Every Muslim will accept that to be a Muslim he has to accept the 5 or 7 Pillars of Islam:
(1) The SHAHADAH – The Muslim Pledge – “The Bond of Islam”
The Shahadah, which is the basic creed or tenet of Islam: “‘ašhadu ‘al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa ‘ašhadu ‘anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh“, or “I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Comments: What the Shahadah implies is that there is NO GOD worthy to be worshipped except “ALLAH” and that Muhammad is His Messenger. This is “THE FUNDAMENTAL BASIS OF ISLAM” and is final and irrevocable.
But this fundamental basis, “There is no god worthy of worship except Allah” is the very ideology that will forever brand all non-Muslims as infidels/kafirs and thus segregate Islam from all others. This is what alienates all non-Muslims from Islam, without compromise. This concept places Islam into a supremacist position over all others.
(2) SALAH (Ritual Prayers – “The Oxygen of Islam”)
There are five (5) prayers which must be performed by the Muslim and are called “OBLIGATORY” prayers. “It is a GREAT SIN to neglect performing any of these “obligatory” prayers.
Prayers (5 a day) at the Mosque bind (cement) the people together and unites (is a constant reminder of their obligations to Allah) them in their service to Allah.
(3) Zakat (Obligatory Alms)
Zakat or obligatory alms-giving: The payment of Zakat becomes obligatory on every sane and mature Muslim and Muslimah whenever there is an economic activity resulting in the net increase in their wealth.
Without a doubt, Zakat is the life blood of the Islamic hierarchy. It finances Islam. With the absence of State Welfare systems in most Arab/Islamic countries, this “compulsory alms” has been an essential blessing to the needy. It also created a degree of compassion for fellow brethren and binds the community together with the feelings that each cares for the other. Yet it is clearly seen as the benevolent work emanating from the Mosques/Islamic benevolence.However, in times of turmoil, the flexibility of the distribution of Zakat could distort disproportionately the distribution of Zakat towards “7. Fi Sabeelillah (In the Cause of Allah)” thereby funding a Jihadist movement.
(4) Sawm – Fasting during Ramadan
Sawm or fasting during the month of Ramadan. Muslims must not eat or drink (among other things) from dawn to dusk during this month, and must be mindful of other sins. The fast is to encourage a feeling of nearness to Allah, and during it Muslims should express their gratitude for the dependence on Him, atone for their past sins, and think of the needy.
There are many good reasons for this fast, including:
Becoming spiritually stronger
Appreciating Allah’s gifts to us
Sharing the sufferings of the poor and developing sympathy for them
Realising the value of charity and generosity
Giving thanks for the Holy Qur’an, which was first revealed in the month of Ramadan
Sharing fellowship with other Muslims
(5) The Hajj – Pilgrimage to Mecca
Hajj, which is the pilgrimage during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the city of Mecca. Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it MUST MAKE THE PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA AT LEAST ONCE IN HIS OR HER LIFETIME.
Here, failure to perform Hajj if you have the means to do so, is described as KUFR. Its explanation is found in two Hadith of the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him:
Whosoever possesses provisions and conveyance for the journey to the House of Allah, but in spite of this, does not perform Hajj, then his dying is like the dying of a Jew or a Christain. (Tirmidhi)
Whosoever is not prevented from proceeding for Hajj by any clear, dire need that must fulfil, or by a tyrant ruler, or by a disease which confines him, and yet he fails to perform Hajj and dies in this condition, he may as well choose to die either a Jew or a Christian. (Darimi)
The pilgrimage brings Muslims of all countries, colors, and races to one place — the Ka’ba. This strengthens the spirit of unity, equality and brotherhood. These are the values on which Islam builds the human society and it will continue this way till the Day of Judgment insha’Allah.
JIHAD-THE 6TH PILLAR OF ISLAM (IT IS AN ISLAMIC PILLAR WITH SHIITES BUT NOT WITH SUNNI)
Jihad means “to strive or struggle,” and is considered the “sixth pillar of Islam” by a minority of Muslim authorities. Within Islamic jurisprudence, jihad is usually taken to mean military exertion against non-Muslim combatants in the defence or expansion of the Islamic state, the ultimate purpose of which is to establish the universal domination of Islam. Jihad, the only form of warfare permissible in Islamic law, may be declared against non-Muslims who refuse to convert to Islam or submit to Islamic rule. Jihad is perpetual in nature; in theory, there can be no permanent peace with non-Muslim states, only truces which can be repudiated when circumstances become favourable for the resumption of hostilities. It ceases only when Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians submit to the authority of Islam and agree to pay the jizya (a poll tax) and kharaj (a land tax) admitting to being a dhimmi, and when polytheists convert to Islam.
Under most circumstances and for most Muslims, Jihad is a collective duty (fard kifaya): its performance by some individuals exempts the others. Only for those vested with authority, especially the sovereign (imam), does Jihad become an individual duty. For the rest of the populace, this happens only in the case of a general mobilization. For most Shias, offensive Jihad can only be declared by a divinely appointed leader of the Muslim community, and as such is suspended in his absence. Some Muslim authorities, especially among the Shi’a and Sufis, distinguish between the “greater jihad”, which pertains to spiritual self-perfection, and the “lesser jihad”, defined as warfare. Jihad also refers to one’s striving to attain religious and moral perfection.”
Shi’a Muslims*** consider three additional practices essential to the religion of Islam. (1)The first is jihad, which is also important to the Sunni, but not considered a pillar. (2) The second is Amr-Bil-Ma’rūf, the “Enjoining to Do Good”, which calls for every Muslim to live a virtuous life and to encourage others to do the same. (3)The third is Nahi-Anil-Munkar, the “Exhortation to Desist from Evil”, which tells Muslims to refrain from vice and from evil actions and to also encourage others to do the same.”
In Addition: Muslims consider the Quran as the immutable literal word/commands of Allah to be observed by all Muslims. Among s0me of the more significant commands are:
(1) There is NO GOD worthy to be worshipped except “ALLAH” and that Muhammad is His Messenger. [This means that Islam recognises no other god/gods and is thus supremacist.]
(2) *****Don’t be friends with non-Muslims. They all hate you and want to ruin you. 3:118
(3) *****Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don’t kill them.) 2:191-2
(4)*****Allah says that you must keep fighting until there is no more persecution and everyone on earth is a Muslim. Then you can stop killing people. 2:193a
(5)*****But if there are any wrong-doers around after you’ve killed off all the disbelievers, persecutors and aggressors, then you’ll have to kill them too. 2:193b
(6)*****Don’t be friends with non-Muslims. They all hate you and want to ruin you. 3:118
(7) The Fire is prepared for disbelievers. 3:131
(8) Give us victory over the disbelieving folk. 3:147
(9) Do not obey disbelievers. 3:149
(10) *****We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Their habitation is the Fire 3:151
What Everybody Needs to Know about Jihad [Aa]
Qur’an:2:216 “Jihad (Holy fighting in Allah’s Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims), though you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and like a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows, and you know not.” [Another translation reads:] “Warfare is ordained for you.”
Qur’an:20.14 “Surely I am Allah, there is no god but I, therefore serve Me and keep up prayer for My remembrance:”
Qur’an:2.106 “Whatever communications We(Prophet Muhammad) abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?”
Qur’an:9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”
Qur’an:8:39 “So fight them(Kafirs) until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world).”
The above briefly summarises a few of the doctrines that must be accepted by a Muslim to be considered a bonafide pious or believing Muslim. Most Muslims who identify themselves as Muslims would accept all the above criteria as beliefs that are Islamic/Quranic whether they are Shaheeds or simple village folk but not yet called to the cause. But all Muslims will accept that above description of a Muslim and what he believes in.
Most Muslims consider themselves pious, and will obey the commands of Allah when called upon.
Taqwa is derived from wiqaya, which means self-defense and avoidance. Sufis define it as protecting oneself from God’s punishment by performing His commands and observing His prohibitions. Besides its literal and technical meanings, in religious books we find the meanings of piety and fear used interchangeably. In fact, taqwa is a comprehensive term denoting a believer’s strict observance of the commandments of the Shari‘a and the Divine laws of nature and life. Such a person seeks refuge in God against His punishment, refrains from acts leading to Hellfire, and performs acts leading to Paradise. Again, the believer purifies all outer and inner senses so that none of them can associate partners with God, and avoids imitating the worldviews and life-styles of unbelievers. In its comprehensive meaning, taqwa is the only and greatest standard of one’s nobility and worth: The noblest, most honorable of you in the sight of God is the most advanced of you in taqwa (49:13).
The concept—even the actual word—of taqwa is unique to the Qur’an and the religious system of Islam. Its comprehensive meaning encompasses the spiritual and material; its roots are established in this world, while its branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits are located in the Hereafter. One cannot understand the Qur’an without considering the meaning or content of the fascinating and wonderful concept of taqwa, and one cannot be muttaqi (pious) if one does not adhere consciously and continually to the practices and concepts outlined in the Qur’an.
In its very beginning, the Qur’an opens its door to the pious: This is the Book about and in which there is no doubt, a guidance for the pious (2:2), and calls on people to live in accordance with it so that they may be pious: O men! Worship your Lord, Who created you and those before you, so that you may be pious (and protect yourselves from His punishment) (2:21).
The most lovable act in God’s sight is piety (taqwa), His most purified servants are the pious, and His matchless message to them is the Qur’an. In this world, the pious have the Qur’an; in the Hereafter, they enjoy God’s vision and pleasure. The plea-sure felt in the conscience and spirit is another gift of piety, and in order to recall the importance of piety, the Almighty decrees: Fear God and be devoted to Him as He should be feared and devoted to (3:101).
Piety, which is the conscious performance of good and avoidance of evil, prevents individuals from joining the lowest of the low and causes them to advance on the path of the highest of the high. For this reason, one who attains piety has found the source of all good and blessing. The following is another testimony to this fact:
To whomever God has given religion and piety,
He has realized his aims in this world and the next.
Whoever is a soldier of God and pious,
He is prosperous and truly guided, not a wretched one.
Whoever has nothing to do with piety,
His existence is but a shame and disgrace.
One lifeless with respect to truth is not truly alive;
Only one who has found a way to God is alive.
Piety is an invaluable treasure, the matchless jewel in a priceless treasure of precious stones, a mysterious key to all doors of good, and a mount on the way to Paradise. Its value is so high that, among other life-giving expressions the Qur’an mentions it 150 times, each mention resembling a ray of light penetrating our minds and spirits.
In its limited sense, taqwa means sensitivity to the commandments of the Shari‘a and refraining from acts that deprive one of Divine reward and result in God’s punishment. The verse: Those who refrain from major sins and shameful deeds (42:37) expresses one aspect of this basic religious virtue; the verse: Those who believe and do good deeds (10:9) points to the other. Strict observance of obligatory religious duties and refraining from major sins are the two necessary and complementary foundations of taqwa. As for minor sins, which the Qur’an calls lamam (small offenses), there are many Prophetic declarations, such as: A servant cannot be truly pious unless he refrains from certain permissible things lest he should commit risky things, that warn people to be careful.
Perfect sincerity or purity of intention can be attained by avoiding all signs of associating partners with God, while perfect piety can be achieved by refraining from all doubtful and risky deeds. According to the Prophetic saying: The lawful is evident and the forbidden is also evident. Between these two are things which most of the people do not know whether they are lawful or forbidden, a truly righteous, spiritual life depends on being sensitive to matters about which there is some doubt. The Tradition just mentioned points out that the Legislator of the Shari‘a has clearly explained in broad terms what is allowed and what is forbidden. However, as many things are not clearly allowed or forbidden, only those who avoid doubtful things can live a truly religious life. Using a simile in the continuation of the Tradition, the prince of two worlds, upon him be peace and blessings, said:
It is possible for one who does doubtful things to commit forbidden acts, just as it is possible for the flock of a shepherd pasturing near a field belonging to another or the public to enter that field. Know that each king has a private area under his protection; the private area of God is forbidden things. Also know that there is a part of flesh in the body. If it is healthy, the body will become healthy; if it is ailing, the body will be ailing. That part is the heart.
In light of this basic foundation for a healthy spiritual life, perfect piety can be obtained by avoiding doubtful things and minor sins. In order to do this, however, one must know what is lawful and what is forbidden, and have a certain knowledge of God. We can find the combination of piety and knowledge in these two verses: The noblest, most honorable of you in the sight of God is the most advanced of you in taqwa (49:13), and: Only the learned among His servants fear and revere God (35:28). Piety brings honor and nobility, and knowledge leads one to fear and revere God. Individuals who combine piety and knowledge in their hearts are mentioned in the Qur’an as those who succeed in the test of piety: They are those whose hearts God has tested for piety (49:3).
In the context of worship and obedience, piety means purity of heart, spiritual profundity, and sincerity. In the context of refraining from what is unlawful, piety means being determined not to commit sins and to avoid doubtful things. For this reason, each of the following may be considered an aspect of piety: A servant must
Seek only God’s approval and pleasure, and not set his or her heart upon whatever is other than Him.
Observe all commandments of the Shari‘a.
Do whatever is necessary to achieve the objective, and be convinced that only God will create the result.
There is no Moderate Islam thus there is No Moderate Muslim
No one could dispute that the above sketchily describes a pious Muslim and his beliefs. Not to know that the above are the minimum obligations of a Muslim to Islam and Allah is to show ignorance and lack of understanding of Islam. But all the above passages and obligations clearly show that Islam is Strict, Undeviating, and intransigent in their fundamental beliefs. I have studied the Quran and the Ahadith and I am unable to isolate any moderate or tolerant, or compromising verses that can be described as being moderate Islam. Moderate Islam must thus be a deviant of Islam and is a blasphemy of the original doctrines of Islam.
Hence, are those thousands of devout but peaceable Muslims in this world are hypocrites and blasphemers or are they simply leading a quiet life until called upon by Allah or the Ummah to shed their hide and show their true colours and take up the Jihad that has been a compulsory ordained requirement of Islam. Of course there could also be many “cultural Muslims”[like cultural Christians], who look like Muslims, dress and eat like Muslims and even go through the external options of Islamic rituals, but do not believe in true Islam who have been mistakenly identified as True Muslims. [There are thousands of Europeans who are cultural Christians, who live among Christians, but have not attended a day in church and are identified as Christians but are far removed from evangelical Christians.] To mistake a “cultural Muslim” as a “orthodox Muslim” and say:
” People in my community know many different people who call themselves Muslims and do not think of and will not partake in terrorism or extremist interpretation of Islam. ”
Show a total lack of understanding the ideology of Islam and thereby are as dangerous as D0nald Trump when they utter generalities.
There are many apologists of Islam who believe if they can show that Islam is Moderate that they are doing a favour to Muslims by making them appear more reasonable, accommodating, and peaceful. To a pious Muslim as described above, he would feel insulted that he has been actually labelled as a non believing Islamic blasphemer. NO PIOUS TRUE MUSLIM WOULD WISH TO BE IDENTIFIED AS A “MODERATE MUSLIM.” Just as no evangelical Christian would wish to be identified as a moderate Christian who does not accept that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ.
In order to reinforce my point I will post an extract on the views of Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey:
The Term,”Moderate Islam” is Ugly and Offensive – PM Erdogan
August 24, 2007
A Recurrent Theme: On Moderate Muslims
When I write about our current struggle with Radical Islam, I try to maintain a careful differentiation between the Radical Islamists (Islamic fascists) who desire to kill as many of us as possible and impose their will upon us, and those “Moderate” Muslims who are more willing to live and let live. On a fairly regular basis, such posts are met with comments that are variations on a theme:
Moderate Islam is an oxymoron. There is no such thing as Moderate Islam. Islam itself is an imperialistic, intolerant, and murderous ideology.
Sadly enough, such comments may be accurate, if we accept the words of such an authority on the subject as the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: [HT: Snouck Hurgronje]
PM Erdogan: The Term “Moderate Islam” Is Ugly And Offensive; There Is No Moderate Islam; Islam Is Islam Speaking at Kanal D TV’s Arena program, PM Erdogan commented on the term “moderate Islam”, often used in the West to describe AKP and said, ‘These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”
This is especially disheartening when we consider that Turkey has been the shining light of an Islamic democracy. Yet I would propose a radical notion of my own:
Even if there is no such thing as Moderate Islam it is in our best interests (and the Muslim World’s best interests) to act as if the distinction is valid.
I hope this clarifies that “Moderate Islam” does not exist and thus “Moderate Muslim” is oxymoron.