Islam






islam


Islam Glossary
Iman
   The Arabic word which gives Islamic religion its name is islam, which means "submission." Islam, or complete submission to God, is one of the three principles that characterize Islam as a religion; the other two are iman (reasoned faith or conviction) and ihsan (moral action).


Islam Glossary
The Five Pillars
   While iman refers to human knowledge and ihsan refers to human actions, islam is carried out in the realm of ritual. One way to understand the distinction between islam and ihsan is that the former refers to the duties one owes to God and the latter refers to the duties one owes to fellow human beings. Specifically, the duties to God that make up islam are the Five Pillars, those rituals incumbent on every believer: shahadah or the statement of faith, salah or prayer, sawm Ramadan or the fast of the month of Ramadan, zakat or prescribed alms-giving, and hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca. By performing these ritual actions, the Muslim essentially submits his or her will and life to God.


   One of the most important components of submitting to God in the Qur'an is salat or prayer. The Qur'an enjoins on every believer the performance of five prayers daily; if done with the proper mind, these prayers guarantee entrance into Paradise; people who fail to perform these five prayers every day may or may not be granted entrance into Paradise. In prayer, the believer symbolizes his submission to God by both kneeling and prostrating himself as part of the ritual. This prostration most aptly sums up the nature of Islam and the Islamic idea of the relationship of humanity to God; the Qur'an states that nothing brings a human being closer to God than prostration in prayer.

Richard Hooker



World Cultures

World Cultures Home Page


1998, Richard Hooker
Updated 1-17-98