With the aid of and the strength given by Allahu ta’ala, who keeps all ‘alams in existence and gives all the favors and gifts and who never sleeps, now we begin to explain the blessed saying of our Prophet (sall-Allahu ta’ala ‘alaihi wa sallam).
Our beloved superior Hadrat ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radi-Allahu ta’ala ‘anh), who was a gallant leader of Muslims, one of the highest of the Prophet’s Companions, and was famous for his truthfulness, said:
“It was such a day that a few of us, the Companions, were in the presence and service of Rasulullah (sall- Allahu ta’ala ‘alaihi wa sallam).” That day, that hour was so blessed, so precious a day that he would hardly live it once again. On that day, it fell to his lot to be honored with being in the Prophet’s company, near him, and to see his beautiful face, which was food for spirits and pleasure and comfort to souls. To emphasize the value, the honor of that day, he said, “It was such a day…” Could there be another time as honorable and precious as the one at which it fell to his lot to see Jabrail (Jibril, Archangel Gabriel, ‘alaihi ‘s-salam) in the guise of a human being, to hear his voice and to hear the knowledge men needed as beautifully and clearly as possible through the blessed mouth of Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta’ala ‘alaihi wa sallam)?
“That hour, a man came near us like the rising of the moon. His clothes were extremely white and his hair was very black. Signs of travel, such as dust or perspiration were not seen on him. None of us, the Companions of the Prophet (sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), recognized him, that is, he was not one of the people we have seen or known before. He sat down in the Presence of Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta’ala ‘alaihi wa sallam). He placed his knees near the Prophet’s blessed knees.” This person, in the guise of a human figure, was the angel called Jabrail. Though his way of sitting seems to be incompatible with manners (adab), it showed us a very important fact that, in learning religious knowledge, there is no such thing as shyness, nor does pride or arrogance become a master. Hadrat Jabrail wanted to show the Prophet’s Companions that everybody should ask what he wanted to know about Islam freely from teachers without feeling shy, for there should not be shyness in learning the religion or embarrassment in paying, teaching or learning one’s debt to Allahu ta’ala.
“That noble person put his hands on Rasulullah’s (sall-Allahu ta’ala ‘alaihi wa sallam) blessed knees. He asked Rasulullah, ‘O Rasul-Allah! Tell me what Islam is and how to be a Muslim.’ ”
The literal meaning of ‘Islam’ is ‘to yield and submit.’ Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta’ala ‘alaihi wa sallam) explained that the word ‘islam’ was the name of the five basic pillars in Islam, as follows:
1. Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta’ala alaihi wa sallam) said that the first of the five fundamentals of Islam was “to say the kalimat ash-shahada”; that is, one should say, “Ash’hadu an la ilaha illa’llah wa ash’hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasuluhu.” In other words, a discreet person who has reached the age of puberty and who can talk has to say vocally, “On the earth or in the sky, there is no one but Allahu ta’ala worthy of worship. The real being to be worshipped is Allahu ta’ala alone. He is the Wajib al-wujud. Every kind of superiority exists in Him. No defect exists in Him. His name is Allah,” and to believe in this absolutely with all his heart. And also one should say and believe: “The exalted person who had a rose-pink skin, a white-reddish, bright and lovely face, black eyes and eye-brows; who had a blessed wide forehead, with a good temper; who shed no shadow on the ground, was soft-spoken and was called Arab because he was born in Mecca of Hashemite-descent, named Muhammad ibn Abdullah, is Allahu ta’ala’s human servant (abd) and messenger (Rasul).” The Prophet’s mother was Hadrat Amina bint Wahab. He was born in Mecca [at the dawn of Monday, 20th of April, 571]. When he was forty, in the year called the ‘Bi’that’ year, he was informed that he was the Prophet. After this, he invited people to Islam for thirteen years in Mecca. Then he emigrated to Medina on the command of Allahu ta’ala. There he spread Islam everywhere. Ten years later, he passed away in Medina on Monday 12, Rabi’ al-Awwal (July, 632)(12).
2. The second fundamental of Islam is “to perform the ritual prayer (namaz, salat) [five times a day in accordance with its conditions and fards] when the time for prayer comes.” It is fard for every Muslim to perform salat five times every day after each time of salat starts and to know that he or she performs it in due time. Performing it before its time by adapting wrong calendars prepared by ignoramuses or non-madhhabite people is a grave sin and such a salat is not sahih. Such calendars also cause one to perform the initial sunnat salat of noon prayer and the fard salat of evening prayer in a makruh time. The ritual prayer has to be performed paying attention to its fards, wajibs and sunnas, submitting the heart to Allahu ta’ala and before the due time is over. In the Qur’an al-karim the ritual prayer is called ‘salat’. Salat means man’s praying, angel’s doing istighfar, and Allahu ta’ala’s having compassion and pitying. In Islam, salat means to do certain actions, to recite certain things as shown in ‘ilm al-hal books. Salat is started with the words ‘Allahu akbar,’ called the ‘takbir al-iftitah,’ and said after raising the hands up to the ears till putting the hands under the navel (for men). It ends with the salam by turning the head to the right and left shoulders at the end of the last sitting posture.
3. The third fundamental of Islam is “to give the zakat of one’s property.” The literal meaning of zakat is ‘purity, to praise, and become good and beautiful.’ In Islam, zakat means ‘for a person who has property of zakat more than he needs and at a certain amount called nisab to separate a certain amount of his property and to give it to Muslims named in the Qur’an al-karim without reproaching them.’ Zakat is given to seven kinds of persons. There are four types of zakat in all of the four madhhabs: the zakat of gold and silver, the zakat of commercial goods, the zakat of the stock animals [sheep, goats and cattle] that graze in the fields for more than half a year, and the zakat of all kinds of substances of necessity issuing from the earth. This fourth type of zakat, called ‘ushr, is given as soon as the crop is harvested. The other three are given one year after they reach the amount of nisab.
4. The fourth fundamental of Islam is “to fast every day of the month of Ramadan.” Fasting is called ‘sawm.’ Sawm means to protect something against something else. In Islam, sawm means to protect oneself against three things [during the days] of the month of Ramadan, as they were commanded by Allahu ta’ala: eating, drinking and sexual intercourse. The month of Ramadan begins upon seeing the new moon in the sky. It may not begin at the time calculated in calendars.
5. The fifth fundamental of Islam is “for the able person to perform the hajj (pilgrimage) once in his life.” For an able person who has money enough to go to and come back from the city of Mecca besides the property sufficient for the subsistence of his family he leaves behind until he comes back, it is fard to perform tawaf around the Kaba and to perform waqfa on the plain of ‘Arafat, provided that the way will be safe and the body healthy, once in his lifetime.
“The person, upon hearing these answers from Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta’ala ‘alaihi wa sallam), said, ‘O Rasul-Allah! You told the truth.’ Hadrat ‘Umar (radi-Allahu ‘anh) said that of the Prophet’s Companions, the ones who were there were astonished at the behavior of this person who asked a question and confirmed that the answer was correct. One asks with a view to learn what one does not know, but to say, “You told the truth,” indicates that one already knows it.
The highest of the five fundamentals listed above is to say the Kalimat ash-shahada and believe its meaning. The next highest is to perform salat. Next to this is to fast. Then comes the pilgrimage. The last one is to give zakat. It is unanimously certain that kalimat ash- shahada is the highest. About the sequence of the other four, most ‘ulama’ said the same as we said above. Kalimat ash-shahada became fard first, at the beginning of Islam. Salat five times a day became fard on the Miraj Night in the twelfth year of Bi’that, a year and some months before the Hegira. Fasting during Ramadan became fard in the month of Shaban, the second year of the Hegira. Giving zakat became fard in the month of Ramadan, in the same year when fasting became fard. And pilgrimage became fard in the ninth year of the Hegira.
If a person denies, disbelieves, refuses, makes fun of or if he does not respect one of these five fundamentals of Islam, he becomes a disbeliever, may Allah protect us! Similarly, he who does not accept any of the things which are unanimously and clearly declared as halal (permitted) or haram (forbidden), or he who says halal for haram or haram for halal becomes a disbeliever. If a person denies or dislikes one of the teachings known to be indispensable to Islam, that is, those that are heard and known even by the common people, he becomes a disbeliever. (13) If an ordinary person does not know the teachings that are not so commonly spread or indispensable so as to be known by him, he is not in disbelief (kufr) but sinful (fisq).
(12) According to historians, the Prophet entered the cave at the Sawr Mountain towards evening on Thursday, 27 of Safar, 622 A.C., on his emigration from al-Makkat al-Mukarrama to al-Madinat al-Munawwara. He left the cave on Monday night and entered Quba, a quarter near Medina, on Monday, 8 of Rabi’al-awwal (20 of September, 622). The beginning of the Hijri Shamsi calendar adopted by the Shiites is six months before this. That is, the Nawruz festival of the Majusi disbelievers (fire worshippers) begins on March 20. This happy day became the beginning of Muslims’ Hijri Shamsi calendar. On Thursday, day and night were equal, and he left Quba and entered Medina on Friday. The outset of the month of Muharram in the same year (Friday, 16th of June) was accepted as the beginning of Hijri Kamari calendar. The Hijri Shamsi year coinciding with any Western new year’s day is 622 years less than that Western new year. And the Western year coinciding with any Hijri Shamsi year’s day is 621 more than that Hijri Shamsi new year.
(13) For example, to eat pork, to have alcoholic drinks, to gamble; for a woman or girl to show herself to others with nothing to cover her head, hairs, arms and legs and; for a man to show himself to others without covering the part between the knees and the navel, are all haram. That is, Allahu ta’ala has forbidden these. The four madhhabs, which explain of the commands and prohibitions of Allahu ta’ala, drew separately the boundary of the private body surface, which man is forbidden to look at or to display, differently from one another. It is fard for every Muslim to cover those parts of the body as described by the madhhab he belongs to. Also, it is haram for others to look at those who have not covered these parts of their bodies. It is written in Kimya-yi Saadat that it is haram for women and girls to go out without covering their heads, hair, arms, legs, and it is also harem to go out with thin, ornamented, tight and perfume scented dresses. Their mothers, fathers, husbands and brothers who permit them to go out as such and who think that it is appropriate and who appreciate them will share their sins and torments; that is, they will burn in the Hell altogether. If they repent, they will be forgiven and will not be burned. Allahu-ta’ala likes those who repent. In the third year of the Hegira, girls and women who have reached the age of puberty were ordered not to be seen by namahram men, but to cover themselves.
One should not be deceived by the false assertions of the British spies and of those ignoramuses who have been trapped by them who say that there was no covering before the coming of the ayat of hijab and who say that fiqh scholars have fabricated the order for covering later.
Lying, gossip, backbiting, slander, theft, cheating, treachery, hurting someone’s feelings, mischief-making, using someone’s property without permission, not paying a laborer or porter’s due, rebellion, that is, opposing the laws and the government’s orders, and not paying taxes are sins, too. Committing them against disbelievers or in non-Muslim countries is also haram.