The headlines shout out racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. They can’t be ignored and they should not be. It is incumbent on each of us to understand more about Islam for they are Canadians too.
This is a very short primer of the basic tenets of Islam. There are many layers to Islam as it is a sophisticated religion. A more detailed primer can be found at more detailed primer of Islam and it should be read in order to gain better insights into the 2nd biggest religion in the world, 2nd biggest in Europe.
The Five Pillars of Islam
- Profession of Faith (Shahada)
The declaration of faith (shahada, to bear witness): “There is no God but God and Muhammad is the Prophet (or messenger) of God” is the gateway to membership in the Muslim community.
- Prayer or Worship (Salat)
Five times each day, Muslims face Mecca and pray by reciting verses from the Quran accompanied by a series of prostrations.
Friday Muslims perform the noon in a congregation (juma) at their local mosque.
Those unable to attend Friday prayer at their, gather on Sunday to worship and socialize as a community.
- Almsgiving (Zakat)
Almsgiving (zakat) is an obligation which instills and reinforces a sense of community responsibility to it.
Tithing is a duty for all who are financially capable to pay; in Sunni Islam, it is an annual 2.5% percent wealth tax re-distributed to the less fortunate of the community.
- Fasting (Sawm) in Ramadan
All adult Muslims who are physically able, fast during the month of Ramadan, each day from dawn to dusk Muslims abstaining from eating or drinking anything, even water.
- __Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)
Every Muslim who has the health and financial ability is obliged to make the pilgrimage (hajj) once in his or her lifetime to Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The pilgrimage ends with the Feast of Sacrifice (Id al-Adha) commemorating God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son. Muslims sacrifice animals (sheep, goats, camels) in memory of Abraham’s sacrifice to God and whatever meat not consumed is distributed to the poor.
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Visitors are encouraged to read the more detailed primer of Islam.