Hajj: a pilgrimage to Mecca. If physically able, a Muslim is required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca during the twelfth month at some point in his or her lifetime. Every year, around two million Muslims take part in the Hajj, which involves many ceremonies in and around Mecca. The goal of the Hajj is to gather in prayer at the Ka’ba, a large sacred black stone in the court of the Great Mosque in Mecca. It is believed to have been founded by Adam, the first man, and later rebuilt by the Prophet Abraham. In 630, Mohammed rededicated the shrine to the “One and Only God,” Allah. This pilgrimage deepens commitment to God and promotes international understanding of Islam that transcends all ethnic and national barriers.
The foundation on which the Five Pillars are based has many components, these being some of the most commonly held:
Oneness of God: Allah is the One and the Only One; God of all humankind; One without plural or gender.
Oneness of humankind: All people are created equal. There is no superiority in race, nationality, language, or beliefs. God is the true judge.
Oneness of prophets: God sent many prophets with the same message and teachings. Mohammed was the last prophet to clarify true faith.
Angels: Allah created angels to do the work of Allah. The honored angel is Gabriel, who brought Allah’s revelations to the Prophet Mohammed.
Day of judgment: All people of the world throughout the history of humankind are to be held accountable for their deeds on the Day of Judgment, when life on earth ends. The reward for good doers is eternal life in paradise. The punishment for evil doers is eternal life in hell.
Innocence at birth: People are born free of sin. Only after they reach puberty and commit sin can they be held accountable. Forgiveness is possible through true repentance.
State and religion: Religion and politics are combined. Economic, social, educational, and political systems are dictated by the teachings of Islam, encompassing a complete way of life.