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)?
The worship of Allah is principal in the beliefs of Islam. There are also five formal acts of
worship which help strengthen the faith and obedience of Muslims. Known as the “Five Pillars of Islam”, this is the framework and guidelines of the Muslim life. They are the testimony of faith, prayer, supporting the needy, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the once in a lifetime trip to Makkah for those who are able to do so. These Five Pillars are the thing Muslim’s do to please God and to keep well and happy in this lifetime and for the future ones to come. It was Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, who was reported to have said, “Islam is based upon five pillars”.
The easiest of the Five Pillars to fulfill would be the first pillar, Shahadah. This is the declaration or testimony of faith. The declaration itself is very simple and it goes as follows: “I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.” Islam is based on faith and the Unity of God. When one agrees with this statement, they are testifying upon the Unity of Allah and the message of Prophethood. When one witnesses the statement that Muhammad is His messenger, one is verifying that all the prophets before him were also His messengers showing that Allah is one and His message is one. When one declares this statement with their purity of heat and conviction of faith, they are then Muslim.
The most challenging pillar would have to be the fourth, Sawm. The total abstinence from food and liquid from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan. This pillar is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness to Allah and express their gratitude. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are to abstain from food, drink and sexual intercourse. Also during this time, Muslims are expected to heighten their effort into following the teachings of Islam. Muslims are to refrain from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, and gossip. This would certainly not be something I would be capable of doing; fasting is not only unhealthy, but also unsafe for children, people with medical conditions, elderly and pregnant women.