What are the Pillars of Islam?
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
What are the pillars of Islam referring to? How many pillars of Islam are there, really….?
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
What are the Pillars of Islam?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
It is reported from an authentic chain of narrators, that once a man wearing pure white clothes came to the majlis of the Prophet (saws) and his companions. The narrator says that they had never seen this man before in Medina and he had no marks of travel on his apparel and his appearance. He came and sat so close to the Prophet (saws), that his knees touched the knees of the Prophet (saws).
The man asked the Prophet (saws): “O Prophet of Allah, please explain to me what is ‘iman’ (faith)?”
The Prophet (saws) replied: Iman is:
1. To believe and worship Allah Alone, without associating any partners with Him.
2. To believe in all the Messengers sent by Allah.
3. To believe in all His revealed Books.
4. To believe in the angels of Allah.
5. To believe in the Hereafter.
6. To believe in the ‘Qadr’ (that everything that happens in the Universe is in the Program and Planning and Control) of Allah.”
The man said: “Sadaqta” (You have spoken the Truth!) and then asked the Prophet (saws): “O Prophet of Allah, please explain to me what is Islam?”
The Prophet (saws) replied: “The foundation of Islam is based on five pillars.
To testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and Mohamed is Allah’s Messenger.
To establish the (obligatory congregational) prayers.
To pay Zakat (obligatory charity).
To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
To perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah).
The man said: “Sadaqta” (You have spoken the Truth!), and went away.
The noble companions (r.a.) were surprised that everytime the Prophet (saws) answered the man’s question, the man said:”Sadaqta”(You have spoken the truth) to the Prophet of Allah (saws).
The Prophet (saws) then turned to his companions (r.a.) and asked them: “Do you know who that man was?”
The noble companions (r.a.) replied: “Allah and His Messenger know Best!”
The Prophet (saws) said: “That was Gibrael (a.s.) who came in the form of a man to teach you your deen.”
From the above narration and several other authentic narrations, it is evident that the Prophet of Allah (saws) declared that there are five pillars in Islam and no muslim, who fears Allah and The Last Day, has dared to add/subtract from the above 5 pillars of Islam.
The Bohra belief is derived from a book called “Diam-al-Islam” (Pillars of Islam), written by a Fatimid scholar named Qadi Al-Noa’man ibn Mohamed ibn Mansor ibn Ahmed ibn Hayyun Al Tamimi in Cairo, Egypt, died in 363 Hijrah (353 years after the death of Prophet Mohamed (saws)). This book forms the constitution for the Bohra sect of Islam’s belief (rather than making the Quran their constitution!). It is from this book “Da’iam-al-Islam”, Book 1, Book of Faith, Paragraph 5 that Qadi Al-Noa’man has written:
“And from Imam Muhamed al-Baqir, Islam is based upon seven Pillars:
Walaya (Devotion to the Imam) or, ‘wilaya’ (Power, Authority) and this is the most excellent; and through it and the Imam, the true knowledge of the faith can be obtained.
Tahara (Ritual purity)
Zakah (Poor Tax)
Hajj (Pilgrimage) and
Jihad (Holy War).”
Now, we need to make a simple comparison between what has been reported from the Prophet (saws) and what has been supposedly reported from Imam Mohamed al Baqir.
The obvious difference is that from the original five Pillars of Islam as reported by the Prophet of Allah (saws), one has been removed (i.e. Shahaada,) and three have been added (i.e. Walaya, Tahara and Jihad)!
The new pillars of ‘walaya’ and ‘tahara’ were prioritized and added above the original 5 pillars declared by the Prophet of Allah (saws)!
There is absolutely no mention that Imam Mohamed al Baqir reported these 7 Pillars of Islam from the Prophet of Allah (saws)! It simply says, “From Muhamed al Baqir…”
There is a time gap of at least 225 years between the narrator of the Seven Pillars (Imam Mohamed al-Baqir) and the author of the book Da’iam al Islam, Qadi Al Noa’man!
There is absolutely no mention of the “isnad”(list of narrators) in the whole Da’iam ul Islam, linking how did Qadi Noa’man receive the words supposedly narrated by Imam Muhamed al-Baqir! The author goes on to claim, that since the Imam said the above words, no “sanad” was necessary, which is absolutely against the principles, rules, and practice of reporting traditions!
The book Da’aim al Islam also goes on to claim that the three pillars were “added” by the Fatimid Imams who formed their dynasty in Egypt in the year 341 (a.h. after hijrah) upto 567 (a.h.).
Allah says in the Glorious Quran Chapter 5 Surah Al Maidah verse 3: Today, I (Allah) have perfected your religion for you and completed My Blessing on you, and approved Islam as the way of life for you.
The above aayahs are universally believed and accepted in Islam to be the last revelations of the Quran received by Prophet Mohamed (saws). Thus it is evident from the above aayah of the Quran that the complete revelations guiding to the religion of Islam was completed during the time of the Prophet (saws). Any changes (addition/subtraction) in the deen brought by the Messenger of Allah (saws) is known as a ‘bid’a’ or innovation in Islam.
It has been reported by Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (r.a.) that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said: “If anyone introduces an innovation (in religion), he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in religion), he is cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by all the people.”
It has been reported by Jabir ibn Abdullah (r.a.) in another authentic narration that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said in a sermon: “The best speech is that which is embodied in the Book of Allah, the Al Quran; and the best guidance is the guidance given by me, Mohamed (saws). The most evil affairs are the innovations, and every innovation is an error.”
Since the 3 new pillars were added, and one pillar removed from the original Pillars of Islam as presented by the Messenger of Allah (saws) it is a clear INNOVATION by people 350 years after the death of our beloved Prophet (saws).
It has been reported in an authentic narration that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said: “Whoever introduces a ‘bida’ (innovation) in this deen brought by me (saws), it will be rejected.”
Thus, if one wishes to follow the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (saws), will have no other option, but to reject all innovations done in the name of religion, and come back to the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (saws). If one does not wish to follow the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (saws), but wishes to follow Personalities in the name of Islam, should prepare to face Allah’s Wrath on the Day of Judgement.
I just want to clarify one more point before I conclude. It is absolutely inconceivable, that an eminent and renowned scholar and the honorable Imam Muhamed al Baqir, son of Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen, son of Imam Hussain ibn Ali, son of Ameer-ul-Mumeneen, Ali ibn Abu Taalib (May Allah be pleased with them All), would ever dare to change even one single word, in the traditions of Mohamed, the Messenger of Allah (saws). This is absolutely against the faculty of reasoning! Thus the only options left is that Qadi Noa’man either made up these 7 Pillars, or reported it from another source, which he thought best to leave it unknown, and that too, an astonishing 353 years after the death of the Prophet (saws) and at least 225 years after the death of his supposed narrator, Imam Mohamed al Baqir!
Allah Alone knows the Truth Best, and He is the Only Source of Strength.
May Allah make us of those who recognize the innovations, that have crept up over the years, in the deen brought by Mohamed (saws), and reject each and every one of them. May Allah guide us all to the Siraat al Mustaqeem (Straight Path) as followed by the Prophet (saws) himself. May Allah guide us to read and understand the Holy Quran, and read and understand the authentic traditions of the Prophet (saws), so that we can distinguish between the guidance of Allah and His Messenger (saws), and the innovations introduced by man in the name of Islam! May Allah take severe accounting of the people and personalities who propagate innovations for their own personal worldly gains, create sects in the name of Islam, and thus lead many a muslim into deviation and mis-guidance. Ameen.
Just look at the Anger and Wrath of Allah described on those who break up their religion into sects:
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 23 Surah Mu’minoon verse 52-55: And you all belong to one and the same ummah, and I (Allah) am your Lord; so fear Me Alone! Yet afterwards the people divided themselves into different sects, and each sect rejoicing in what it has. Well, leave them deeply involved in their heedlessness up to an appointed time. What? Do they think that, by continuing to provide them with wealth and children, We are solicitous for their welfare? Nay, they do not understand the reality of the matter!
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 30 Surah Rome verse 31-32: … and turn wholly towards Allah, and fear Him, and establish Salah, and do not be of the ‘mushriks’ (people who invoke others with Allah), who have set up their separate creeds and divided themselves into sects, each sect rejoicing in what it has.
We beg to seek refuge in Allah, from His Anger and Wrath on the Day of Judgement.
May Allah guide you and us to read and understand the simple and plain words of the Glorious Quran. May Allah increase our knowledge from the Holy Quran. May Allah guide us to the Siraat al Mustaqeem.
May Allah guide you and us all to the Siraat al-Mustaqeem
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,