The Five Pillars of Islam
The Five Pillars of Islam are the core beliefs. Of course, one must also have faith and follow the rest of the Quran to go to paradise. Here they are:
1. Shahadah – confession that Allah is the one and only true god
2. Prayer (Salah) – prayer is performed five times a day
3. Alms (Zakah) – giving to the poor
4. Fasting (Sawm) – fasting occurs during the month of Ramadan, usually includes no drinking or sexual relations
5. Pilgrimage (Hajj) – travel to Mecca at least one in their lifetime
These are similar to the sacraments in Catholicism. It gives a religion structure, but God does not work like this. He looks at your heart, not at your actions.
Like Christianity, Muslims also have divisions within Islam. Sunni Muslims account for 80-90% of the believers. Sunni Muslims are considered traditionalists who believe in the Quran and the six main Hadith books. They also believe that the rightful ruler of Islam should be elected through vote by a government system known as the Caliphate. They do not believe in having hereditary successors.
The second largest Muslim division is the Shi’ites (aka Ja’firi school). The Shi’ties were founded in 661 A.D., after the assassination of the fourth caliph. They follow a larger collection of books including the Quran, more than 20 Hadith books, Kalam, Tasfir, and prayer books. Unlike the Sunni, they believe that the rulers of Islam should be through a hereditary lineage starting with Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law.
Sufi Muslims began as early as the 7th century. They believe in the Quran, as well as a lot of their own books. They are much different than Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims in that they follow a dualist pantheism view. This means that they believe Allah and the universe are one, while man is composed of both physical and spiritual components. Their goal is to obtain knowledge of Allah through meditation, deprivation, abstinence, and poverty.
The religion of Islam does have a lot of good morals, but there is not much evidence to back it up. Muhammad has no witnesses to back up his claim that Gabriel appeared to him. The Quran, their main text, is full of contradictions. Also, the Hadith, is so extensive, that most Muslims can’t even agree on it. In addition, they deny the crucifixion without basis. I find Islam to be similar to Catholicism in that they both have so many followers, but their followers don’t even know what their religion is about. An average person believes in a god that created the universe and having good morals, but beyond that religion is not important to them. They don’t care about historical events, witnesses, evidence, or how religion impacts their daily lives. Religions should be studied so that the truth may be revealed.
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