There are five pillars of Islam. The very first pillar is the Shahada (testimony), the testification that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah and that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His final and last messenger. The second pillar is Salah (prayer). That as Muslims, we have five daily prayers. The next pillar of Islam is Zakah or Zakat (alms-giving). That once a year, we have to give out 2.5 percent of our wealth. The next is fasting during the month of Ramadan. Allah (SWT) commands us to fast this whole month. The last pillar of Islam is Hajj (pilgrimage).
Pillars of Success:
Allah (SWT) throughout the five pillars of Islam, teaches us pillars of success. He teaches us how to be successful individually. We just need to analyze and focus and we will see we are able to extract those deeper and greater meanings. And this is the true meaning of the Ayah when Allah (SWT) says:
O you who believe, answer the call of Allah and His messenger when they call you to that which gives you life (8:24).
That the five pillars of Islam, the obligations that Allah (SWT) commands, these are the things that will give you success not only in the hereafter but in this world as well. Allah is calling you and it’s up to you whether you answer that call or not.
The very first pillar of Islam is the Shahada i.e. the declaration of the oneness of Allah and the acceptance of Muhammad (pbuh) as Allah’s last prophet. Now what is the possible success that one can find in this statement? If you look at your own human psychology, you will see as human beings, we love to be in one of two positions. We strive to be in positions of authority but we will usually feel best when someone is authoritative to us. You will see that your success, your tranquility, your serenity lies in obeying Allah. People will work their whole lives and they will not find happiness but the second they submit to the will of Allah, the second they submit to the command of Allah that is when they will find happiness. You will feel more liberated, freer when you submit to the will and command of your creator. And this is human psychology that when it comes to the creation of God, when they obey Him, when they submit to Him, that is when they find the true happiness. So in the first testament that a Muslim takes that there is not God worthy of worship except Allah, that’s when the happiness kicks in.
The second part of the statement is that Muhammad (pbuh) is His last and final messenger. That mankind may have this example that they may imitate and emulate that will bring them happiness in this world and in the hereafter. This is why Allah (SWT) says that indeed in the messenger of Allah do you have a great example. So Allah (SWT) sent the messenger so that he may be imitated and emulated because naturally that’s what we do as human beings. We like to copy individuals who are superior in character and manners.
The second pillar of Islam is the Salah. As Muslims we have five daily prayers, the first of them being the Salah Al-Fajr (dawn prayer). Waking up early in the morning and walking to the Masjid can change the way we think and the way we feel. It lightens up our body and gives us positive energy. We go to the Masjid for the sake of seeking closeness to our creator and Allah rewards us at that time. We have a head start on attaining our Rizq, on attaining your sustenance over the rest of the world. If you were to study Western demographics, most jobs start around 9 o clock. But when do the workers actually become productive? It’s usually after lunch time. So as human beings, it takes time to become more productive. So now you pray Salah Al-fajr, you are off for the rest of the day. You are going to start becoming productive at 8 am. While the rest of the people are still in the bed and still dozing off. And this is another key element to success that Allah (SWT) has granted the Muslims. Your days are longer and more productive. Moreover, praying five times a day at their particular time brings discipline and consistency in our lives which are essential qualities for a successful life.
We like to go to social gatherings, why? We can network. Allah created natural networks for us. When we go to Masjid, there are people that we will continuously run into. These are the same people that come to pray in the Masjid. They will get to know who you are and you get to know about them. Every time they need to buy something, they will come to you. Every time you need their help, you go to them. This is how natural networking takes place in Islam. Simply by going to the Masjid. This is also one of the key elements to success. People who are social have more chances of growth than those who live in isolation.
The next pillar of Islam is Zakah or Zakat. Zakat is the charity that we give out. What are some elements of success that you find out in giving charity? When we give charity, our wealth does not decrease. Rather it is increased in Barakah (blessing) as this is the promise of Allah. We often hear the phrases ‘sharing is caring’ and ‘when we give, we receive’. This is the essence of Zakat. Zakat teaches us to share what Allah has granted us to take care of those who are less fortunate. It also helps us avoid being selfish. The greatest element of success is bringing balance into the world. If you were to look into this world, you will see there is a great dichotomy. There is a great division. Zakat is the institution that Allah has established so that there may be a balance in society. That people may not have to resort to begging and stealing. If the richest people give out 2.5 percent of their wealth, it will eradicate poverty from some of the countries.
Allah commands us to fast during the month of Ramadan. You will see that the underline premise in this month is restraint and gratitude. That we restrain ourselves from food and drink so that we may recognize the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us. By abstaining from food, drink, physical pleasures, indecent speech, fighting and lustful thoughts, fasting helps us develop self-control, purify the body and empathize with the poor and hungry.
Sound health takes a central place in the path to leading a prosperous and successful life. Ramadan brings a whole bunch of health benefits. According to a research, fasting is a powerful therapeutic process that can help people recover from mild to severe health conditions. Allan Cott, in his book “Fasting as a Way of life” noted that “fasting brings a wholesome physiological rest for the digestive tract and central nervous system and normalizes metabolism.” Ramadan fasting helps to reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. It is an ideal treatment for obesity, essential hypertension and improved digestive system.
Going for Hajj is the last pillar of Islam. Hajj is the ultimate journey that a Muslim takes. He leaves behind his family, spends a large amount of money and puts his body through the ultimate test. Through Hajj, there are a lot of lessons and benefits that can be learnt. The greatest benefit is what it does to the believer. An individual who makes sacrifice grows and progresses more. Hajj is an ultimate challenge where Allah (SWT) takes you to the peak of your ability and sacrifice i.e. sacrificing your family, your wealth, and your body. Going for the Safa & Marwah, going for the Tawaf, going to Mina & in Arafah all requires a lot of dedication and sacrifice. The biggest part of sacrifice is controlling your temper in the day of Hajj. You are taught patience and gratitude and how to control anger. All these qualities come out of Hajj.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said,
“Whoever performs Hajj to this House (Ka’ba) and does not approach his wife for sexual relations nor commits sins (while performing Hajj), he will come out as sinless as a newly-born child. (Just delivered by his mother).” (Bukhari, Book 28, Hadith 45).
Another Hadith states that the reward of an accepted Hajj is no less than paradise.