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The Pillars of Islam

Place : Saudi Arabia / Riyadh / None / None /
Business Category : Tawhid (Oneness of Allaah)
date of publication : 1439/05/28
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Elements speech
1- Significance of the pillars of Islam. 2- Statement of the basic and great pillars of Islam. 3- The blessings of one who perfected them and the penalty for one who neglects them.

 First Sermon:


All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.


( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ )

(O you who believe, fear Allâh as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]

( يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ  وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا )

(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh, by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh is ever watching over you.) [An-Nisa: 1].


(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا)

 (O you, who believe, fear Allâh and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].


Sensible people agree that each house has its foundations and pillars, and that according to the toughness and durability of these pillars would be the toughness and durability of the whole building, and that if any corner of the building is defective, the whole structure would be defective.


Thus, Islam is a great lofty building, based on five pillars; the first of them is a speech of the tongue, speech of the heart and belief of the heart, while the rest are practical. The one which must be expressed in speech is the two words of testimony, and the practical ones are Prayer (Salah), Fasting, Almsgiving and Pilgrimage to Makkah. These pillars are further divided into physical and financial.


Slaves of Allâh! It is imperative that a Muslim performs all he can from these five pillars, which the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) has  stated and emphasized that true Islam cannot be perfected without them, when he said, ” Islam is built upon five”: “the testimony that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allâh, establishing regular prayer, giving Zakah (poor dues), pilgrimage to the House (Ka’bah), and fasting the month of Ramadan.” (Agreed upon).


The aim here is to represent Islam by a structure, and these five are the foundations of the structure. The structure cannot stand without them, and the rest of the characteristics of Islam are complementary to the structure. If one of them is lost, the structure will be defective while it remains standing but it would not be invalidated by that defect, as opposed to the defects occurring to these five pillars; for Islam ceases to exist when they are lacking. “


When the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) was asked what is Islam? He replied: “Islam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allâh, establish regular prayer, give Zakah (poor dues), fast the month of Ramadan, and make pilgrimage to the House (Ka’bah) if you can afford it” (Muslim). There are many proofs and evidence for this.


O believers: After this brief, let us present these pillars in some detail, so we say:

First pillar: The two words of testimony; “There is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh and Muhammad is the messenger of Allâh”: These two are the gateway to Islam; No one enters Islam but through them. The God we worship, May He be Glorified and Exalted, is identified through the first of them. It is for this purpose (worship) the heavens and the earth were created and the messengers were sent:

( وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رَسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ )

And We sent no messenger before you but We revealed to him (saying): Lâ ilâha illa Ana [none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allâh)],) so worship Me [Al-Anbiyaa: 25],


Through the second, the access road to Allâh the Almighty is known, which is to follow the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him):

( قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ )

Say: “If you (really) love Allâh then follow me, Allâh will love you [Al-Imran: 31],


Even if they follow a thousand gateways to have access to Allâh, they will not get through except the gateway of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him).


The religion of Islam is based on two fundamentals: to worship Allâh alone, not associating anything with Him, and this is the reason the slaves of Allâh were created:

( وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ )

I created not the jinn and mankind except to worship Me [Ad-Dhariyat: 56],

And that He be worshipped as He prescribed in the words of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him). These two are the reality of our statement: “I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.”


The testimony that “there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh,” involves denial and confirmation. While the phrase “there is no deity worthy of worship” denies all partners, lords, tyrants and deities, the phrase “but Allâh” confirms the oneness (tawhid) of Allâh, the Almighty, in its three categories: Tauhid Ar-rububiyyah (oneness of Allâh in His Lordship), Tauhid Al-Uluhiyyah oneness of Allâh in His divinity and Tauhid Al-Asmaa Was-Sifaat (oneness of Allâh in His names and attributes).


This testimony has requirements including: achieving loyalty to the believers, disavowal of unbelievers, and to judge by the law of Allâh:

( إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ )

The judgement is for none but Allâh [Yusuf: 40]

The testimony “that Muhammad is the messenger of Allâh,” requires the following:

First: It is obligatory to believe in Prophet Muhammad (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him).

Secondly: To follow and obey him (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), in all that he has ordered and forbidden.

Thirdly: To believe in all that he has informed.


Fourthly: To love him (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), more than oneself, money and offspring without exaggeration or magnification…

These two words of testimony are not just words spoken by the tongue, but must correspond with the heart and verified by actions, otherwise the person becomes a hypocrite.


The second pillar, which is to establish regular prayers, is the major pillar of Islam. The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “The head of the matter is Islam and its pillar is the Prayer” (At-Tirmidhi).


It is also “the first thing for which a person will be brought to account. If it is found sound and perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser” (An-Nasaei).


Moreover, prayer is a daily link between a person and his Lord. Allâh uses it to expiate his sins, as the prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, ” Say, if there were a river at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day, would any soiling remain on him?” They replied, “No soiling would be left on him.” He (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “That is the five (obligatory) Salah (prayers). Allâh obliterates all sins as a result of performing them” (Agreed upon).

It also prevents one from committing immorality:

( إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ تَنۡهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَٱلۡمُنكَرِ )‌ۗ

Lo! Prayer restrains from lewdness and immorality [Al-Ankaboot: 45]


Ignoring the prayer is kufr (disbelief) as the prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah (prayer)” (Muslim).


He further said: “The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is prayer; so whoever leaves it, he has committed Kufr (disbelief)” (Ibn Majah).


The third pillar is payment of Zakah: It is obligatory on the wealth that has attained the (Nisaab), and it is to be given to its recipients, who are the eight categories mentioned in the verse:

( إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَـٰتُ لِلۡفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱلۡعَـٰمِلِينَ عَلَيۡہَا وَٱلۡمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُہُمۡ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلۡغَـٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبۡنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ‌ۖ فَرِيضَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَڪِيمٌ۬ )

As-Sadaqât (Alms) are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to Islam); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allâh; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by Allâh and Allâh is full of knowledge and wisdom [At-Taubah: 60].


It is a right from the wealth bestowed by Allâh for those persons and some of his slaves He singled out when He said:

( وَٱلَّذِينَ فِىٓ أَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ حَقٌّ۬ مَّعۡلُومٌ۬ * لِّلسَّآٮِٕلِ وَٱلۡمَحۡرُومِ )

And those in whose wealth there is a recognised right, (24) For the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth, (and his means of living has been straitened); (25) [Al-Ma’arij: 24-25].

This Zakah does not diminish the wealth, but purifies and increases it:

( خُذۡ مِنۡ أَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ صَدَقَةً۬ تُطَهِّرُهُمۡ وَتُزَكِّيہِم بِہَا )

Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it [At-Taubah: 103]


One that refuses to pay Zakah will be subjected to a special torment according to the type of his deed as the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, ” Any person who possesses gold or silver and does not pay what is due on it (i.e., the Zakah); on the Day of Resurrection, sheets of silver and gold would be heated for him in the fire of Hell and with them his flank, forehead and back will be branded. When they cool down, they will be heated again and the same process will be repeated during the day the measure whereof will be fifty thousand years. (This would go on) until Judgement is pronounced among (Allâh’s) slaves, and he will be shown his final abode, either to Jannah or to Hell “(Agreed upon). The confirmation of this is where Allâh the Most High said,

(وَٱلَّذِينَ يَكۡنِزُونَ ٱلذَّهَبَ وَٱلۡفِضَّةَ وَلَا يُنفِقُونَہَا فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ فَبَشِّرۡهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۬ * يَوۡمَ يُحۡمَىٰ عَلَيۡهَا فِى نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ فَتُكۡوَىٰ بِہَا جِبَاهُهُمۡ وَجُنُوبُہُمۡ وَظُهُورُهُمۡ‌ۖ هَـٰذَا مَا ڪَنَزۡتُمۡ لِأَنفُسِكُمۡ فَذُوقُواْ مَا كُنتُمۡ تَكۡنِزُونَ )

And those who hoard up gold and silver [Al-Kanz: the money, the Zakâh of which has not been paid], and spend them not in the Way of Allâh, -announce unto them a painful torment. (34) On the Day when that (Al-Kanz: money, gold and silver) will be heated in the Fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them):-“This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard [At-Taubah: 34-35]


Abu Bakr fought those who withheld zakah, and when Umar consulted him regarding that, he replied: “By Allâh, I would definitely fight him who makes distinction between Salah and the Zakah, because it is an obligation upon the rich to pay Zakah. By Allâh, I will fight them even to secure the piece of rope (used for hobbling the feet of a camel) which they used to give to the Messenger of Allâh (as Zakah) “(Agreed upon).


Fourth pillar: Fasting the month of Ramadan. In this month, adult and legally obliged Muslims excluding persons with legal excuses, refrain from food, drink and lust from the true dawn until sunset with the intention of worship. Allâh the Almighty said:

( يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ * أَيَّامً۬ا مَّعۡدُودَٲتٍ۬‌ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ۬ فَعِدَّةٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ‌ۚ وَعَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ ۥ فِدۡيَةٌ۬ طَعَامُ مِسۡكِينٍ۬‌ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيۡرً۬ا فَهُوَ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّهُ ۥ‌ۚ وَأَن تَصُومُواْ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّڪُمۡ‌ۖ إِن كُنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ * شَہۡرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ هُدً۬ى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَـٰتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَٱلۡفُرۡقَانِ‌ۚ فَمَن شَہِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّہۡرَ فَلۡيَصُمۡهُ‌ۖ وَمَن ڪَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوۡ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ۬ فَعِدَّةٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ‌ۗ يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡيُسۡرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِڪُمُ ٱلۡعُسۡرَ وَلِتُڪۡمِلُواْ ٱلۡعِدَّةَ وَلِتُڪَبِّرُواْ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَٮٰكُمۡ وَلَعَلَّڪُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ )

O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may be self-restraint. (183) [Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskîn (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, is better for you if only you know. (184) The month of Ramadân in which was revealed the Qur’ân, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadân i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allâh intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allâh [i.e. to say Takbîr (Allâhu-Akbar) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him. (185)[Al-Baqarah: 183-185]


Because fasting is a self-deprivation of its desires as a sign of worship, and a secret between a person and his Lord, Islam has singled it out by certain characteristics including:

Allâh the Almighty has attributed it to Himself and ensured its reward. The prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “Allâh said, every act of the son of Adam is for him, except As-Siyam (fasting) which is (exclusively) for Me, and I will reward him for it.’ Fasting is a shield. When anyone of you is observing fast, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should he raise his voice; and if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him, he should say: ‘I am fasting “(Agreed upon]


Allâh has made a special gate in Paradise for those who observe fasting. None else would enter through it save them. In this regard, the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “In Al-Jannah, there is a gate, which is called Ar-Rayyan through which only those who observe Saum (fasting) will enter on the Day of Resurrection. None else will enter through it. It will be called out, “Where are those who observe fasting?” So they will stand up and proceed towards it. When the last of them will have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate (Agreed upon).


The prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) also said, “By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allâh on the day of judgment, than the fragrance of musk.” (Agreed upon).


The Fifth Pillar: Hajj. It is to intend the sacred House of Allâh and the holy sites in order to perform a specific act of worship at a specific time and in a specific manner. It is obligatory for every legally obliged adult who is able to afford it:

( وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ حِجُّ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ مَنِ ٱسۡتَطَاعَ إِلَيۡهِ سَبِيلاً۬‌ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنِ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ )

Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allâh, those who can afford the expenses; and whoever disbelieves then Allâh stands not in need of any of His creatures [Aal Imran: 97]

Muslims assemble to perform this duty from all corners of the globe in the well-known months:  Shawwal, Dhul-Qa’dah and ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, according to the breakdown among the Islamic juristic schools of thought. They are brought together by one goal, which is the pleasure of Allâh Almighty and the performance of His obligation.


Hajj (pilgrimage) has four basic pillars. The most important of them is the standing at Arafah, for the saying of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), “Hajj is standing at Arafah” (An-Nasaei),

The second pillar is Ihram, which is the intention to enter into a state of one performing pilgrimage from a legally considerable Miqat.


The third is to circumambulate the Ka’bah in a tawaf known as tawaf al-ifaadah.

The fourth is to hasten between mounts Safa and Marwah, according to their details among various schools of thought.


The second sermon:


All praise is due and belongs to Allâh alone. May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon the last Prophet.


Slaves of Allâh! These are the pillars of Islam and its principles and foundations. Among them are some, which we are obliged to live and die upon, which are the two words of testimony. Among them are some that are repeated five times day and night, which is the prayer (Salah). Some occur once a year, which are (obligatory) fasting and almsgiving (Zakah). Some occur once in a lifetime, which is Hajj (pilgrimage).


Anyone that performs that which he can of these pillars perfectly and uncompromisingly seeking the countenance of Allâh and following the teachings of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), such is safe and successful. Abu Hurairah, May Allâh be pleased with him, narrated that a Bedouin came to the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), and said: Direct me to a deed by which I may be entitled to enter Jannah.” The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “Worship Allâh, and never associate anything with Him, establish Salah, pay the Zakat which has been enjoined upon you, and observe Saum of Ramadan.” He (the bedouin) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, I will never add anything to these (obligations).” When he turned his back, the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “He who wants to see a man from the dwellers of Jannah, let him look at him (bedouin).” (Agreed upon).


Anyone, who abandons them with the ability or treats them with negligence and without excuse, stands at a great risk.


Slaves of Allâh! Accomplish your Islam, and maintain its pillars and you will meet your Lord while He is satisfied with you. O Allâh! Send your blessings upon Muhammad…