The fundamentals of Islam
1. Saying the Kalima-i shahâdat
It means to say “Ashhadu an lâ ilâha ill-Allah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ’abduhû wa rasûluh.”
(I bear witness [that is, I know and confirm by word of mouth as if I saw] that there is no ilâh save Allah and again I bear witness that Muhammad (‘alaihis-salâm) is His human slave and Messenger.)[Having belief in the Messenger of Allah means accepting, believing, and liking all of what he communicated.]
2. Performing namâzes [ritual prayers]
It is fard [obligatory] for every Muslim who is sane and has reached the age of puberty to perform the five daily namâzes. Namâz is the pillar of religion and not to perform it is one of the grave sins. If people do not perform namâzes, it is very difficult for them to keep their credal state at their last breath. It is stated in a hadîth-i sharîf:
(A person who performs namâz will be saved in the Hereafter, but a person who does not perform it will be in a miserable state.)[Tabarânî]
3. Giving the zakât of one’s property
For a person who has money or commercial property at a certain amount termed nisâb—that is, after one has subtracted one’s debts from the total of what one has of gold or commercial property, if the remainder, including one’s dues that are to be received, is the amount of or equal to 96 g—it is fard to give one-fortieth of it as zakât. It is also fard to give one-tenth of the crop harvested from one’s land to the poor. This one-tenth of zakât is termed ‘ushr.
(Allahu ta’âlâ curses a person who does not give the zakât of his property.) [Nasâî]
It is fard to fast every day of the month of Ramadân. It is a grave sin to omit it.
5. Performing the hajj [major pilgrimage]
For an able person who has money enough to go to and come back from the city of Mecca besides the property sufficient for the subsistence of one’s family one leaves behind until one comes back, it is fard to perform tawâf around the Ka’ba and to perform waqfa on the plain of ’Arafât.
Does it suffice to say “I believe”?
Question: It is declared in hadîth-i sharîfs that every person who says the Kalima-i shahâdat becomes a Muslim. If a person says the Kalima-i shahâdat without believing in its tenets of belief or if a person believes it without having belief in the fundamental principles of Âmantu, is such a person still a Muslim?
Îmân is defined as certifying it with the heart and confirming it by word of mouth. One is not a Muslim unless one certifies it with one’s heart.
The Kalima-i shahâdat necessitates believing in Allahu ta’âlâ’s existence, His Oneness and there being no ilâh other than He, also believing that Muhammad (‘alaihis-salâm) is His Messenger and His Last Prophet. It also necessitates believing in and liking all of what the Holy Prophet communicated. Indeed, saying “There was such a Prophet”, like narrating a historical event, does not constitute îmân. Îmân must be as follows: “I believe and like that exalted Prophet and all of what he communicated. All of them are true. There is not even a shadow of doubt that they may be wrong.” As is seen, one has to believe in all the six tenets of belief in the Âmantu. One is not a Muslim unless one believes in them; what is more, one still isn’t a Muslim if one does not like them after believing. Likewise, one who does not accept one of the six fundamentals of îmân or who does not accept and like one of the commonly-known fards, sunnats, or harâms in the religion is not a Muslim. One has to accept and like Islam as a whole.
In their endeavors to understand the meanings of hadîth-i sharîfs, if people read them without taking notice of Islamic scholars’ explanations on them, this act of theirs will be very dangerous and may result in disbelief. For example, we should understand the meaning of the following hadîth-i sharîf in light of the foregoing:
(He who believes in Allahu ta’âlâ and is pleased with Him as his Rabb, who believes in Islam and is pleased with it as his religion, and who believes in Muhammad [‘alaihis-salâm, all of what he communicated] and is pleased with him as his [Last] Prophet [such a person is a Muslim and if he keeps this credal state at his last breath] will be awarded Paradise.) [Muslim, Nasâî]