This research seeks to investigate Islam Religion and their beliefs and practices. It also investigates Sufism as part of the Islam religion. The research establishes Sufism beliefs and practices. This research is important because Islam is a significant religion in the world. This study is also important because it demystifies Islam. There have been several researches done by individual researchers and institutions on this topic. The scholars have more or less agreed about my topic and my paper argues for a better interpretation.
This study utilizes a comparative case study as its methodology. The utilization of this methodology is because of the abundance of information dealing with the research topic. In addition, this research has employed a comparative case study because it aids in ascertaining several opinions made concerning Islam practices and beliefs, and Sufism.
Islam forms the religion of Muslims. The Muslims belief that their religion is monotheistic, as it is written in the Quran. Islam depends on the Quran, which provides them with teachings and normative examples of Muhammad. The word Islam also entails submission to God, way to peace, and peace. Islam as a religion has five basic acts also referred to as Five Pillars of Islam. The Five Pillars are presented in the Quran as a sign of commitment to God and a framework of worship. The Five Pillars include Shahada, Salat, Sawm, Zakat, and Hajj.
The Five Pillars of Islam
Shahada also referred to as the Creed is a Muslim recitation of prayer. This Creed is usually recited in the affirmation of one’s faith to the Islam religion, and confessing that Islam is a monotheist religion with Muhammad being God’s last messenger. People converting to the Muslim religion need to recite this prayer. Those who are dying are also supposed to recite this prayer.
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Salat or daily prayers comprises of five prayers supposed to be recited on a daily basis. These prayers are performed at different times, and they include Fajr, Isha’a, Asr, Dhuhr, and Maghrib. The prayer performed in the morning is referred to as Fajr. The noon prayer is Dhuhr. The afternoon prayer is Asr while Maghrib forms the sunset prayer. Lastly, Isha’a forms the evening prayer. According to research, those performing these prayers are supposed to face Mecca, and should cleanse themselves prior to the prayers. There are certain positions that accompany these Muslim prayers.
Sawm is the Christian equivalent of fasting or lent period although, in Islam, it is practiced during Ramadan. Research establishes that Ritual fasting is compulsory during Ramadan, which entails the abstinence from sexual intercourse, drink and food. Fasting has several significance in Islam. It helps the seek nearness to God, repent their past sins, remind them of the needy, and express gratitude and their dependence on Allah.
According to research, Zakat represents giving of alms to the needy. This is an obligatory practice for those in a position to provide for the needy. Zakat is meant to reduce inequality and lessen economic hardship for those who do not have. Zakat has two forms; one that entails giving of food done by the elder of a house, and second the Zakat on wealth that depends on the amount of money accumulated from income, businesses and savings. Zakat has four principles observed by the person giving the alms.
The last pillar of Islam is Hajj. Hajj represents the trip made by Muslims to Mecca in the month of Dhul al-Hijja. It is a pilgrimage done because Mecca is considered a holy city. This pillar is mandatory for every able-bodied man and woman of the Muslim religion. This practice is honored among the Muslims because it expresses a devotion to God, and it leads to a constant struggle for self-improvement. There are rituals performed during the Hajj such as touching of the Black Stone, symbolic stoning of the devil done in Mina, taking a trip seven times around Kaaba, and walking between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah seven times.
Sufism: Beliefs and Practices
Research establishes that Sufism entails reparation of the heart away from other things except God. It is also considered as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A person who practices Sufism is referred to as a Sufi. In addition, some people view Sufism as a form of science. They consider it a science that enables a person to purify his self from filth while beautifying it with praise traits. Among the practices of Sufi’s, include Dhikr, and asceticism.
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Sufis believe that they have to strive to please God. They should do this through restoring of their self to the primordial state of Fitra. This state involves doing things that do not defy God but finding motivation through doing things for the love of God. The second belief of the Sufis entails drawing closer to God through embracing his divine presence in this life. Thirdly, Sufis believe laws that guide them (Shah, 2000). These laws are divided into two the outer and inner law. The outer law has rules that deal with criminal law, marriage and judicial killings while the inner law has rules pertaining to repentance and adornment wit good character and virtues. Sufis also believe that for one to become a Sufi, one has to spend a considerable period with a Sufi teacher.
There are prerequisites that a person needs to adhere to before engaging in the Sufis’ practices. These prerequisites are the thorough adherence of Islamic norms such as fasting and the ritual prayers. A person also has to exhibit supererogatory practices that compare to the life of Muhammad. Such a practice includes the adherence to Sunna prayers. The Sufi observes three vital practices.
The first Sufi practice is Dhikr. This involves remembrance of God. This practice is borrowed from the Quran, and it instructs all Muslims to engage in any devotional act such as supplication, repetition of divine names, and aphorisms. Dhikr requires the maintenance of God’s awareness (Cavendish, 2010). Dhikr also has a practice within it known as Dhikr-e-Qulb. This entails using heartbeats to remember the presence of God. It has a purpose of making one picture the name of Allah as written on a disciple’s heart.
The second Sufi practice is known as Muraqaba. This involves meditation and helps a person to watch over and take care of the heart, which is considered spiritual. It also involves acquiring knowledge and becoming regulated to the divine presence that is ever watchful.
Lastly, Sufis practice visitation. This involves taking a trip to tombs of Righteous saints and great scholars. The Sufis have famous tombs that they visit such as Ajmer, Khoja and Lal Shahbaz Qalander.
In conclusion, Islam is a monotheist religion that respects the Quran as their Holy Book. The Muslims who are people that subscribe to Islam observe the five pillars of Islam. These five pillars include Creed, recital of prayers, giving of alms, fasting and a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Sufis have extensive beliefs although some rely on the Islam teachings. Among their practices, include Dhikr and Muraqaba.