The ritual practices of Islam are the pillars of their religious system. Although beliefs are important, the substance of their religion is the accomplishment of these five pillars.
· Confessing the Faith (Shahada)
· Prayer (Salat)
· Giving of Alms (Zakat)
· Fasting (Sawm)
· Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)
The Muslim’s objective is to follow Muhammad’s pattern (his exact words, motions and timing) found in the sunna, as they accomplish the pillars.
Some Muslims would include a sixth pillar, Holy Struggle (Jihad). This struggle could be internal (a struggle in the soul to do the right thing) or external (an effort against the enemies of Islam). The interpretation of jihad can determine the difference between moderate and radical Muslims.
Their belief in the nature of the final Judgment Day motivates Muslims to faithfully accomplish these pillars. In the Qur’an, these practices are of great importance.
The Bible teaches that salvation is a gift from God through faith in Jesus Christ (Isa Al Masih) and there are no rituals or practices that anyone can do in order to get right with God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Even though good works can save no one, followers of Jesus serve Him, imitate Him, and do what He commanded, by the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells every believer. Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commands, and my commands are not burdensome.” He gave seven specific commands:
· Repent and Believe (a turn of heart)
· Pray (as a lifestyle, from the heart)
· Give (with a joyful heart)
· Celebrate the Lord’s Supper (remember Jesus)
· Love God and Others (greatest command)
· Be Baptized (with water)
· Make Disciples (among all peoples)
Making disciples involves worship, fellowship, fasting, studying Scripture, and sharing the good news of eternal salvation through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that His disciples would be recognized by their love for one another (John 13:35).
A Muslim can be confused by Christian symbols and rituals, such as the cross (considered a military symbol to Muslims), and also the Lord’s Supper, when wine is used (because alcohol is prohibited in Islam). Christians are confused by some of the Muslim rituals as well.
If Christians and Muslims can communicate and completely understand the meaning behind these symbols and rituals, meaningful relationships can be built and truth–sharing can take place.
Following the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) is perhaps the best way for Christians to imitate Jesus and share with Muslims. The “Sermon on the Mount” challenges all followers of Jesus to live a righteous lifestyle of humility and love. Unfortunately, today in Western culture, Christian practices such as prayer, fasting and giving are not emphasized.
Muslims need grace-motivated Christian friends who follow the disciplines of Jesus. Jesus calls His followers to pray as a lifestyle, frequently and effectively. By confronting evil and bringing healing, believers can introduce Christ to their Muslim friends.
(Information is from "Islam & Christianity," Rose Publishing)