We all know very well the Hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh,

     Buniyal Islam 3ala Khamsin === Islam was built on FIVE.  These are the exact words that were narrated to us. We all claim that we know them and we all assert that we understand and implement them.

     Typical understanding of this Hadeeth implies that Islam consists of five pillars: The testimony (Shahadateen), prayer (Salat), Zakat, fasting (Siyam), and Hajj for able adults.

     The picture that comes to mind as a result is that of a structure of five pillars or five columns labeled with the five things: The testimony, prayer, Zakat, fasting, and Hajj.

     In fact, this is how most of us present Islam to others... whenever we are asked about Islam; we quickly and proudly talk about the five pillars of Islam.

     Non-Muslims are always asking and wondering about the five pillars of Islam, the fascination and obsession of now-a-days societies with numbers, counting, and categorization gives the five pillars that prominence in the media.  And we Muslims fall in the trap and we focus on the trivia as opposed to the essence. 

     Moreover, the five column picture is typically used to educate our children about Islam and we see the graphic illustration on posters in our Islamic schools

     In presenting this image, we reduce the beauty of the holistic and comprehensive scheme of life that Islam brings to humanity to a mere count of five things

     We ignored the fact that the prophet, pbuh, used the term “was built on five”, instead, we made it that Islam “consists of five”

     We lost the bigger picture and we lost the objective.

     Examining this image of the five pillar structure, we recognize that we are in fact presenting Islam as a skeleton structure to a building that was never completed. 

     A skeleton of columns and no walls, no ceiling, no, furniture, no yard … no life.

     A deserted building that is not livable and was never inhabited

     A building that looks like the ruins and remnants of a past.

     Guess what, that picture truly portrays our limited understanding of Islam.

     If Islam is the way of life and Islam is built on five, then the Islamic way of life is built on those five.

     Then to reduce Islam to its five rituals is taking the way of life away from Islam.

     We treated Islam as the deserted skeleton of ruins and we do not live there.

     Yes, we erect this bare bone building and we go live somewhere else.

     We established for ourselves different living quarters with different foundation and different columns and different environment.

     We adopted a completely different lifestyle founded on non-Islamic values and we made it our Deen and our way of life.

     And we maintain the deserted Islamic structure as a place we claim ownership to.

     When we have to, we go visit the Islamic bare bone ruins and rush back to our “more comfortable” habitat as soon as the visit ends.

     We visit there to do our prayers and snap right back.

     In Ramadan, again we visit the Islamic “ruins” just like tourists and we return back to our normal life soon afterwards

     We do the same for Zakat and Hajj.

     Yes, it is more like a tourist visit where we get “temporarily” engaged in the event or visit, but we go back to “normal” once the event or the visit is over

     Who would like to live in a bare bone building that is not finished or made suitable to live in?

     If we were to complete the Islamic building beyond the foundation and columns.  If we were to add the walls, the ceiling, the doors, the windows, the furniture, the heating and cooling, the garden, … and live in it.

     Then and only then that we can claim that we appreciate the meaning of Islam as a way of life.

     That would be the true implementation of “InnadDeena 3indallahelIslam” and “Mann uridellahu bihee khayran yufaqihuhu fedDeen”

     If were to build this Islamic house right, with solid foundation, columns that are well founded and well cemented to the foundation, walls and ceiling that are well bonded to the foundation and columns, a structure with integrity and strength, comfortable environment and homey furniture, a pleasant garden with a view, who would not want to enjoy living in such house.

     We would live in this house with joy and pride.

     We would be always looking for opportunities to invite others to visit our house and we would be anxious to show it off.

     But with us living in a different house and maintain the Islamic house as a bare bone skeleton, we have no pride to show the Islamic house to others.

     What are we telling them?  Look how beautiful this skeleton is.  Look at these columns, they truly mean something.

     The natural reply would be: if you truly believe in this as the house to live in, how is it then that you are not living in it.  If this is the model to adopt, how come you are adopting a different model?

     Yes, Brs. & Srs., The holistic picture for our Deen can never be complete without those pillars (columns).  Our Muslim life and Muslim house can never be strong without the complete building.

     We can’t build the walls and the ceiling and add the furniture and life without the columns.  The complete picture should be that of an integral comprehensive system that we have to take as a whole.  We should not take one part and leave the other, and we can’t emphasize one side and ignore the other side. 

     One can’t be good to people and to family and neglect his/her worships; likewise, one should not indulge in worships and leave family uncared for. 

     The approach to the Islamic life should be balanced, comprehensive, and holistic.

     The house has to be strong, strong foundation, strong columns, well adhering walls, strong ceiling, furniture, life, and all.

     Brs. & Srs., we really have to examine this picture very closely and we have to do our best to make it a reality; the reality of our lives.

     We have to do our best in this regard, and the best can only be done through with sincerity; as sincerity is the key to success.

     So we ask ourselves, what is it that we need to do differently to live the Islamic life?

     We pray, we fast, we do our zakat, we are good to our parents, we don’t steal, we don’t harm others, we eat halal food, we avoid committing sins… what else are we supposed to do?

     Well, I hate to say it, the logic that produces this kind of question and numeration reflects a lack of comprehension of what the Islamic way of life is about…

     It is not just a list of check marks that a Muslim goes through and if he/she checks all or most of the items on the list, he/she passes. 

     Islam is a comprehensive and holistic lifestyle that integrates all that in defining the Muslim’s personality, attitude, approach to life, position on the issues, goals and objectives, dreams and passions, priorities and urgencies, and all other things that matter in life.

     A true Muslim checks every position he/she takes on any issue (if he/she is for this or that, or he supports this position or that), and decides based on Islamic values and Islamic ethics.

     A true Muslim checks every action he/she takes and every decision he/she makes and measures it on the Islamic scale.

     A true Muslim, weighs every thought that comes to mind and every word that he/she utters and controls them with Islamic guidance.

     A true Muslim does not just live by Islam, he/she lives Islam.

ما تقرب إلي عبدي بشيء أحب إلي مما افترضته عليه، ولا يزال عبدي يتقرب إلي بالنوافل حتى أحبه فإذا أحببته كنتُ سمْعَه الذي يسمع به، و بصره الذي يبصر به"

وفي رواية: كنت سمعه الذي يسمع به، وبصره الذي يبصربه، ويده التي يبطش بها، ورِجله التي يمشي بها، ولئِنِ استعاذني لَأُعِيذَنَّهُ، ولئن سألني لَأُعْطِيَنَّه، وما ترددت عن شيء أنا فاعله، تردُدِي عن نفس المؤمن يكره الموت، وأنا أكره مَسَائَاتَه.