Arkanul Islam and Aqeeda ul-Islam
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The relationship between Arkanul Islam and Aqeeda ul-Islam
The relationship between the arkanul Islam and the aqeeda ul-Islam is fundamental to the Islamic Faith. These two concepts provide part of an ethics basis to Islamic life and the link is inseparable.
To achieve Allah's mercy and favour in life, a Muslim must practice first and foremost the Arkanul Islam or the five Pillars of Islam (practiced by the Sunnis). The Aqeeda ul-Islam are the “Articles of Faith” and give meaning and purpose to the Arkanul Islam. The pillars are so central and important to Islamic life, that by not following them, one is not truly submitting themselves to Allah and is therefore not a Muslim. And without the meaning given by the Aqeeda ul-Islam the deeds of the Arkanul Islam are meaningless in Allah's eyes.
The five Pillars of Islam require the articles of belief before the act of a deed is meaningful. The submission to the six articles allows all deeds a Muslim may perform to be righteous and positive.
The Aqeeda ul-Islam have six articles of belief. The articles are:
1. Belief in Allah, the only God
2. Belief in all the Prophets sent by God
3. Belief in the Angels
4. Belief in the Qur'an
5. Belief in the Day of Judgment and in the Resurrection
6. Belief in Destiny and God's chosen path
The five Pillars are set down in the Qur'an in various suras and provide a template of life for a Muslim. The most important Pillar and also the most conceptual is Shahadah, or the acceptance of Allah and his final messenger the Prophet Muhammad. This deceleration ties in with the Tawhid concept of God, a monotheistic and indivisible entity. A Muslim practices the Pillar of Shahadah simply by never relinquishing his belief or questioning the truth of the oneness of Allah or the Hadith, the teachings and stories of the Prophet. This declaration ensures that Allah is completely central to a Muslim's life in every way.
The praying of a Muslim towards Mecca, Salah, is an indication of his worship to God and also the giving of thanks towards Him. The most important aspect of salah is that a Muslim dedicates this time five times a day only to the worship of Allah. He asks Allah for guidance along the path of good that He has willed for him. But if the Muslim has no niyyah, then his prayer is worthless and the deed is not counted by God.
Zakat in Arabic means purification. This purity is taught to a Muslim by sharing his wealth and to eradicating poverty and inequality in his community. The Zakat purifies the giver of selfishness and greed. To Allah, all of humankind is equal in His eyes, and wealth should be distributed fairly, for everything in Creation belongs to Him.
Sawm is the abstaining from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramadan. This teaches a Muslim directly the suffering and plight of the poor and its purpose is one of understanding. Also it allows a Muslim closeness to God and to express their dependence on Him and His benevolence.
The Hajj in a Muslim's life is his pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. A Muslim should try and make the journey at least once in his lifetime if he can afford it. The hajj demonstrates the solidarity of the Muslim community and their total submission to Allah. The pilgrimage to Mecca is the most arduous and demanding deed of the Pillars, a pilgrim not only must travel from all parts of the world but also strive for self-improvement throughout the journey and understand why he is on the pilgrimage.
The five Pillars of Islam essentially teach a Muslim humility, respect and worship for his Creator. Every deed performed throughout a Muslim's life whether it is a holy act or not must always be performed with the mind-set that Allah is watching and judging everything. It is simply not enough for a Muslim to practice the five Pillars and not understand or accept their meaning and the doctrines of the Aqeeda ul-Islam. The deeds of the Arkanul Islam are charitable acts as well as acts of worship and faith declaration towards Allah, but they also provide an ethics system fundamental to a believer's life. Without niyyah or pure intention, the deeds become worthless in the eyes of God. One must understand and feel the significance of his acts before they are counted to his benefit.
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