ALL religions of the world are basically peaceful in nature or are primarily aimed at instilling the core value of inner peace within the heart and soul of one and all of faithful followers of each religion.
Peace and all other good values of spiritual enhancement, particularly love and kindness, are the total embodiment of any religion. My little and somewhat hollow knowledge of my own spiritual belief can be pretty daunting at times. I still have a long, long way to go in terms of religious piety and complete or holistic faith in my own daily spiritual practise. More importantly is the fact (and the reality of life) that it is my major responsibility as a Muslim husband and a father to guide my own family (my wife, son and daughter) to the Righteous Path!
Being a Muslim, I know that I must whole-heartedly fulfil my obligations as prescribed in the basic tenets of Islam i.e. the five main pillars of Islam (“5 Rukun Islam”) and the six principles of Faith (“6 Rukun Iman”). A top priority knowledge I should seek is the “Aqidah” and “Tauhid” (Oneness of God).
In short, the 5 Pillars of Islam are: 1. To declare that there is no god but Allah and that Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; 2. To pray five times a day; 3. To fast during the fasting month of Ramadhan; 4. To pay the Tithe (“Zakat”) and 5. To perform the pilgrimage or the Haj in Islam’s holiest city of Mekah in Saudi Arabia.
Islam Online further defines the above as: “The five pillars of the Islamic faith, the fundamental constituents of Muslim life, are:
- Shahada, the profession of faith in the uniqueness of Allah and the centrality of Mohammed as his Prophet ?
- Salat, formal worship or prayer
- Zakat, the giving of alms for the poor, assessed on all adult Muslims as 2.5% of capital assets once a year
- Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca, which every Muslim should undertake at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able; the annual hajj takes place during the last 10 days of the 12th lunar month every year
- Sawm, fasting during Ramadan, the holy ninth month of the lunar year.”
Islam Online elaborates: “In Islam, faith, (Iman or Aqeedah) is the matter of knowledge. The Muslim must believe in his heart and have faith and conviction, with no doubts or suspicions.
The Islamic “Aqeedah” is established on the principle that “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”.
The principles of “Aaqeedah” are those which Allah has ordered Muslims to believe in.
Allah (swt) says:
(The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books and His Messengers. They say, ‘We make no distinction between one and another of His Messengers’ – and they say, ‘We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all)) [Qur’an 2:285]
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) described how Jebreel explained faith in Islam to him;
“Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Resurrection.”
(And thus We inspired in You (Muhammad) a Spirit of Our command. You did not know what the Scripture was, nor what the Faith (iman) was. But we have made it a light whereby We guide whom We will of our bondmen…) [Qur’an 42:52]
The basic principles that Muslims must believe in and follow are the five pillars of Islam. One will not be called a believer just by knowing and understanding these pillars but he must come to the level where he submits and implements them.
Iman, in this manner, incorporates Islam.
Imam Abu-Hanifa said,
“The understanding of faith is better than understanding of the science.”
What he meant by faith here is the “tawheed” (believing that there is no good but Allah (set)) and he meant “shariah” by science. It is clear that he put the understanding of “tawheed”, which is the foundation of the Islamic faith, before the understanding of the “shariah”.
Also, Sheikh Al-Haruwi Al-Ansari said in his book, “Itiqad Ahl Al-Sunnah”;
“The first obligation upon the slave is the knowledge of Allah.”
This is also proven in Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) saying;
“You will come to people from the People of the Book. The first thing that you should call them to is to worship Allah. If they gain the knowledge of Allah, then tell them that Allah obligates upon them five prayers during the day and night…” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim] Source: Islam Q&A”
The 6 Principles (Beliefs) of Faith or “Iman” are: 1. To believe in Allah the Almighty; 2. To believe in the Angels (“Malaikat”); 3. To believe in the Holy Books (the “Al-Quran”/”Injil” or Bible/”Torah”/”Jabur”); 4. To believe in His Messengers (“Rasul”); 5. To believe in ‘Fate and Destiny’ (“Qada’ dan Qadar”) and 6. To believe in the Day of the Resurrection i.e. Life in the Hereafter (“Hari Kiamat/Akhirat”) or popularly known as ‘Doomsday’.
In slightly more than a week’s time, all Muslims globally (numbering more than a billion, I gather) will start to fast for one whole month (depending on the Sighting of the New Moon of Ramadan in most Islamic countries) which is expected to commence on September 1, 2008 i.e. the First Day of the Ramadan month in the Islamic calendar year of 1429 Hijrah.