III. Application of Faith

God has laid down for a Muslim four major exercises of faith, some are daily, some weekly, some monthly, some annually and some are required as a minimum of once in a lifetime.

These exercises of faith are to serve man's spiritual purposes, satisfy his human needs and to mark his whole life with a Divine touch.

These major exercises of faith are:
  1. Prayer (Salah)
  2. Fasting (Seyam)
  3. Charity Giving (Zakah)
  4. Pilgrimage (Hajj)

1. Prayer

Praying, to the Creator on a daily basis, is the best way to cultivate in man a sound personality and to actualize his aspirations.

God does not need man's prayer because He is free of all needs. Islamic prayers are for our benefit. The benefits are immeasurable and the blessings are beyond imagination.

In Islamic prayer, every muscle of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of God. Islamic prayer is an act of worship.

It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.

Offering of prayers is obligatory upon every Muslim male and female who is sane, mature, and in case of women, free from menstruation and confinement due to childbirth.

Requirements of prayers: performing of ablution (Wudu), purity of the whole body, clothes and ground used for prayer, dressing properly and the declaring the intention and facing the Qiblah; the direction of the Ka'bah at Mecca.

Obligatory prayers- five daily prayers, the Friday's noon congregation prayer and the funeral prayer.
Highly recommended prayers- Those accompanying the obligatory prayers and the two great festival prayers.
Optional prayers- Voluntary prayers during the day and night.

Times of Obligatory Prayers
Prayers should be offered in their due times, unless there is a reasonable excuse. Delayed obligatory prayers must be made up.

Prayers involve prescribed physical motions, accompanied with saying mainly some parts of the Quran.

In addition to the prescribed prayers, a Muslim expresses gratitude to God and appreciation of His favors and asks for His mercy all the time. Especially at times of, for example: Childbirth, marriage, going to or rising from bed, leaving and returning to his home, starting a journey or entering a city, riding or driving, before or after eating or drinking, harvesting, visiting graveyards and at time of distress and sickness.

2. Fasting

Fasting is abstaining completely from eating, drinking, intimate sexual contact and smoking from the break of dawn until sunset.

It is a matchless Islamic institution which teaches man the principle of sincere love to God.

Fasting teaches man a creative sense of hope, devotion, patience, unselfishness, moderation, willpower, wise savings, sound budgeting, mature adaptability, healthy survival, discipline, spirit of social belonging, unity and brotherhood.

Obligatory Fasting is done once a year for the period of the month of Ramadan; the ninth month of the Islamic year.
Recommended Fasting every Monday and Thursday of every week, three days in the middle of each Islamic month, six days after Ramadan following the Feast Day and a few days of the two months before Ramadan.

Fasting of Ramadan is a worship act which is obligatory on every adult Muslim, male or female if he/she is mentally and physically fit and not on a journey. Exceptions: women during their period of menstruation and while nursing a child and also in the cases of travel and illness.

3. Charity Giving (Zakah)

It is an act of worship and spiritual investment. The literal meaning of Zakah is purity and it refers to the annual amount in kind or coin which a Muslim with means must distribute among the rightful beneficiaries.

Zakah does not only purify the property of the contributor but also purifies his heart from selfishness and greed.

It also purifies the heart of the recipient from envy and jealousy, from hatred and uneasiness and it fosters instead good-will and warm wishes for the contributors.

Zakah has a deep humanitarian and social-political value; for example, it frees society from class warfare, from ill feelings and distrust and from corruption.

Although Islam does not hinder private enterprise or condemn private possessions, it does not tolerate selfish and greedy capitalism.

Islam adopts a moderate but positive and effective course between individual and society, between the citizen and the state, between capitalism and socialism, between materialism and spiritualism.

Every Muslim, male or female, who at the end of the year is in possession of the equivalent of (85 gm) of gold or more in cash or articles of trade, must give Zakah at the minimum rate of 2.5%

Zakah is paid on the net balance after paying personal expenses, family expenses, due credits, taxes, etc.

The recipients of Zakah are: the poor, the needy, the new Muslim converts, the Muslim prisoners of war (to liberate them), Muslims in debt, also employees appointed to collect Zakah, Muslims in service of research or study or propagation of Islam, wayfarers who are foreigners in need of help.

Taxes paid to the government do not substitute for this religious duty. Contributor should not seek pride or fame, but if disclosing his name and his contribution is likely to encourage others, it is acceptable to do so.

4. The Pilgrimage (Hajj)

It is a pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in a lifetime and it is obligatory upon every Muslim male and female who is mentally, physically and financially fit.

It is the largest annual convention of faith on earth.

Peace is the dominant theme. Peace with God, with one's soul, with one another, with all living creatures. To disturb the peace of anyone or any creature in any shape or form is strictly prohibited.

Muslims from all walks of life, from every corner of the globe assemble in Mecca in response to the call of God. There is no royalty but loyalty of all to God, the creator.

It is to commemorate the Divine rituals observed by Prophet Abraham and his son, Ishmael, who are the first pilgrims to the first house of God on earth; the Ka'bah.

It is to remember the grand assembly of the Day of Judgement when people will stand equal before God.

Muslims go to Mecca in glory of God, not to worship a man.

The visit of the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad at Madena is highly recommended but not essential in making the Hajj valid and complete.
    1. The Meaning of Islam
    2. Articles of Faith
    3. Application of Faith
    4. Islam is a Code of life

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