Tuesday, Jul 17 2018
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ISLAM & HARI RAYA - 2 FEBRUARY 2004
My humble pranams at the Lotus Feet of our Beloved Mother Sai. Sai Ram everyone.
Today I am going to talk about the five pillars of Islam .The five pillars of Islam are the foundation of the religion. They are:
There is only one God and Prophet Muhammad is the messenger of God
Prayer five times a day
Concern for and giving alms to the needy
Self-purification through fasting
Pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are physically & financially able to do so
Let us look at each one of them in further detail.
The first pillar is Faith. Swami places a lot of importance on having faith in God. Swami says, "Religions are many but God is one." The Muslims believe that "There is none worth of worship except God and Muhammad is the messenger of God. The significance of this declaration is the belief that the only purpose of life is to serve and obey God.
The second pillar is the practice of daily prayers. In Swami's 9 Codes of Conduct, the first code is 'daily meditation and prayer' which indicates that Swami places a lot of importance on daily prayer too. The Muslims perform prayers 5 times a day and this forms a direct link between God and his devotee. Prayers are said at dawn, midday , late-afternoon, sunset and nightfall .Having specific prayer times each day, Muslims remain in constant awareness of God.
The third pillar is concern for and giving alms to the needy. Swami also does encourage all of us to do seva and help the needy. An important principle of Islam is that everything belongs to God and that the wealth is therefore held by us human beings in trust .Giving in this way, is intended to free Muslims from greed and the love of money. It reminds them that everything they have actually belongs to God.
The fourth pillar is self-purification through fasting. Every year, during the month of Ramadan, that is the 9th Muslim month, all Muslims fast from dawn till sundown. Muslims must also make sure they do not think, speak or act in a negative way. This helps Muslims develop self-control, gain a better understanding of God's gifts and develop compassion towards the less fortunate.
The fifth pillar is the pilgrimage to Mecca .The pilgrimage to Mecca is an obligation for those who are physically and financially able to do so. However, this does not mean that those who are not physically and financially able and are not able to go for this pilgrimage do not get the blessings of God. Pilgrims wear simple garments that eliminate distinction of class and culture so that all stand equal before God. Mecca is the most
holy place for Muslims.
Now I would like to tell u a little bit more about Hari Raya Haji and then end of with a short story. Hari Raya Haji literally means the festival of a pilgrimage. It is the festival marking of the day of pilgrimage to Mecca.
'Aidil Adha' is a festival to honour pilgrims who have completed their Haj to Mecca . It is celebrated with an atmosphere of happiness as well as seeking for forgiveness from the relatives who had performed the Haj in Mecca . The purpose is to tighten the bond between relatives.
Now I am going to share with you a true story which relates to the 5th pillar of Islam. There was once a very poor man who had saved money to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca with his friends. He would save his daily pocket money. However, on the eve of his departure, he received news that one of his friends was ill and was admitted to hospital. His friend did not have enough money to pay for his hospital bills. Immediately, the man went to the hospital to visit his friend and paid the hospital bills without hesitation. He also stayed on to take care of his sick friend while the rest of his friends went ahead with their pilgrimage. When his friends returned from Mecca , they told him that they actually saw his form in Mecca while he was in fact in his hometown taking care of his friend. This proves to us that you will earn the Grace of God. As Swami says "Service to Man is Service to God".
Jai Sai Ram
SSEHV Group 4