What does this mean in practice?

The 'Five Pillars of Islam'

In order to live according to the wishes of Allah and receive reward in Paradise, Muslims will attempt to undertake the five basic duties of Islam known as the Five Pillars of Islam. These include:

  • Shahadah - the declaration of faith and the belief in one god, Allah.
  • Salah - praying five times a day at specific times. This is a constant reminder of the importance of Allah in the life of a Muslim.
  • Zakah - an act of worship, which means donating a percentage of one's wealth to charity. This creates a bond between rich and poor and helps Muslims to purify their wealth and avoid greed. Zakah is usually paid once a year.
  • Sawm - fasting during the month of Ramadan, for those who have reached the age of maturity and are in good health. Women are not required to fast during menstruation. This helps Muslims connect with Allah and remember those less fortunate than themselves.
  • Hajj - a special pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca). Muslims are expected to undertake this once in their lifetime if they are physically fit and can afford it.

Many Muslims believe that their good deeds will count towards their place in Paradise, even if the rewards are not obvious in this life.

Muslims also stress the importance of humility, forgiveness, honesty and kindness. They believe Allah to be both kind and compassionate, and that he wants his followers to behave in the same way. Being a Muslim is not just about praying and rituals, it is also about being good to others.

What questions might non-Muslims have about Muslim beliefs on life after death?

  • Is there any evidence for resurrection of the body and life after death?
  • Is a belief in life after death compatible with modern scientific views?
  • How do the Islamic ideas of resurrection of the body and judgement compare with other religions' views of life after death?
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