The Five Pillars of Islam


January 2004 marks the start of yet another year when people of all faiths and backgrounds will be making resolutions related to changing the way that they live. They will vow to change bad habits. For some it is a physical challenge: give up certain food and do more exercise. For others it is a time to reflect upon their behaviour and relationships, and to change themselves. In the same way, Muslims have recently completed 30 days of fasting and renewed themselves phys-ically as well as spiritually. Now, those fortunate few among the Muslims will be making their way towards Makkah to perform the Pilgrimage of Hajj. To the casual onlooker, this may appear as a set of rituals performed in white robes in Makkah. But a deeper study provides an insight into the background to the Holy Mosque of Makkah itself, and the history and wisdom behind the rituals which millions of pilgrims will be performing this month. This months issue takes Hajj as its theme. There is an outline of the rites of Hajj and the related obligations upon Muslims per- forming this pilgrimage. Then there is an article delving into the history and background of the various sites in Makkah. Finally, there are extracts from a Friday Sermon delivered over twenty years ago looking at the status of a Mosque, and the events of thousands of years ago that have shaped the activities of Hajj related to the Great Mosque. It is essential to understand the philosophy and wisdom behind the Hajj in order to fully benefit from it. It is an opportunity to make a sacrifice purely for the sake of God and thereby get closer to the Creator. Allah enable all of the pilgrims to derive the maximum benefit from this unique opportunity. Amin. Fazal Ahmad 2 The Review of Religions – January 2004 Editorial