The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Sixth pillar of Islam

The term Sixth pillar of Islam refers to an addition to the Five Pillars of Islam; the five pillars of Islam explain the basic tenets of the Muslim faith. Most Muslims believe there are precisely Five Pillars of Islam, and consider the concept of a sixth pillar to be heretical. The idea of there being more than five pillars is not a mainstream idea; Sunni and Shia leaders have both taught that there are only Five major pillars of the faith.

A few Muslims, mainly some Kharijite groups in ancient times and the founder of Islamic Jihad recently, have taught that Jihad, or personal struggle, should be considered the sixth pillar of Islam. In this context, Jihad is viewed as external war against those perceived to be enemies of Islam. Among certain Ismaili groups, the term "sixth pillar of Islam" can also refer to "Allegiance to the Imam" or "Hajj", depending on the group.

Jihad as the sixth pillar

In the early days of Islam, the Kharijite sect are said to have claimed that jihad was the sixth pillar of Islam([1] ; see also takfir.) However, the surviving Kharijites (that is, the Ibadis) of the present day reject this doctrine.

The Egyptian founder of Islamic Jihad, Abd al-Salam Farag (1952-1982), published a pamphlet in the wake of Anwar Sadat's assassination called "The Neglected Duty", attempting to argue that Jihad was the sixth pillar of Islam but that corrupt ulema had hidden the fact. This conspiracy theory has very little support outside Islamic Jihad and a few other similar terrorist groups. Jihad is viewed as a requirement by some, but very few have classified it as a pillar, and the scholars have unanimously condemned the idea. Were it a pillar, then every Muslim, man and woman, would be obligated to take part, which has historically never been the case.

Allegiance to the Imam

According to Ismailis, the pillars of Islam include four of the usual five, plus "love and devotion" to the Imam, the Prophets, and God; purity; [2] , and Jihad.

The ordering of the pillars as understood by Ismailis is as follows:

  1. walayah (love and devotion) for Allah, the Prophets, the imam and the dai
  2. taharah (purity & cleanliness)
  3. salah (prayers)
  4. zakah (purifying religious dues)
  5. sawm (fasting)
  6. hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)
  7. jihad ("struggle"), in the sense of the Biblical "Faith without (good) works is dead" (See broken link[3] )

In this case, the sixth pillar of Islam is hajj, not Allegiance to the Imam, and not Jihad.

The Druze (a group with Ismaili roots who describe themselves as Muslims, but are not considered by most Muslims to be Muslims) say they believe in seven pillars, following a smilar Ismaili tradition: the usual five, plus allegiance to the Imam (walaaya) and strife in God's way (jihad). They call these seven ordinances da`a'im al-Islam, rather than, as most Muslims do, arkan al-Islam.[4]

See also

Last updated: 02-19-2005 02:28:32
Last updated: 04-25-2005 03:06:01