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Muslim traditions

What are the Five Pillars of Islam? Why are each of them important to the Muslim tradition? What are some similarities between the Five Pillars of Islam and the Christian and Jewish traditions? What are some differences between the Five Pillars and the Chrisitan and Jewish traditions? The objective of this essay is to summarize the Five Pillars and in the process explain the significance of each pillar. What are some of the components involved with each of the pillars?

You can focus on 1 or 2 or 3 of the pillars rather than all 5 of them so that you could go into a more in-depth, detailed reflection with analysis

These questions might help you to construct the essay:

1. What is the axis mundi in the Muslim tradition? Which one or more of the five pillars is centered on or shaped by this axis mundi? 

2. In what ways does the first pillar (shahadah, or “bearing witness”) connect with the Christian and Jewish traditions? In what ways does the first pillar seek to supersede the Christian and Jewish traditions? 

3. Islam is sometimes called one of the three Abrahamic religions along with Christianity and Judaism. Why is Islam counted amongst the Abrahamic religions? Which of the Five Pillars illustrate how Muslims connect with the prophet Abraham of the Hebrew Bible?

4. How does practice, ritual and belief converge and inform each other within one or more of the Five Pillars? 

5. How does the pillar known as zakat reflect the Christian and Jewish traditions.

6. In what direction did Muslims initially pray when performing salat? What direction was this changed towards? And why was prayer first directed in one direction, then changed to another direction? What is this direction called? 

7. Sacrifice is important to the Jewish and Christian traditions. Is sacrifice important within any of the Five Pillars? How so? 

8. Where is the concept of purity evident in the Five Pillars? 

9. Would you describe the Five Pillars as communal or individual practices, or a combination of both? Explain by providing examples from one or more of the pillars. 

10. What else could be asked in regards to evaluating the Five Pillars? 

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