Can you tell me, why there are the five pillars of Islam, and not seven or three? Thanks in advance for the answer.
To understand my answer fully, it should first be clearly understood what exactly is the implication of the ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam. The ‘Five Pillars’ of Islam, do not in any way imply that Islam places a certain reverence on the figure of ‘Five’. It only means that there are five things that distinguish followers of the Islamic faith from other peoples. The first among these is the declaration of oneness of God (Tawheed) and the acceptance of Mohammad (pbuh) as a true prophet and messenger of God. The second is the establishment of regular prayer. The third is the payment of Zaka’h. The fourth is fasting during the month of Ramadhan and the fifth is to undertake the pilgrimage of the Ka’bah, if one’s financial and physical conditions allow doing so. When a person fulfills these five conditions, then this fulfillment provides adequate evidence of his being a Muslim.
The term ‘Five Pillars of Islam’ simply denotes the essential ingredients, which have to be fulfilled to qualify to be called a Muslim, from a worldly perspective. These essential ingredients are five in number – not three or seven – as they were so stipulated by the Prophet (pbuh) of Islam. According to the Muslim belief, no additions or deductions can be made in these essential ingredients by any one else. Thus, these five essential ingredients came to be known as the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’, drawing an analogy for the importance of these essential ingredients in Islam, with that of ‘Pillars’ in a constructed structure.
12th December 1999