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The Pillars of Islam
The Islam is based on five pillars as the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said. They are:
Its also called the kalimah (word), which must be recited by anyone embracing Islam. It means "There is no true god except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." This means that nothing and no one is worthy of being worshipped but Allah, and that He must be worshipped only according to the teaching of His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Abdullah bin Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah said:� A man will be brought along to the balances on the Day of Resurrection, and there will be brought out for him ninety nine scrolls, every scroll of them stretching (when unrolled) as far as an eye can reach, in which are written his sins and his guilty acts, and they will be put in one pan of the Balances. Then a small card will be brought out on which is written the Testimony of Faith: There is no true god except Allah, and Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, which will be put in the other pan, and it will outweigh all his wrongdoing.� This means that if a person professes the testimony of faith fulfilling its conditions, Allah forgives his sins regardless of how many sins he may have committed.
Pronouncing the testimony of faith is sufficient to make one a convert to Islam. There are however, six conditions that must be observed before it can effectively make one a Muslim. These are descirpe as follow.
knowing both concepts of the testimony of faith i.e., disclaiming all deities, denouncing shirk, polytheism, and affirming the Oneness of Allah. Allah the Exalted, addressed His Messenger, peace be upon him, saying:� Know, therefore, that there is no true god but Allah.� 
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:� He who dies while still acknowledging there is no true god except Allah will assuredly enter Jannah.�
And he said:� Allah will forbid the fire [from touching] anyone who has testified: There is no true god except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.�
The heart must be firmly certain of the meaning of shahadah without a blemish of doubt. Allah the Exalted says:� Verily, the believers are only those who truly believe in Allah and His Messenger, and then doubt not.� 
Allah praises such believers saying:� It is they who are the truthful.� The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:� I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah. No slave meets Allah with this testimony, having no doubt in it but shall enter Jannah.� 
Allah, the Exalted, said:� And they were not commanded but to worship Allah, being sincere in devoting religion to Him.� 
Abu Hurairah said:� I asked the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him: Messenger of Allah! Who will be most fortunate to enjoy your shafa'ah (intercession) on the Day of Resurrection? The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: I was certain that no one else would ask me about this other than you, because I have noticed your keenness for hadeeth. The most fortunate of men who will enjoy my shafa'ah on the Day of Resurrection is the one who says: (La Ilaha Illa Allah) "None has the right to be worshipped except Allah", sincerely from his heart.. � 
Allah The Exalted says:� But he who has brought the truth , and those who testify to the truth, these it is who are the righteous.� 
The Messenger of Allah said:� Anyone testifies that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, truthfully from his heart, Allah would forbid his admittance to the Fire.� 
Allah says:� Allah shall bring forth a people whom He loves and they love Him.� 
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:� There are three (qualities), whoever possesses them, will taste the sweetness of Iman (belief): to love Allah and His Messenger more than anyone else, to love the Muslim only for the sake of Allah, and to dread returning to kufr (apostasy) as he dreads being thrown in fire.� 
The Prophet, peace be upon him, also said:� None of you shall (really) believe until I become dearer to him than his own father, and son and all mankind.� 
Allah, the Exalted, says:� And he who submits himself to Allah, and does good, he has surely grasped a strong handle.� 
Allah also says:� And turn you to your Rubb, and submit yourselves to Him.� 
All the above conditions must be accepted and adhered to. In other words, none of the conditions or requirements of the testimony of faith should be rejected. Allah says:� When it was said to them: There is no god but Allah, they used to turn away with arrogance, and say: Are we going to relinquish our gods for an insane poet.� 
Abu Musa al-Ash'aree reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him said:� The parable of guidance and knowledge which Allah has sent me with is like a rain which fell on a land. A patch of that land received the water and produced much herbage and grass. And a patch which was barren. The latter retained water wherewith Allah extended benefits to men: they drank from it, irrigated and planted their vegetation. And a patch which was a sandy plain, it neither retained water nor produced herbage. This is parallel to the person who conceived the religion of Allah and benefited from the Message with which Allah has sent me, whereby he learnt and taught others. The other person turned away from it (from my Message), and rejected the guidance of Allah with which I am sent.� 
An act of worship consisting of series of movements, and Qur'anic recitations. The performance of the five prescribed daily prayers is obligatory (fardh) beginning at the age of reason, which is deemed to be ten years. Each unit of salah is called rak'ah (pl. rak'at). Some prayers are performed silently in whole or in part; that is to say, the Fatihah, or the opening surah of the Qur'an and the chosen passage of the Qur'an are not recited in audible voice. Prayer is clearly the most important pillar after shahadah. Each unit of salah, called rak'ah (pl. rak'at). It is a daily act of worship. The performance of salah at five prescribed times daily is obligatory (fardh). The five prayers may be performed either individually or in congregation, but if in congregation, they are led by an imam who directs the ritual. At these five times a day there is an adthan , or a call to announce the time for prayer, and to summon Muslims to the masjid for prayer.
To perform prayer, the person must be in the sate of ritual purity conferred by the wudu', or ablution. A prayer must be performed in a clean place, facing the qiblah, the direction of Makkah , a direction which is indicated in a masjid by a mihrab, or a notch in one of the masjid walls. The daily prayers will descrip as follows.
a) Salatul-Fajr, or dawn prayer, consisting of two supererogatory rak'aat followed by two obligatory rak'aat during which the Qur'anic passages are recited loudly. Its time is from dawn to sunrise.Besides the five prescribed daily prayer, there are also certain special congregational prayers that are in common observance. The most important of them is the Jum'ah, Friday congregational prayer performed in place of the normal noon prayer. It can only be performed in congregation following a khutbah, or preaching delivered by the imam. There are also special prayers for time of lunar or solar eclipse. Another prayer called Salatul-Istisqaa' time of drought, a two rak'at prayer supplicating Allah for rain. It is to be performed by the community in the open. Janazah, funeral prayer, is performed for the recently dead by the mourners and by anyone present in the masjid at the time. Salatul-Khawf, (prayer of fear), is performed in place of normal prayer in the battlefield. A-Eedain prayers, for the two annual festivals, the first al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Fasting month of Ramadhan and the al-Adh-ha, the sacrificial festival which marks the end of the Pilgrimage.
b) Salat adth-Dhuhr, the noonday prayer; two rak'aat followed by another two supererogatory. Then four obligatory with quiet recitation, and then two more supererogatory rak'aat. It is performed after the moment the sun passes its zenith until the time of Asr.
c) Salat al-Asr, the late afternoon prayer, consists of only four obligatory rak'aat. with quiet recitation. It is performed when the shadow of a vertical stick becomes equal to the length of the stick until just before sunset.
d) Salat al-Maghrib, sunset prayer, consists of three obligatory rak'aat, the first two of which are recited in audible voice, while the third is recited quietly. The three obligatory rak'aat are followed by two supererogatory ones. This prayer may be performed as soon as the sun sinks below the horizon until the red glow disappears, but is best performed immediately after sunset.
e) Salat al-Isha', or night prayer. Its four rak'aat, the first two are recited in audible voice and the last two quietly. They are followed by two supererogatory rak'aat. It is performed after the onset of night until the dawn, but are preferably performed before midnight. An additional two rak'aat followed by odd one, called witr may be prayed before going to sleep.
There are some arkan or fundamental requirements that must be observed in order that the prayer be accepted:
(1) An-niyyah (intention), i.e., stating in mind what prayer service one proposes to perform.Prayer is one of the greatest pillars of Islam. It is the first act of worship about which man shall be questioned about on the Day of Reckoning. If Prayer of a Muslim is accepted by Allah, then the rest of man's good deeds are accepted too. 
(2) Takbiratul-al-ihram (sanctification), i.e., pronouncing takbeer [saying. "Allahu akbar"], whereby the worshipper cuts himself off from profane things for the period of prayer.
(3) Al-qiyam (standing), i.e., taking up one's position standing, facing the qiblah and ready for prayer.
(4) Al-qira'ah (recitation), i.e., the recitation of the Fatihah (Surah # 1) and some other portion from the Qur'an.
(5) Ar-ruku' (bowing), i.e., bending the body so that the palms grab the knees.
(6) As-sujud (prostration of obeisance), i.e., going down on hands and knees so that the forehead touches the praying place.
(7) At-tasleem (salutation), which ends the formal prayer.
(8) At-tarteeb (arrangement), i.e., performing all the above in proper sequence.
it is means "purification". consists of giving up a certain percentage of the wealth one may possess for a whole lunar year to be given to needy Muslims in order thereby to purify or legitimize one's wealth and property. Zakah is one of the greatest financial institutions of Islam as practical sharing with those less fortunate, the bounty one receives from Allah. A sharing which reflects characteristics of a true Muslim. Zakah is levied annually on certain types of food, grain, cattle, and cash retained for one lunar calendar year to be given out to the poor, the needy, and other specified classes of people. The amount due varies according to different kinds of properties.
it is to be observed during the month of Ramadhan (the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar). The beginning of the fasting is announced in all Muslim countries by the appearance of the new moon of Ramadhan, and ends with the appearance of the new moon of Shawwal. All Muslims in normal health abstain from food, drink  and sexual enjoyment from dawn to sunset.
Fasting is a beneficial act of worship that helps one who observes it to attain piety and humbleness and to share the feelings of the bereft and hungry in the community so as to be more benevolent and charitable. Meritorious fasting is also recommended on various occasions throughout the year.
Hajj (pilgrimage) to the sacred sites in certain Makkan areas, each with its own special rites and ceremonies is an elaborate series of symbolic acts requiring several days for their accomplishment. It is performed at a particular period of the Islamic year at the al-Masjid al-Haram, the Sacred Masjid in Makkah, and in Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat, which are the places directly adjacent to Makkah. it is obligatory for those whose health and means permit it once in a lifetime . Umrah  however, is voluntary act of worship. The Hajj rites take place during the Islamic or lunar months of Shawwal, Dthul-Qi'dah, and the first ten days of Dthu-Hijjah only. It is a pre-condition for the pilgrim to enter the state of ihram  at a certain point before entering the boundaries of Makkah.
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Musnad al-Imam Ahmad.
The one who brought the truth refers to Muhammad, peace be upon him. While the 'truth' refers to the kalimah.
Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.
The Qiblah, orientation for prayer, i.e., the Ka'bah, to which all Muslims turn during prayer.
Man shall be held accountable for every minute thing he does, and shall stand all by himself on the Day of Resurrection or Reckoning to be questioned by the All- Mighty Allah. Every one shall be held accountable for his own deeds. The life in the Hereafter is either everlasting happiness or everlasting torment.
Drinking, refers to water, fruit juices and other non-alcoholic and soft drinks. Liquor and smoking are strictly prohibited in Islam.
This means that a person must have enough provisions for his journey and for his family during his absence.
Umrah, or visitation, which is concerned more particularly with the central shrine of al-Masjid al-Haram, in Makkah, can be performed at any time of the year. Its rituals take place entirely within the precincts of the Sacred Mosque of Makkah. Umrah is also a part of the Hajj. It is composed of the seven tawaf, or circumambulations of the Ka'bah, followed by a prayer of two rak'aat, the drinking of water of Zamzam, and finally walking between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times.
Ihram is purposely entering upon the performance of Hajj or Umrah by wrapping a piece of cotton around one's body, covering it from the chest down, and another piece to cover one's upper body, excluding the head. This makes it unlawful to wear sewed garments, socks or shoes. Only slippers or the like are permissible to wear. Also prohibited are all sexual activities with one's wife, hunting, and the like. Under normal circumstances, once a Muslim enters the state of ihram, he may not break it until he has completed all hajj and Umrah rituals. If however, one is held back from completing Hajj and Umrah, for health reasons, fear of an enemy, or great danger, he may then quit his ihram and sacrifice a sheep, a goat, a cow, or a camel as an expiation.