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In a conversation a Muslim friend said, "The foundation of Islam is the five pillars: Shahada (the creed), Salat (prayer), Zakat (almsgiving), Saum (fasting), Hajj (pilgrimage). How would you, as a Christian, relate to such terms?" My response to this question was to say that I could find a Christian alternative to the five pillars of Islam in the Christian Scriptures.
A Christian Shahada, or creed, can be found in John 17:3: "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
As the Shahada can be seen as a brief summary of the Islamic faith, this verse is a summary of the gospel, which states that to know God is to know Jesus Christ, whom God sent in to this world, as his word to us, through whom he revealed himself and enabled us to receive the gift of eternal life.
Although there are no set prayers prescribed in the Christian scriptures, Christians are called to devout prayer (Col.4:2) and to pray continually (1 Thess 5:17). Jesus himself, by giving examples, has shown us that we should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1ff). He said: "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:5-6)
As Christians we believe that everything we have is a gift from God and that we should share it with others and give back to God as much as we can. It was in line with this understanding that we find the following instruction in the Scripture:
At another place we read:
Christians do fast but they have not been instructed to fast the way Muslims do for a whole month. (See the topic on Fasting). Jesus said:
Some of my Muslim friends think that Christians perhaps go for pilgrimage to Jerusalem. However, such a pilgrimage is not part of the Christian faith. Before Jesus came, believers used to go to the house of the Lord, the temple for sacrifices and offerings, however it is no longer necessary, having been fulfilled in Christ. For us God is everywhere, and he can be worshipped anywhere (Isaiah 66:1-2). In answer to the question of where we should worship, Jesus declared:
A Christian Jihad
We have been given this instruction:
A Christian's Hadith and the Qur'an
God has spoken to us through Jesus. In the past he spoke through various ways but now he has sent his Word to be incarnated not as a scripture but as Jesus, a living, walking and talking example. The scriptures we have are the record of his actions and sayings. We have the life, testimony and faith of those faithful witnesses to the Lord who went before us (Hebrew 11). (Eph 2:19-22).
This file was last modified on 21 April 2008