Six Articles of Faith

Six Articles of Faith1. Belief in Allah, the Only God Worthy of Worship

A Muslim believes in one God, Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and Provider. God has no father or mother, no son or daughter. None is equal to Him. He is God of all mankind, not of a special tribe or race.

God is High and Supreme but He is very near to the pious thoughtful believers; He answers their prayers and helps them. He loves the people who love Him and forgives their sins. He gives them peace, happiness, knowledge and success. God is the Loving and the Provider, the Generous, and the Benevolent, the Rich and the Independent, the Forgiving and the Clement, the Patient and the Appreciative, the Unique and the Protector, the Judge and the Peace. God's attributes are mentioned in the Quran.

God creates in man the mind to understand, the soul and conscience to be good and righteous, the feelings and sentiments to be kind and humane. If we try to count His favors upon us, we cannot, because they are countless. In return for all the great favors and mercy, God does not need anything from us, because He is Needless and Independent. God asks us to know Him, to love Him and to enforce His law for our benefit and our own good.

Zakat

ZakatThe word 'zakat' is usually translated as 'poor due' or 'alms tax.' Actually, no single word can translate zakat properly. Before the word zakat is explained, it is best understood with another word 'sadaqah'.
Zakat and sadaqah are different. Zakat is obligatory charity and is required, whereas sadaqah is voluntary charity and is a recommended act that brings extra reward. Moreover, zakah is the third pillar of Islam. Not paying zakat out of negligence is a sin, whereas a person is generally not sinful for not paying voluntary charity. That is why it is called "voluntary" charity! Zakat is calculated precisely and can only be given to specific recipients, whereas sadaqah is not bound by such regulations. Zakat has to be given yearly, whereas sadaqah can be given only once or as frequently as one likes.
Allah has enjoined zakat upon the faithful, making it the third pillar of Islam, and warned those who do not pay it against severe punishment. Indeed, He links brotherhood of faith with sincere repentance, offering the prayers and paying the zakat, as the Qur'an states, "Yet if they repent and establish regular prayers and pay the zakat, then they are your brothers in faith." (Soorat At-Tawbah, 9:11) The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him also said, "Islam has been built on five [pillars]: Testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the zakat, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadaan.

Fasting

FastingFasting is not unique to Muslims. It has been practiced for centuries in connection with religious ceremonies by Christians, Jews, Confucians, Hindus, Taoists, Jains, and others as Allah says:

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become righteous.” (Quran 2:183)

But like other rituals fasting was also altered and corrupted.

Fasting In Primitive Societies:

Fasting was made part of the fertility rites in primitive ceremonies which were held at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and survived for centuries.  Some primitive societies fasted to avert catastrophe or to serve as penance for sin.  Native North Americans held tribal fasts to avert threatening disasters.  The Native Americans of Mexico and the Incas of Peru observed penitential fasts to appease their gods. Past nations of the Old World, such as the Assyrians and the Babylonians, observed fasting as a form of penance.

Hajj

HajjLabayk Allahuma Labayk Labayk. La shareeka laka Labayk. Innal hamda wannimata laka wal mulk.  La shareeka Lak (Here I am at your service, oh Lord, here I am - here I am. No partner do you have.  Here I am. Truly, the praise and the favor are yours, and the dominion. No partner do you have.)

These are the words chanted by some three million people from across Saudi Arabia and throughout the world heading, as if pulled by a magnet, to one single spot on Earth. As has happened every year for 14 centuries, Muslim pilgrims gather in Makkah to perform rituals based on those conducted by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) during his last visit to the city.

Performing these rituals, known as the Hajj, is the fifth pillar of Islam and the most significant manifestation of Islamic faith and unity. Undertaking the Hajj at least once is a duty for Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey to Makkah. The emphasis on financial ability is meant to ensure that a Muslim takes care of his family first. The requirement that a Muslim be healthy and physically capable of undertaking the pilgrimage is intended to exempt those who cannot endure the rigors of extended travel.

Eid ul-Adha

Eid ul AdhaIslam has two beautiful celebrations that will be part of your life: Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha.

Some basic facts about Eid ul-Adha: Pronounced EED-ul-ADHA, it can be translated as the "Feast of the Sacrifice." Eid ul-Adha is tied to Hajj - the pilgrimage to the sacred city of Mecca that brings in millions of Muslims every year from all over the world.
Eid ul-Adha lasts four days. On the other hand, Eid ul-Fitr, celebrated at the conclusion of Ramadan, is a one day celebration.
During Eid ul-Adha, many Muslim families sacrifice an animal and share the meat with the poor. In accordance to the command of Allah both Muslim festivals were celebrated since the time of Prophet Muhammad. Hence they are from Allah and authentic. No human being has invented them.

What is their spirit?  Our Prophet told us,
"They are days of eating, drinking, and remembrance of Allah."[Saheeh Al-Bukhari]
In other words, we can enjoy and have halal, wholesome fun without forgetting our Creator.