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The Pillars of Islam and the Muslim Golden Age

June 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 176

What are the basic ideas of Islam and what were the contributions of the Muslim Golden Age? The basic ideas behind the religion of Islam are fivefold. These five things are more than mere concepts. For the Muslim, they are obligatory. They are conveniently named in what Islam calls the Five Pillars of Islam. Namely,

1. The Shihada

2. Prayer

3. Zakat

4. Fasting

5. Pilgrimage

The first pillar of Islam is the Shihada, or the statement of faith. The Arabic word Shihada is loosely translated as the witness. The Shihada is simply a statement of faith, or belief. It states, "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet." This is the doorway to faith for the Muslim. It is stated repeatedly during Muslim prayers as well.

Salat is the second pillar of Islam. Prayers are made daily to Allah by Muslims the world over. Each believer faces in the direction of Mecca and is required to perform prayers five times a day at specified times. Before praying, the Muslim must perform a ritual cleansing with water as well. Men and women usually pray apart from one another, but can pray in the same place if necessary.

The third pillar of Islam, Zakat, is the Arabic word meaning obligatory giving. This usually takes place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Giving takes various forms throughout the Muslim world, but the emphasis is on giving to the poor.

The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. This is quite serious business. From sunrise to sunset no food or drink is permitted. Abstinence from smoking, is required too. Allowances are made for pregnant women or the infirmed.

Lastly, the Haaj, (pilgrimage) to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia is 'required' if one has the means to make the trip. This is usually a highlight of any Muslim's life and holds deep significance.

These five main pillars sum up the main tenants of Islam. The simplicity of each aspect is alluring and aided the spread of the new religion long after Muhammad's death.

As noted in "Western Civilization - Ideas, Politics and Society", by Marvin Perry, "In the eighth and ninth centuries, under the Abbasid caliphs, based in Baghdad, Muslim civilization entered its golden age. Islamic civilization creatively integrated Arabic, Byzantine, Persian, and Indian cultural traditions. During the Early Middle Ages, when learning was at a low point in Western Europe, the Muslims forged a high civilization." (203) This period is known as the Muslim Golden Age.

Medical advances included surgery, such as amputations, and the removal of cancerous tissues. They developed new medicines and used anesthetics when performing operations as well. Advances in mathematics included work in algebra and trigonometry, not to mention the Arabic numerals. Additionally, the discipline of physics saw successful challenges to the works of Euclid and Ptolemy in the field of optics.

Of note among the many Muslim scholars of this Muslim Golden Age were Al-Fabari (c.870-950), Ibn-Sina (980-1037) and Ibn-Rushd (1126-1198). These and others employed Greek thought and philosophy to catalog and refine Muslim doctrine, write poetry, philosophy and practice medicine.

Curtis Bradley is the father of three and a full time writer and entrepreneur, residing in Connecticut. He holds a B.S. Finance, Summa Cum Laude, from Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT). Curtis is an avid reader and enjoys learning immensely. Currently, he's reading through his list of the top books of all time and writing extensively.

Source: EzineArticles
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