The Five Basic
Principles of Al-Islam/ Beliefs
- Shahadatain (Declaration of Faith) - To declare there is only one God, Allah, and that Muhammad is his messenger.
- Salat (Prayer/Worship) - Muslims must pray five times a day. The Qur’an is the final revelation to Humanity.
- Zakat (Charitable Contributions) - Requires that once a year a Muslim is to give at the rate of 2.5% to a charitable cause.
- Sawm (Fasting) - Participate in the month long fast of Ramadan, in which they restrain from food, drink, and sex during daylight hours.
- Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) - if in good health and with enough money, one must make the pilgrimage to Mecca once in their lifetime.
- One God, or Allah, is most important principle
- Complete submission to God
- Prophet Muhammad and Holy Qur’an
- A judgment day and life after death
- Commitment to fast during the holy month of Ramadan: abstaining from food, drink, sexual intercourse and evil intentions and actions
- Commitment to attempt a pilgrimage to Mecca (in Saudi Arabia) at least once in life
- Duty to give generously to poor people
- Belief in Oneness of God
- Belief in His Angels
- Belief in His Books (All the revealed Scriptures)
- Belief in His Messengers (All of them)
- Belief in Hereafter (Life after Death)
- Belief in the day of Judgment
- Belief in Reward and Punishment
- May engage in prayer 5 times a day facing Mecca (dawn, mid-day, mid-afternoon, sunset, night); face, hands and feet are washed before prayer. Do not interrupt or walk in front of patient when he/she is saying prayers unless it is an emergency
- Days of observance occur throughout the Muslim lunar calendar
Dying and death
- Death is controlled by God’s plan
- Euthanasia or any attempt to shorten life prohibited
- Organ or body donation acceptable
- Autopsy permitted only for medical or legal reasons
- Confession of sins and begging forgiveness often occurs in presence of family upon death
- Important to follow five steps of burial procedures which specifies washing, dressing, and positioning of the body. First step is traditional washing of the body by Muslim of same gender
- As moment of death approaches, Islamic Creed should be recited
- Grief expressed by shedding tears, but forbidden to wail, beat breast, slap face, tear hair or garments, or complain or curse
- The Janazah Prayer (Prayer for the deceased) must be said in Arabic and led by a male- an Imam is preferred. This process should take place within 72 hours after death. Therefore, a death certificate should be signed quickly to facilitate the process.
- Explore what practices are most important to patient/family
- Be aware that some customs prohibit handshakes or any contact between genders
- Female patients may want a female physician
- Be aware of language barriers.
- Tayyib= what is good, pure, clean, wholesome, nourishing, pleasant and tasteful.
- Halal= what is lawful and allowed for Muslims to eat
- Halal Diet – Pork, and some shellfish prohibited; alcohol is possibly prohibited
- Only vegetable oil is to be used
- Any food invoked by a name besides God’s may be prohibited
- Children, pregnant women and those who are ill are exempt from fasting laws, however may resist and need support from faith group/leader
- May only eat with right hand, which is considered to be the clean hand
- No restrictions on blood or blood products, medications, amputations, organ transplants, or biopsies
- Most surgical procedures permitted
- Doctors are seen as helpers of God’s will
- Abortion is prohibited except in cases of rape, incest and if the life of the mother is threatened. A fetus is considered a human being after 25-week gestation.
Holy days and festivals
- Fasting during the month of Ramadan is included in the 5 pillars of Islam and is considered to be a spiritual obligation. Fasting happens from sunrise to sunset. The ill and children are exempt from fasting, but they may join anyway if safe to do so.
- Jum’ah Prayer (Congregational Prayer) held ever Friday, the Holiest Day for Muslims and takes place at noon prayer. One may not work during this time.
- Islamic days are based on the lunar calendar. Muslims do not work on two Holy Days during the year; 1) Eid-ul-Fitr (Celebration of the Fast Breaking)-this is held on the first day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar. 2) Eid-ul-Aha (Celebration of the Sacrifice of Abraham) - a three day celebration beginning of the 10th day of the twelfth month called Dhul Hijjah.
- These Holy Days consist of prayer and a short sermon in congregation followed by food, entertainment, feeding, of the poor and visiting the sick and shut-in.