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Tracie, Journalist
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What are the central beliefs of Islam, and how are they ...

Customer Question

What are the central
beliefs of Islam, and how are they reflected in the "Five Pillars” (McInerney, 2003)?
Which of the Five Pillars do you feel would be easiest to fulfill, and which would be
the most challenging (McInerney, 2003)?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Homework
Expert:  Tracie replied 8 years ago.

Hi Spot,

Here is your answer. I hope it is helpful. If so, please press accept so I get credit for my work.



The central beliefs of Islam are monotheism, prayer, caring for the poor, repenting and visiting the holy land. They are reflected in the the Five Pillars of Islam, which are known as shahadah, salat, zakat, sawm and hajj.

To fulfill shahadah, a Muslim must believe that there is only one god, his name is XXXXX XXXXX Muhammad is his messenger or prophet. Muslims are required to have faith that Allah is everywhere and is the source of all things. This first pillar is the basic foundation of the Islamic religion, and some call it the "testimony of faith."

The pillar of salat sets the prayer schedule for followers. Muslims are required to pray five times a day: early morning, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening. The prayers are conducted in Arabic and the worshipper must cleanse his or her body before taking part and must bow during the prayer to symbolize submission to Allah.

Zakat means giving alms to the poor. Muslims are expected to help eliminate economic inequality by giving money, time and services to those among them who are less privileged. During Ramadan (the Islamic holy month), a family is expected to give a zakat that is proportional to the cost of food consumed that month. Businesses are expected to give a proportionate amount of their income, too. In current practice, families generally give at least $1,750 per year with the wealthiest families giving much more. It is common practice to give 2.5 percent of the cost of valuables and savings.

Sawm is a kind of ritual fasting that is done as a way of repenting. During Ramadan, Muslims give up food, drink and sex during daylight hours. Fasting is meant to help people develop gratitude to Allah for the things he provides, to atone for sins and to help them keep the poor in mind. Young children and people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, are not expected to fast.

Hajj means pilgrimage. This pillar requires every Muslim to make a pilgrimage to Mecca before the die. Mecca is in Saudi Arabia, and Muslims believe it is the holiest place on earth. In prayer, Muslims all over the world turn so their heads are aimed toward Mecca. During their journey there, pilgrims wear white sheets. Tradition holds that worshippers performing rituals such as around Kaaba (the stone building at the center of Mecca). People who are not Muslim are not allowed in the city of Mecca.

I consider myself to be a very giving person, so I think that zakat probably would be the easiest pillar for me to fulfill, particularly if I would be giving to a cause I believe in. The alms go to the poor and to religious needs, and since the first pillar calls for having complete faith in Allah, then I don't think I would have a problem giving to a cause that I believe in entirely.

Salat would be difficult to fulfill living in western society where workers and executives are expected to conduct business meetings and often are required to be available at all times of day. It would be difficult to tell a bossthat I couldn't meet with a customer because I had to use that time to pray. It wouldn't be hard to fulfill this pillar if I were living in an Islamic country where many others practice the same beliefs and adherence to a prayer schedule is common. However, as long as I am living in the United States, I would have to say that salat would be the most challenging pillar to for me to fulfill.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Tracie's Post: can you maybe shorten it some?

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