By Nairus Abdullahi
Five Pillars of Islam
In these mini series I will discuss the five pillars of Islam. Today, I will introduce zakat; its meaning and why it’s important. “True piety is this: to believe in God, and the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, and the
Prophets, to give of one’s substance, however cherished, to kinsmen, and orphans, the needy, the traveler, beggars, and to ransom the slave, to perform the prayer, to pay the zakat.” (Qur’an 2:177)
Zakat is 2.5 percent of one’s annual wealth which is a requirement for all Muslims to pay if they are able. Allah commands that we share a portion of our wealth to the poor, needy and suffering. There are several reasons why Allah commands the Muslim to perform this obligation. First, paying zakat reduces and/or eliminates greediness, hoarding and love of possessions from poisoning our hearts. When we pay zakat, it is an act of moral and spiritual purification – in the sense that one becomes closer to God and is above worldly things such as possessions. Second, it’s a form of discipline because one is constantly aware of Allah’s test and that everything he/she owns belongs to Allah and thus belongs to all of his creations.
Zakat is used to uplift poor communities and suffering individuals or groups. It can be in the form of money, gold and silver, cattle or crop. According Muslim Aid, it cannot be used to “build mosques, bury the dead or clear the debt of the deceased”. Zakat is Allah’s way of reminding humans to be humble and appreciative of what they have and give back to the people who really need it. Allah discourages the excess of anything (wealth, clothes, food, etc) and reminds us to always share because so long as there are rich people, there will be poor ones as well. It’s true that the richest person is the one who gives back and doesn’t keep everything for themselves.
FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
In this mini series, I’ll discuss the five pillars of Islam. These are basic tenants that all Muslims adhere to and it’s very important to know as our world is increasingly becoming global. The second pillar of Islam is prayers. Muslims pray five time a day; two in the morning, one afternoon, mid-afternoon and evening. First we perform the cleaning ritual in order to begin prayer. Once that’s completed we recite verses from the quran and perform several movement such as standing with arms crossed over the chest, bowing, prostrating and sitting.
Why do Muslims pray? Islam means submitting to God. It’s a monotheistic religion which means we only believe in one higher power and that He is the creator of all things. Every prayer has a timeframe and within that timeframe is a chance to temporarily step out of busy lives and reconnect with what’s important. Prayers are reminders to Muslims to behave well, dress well, and mean well. It’s a constant reminder to do good and resist the temptations of the this dunya (world).
With that being said anyone can learn just about anything simply through a google engine search. Ignorance is something that we should work to improve on so I recommend anyone who reads “Verse of the Week” to do their own independent research and get to know people who are informed in their topics of interest.