) is the Apostle of Allah (SWT) means that he was raised up by the Almighty for the guidance of mankind, and whatever he taught preached or revealed, like the divinity of the origin of the Qur’an, the existence of the angels, the certainty of the last day, the resurrection, the judgement, the award of heaven and hell according to one’s deeds on earth was divine guidance. The guidance he gave to mankind the laws he laid down, were divine guidance and he was the seal of Prophethood.

(2) Salah (daily prayer)

"This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off evil, and who believe in the Unseen, and establish salat, and spend of that which we have bestowed upon them." (al Quran )

After confession of faith the Salah is the bedrock of faith. Salah is a special act of Divine worship which a Muslim is called upon to perform five times a day. It should be noted that it is not merely the name of a ritualistic discipline, if offered with a sincere heart and proper devotion and mental concentration, it is particularly vested with property of reforming one’s life, and cleansing the heart of sins and impurities. It generates love for piety and truth and promotes the fear of Allah (SWT) in mankind. When anyone would embrace Islam at the hands of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the first promise the Prophet (SAW) would take after instructing a person regarding the Divine Oneness, was that he would offer salaah regularly.

The Prophet (SAW) is reported to have asked his companions, ‘Tell me, if a stream flows at the door of anyone of you and he takes a dip in it five times a day, will any grime be left on his body?’ The Companions replied, ‘No Sir. No grime will be left on the body.’ The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, ‘It is exactly the same with the five daily prayers. Allah (SWT) removes all impurities and sins because of their auspiciousness.’ (Bukhari/ Muslim)

(3) Zakah (Charity)

Zakaah means a Muslim who is in possession of a certain amount of wealth, or more, is under an obligation to spend one fortieth of it at the end of every twelve months on the poor, the needy, and the wayfarer, and on such items of charity and good doing as are prescribed for it by Allah (SWT) and the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

‘The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn. It groweth seven ears and such ear hath a hundred grains. Allah giveth manifold increase to whom He pleaseth, for Allah careth for all and He Knoweth all things. Those who spend their substance in the cause of Allah, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, - their reward is with their Lord, on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.’ – (Al Quran 2:261-262)

(4) Sawm (Fasting)

Oh Ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self restraint.’ (Al Quran 2:183)

Fasting is obligatory for Muslims in the month of Ramadhan. During the fast a Muslim refrains from eating and drinking and other legitimate desires and urges exclusively for the pleasure of Allah (SWT), hence, Allah (SWT) has placed a great reward for it. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said: ‘There is no fixed principle for rewarding all the good deeds of men, and every good deed will be rewarded in accordance with it. But the fast is an exception to this general principle. Allah (SWT) commands regarding this. Since a man forgoes food and drink and crushes his passion utterly for His sake, He will recompense him directly for it.’

Fasting promotes piety in man and the ability to control his physical desires, and teaches him to subordinate his desires to the Will of God. Creating a stronger soul saving it from moral and spiritual decadence.

(5) Hajj (Pilgrimage)

Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah – those who can afford the journey, but if any deny faith Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures.’ (Al Quran 3:97)

Haj is a fundamental obligation upon every Muslim who has the means to undertake it, to perform it at least once in his life. Hajj entails a Muslim travelling to the holy land of Makkah to perform certain sacred rituals during the month of Dhul Hijjah (Islamic calendar). The importance of Haj and the spiritual benefits gained by those who undertake it has been mentioned in many Prophetic Traditions. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) has said :

‘Those who make pilgrimage for the Hajj or Umrah, they are the guests of Allah (SWT): Their petitions, if they make any to the Lord, will be granted, and if they seek deliverance from sins, their sins will be forgiven.’


A Muslim is called on to obey the Quran to live a life of piety and righteousness, placing the rulings of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) life before us. Hence refraining from evil and wicked acts

Social Conduct

Social Conduct and good manners, respecting the rights of others form an important part in Islamic teachings. The Quran and the Prophetic teachings provides guidance as to how one should conduct one self with his family, friends, and colleagues. For example in the instance where one’s parents are polytheists and also wish for him to follow that way, he should not obey them, but continue to treat them well and respectably.

Allah (SWT) says in Quran: ‘But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me, things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (consideration).’ (Al Quran- Surah Luqman (XXX1), 15)

Regarding the weak and the poor, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) narrated ‘He who endeavors to relieve the widow, the depressed and the needy, is as one who strives in the service of Allah (SWT), and, in the divine reward, he is as one who permanently fasts during the day and spends one’s nights in prayers’.

Good Manners and noble qualities

Islam encourages a Muslim to inculcate good manner and noble qualities such as humbleness, truthfulness, justice, compassion, tenderness, sincerity and courage to name a few. Regarding humbleness Allah (SWT) says:

‘And the servants of (Allah) Most gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility.’ (Surah Al Furqan (XXV), 63.)


'You are the Best of Peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah.’ (Surah Al Imran (III) 110)

It is an obligation upon Muslims to propagate and spread the message

Life after death

Allah (SWT) has informed all the Prophets (AS) of the life to come after death. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) provided a detail account of the events to take place after death. We have been informed that there will be three stages First stage is Death to resurrection. This is known as Barzakh. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: When anyone of you dies, the place that is going to be his abode in heaven and hell (on the basis of his conduct in the world), is bought before his eyes every morning and evening, and it is said to him, ‘Behold, this is your destination, and, surely, you will reach it’.

The next stage comprises of the last day and the resurrection. 'Every soul shall have a taste of death: and on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense’. (Al Imran (III), 185)

After this the final stage will commence where a person remains in the eternal bliss of Paradise or the suffering of the fire of Hell.

"Here is a parable which the righteous are promised. In it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine of joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey (pure and clear). In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and Grace from their Lord." (Surah Muhammad (XLVII), 15)


Other links:
Purchase Books  Further Reading Available from Islamic Shariah Institute: What Islam Is?  Hayatul Muslimeen, Islam The Choice of Thinking Women, Discourses of Islamic Way of Life, Bringing up Children in Islam

Purchase Cassettes  Further Listening: The First, The Last, The Men and the Jinn, The Hadeeth of Jibr'il (AS), Islam and The Realm of the Unseen, The Aqeedah Series, The Prophet (SAW) - A Mercy for the Worlds, Perfection of Iman (Belief), Believers (Soorah al- Baqarah - Part 2)

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