The Fourty Nawawi Ahaadeeth, The Third Hadeeth.

On the authority of Abū ʽAbdur-Raḥmān, ʽAbdullāh, son of ʽUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb,who said:  I heard the Messenger of Allah () say: “Islam has been built on five:  testifying that there is no deity but Allah and that Muḥammad  is  the  Messenger  of  Allah,  the  establishme nt  of  prayer,  giving zakāh, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fast ing Ramadhān.”(Narrated by al-Bukhāri and Muslim) .

    The  pillars  of  Islam  were  enumerated  in  the  previous  ḥadīth  in  comparison  with those of īmān  in order to define and distinguish each.  This ḥad īth presents them in another light.  What is emphasized here is that these five “pillars,” as they have been called, are indeed the basis of Islam without which  the religion cannot stand, just as abuilding cannot stand without strong supports rooted in a foundation.  This does not mean,  however,  that  Islam  is  limited  to  these  five –  far  from  it.    For  obedience  in everything that Allah has ordained is included in Islam and is, in fact, essential for its completion and perfection.  Every Muslim will be judged in the Hereafter according to his efforts to obey every

order and avoid every prohibition. What is meant here is simply that all of the other  obligations  are  what   completes Islam and makes it good (for what use is a building  without walls, a roof, doors and windows, interior furnishings, etc.?), while the main pillars are the minimum that can be called “Islam.”  Hence, the Prophet  did not say that these five pillars are Islam but that Islam is built upon them; i.e., they must be present before Islam can be completed.  And since,  as  noted  previously,  the  deeds  of  Islam  are principally  actions  which  are observable (those of the tongue and the body), a person is considered a Muslim as long as the basic “pillars” are present. The  first  of  them  is shahādah or  testimony  that  there  is  no  deity,  i.e.,  nothing worthy of worship except Allah (subḥānahu wa taʽālā) and that Muḥammad is His messenger, i.e., the spokesman for Allah by His authority.  For this reason Allah, in the Qur’ān, has made obedience to the Prophet  incumbent on all Muslims. Testifying requires that one be truthful and sincere, and it includes two aspects:1)recognition and admission within the self.2)bearing witness of the fact before others, i.e., asserting one’s conviction, which is then proven by his fulfillment of the other four requirements “No deity but Allah” involves the question of divine authority – submission and willing acceptance of the Creator’s right to govern creation.Shahādah  is obviously the first building block of Islam without which there can be no Islam. Scholars’ views differ over the remaining four pillars – whether or not the omission of one of them removes one from the ranks of Muslim. 

  1. It is generally conceded that9 disobedience or  neglect  with  admission  of  sin  doesnot  do  so  but  that  the  outright denial of an Islamic obligation or a prohibition given by Allah in the Qur’ān amounts torefusal of His rightful authority and is thus seen kufr (disbelief). The  second  pillar  has  not  been  stated  as  “prayer” but  as  “the  establishment  of prayer” at its proper times and according to its specified conditions.  It is the faithful performance of this duty correctly to the best of one’s ability with presence of mind and humble awareness of his position before his Creator without neglect or postponement of  the  obligatory  prayers.    Several  authentic  ḥadīths have  equated  the  deliberate abandonment of prayer with reversion to unbelief. Zakāh (the required yearly expenditure from excess wealth) has been mentioned in conjunction with ṣalāh (prayer) in 26 verses of the Qur’ān.  Thus, after the death of the Prophet (, Abū Bakr, with the support of `Umar and the otherṣahābah (may Allah be pleased with them), refused to allow any who called themselves Muslims to refrain from giving zakāh on the pretext that it was due only to the Messenger of Allah . Ḥajj (pilgrimage) is obligatory but once in a lifetime for those who have the physical and financial ability.  In the Qur’ān Allah has described refusal of this obligation as disbelief, and He (subḥānahu wa taʽālā) is fully aware as to whether a person is truly unable or merely unwilling.  Fasting the month of Ramadhān, which precedes ḥajj in other ḥadīths,  also stipulates physical ability and postponement of fasting is permitted on days of inability or hardship. Although jihād in the sense of armed struggle was commended by the Prophet (as the peak of Islam and the best of deeds, it has been pointed out that it is not among its pillars due to the fact that it is not an obligation upon every single Muslim (unless there is an invasion of his territory) but rather upon specific groups at various times and according to circumstances.  Other forms of jihād, such as da`wah work, are, in reality,practiced by those who have reached the level of īmān.


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