The religion of Islam begins with believing in Muhammad Mustapha (saw)! For we are bound to have faith in Allah,as Muhammad (saw) informed us, not the imaginary god we’ve created and formed in our heads and labeled “Allah.”
If you were to conduct a little research in your circle you would see that everyone has a different understanding and conception of the word Allah. Despite the common points based on societal and cultural conditioning, there are still surprising differences.
This is why the first thing we must believe is Muhammad’s (saw) claim, “I am the Rasul of Allah!”
If and when we submit to and unconditionally believe in the Rasul of Allah (saw) whose teachings are applicable to all ages until doomsday, and who invited us to have faith in Allah the way he taught us to, we will have entered the circle of faith.
However, his teachings must be accepted wholly and unconditionally, without sparing anything. For if you accept some of his teachings and refuse others your faith will not be true, and its consequence will be detrimental.
The second thing is to understand the science behind the five mandatory pillars of Islam.
Have these pillars been established for the sake of “testing” people or do they actually have some scientific basis, involving the laws of physics and chemistry?
The being referred to as a human has the capacity to think and act on his thoughts. So, if he is to be asked to do something then obviously he will need to be presented with the reasons as to why he should do it, so that he may understand and make sense of it.
A human can’t be asked to act on something about which he has no knowledge. First the knowledge is given then the request to act based on that knowledge.
In summary, Muhammad (saw) tells us the following regarding the application of the five pillars of Islam:
The earth and everything within it will be cast into hell during doomsday. The “tasting” or experience of death will not render you non-existent; you will continue to live forever. Once you experience death you will never have the chance to return to this world.
If you take heed of these teachings and prepare wisely for the life after death you will reach heaven with the grace of Allah. If on the other hand you don’t prepare for the hereafter but spend all your time and energy for things you will inevitably have to leave behind with death, then your inescapable destination will be hell, with earth.
If you go to hell you will stay there forever and can never come out. Those who go to heaven on the other hand will never again fear going to hell. Those who don’t heed this warning of Allah and work only for this world will most definitely feel deep regret in the future but it will be too late.
This world is the only abode of preparation for the life after death.
After death there is absolutely no way of coming back to this world to make up for anything. So, believe in Allah and this reality.
Based on this warning the minimal of what is asked of us is to:
Pray five times a day (total of 17 rakahs).
Fast one month a year during Ramadan.
Go to pilgrimage, at least once in your lifetime, if you have the financial means.
Give alms (zakah).