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Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet | Lesson: Geography and History of the Arabian Peninsula, and Overview of Islam
Teacher’s Key: The Five Pillars Have Many Dimensions
Pillar Meaning (Spiritual Worldly Individual Communal Cultural Influences)
Profession of the
Five obligatory prayers
creed: There is no god
at the time and in the
but God, and
way taught by
Muhammad is the
messenger of God
Obedience to God’s
command to worship;
Acknowledges that
Regular purification
there is One Creator,
during each day
and that He has sent
Physical act and
messengers and
spiritual act joined;
revelation to
healthful exercise and
mental relaxation
Islam forbids worship
--Self-discipline and
of idols or images,
self-renewal woven
which also means
into life pattern
bowing to false gods
--Opportunity to seek
or humans; places
forgiveness and ask
limits on materialism
God for help
Focuses on the
--Binds society
individual’s direct
together in regular
relationship with God,
worship and contact
without any
--Established regular
pattern to daily and
One simple message
weekly social life
universal to time and
--Establishment of masjids
place; reverence for
the prophets and
everywhere groups of Muslims
earlier scriptures like
Bible & Torah;
architecture, decoration and
acceptance of earlier
sacred art
--need to set prayer times led to
--There is no central religious
study of
authority in
astronomy, math, geography to
Islam, no theocracy since no one
set prayer
can claim
times and direction—rise of
knowledge of God over others
colleges &
--Limitation on the power of
universities for science and
worldly authority
over Muslim societies;
Islamic jurisprudence = Islamic
law system
--Arabic language of Qur’an
© 2003 Council on Islamic Education (
Giving to the poor and
those in need a
percentage of wealth
beyond basic needs
Purification of wealth
by giving a portion
away—“a loan to God”
Constant and
dependable stream of
charity available to
Muslim society
Limitation on greed
and accumulation of
Stimulated both
required and voluntary
additional charity
Early development of
charitable institutions
and foundations;
collective public works
free from state control,
tax exempt
(WAQF) charitable foundations
as permanent source of funding
mosques, schools & colleges,
hospitals, wells and travelers’
accommodations, institutionalized
help for
the poor
Fasting from dawn to
sunset during the
month of Ramadan (9th
lunar month
Fasting is a tradition of
prophets; purpose is
coming near to God;
annual renewal of
Fasting is said to
contribute to health, rid
the body of poisons
Self-discipline & sense
of achievement;
breaking up bad eating
habits; Godconsciousness
Whole community
participates, visits,
shares food, renews
--Additional prayers &
Quran readings
--Ramadan is an international
celebration all
over Muslim world
--Stimulated math & astronomy
for setting
lunar calendar
Making the journey to
Makkah to perform the
rites during the
pilgrimage season
“Dress rehearsal for
Judgment Day”
Standing before God;
recalls obedience of
Orients Muslims even
in remote places
toward a world
encourages travel and
--Developed sense of
individual being
accountable to God
--Gave people the
desire to travel, think
beyond own backyard
--Brought people
together to trade and
exchange knowledge
--Organized huge
pilgrim caravans from
each city; established
roads, wells, ports for
better travel
--Contributed to the mobility &
connectedness of Muslim society
over 14
--Renewed common beliefs and
overcoming local traditions
--Increased trade & scholarship