What the 5 pillars mean to me

Shahadah:

I think there is no God but God and I don’t need any more prophets after Mohamed, however I think God’s name shouldn’t be a political code word and I don’t think God intended for society to freeze at the time of Mohamed.

Some Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite certain God prefers to be called Jehovah, some Muslims are quite sure God prefers Allah.  I think both groups are using semantic differences to institutionalize political differences.  God’s name shouldn’t be used to fit people into different groups.  There is only one God.  God doesn’t force people to agree.  We should seek to know God for ourselves rather than divide the world into categories of disagreement.

As for God’s final prophet, I believe He was a great teacher and His words are useful in pretty much every situation.  God has said everything that can be said through prophets and now we are on our own.  We have continued to grow and lean from our successes and failures over the past 1400 years.  The teachings of prophets still apply to life both then and now but the situations are different and the exact applications are different.  It is wrong to ignore experience and it is wrong to change a question to fit a known answer.

Salat:

I try to have 5 religious experiences every day.  The easiest way is to meet a new person.  I believe God is much more present in people than in material things.  I also have religious experiences by seeing beauty and by praying.  I acknowledge that the nearness I feel to God is different with each experience.  I don’t count simple greetings and I generally don’t count chatting online.  However, I try not to dwell on rules or definitions.  I know when I experience God.

God does not need our prayers.  I think it is very wrong to fall into the idea of “god batteries” that somehow when we pray we “charge up” God allowing God to perform miracles or something.  I bring God into my life for my own benefit, not for God’s.  I think it’s important to be active in this relationship.  In my personal journey I have found I am not able to take ownership of memorized prayers and bring myself to them fully in a new way each time.

Still, I fall short.  On average I only meet 2.33. people every day.  Beauty and prayer probably only amount to 1.5 additional experiences each day.  I try to do better.  I think my life would be more fulfilling if I always made at least 5.

Sawm:

I don’t really understand this one.  I don’t think I do it right.  A few years ago I noticed online video games where becoming a problem in my life I used the Catholic tradition of Lent to help me abstain from them.  It worked, I didn’t log on once during the entire 40 days.  I like the idea of setting aside specific times for accelerated growth and reflection but the need for a community makes it tricky for me.

Zakāt:

Devout Christians donate 10% of their annual income.  Muslims donate 2.5% of total wealth.  Since I don’t have substantial savings it’s about the same.  I try to do good works and help people when I can.  I donate my time at Donovan prison.  I also visit the homeless around my office and try to help them with their problems.  One time I gave them a small party with pizza and comic books.  I was trying to encourage them to do something aside from getting drunk all day.  I intend to do this again every other Monday.

Hajj:

This seems like quite a challenge but I think I could grow a lot and I really want to do it.  I would need to prepare and I’d also have to come up with the $4,000 to $6,000.  I think doing this would be the difference between casual study and a tangible devotion to the knowledge.  I don’t think I will see myself as being any more Muslim than I am Christian, Buddhist, Jew or any other religion but I will need to be Muslim enough not to anger anyone.  Regardless of what others think, I feel God wants me to do this.  So I will try hard to make it happen.

1 thought on “What the 5 pillars mean to me

  1. That is a pillar of Islam,

    Every pillar have sub topic and describe detail in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudent) . But that is a main thing in Islam.

    Even I cant explain in short comment. May be we can discuss in further later in others post.

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